The Expedition of Employment: The Validity of “Fake it ‘Til You Make it”

Cynthia Arroyo | Online Editor

“If anybody asks, ‘Can you do this job? Can you handle it?’ you tell ‘em, ‘Absolutely.’ By the time they find out that you can’t, you’ll already have learned, and the job’ll be yours. And who knows, it just might turn out to be the opportunity of a lifetime.”

-Philip Roth

There’s a point in most people’s lives when applying for a new and unfamiliar job becomes a reality. As the academic school year comes to a close at Azusa Pacific, students and graduates alike are signing job applications, printing resumes for impending interviews and likely exercising all of their nervous habits while doing so. The advice “fake it ‘til you make it” is actually a viable idea.

Research has shown that acting powerful or capable, even when you don’t feel strong, can make a person feel as though they have those attributes.

In a Harvard Business School article, “Power Posing: Fake It Until You Make It,” Associate Editor Julia Hanna describes how research conducted by psychologist Amy J.C. Cuddy shows that “…holding one’s body in expansive, ‘high-power’ poses for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone (the hormone linked to power and dominance in the animal and human worlds) and lower levels of cortisol…”

In other words, standing tall has a way of inducing confidence.

Explaining an experiment published in Psychological Science, Hanna explains that “…you can smile long enough that it makes you feel happy.”

These same principles apply to the interview process and for, hopefully, landing that job you secretly thought you weren’t qualified for. Communicate to yourself that you are competent and qualified, and that’s likely how others will see you.

Student Government Association President Cole Mizel built his leadership and interpersonal skills prior to running for SGA President. However, even after his nomination, the position still felt immense to him.

Mizel advised students that it’s best to commit to one or two things fully, saying, “…you’ll find that your time is much more valuable and productive [when you] give 100 percent to a few things rather than maybe 75 percent of your effort to a billion things.”

For students on the job hunt, Mizel suggests being open to different types of opportunities.

“Spread your net far and wide and see what comes back…There’s not anything that can really come negative from applying to something and not getting it,” Mizel said.

Next time you don that blazer or that collared shirt and tie for your next employment endeavor, remember something: your leaders, supervisors and boss’ boss likely got to where they are today by being diligent about their work and “faking it” until they genuinely became excellent at what they do.

So when you get that job, stand up straight, let those “power-poses” do their thing and be that self that you sold in your interview. It might just be the opportunity of a lifetime.

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