How to Stand Out From the Crowd

Why is an article labelled How to Stand Out From the Crowd opening with a reference to an animated movie you may wonder?

There’s a scene in The Incredibles, where the bad guy, Syndrome, says “because if everybody’s super, then nobody is” (or similar, it’s been a while!). If you haven’t seen the movie, Syndrome is a wannabe superhero who lacks the necessary abilities. Spoiler alert (it is a 2004 film) : Rejected as a boy from being Robin to Mr Incredible’s Batman, he subsequently takes revenge on the ‘Supers’, whilst developing Super-like technology for mere mortals.

So, backstory established, you may still be none the wiser! It came about as I wondered, when so many students are achieving top grades, how do universities tell the candidates apart?

Furthermore, with a higher number of graduates entering the job market than ever before, what qualities are they to look for when it could be argued that many young job seekers appear to be extremely similar?

After all the focus on achieve top grades to get into the best universities and so forth, it seems somewhat perverse that these are now not enough to be noticed.

It’s here that the graduate needs to stand out for who they are, not what they’ve achieved academically.

  • What do you bring to the party?
  • How will you add value to the organisation?
  • What are your dreams and ambitions?
  • Why are you here?
  • Yes, really!
  • Is this just another job interview or have you always dreamt of starting your global domination as an intern at ACME PLC?
  • What’s the best thing you’ve ever done independently?
  • Where have you been?
  • How do you contribute to society?

In other words, please differentiate yourself and make it really easy to select you to come in for an interview and/or move on to the next stage in the selection process!

It’s vital to have something to say. It doesn’t require superpowers, but it does require forethought and planning.

Regular readers of my blog may recall my suggesting that students should ensure a balance to their activities and not just focus on studying. When learning, give it 100% attention and if you can’t do that, come back to it when you can.

Even, or even especially during the high-pressure revision phase ahead of the critical exam season, all work an no play can do more harm than good. I’ve been very consistent on this point and nowhere will it be born out more than when it comes to being more than well-read in the real world.

So, regardless of where you are in the education process, it really is OK to make it about you and not just about grades and all things academia!