Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung put it into perspective when he wrote: “If you have nothing to create, then perhaps you create yourself.” For those whose daily job is to be creative (writing is a wonderful example), it is no secret that there are days that it just doesn’t seem to come to you. You are the kind of person that needs a startling idea or a spectacular thought that will prompt you to move into creative mode.
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, the company that epitomizes creativity and innovation in the 21st Century remarked that “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” A Leader must be innovative and creative, however it is vital that such an individual never gets too far ahead of the followers or customers because such a pace may be catastrophic for his career.
Unfortunately in today’s weak economy and even weaker job market, individuals need to appear unique and different. They need to standout above all others and must present himself as an individual who will be able to make a difference almost instantly. Jung nailed it when he stated that creativity starts at home and that you need to create yourself.
Recruiters and decision-makers are looking for that one unique person to set them apart from their competitors. You can be that person! Risk is embodied in such traits as creativity, uniqueness and distinctiveness. By definition you are far from the madding crowd (Thomas Hardy). You are the type of person who people enjoy being around and though you are unique, you are not the flighty kind, who by the way need to be self-employed since no one in their right minds would ever hire such a person for their company or association.
Creativity and Innovation is more of an art form than a science. Obviously an architect or engineer is limited by the laws of nature and gravity but if you sit down and talk to those who are the most creative amongst us they will remark that it just comes to them out of the clear blue sky and that you just can’t schedule creativity.
Creative people just can’t help but shine in a crowd. These are the individuals who have more failures than all of us put together. Their failures were either “before their time,” or just not rolled out properly because by and large these people are the ones you would like to go to battle with every time. These are the people who aren’t satisfied with status quo success and these are the people you need to fashion yourself after when you are in job search mode.
There are hundreds of applicants for every job out there in this economy. If you are going to distinguish yourself from all the others, you need to be unique and have a personal brand that employers will be attracted to. Of course it is without saying that you need to show viable results from past experiences but you must also display your willingness to go beyond the norm and find a new approach and ultimate solution to an old problem.
Though it is an inexpensive way for a potential employer to gather creative solutions, a job-seeker must come armed with creative solutions to solve the obvious concerns of the hiring entity. Since we all get paid for our actions and ideas, don’t be too generous with what you see as the pathway to the promised land, but do provide tidbits or hints at how you can assist them in their desire to succeed.
By tossing out some constructive ideas during your interview or conversation you are not just providing examples of your creativity you are also telling the recruiter that you have researched their company/association and that you have already invested your time and effort into discovering what you can do to improve their status and bottom-line. You have also impressed upon them that there will be no learning curve for you, that you will be an immediate plus for the from the first day on the job.
Creativity is empowered by enthusiasm. I don’t think it is possible for a lackluster individual to be creative. You must not only be excited about the possibility of working alongside the new company/association’s decision-maker but you must also be able to display it to those who will be deciding on your employment fate. If you can’t show enthusiam and can’t be engaged during an interview – when will you be?
Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet, novelist and critic who died much too early (46 years old) said it best “Imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.” You need to free yourself from all past experiences to be creative. Don’t persecute yourself with past failures, Lord knows we have all had them, just move forward and look to the future as your next best result.
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide since 1986 who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives. He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 100 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transition. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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