First Impression

I know first impression is the most important part of an interview, but it is an area that I totally suck at. I sat for an job interview this morning and I think I blew it. I tried to prepare an impressive resume, but the interviewers didn’t even bother to look at it. They only look at the standard CV the receptionist asked me to fill in when I went to submit my CV. It was a very plain CV written in Myanmar so I couldn’t write much about myself in it. I only jotted down some basic information, assuming that my CV will be read by the interviewer(s). You might ask “Wait, aren’t they the same?”, but there is a difference between standard unspecific CV issued by the company and a carefully written one. Since they only look at the standard CV, they just thought of me as a newly graduate with an average English skill and no previous experience in translating, which is a bit true. I didn’t both to mention that I blog in both languages, although I wrote about it my real resume, since blogging is not considered a professional job.

After answering several mundane questions, I was asked to talk about myself and my ambitions for a minute in English. This was a chance for me to impress the interviewers, right? But instead of doing so, my mind went completely blank and I could only utter a few simple lines about my ambition to become a translator. If the interview had been conducted entirely in English, I would have no problem at all, but to speak suddenly in English took me by surprise. It sure doesn’t help to see the solemn faces who don’t seem to be interested in me. I could have probably talked about how hardworking I was at work and how comfortable I feel when I use English, but it’s too late now. Compared to the first two interviewees, I think mine was the shortest. Before I leave, a younger interviewer asked me a bit about my previous job as a web developer. It was a title given to me even though I didn’t deserve it ‘cuz I knew nothing about web programming. I know it’s standard procedure to ask about my former job but he didn’t need to ask in details. I applied for a translator job, not web developer.

Even though I made a lousy first impression, I could only hope to impress them with my translation skills. Normally, interviewers test the translation skills first before sitting for an interview so they can weed out the ones they don’t like. I think I will be called again to sit for the written examination next week, well I hope so.

This isn’t really the fist time I’ve been rejected with first impression. I tried to get into a youth program from Korea for two years but got rejected every time. When attending ELTM course, the professor didn’t choose me as one of the leaders of my group ‘cuz I look too meek. Ironically, I ended up leading the group in doing assignments and presentations because the elected leaders were too busy or not interested in the tasks. Perhaps it is in my nature to speak only when I want to and when I think is necessary. Normally, I refrain to tell people that I spent my early teenage years in the States to avoid having to answer their annoying questions. Even now, I didn’t mention anything about my study abroad, although I did write about it in my resume. While it may be my nature to be reticent about certain things, it sure is killing off all the impression I could make at interviews. And of course, not doing any actual preparations beforehand and flipping the pages of “No Nonsense Interviewing – Getting the Job You Want” book only an hour before drinking my morning coffee doesn’t really help much. My father told me to pray to Buddha before I leave the house, but I didn’t do as he said because I honestly cannot think how Buddha could have help me secure a job. I’m not being an anti-Buddhist, but some of the local practices seem to more self-centered than Buddha would have intended.

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3 thoughts on “First Impression

  1. I find that my chance of getting a job is directly proportional to the amount of bullshit I spew at the interview.

    The Burmese concept of modesty has no place in job interviews. You are there to sell yourself and show that you are made of the stuff they want.

    I completely agree with you regarding the act of praying for good luck; it runs contrary to Buddhist teachings and none of the well-known Sayadaws ever advocate it. It’s good that you’re aware of the differences between authentic Dhamma and superstitious local practices.

    • Ken what you said is very true. The Burmese concept of modesty is a recipe for failure in a modern world. You have to sell your self, may need to talk a lot of BS…ha ha

  2. Pingback: My New Job « Speaking Out Loud

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