To review from last week: Building relationships requires sharing who you are. Your individuality is valuable.
But, just like any currency, personal currency’s value is fungible, not innate; it must be defined before it can have value. The next time someone says, “Tell me a little about yourself,” be ready with a thoughtful answer. Focus on your personal experiences and future ambitions; show what you’ve done in various fields. This doesn’t mean you must be a talking resume. Don’t forget, as Ted Koutsoubas, VP of the DC Penn Alumni Group, said: the goal is to be interesting and memorable.
Everyone has unique lives, interests and perspectives. Don’t sell a sob story, but know it’s OK to mention your personal background, non-academic pursuits and passions. The goal here is not necessarily to impress the listener with your many extracurriculars; in a few short sentences, you want to share who you are and what’s important to you. Think about being genuine, and about making a real connection with another human being.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help proofreading or crafting your narrative. Studies show familiarity with a subject or piece prevents one from seeing errors in it. (That’s why we miss our own typos and get proofreaders.) Between alumni resources, trusted professors, Penn Career Services, and the Writing Center, there are so many ways to reach out for advice, so make sure you do!
Recommendation for the week:
Craft a 100-word story of how you got to be where and who you are. What are your interests? Where do you come from? How do these shape your perspective and make you “interesting” and “memorable”?
Next week: Fleshing Out your LinkedIn!