Competitive Creativity: a mix of delicate proportions

With so many contenders vying for the same position, one assumes your competitive edge must be scathingly sharp–sharp enough to slice away your competition. So where does creativity enhance your positive results, and how much is just enough, or too much?

I tell my clients my key objective is to create a resume that stands out in a crowd of competitors. As a self-proclaimed artist, I rely on my own creativity to maximize the portrayal of my client’s results, while establishing a format for the reader/hiring manager that induces his interest in the document.

In a recent Harvard Business School research paper “Creativity Under Fire: The Effects of Competition on Creative Production” Daniel P. Gross measures the effects of creativity (very scientifically) in relation to achieving the top award. He contemplates the contenders’ degrees of both motivation and creativity. For example, how much creativity is applied, or should be applied, to win the competition? The choice does not equate to how much creativity the contender possesses, but rather the choice of how much to expend on the project to achieve top results. Michael Blanding does a fine review of this study for those of you who are interested.

Overall, the study concludes that minimal creativity is typically applied when there is a large number of individuals vying for the award; creativity takes a huge leap in volume when not only is the contender rewarded at an earlier stage in the competition (ie: singled out), but even more so when the actual number of people competing for the prize is reduced. So, in job hunting measures, if you get short listed, that would be your time to step up your presentation and creative efforts.

As a resume specialist I strive to create uniqueness in every document I create so my clients are not viewed as mediocre. None the less, every industry seems to have a general standard (or standards) of acceptance that I strive to conform to so as to qualify and quantify my client for the position inside that arena.

My advice to all my clients is to continue to speak your own language of choice, be it technical, artistic, conservative or other, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries enough to raise awareness of your application, or establish the uniqueness and superior qualities you have attained or possess. If your mom isn’t around to brag about your successes and sing your praises, then who else will?

Yours in success,