The Best Career Advice Came From A Peer. It’s Simple: Be Yourself

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview the latest viral sensation, Matthew Epstein. In case you haven’t heard, Matthew launched his own PR campaign to get Google to notice — and hire — him. It was aptly titled GooglePleaseHireMe. Matthew is no stranger to showing his personality. Everything from his mustache to his knack for going sans pants makes him stand out.

As a recent graduate from business school, I can tell you firsthand, it is not always encouraged to show personality in your work, at least not in the way Matthew has done. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this feeling. But while interviewing Matthew one thing became very clear: You should throw those timid notions out the door and not be afraid to show your true, authentic personality.

Here are five takeaways I’m now using in my everyday life (and job search) thanks to Matthew. Hopefully they can help you, too.

1 / Start building your authentic, personal brand early. Your personal brand is representing you, so you need to show your personality. The idea is to have an overall theme that represents you, your goals, your values and your qualifications.

2 / When applying for a job, especially a creative one, show some pizzazz! Actual human beings will read your application — not just a computer. If you’re bored by your application, remember that chances are the team hiring you will be, too.

3 / If you have the opportunity fresh out of college, don’t just take a job for the money. Instead find something you love. As Matthew said, put yourself knee deep into the industry you want to be in, because three years of little pay with relevant experience is better than 20 years of irrelevant experience.

4 / As Nike would tell you, JUST DO IT! As someone who has been known to completely over-analyze everything, this is something I need to remember to apply in my career. Sometimes the best ideas and results come from spontaneity and the courage to leap.

5 / This last lesson goes along with my own personal experience of pitching Matthew to actually do the interview with me. If you do not ask, the answer will always be “no.”

You don’t have to be as outrageous as Matthew, but you should strive to always be yourself in your job interview. It’s like dating. You wouldn’t want to date someone who you “think” is good enough if he or she is really not. You don’t want to provide a perception of who you are in a job interview if it’s not really you. You will end up just wearing yourself out trying to keep up! And because I haven’t mentioned it yet, it’s worth noting that Matthew is actually going through the hiring process with Google right now. Yes, he just may have singlehandedly started the newest trend in job applications. This is one time where it might be wise to do what your peers do.