You will really enjoy the NYTimes article titled “Peach Rivalry Becomes War Between the Tastes,” on July 27, 2011. My 7 month old son has begun to eat peaches (puree ones), and it brings a smile to his adorable face every time they go into his mouth. To be honest, I have no idea where these peaches come from. Our local Giant supermarket was selling donut peaches (note the top 10 reasons to eat a donut peach), and I picked them up out of mere curiosity. Quite tasty, I must say. Outside of this being a delicious fruit, I always associated the peach with the peach state: Georgia.
Now in marketing terms that is known as un-aided brand awareness. It is pretty strong stuff. You say a word like “peaches” and “Georgia” comes to your mind, then you have branded a commodity. This is not that different from what Idaho has done with the potato or what Florida has done with orange juice. Having a high level of awareness can give a higher likelihood that a consumer would actually try the product over another product.
To my complete surprise, South Carolina has been producing more peaches (90,000 tons to 40,000 tons) than Georgia since the 1950s. Additionally, South Carolina chose the peach as its state fruit first (1984 v 1995.) Worse comes to worse, Georgia peach farmers had to go to South Carolina recently for a regional conference on peach tasting (that would have been cool.)
So what does this mean for your career? Georgia has done a great job of branding its state as the place for peaches even though they are clearly the smaller player. My thought goes the same when you are going for a job interview. You might be concerned about not having the “perfect” school or the “perfect” set of experiences from smaller institutions or organizations. You have earned your interview just like anyone else. If they have called you in, it is because they want to meet YOU. On any given day you can be just as good as, if not better than those “bigger” players.