Stand out from the crowd

 21 March 2011

Being a creative is an exciting and rewarding profession. But when your competition seems to be just as talented and as enthusiastic as you, how do you stand out from the crowd?

Neil Pate teaches classes in Hip Hop Yoga in London.
Neil Pate teaches classes in Hip Hop Yoga in London.

It’s tough competing in the creative sector, where people often have a greater drive for what they do. Rather than feeling threatened, try to think creatively about what makes you more special than the next person.

Be passionate about creativity

Enthusiasm for a job is important, so use it to your advantage. Jump at the opportunity to help colleagues, get involved in new projects, and generally show that you genuinely love what you’re doing. They are more likely to want to work with you in the future.

If you’re finding it difficult to be spotted as the enthusiastic one, find ways to ‘up skill’ outside of work. Start a blog where you can record your experiences. It’s a good way to keep your mind focussed on what you like doing and will get you noticed among a wider group of people. There’s no harm in sending blog links to your contacts so they can keep up to date with how you’re progressing.

It’s also vital to stay positive. People would much rather work with those who are happy at work and bring a good energy to what they do.

Create a job for yourself

Your personality is the most important impression to leave. It’s one thing that will always make you different to everyone else.

One of the most important concepts in marketing is having a unique selling point. The USP principle applies when it comes to getting noticed.

Pinpoint what makes you different in your chosen field. Use your creativity to your advantage: to spot angles that others wouldn’t ordinarily think of. Consider going into a profession that’s new and hasn’t been seen before.

Someone who has found success with this approach is Neil Patel. He had two passions in life - yoga and rap music – which he brought together in his career. Neil introduced yogic philosophies into his music and rap music into his yoga classes. As being a recording rap artist and yogi, he now teaches weekly classes in Hip Hop Yoga in London.

"For me, whether it was writing raps or meditating, practicing yoga or creating hip hop music, it all came from the same place: the heart and soul. One was more tangibly expressive and the other was little more introspective, but they were like two sides of a coin and I felt they could share the same space."

Dress creative

Everything you’ve ever heard about first impressions is true, so invest in your personal appearance. Image consultant Hannah J explains, "Image is everything in the creative business and whether you like it or not it’s how people remember you."

Don’t be put off. Embracing your image is an enjoyable part of being a creative. If you work in the creative industry you often won’t need to dress as formally as non-creatives, but that’s no excuse to dress down. The key is to dress appropriately for your workplace and as Hannah advises, ‘look professional, but look like yourself.’

Clothing affects how people respond to you. If you’re aiming to impress, it’s advisable to look good but don’t conform to a strict uniform style. Dressing like a clone will never help you stand out from the crowd.

Introducing colour is a good way to refresh your wardrobe. Classic as it may be, black isn’t the only option for a smart image. By opting for lighter shades, such as grey, you’re showing you don’t restrict yourself to conventions.

Five quick tips to get started

There’s lots of everyday things you can do to make yourself stand out among your peers:

  1. When applying for jobs, think carefully about your CV and how it’s presented.
  2. Ensure the design of your business card, website, blog, Facebook page reflects your personality.
  3. If you’re cold-calling to find new work, try for informal meetings with influential people rather than sending in CVs.
  4. Be persistent until you get noticed.
  5. Get to know your competition, network with them and keep tabs of who you’re up against.

Never loose sight of your own beliefs and, most of all, be true to yourself. Your personality is the most important impression to leave. It’s one thing that will always make you different to everyone else.

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