Contributed by Abby Christensen
Abby Christensen is a Content Marketing Specialist at Siege Media where she creates resonating content backed by data. In this article, she shares tips from Resume Now on developing one of the most in-demand soft skills. Resume Now knows what recruiters want to see in a candidate. Use their resume builder to simplify your job search journey.
As the job market continues to expand and develop in ways many have never imagined, so is the need for different skills. Executives will need more soft skills moving forward to push their company forward, while job seekers will want to continually be including more and more of those skills in their resumes.
This way of thinking is quickly becoming the new norm. The more soft skills employees have, the better they’ll be able to perform their hard skills. One of the most in-demand soft skills for 2021— and beyond — is creativity.
Why Do I Need Creativity in the Workplace?
Thinking outside the box gives you the capacity to hit rising benchmarks and surpass your competition — be it other job seekers, your colleague shooting for the same promotion, or your company’s biggest rival.
Take Nina Mufleh, for example. When she couldn’t land an interview with Airbnb the traditional way, she used her creativity to craft together a highly untraditional resume that would show Airbnb what she could do for them. Lo and behold, her idea went viral and she received email after email from companies wanting to hire her.
How to Develop Creativity
Every executive, employee, and job seeker are different, and therefore must try out different ways to develop their creativity. However, here are some things you can do to get started:
1. Spend some time technology-free — get bored.
By giving yourself time to be bored, you give yourself a chance to daydream. The more you daydream, the more creative you become. To stay productive, try daydreaming about where you see yourself at work in the future, the success you want to see with a certain project, etc.
2. Ask questions.
It can be easy to get in a routine and not trifle with seemingly unimportant things. But by asking more questions — why a certain procedure hasn’t changed in years, how can you be more productive, or what is it that’s holding you back — you’ll start seeing things in a different light and can then find solutions to things you never before considered.
3. Take a few risks.
Allow yourself to see the possibilities of something outside your normal routine or procedure. While it’s important to be cognizant of workplace policies and the way things are done, trying new things out once in a while can also be valuable.
4. Resolve negative feelings towards others.
Creativity thrives when you’re open to it, but if you’re focusing on negative aspects of a person or situation, you miss those opportunities to think outside the box. Creating an environment of respect and open communication is key to establishing a culture where ideas and creativity are present at every corner.
5. Take time to brainstorm.
Whether it’s new ideas or methods of doing something different, scribble it all down and refine it later. Give yourself the attention you need to focus on divergent thinking, and don’t shoot down an idea right off.
6. Keep a creativity spreadsheet.
Tracking creative ideas can help you visualize how you’re doing on developing this particular skill. You can record successes, failures (and what exactly went wrong), and/or keep a running list of some of the ideas you’ve had that haven’t been fully developed or need tweaking.
7. Seek out inspiration.
Read a book, watch a tv show, or spend time deliberating with a friend or colleague — whatever it is that inspires you. Block out a chunk of time for this every week and be disciplined.
8. Practice persistence.
Some days are harder than others to take risks, stretch yourself, and think outside the box. Focus on your small wins and remind yourself of them by looking through your tracking sheet.
9. Avoid shooting down an idea right off.
If you later decide it’s not feasible, take note of it and come back to it at some other time. By stifling an idea from developing you subconsciously prevent yourself from diving deeper into a creative mindset. Don’t put constraints on yourself. Even if you think it’s not the best idea, you could find that two months later it’s the inspiration for a great idea.
10. Find a way to do something unconventionally.
We’re creatures of habit, and that’s okay if we intend to never reach our full potential. In a daydream or during your brainstorming, think of something you normally do that is so traditional you’ve never done it another way, and find a way to change it. Use a new platform or tool, talk with someone about how they do that particular thing and implement some of their ideas.
Other Important Soft Skills to Develop
While creativity is an important soft skill for executives and job seekers to develop, there are many others. Some of the most in-demand for 2021 are persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. Give yourself time to develop each one, but don’t rush yourself. Each is important and can increase your value as an individual and within a company.
Like any skill, creativity takes time to develop. Be patient with yourself and set goals to hit certain benchmarks through risk-taking or brainstorming. Deciding what hard vs. soft skill you want to develop after you work on creativity can be difficult, but look for gaps in your skillset or resume and take it one at a time. Reminding yourself why you’re working so hard to develop these skills will give you the motivation to continue trying, no matter how far you have to go.