Competition is everywhere. We compete in school, in the workplace, and even in our personal lives. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are on track to be the nation’s most educated generation. This means the pool of competition is only getting larger.
So what can you do to stand out? In a society where a bachelor’s degree is as common as a high school degree and a master’s degree is standard, it is getting harder and harder to differentiate from “everyone else.”
Here are some easy things I’ve done that helped me stand out in my career.
Find a Mentor
I know everyone says this, but that’s because it’s so important. Mentors can connect you with others who have hiring power (so you’re not relying on only your resume). Additionally, many have experienced what you are going through and will provide words of wisdom to help you avoid mistakes and stay ahead. There’s a famous quote that says, “Smart people learn from their mistakes, but geniuses learn from the mistakes of others.”
Perfect your Craft
What are you good at? Figure that out and work to hone it. Your strengths are the “secret sauce” that get you noticed. When competing for positions, promotions, or power, the best talent gets the gold. Don’t rely solely on your connections; make sure you bring something of value to the table.
This may not have made the list before I started working in corporate America, but experiences have shown me that authenticity needs a spot. There are so many people trying to be someone other than themselves. From a hiring perspective, it’s like hiring someone based on who they were in the interview, then realizing they are someone totally different after their first day. (It's not a good surprise.)
Who knew that you could stand out just by being yourself? Being authentic means a person’s behaviors and values are consistent. They don’t change based on who is in the room. Do yourself and others a favor and be your authentic self.