I had just come back from a career fair where I was recruiting for a project.
I had a stack of fresh resumes in hand. Looking at all of them it was quickly clear that they all looked the same.
But when I talked to my colleague, he said “Look! That one! I want that one!”
There was one resume in the tall stack that was bright red around the edges and stood out from the pile.
As soon as I heard my colleague say this, I laughed.
I pulled out the bright red resume to reveal that it wasn’t a resume at all . . .
It was a parking pass for the university!
All of these students were doing their best to fit in. They used the same paper, the same font, the same format. They wore the same suits, said the same things, and asked the same questions.
They were trying so hard to fit in because they’d been told that fitting in meant they’d be picked.
The moral of the story:
It’s important and easy to stand out.
Actually, it’s so easy, a parking pass beat out all of my job candidates.
The bar is low. Whether you’re working on your marketing, your book cover, or the subject line for the email you’re writing to your boss . . . it’s your job to make sure your message is seen/heard/read/etc.
2 Minute Action:
Make a quick list of the top 5 things EVERYONE else does in your field.
If you were to make a parody of your project or work or of the experts in your field, what might it look like?
You now have a list of things NOT do to.
You’ve also got a list of places in which you can be more unique.
Your turn. Let’s go.