Why shall you be different? And should you?
Whether you want to stand out between all potential candidates for the great job opening, you want to leave a lasting impression or you wish to just be remembered better, it’s always good to stand out from the crowd and be a bit different, a bit unique.
From marketing we know that each product or service needs their competitive advantage, unique selling proposition or unique features, positioning them well compared to the competition etc. From a marketing perspective, it’s always great to have differentiating unique qualities.
Like the tree in the picture. We had a walk in the forest and when I spotted that tree, I had to take a few pictures. It has been absolutely very different from other trees, it caught my eyes and made me think what caused it to have such a shape etc….It definitely stood out from the crowd .-) The forest was full of trees, but this one was just more visible, more catchy than the others …
Why be like everybody else?
So, why don’t we apply the same to us, humans and our skills? Why do we think it’s good to be uniform, and why are we so shy to highlight our differences?
Looking from a private side and having the “parents lenses” I often have a tendency to tell my son, that he shall wear e.g. gloves if its cold because everybody wears them. And you know what this 10y-old answer is? , “Why should I be like anyone else?”
What a statement….I have to say that he makes me think very often and he might be my big teacher, too. Not just me teaching him, but vice versa.
Why should we hide or highlight our differences?
So, why don’t we highlight our differences? Why don’t we focus on our unique skills? Why do we have such a huge need to fit in?
If you think from a career perspective, would you rather hire a candidate with standard skills but nothing unique or would you rather think of someone who has some unique skills, approach or experience?
From my recruiter perspective, I do value, if my candidates try to stand out and differentiate. After all, it’s easier to remember the unique ones, right?
I also remember when I started this career, and I started very, very young, being one of the youngest and female Executive Search Consultant within global international networks, consisting mostly of senior and male (mostly grey-hair) partners, it made me feel humble and not so comfortable at the beginning. I was very different from the traditional “headhunter profile” (not so much anymore nowadays, but back in early 2000 the market has been very different). I had for many years the limiting belief that being young and female I have no chance to work on senior executive searches. But that proved to be wrong .-) It’s been only in my head, as many other limiting believes we all may have.
I have my own differentiating features, qualities, and skills, which I am appreciating more and more nowadays. When I look back, they brought me a lot of opportunities and I have been blessed to work for the biggest global Finnish based companies and recruit very senior executives for them from different countries (actually covering Europe, not just Finland), without speaking perfectly Finnish (cause it has not been actually needed), without the need to be “Finnish” (because they are often not Finns themselves or are working in global roles 🙂 ).
Can we have more than one job or profession?
When I started my other company, Path2Innovate, where we facilitate business development and innovation within the companies, again I heard that it will confuse my clients and somehow conflict with my headhunting business. Who actually still believes nowadays that we can have just one career or just one job? Why could people with multiple passions not just find their place, too? Well, at least I did so far 🙂 Again, making my headhunter profile to be very different from the standard one….
When I started to work as an “internal headhunter” for a global Finnish company, many of my colleagues at that time told me, that it’s not such a good idea. Well, so it seems that more and more big companies apply that model. It works very well for them. So, again I was one of the first ones here in Finland proving that to work and differentiating me from the others 🙂
Why should you listen to everything people tell you?
I also heard from some of my very typical Finnish clients, that perhaps if I approach the potential candidates and don’t speak Finnish myself, that it will be a somehow negative experience for the candidate.
Well, that has proven to be wrong, too. It’s not.
99% of Finns speak very fluent English and are used to communicate in English daily. Think about it from their perspective, will they remember more the Finnish headhunter or the English speaking one? Will they feel the same if English speaking consultant approaches them for a very senior executive role or a Finn? I think that part of my success when it comes to attracting candidates to have a further discussion with them is partly due to me being non-Finn. And they also feel more relaxed in the interview, and especially when I speak to candidates from abroad about working for Finnish company, it is more authentic to hear it from me, being a foreigner, cause I have my own experience and insights about Finns and Finland to share with them.
Embrace being different
So let’s embrace our differences and let’s convert them to strengths.
Think for yourself:
- What are your skills differentiating you from your colleagues, having similar responsibilities?
- What unique skills or experience are you bringing with you?
- What makes you different/unique/special?
- And which companies/clients would benefit most from your uniqueness?
Remember, more and more companies are looking for diversity. They want that! So, let’s highlight our unique diverse skills for the benefit of both parties involved.
We will soon start writing very interesting content on how to get new ideas, how to activate our full brain capacity for creating radically new ideas. If you are interested in receiving content on that as well in the future, click here:
With passionate regards,