On a phone interview for a job this afternoon, my interviewer noted, “Well, you have an impressive resume and a really bubbly attitude.” Bubbly attitude? Maybe if you met some of the people that I spend most of my time with they would disagree. I can be grumpy, pessimistic, and solitary a lot of the time, but I’ve learned that there are times to be bubbly and times to be grumpy, and a job interview is definitely one of the places where the former is more desirable.
As my interviewer’s remark points out, it’s important to have a solid resume or experiences, but it’s also important to have a good attitude that makes people want to take a chance on you. Someone with more qualifications and a less personable attitude may be less desirable than someone who has great personality and less qualifications. People gravitate towards good attitudes, and employers want people who have positive attitudes rather than negative. Just because on a phone interview I sound bubbly doesn’t mean that I necessarily feel that way when I make the call. I put on a happy face, though, in the interest of putting my best personality forward. The phrase “fake it ’til you make it” often comes to mind with attitude–you may not be feeling cheerful at first, but if you pretend long enough you forget why you were grumpy in the first place.
Attitude is important in situations other than job interviews, too. You can’t just drop the positive facade as soon as you get a job offer. When I was completing my student teaching experience, at one point my cooperating teacher became upset that I was doing my copying in the morning before classes rather than after school when I had more free time. Even though I was feeling defensive, instead of responding to my teacher’s confrontational attitude I stepped back, listened to her concerns, and agreed that I would start doing my copying at night. Being agreeable in most situations can help smooth over irritated feelings, and there’s always an opportunity to vent later. Of course, you can’t always let things slide, but you do need to prioritize. Figure out the things you’re willing to compromise on, so that when you have something that you are absolutely not willing to give up you can stand up for what you believe in without being dismissed.
A good attitude can also help you out when you need help. Recently, I got a poor grade on an assignment and wanted to improve. Of course, at first I was upset at the teacher and felt she had been unfair. I was ready to send back a confrontational e-mail explaining why I thought she was wrong (and maybe why she was a terrible professor, while I was at it). After taking a few hours to cool off, I reconsidered my course of action. What I really wanted out of the situation was to improve my grade, and that was more important to me than expressing my frustration and anger towards my professor. I could only achieve one of my goals, so I swallowed my pride and sent a very polite e-mail asking for the chance to revise my paper and receive a better grade. Thankfully, the professor agreed readily, but I’m sure if I had sent a nasty e-mail I would have kept my poor grade and destroyed my relationship with this professor.
Ultimately, I think that attitude can dictate results. If you want success, I recommend bringing your best attitude with you.