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How To Distinguish Yourself From Others

My friend received a promotion at work quite some time ago. The CEO explained his promotion when it was announced: "He has distinguished himself among his colleagues. So we are promoting him to a new position."

It was a phrase I will never forget. “He has distinguished himself.”

Differentiating oneself from the crowd, in a positive way, is what distinguished means. To stand out among your peers seemed to me to be one of the highest compliments anyone could get and I find myself pulled to that description. I want people to remark, "She set herself apart by how she lived her life every day," when they analyze my life.

This is a description I think we all should strive for.

But this brings us to the next set of questions - how can you differentiate yourself from others? How your skills are different from others’ skills? What do you bring to the table? Why should a company hire you? Why would anyone want you on their team and not any other team...etc, etc.

Think of a scenario where you have finally decided to work on your dreams that will usher you toward financial independence. You've at last started to nurture your entrepreneurial or creative spirit.

It’s pretty liberating, right?

You get to do what you’ve been wanting to do for so long. It’s like a part of you was released from its chains.

As you tend to it, you gradually learn that many others like you are pursuing the same goals and doing the same things as you. Numerous extremely talented people dominate the niche, and their audience follows them everywhere they go.

So, how will you create a room for a budding creative or entrepreneur like yourself? You might feel the market is overcrowded and there is no space. But the reality is different from what you think.

The market may appear crowded at a glance, but it can always accommodate one, two, or more creative people who can figure out how to differentiate themselves from the competition. You can enter the market and make a significant impact. You can accomplish what you want to do and inspire others by using your creative spirit. If you know how to take care of your audience, they will eventually take care of you.

However, it comes at a cost.

Make an effort to be unique from everyone else.

Go above and beyond what people typically do.

Let me tell you the story of Brandon Stanton, the founder of Humans of New York.

Although Brandon was an excellent photographer, he differentiated himself from other photographers by using his talent to motivate others. He went above and beyond, established a rapport with his subjects, and interviewed them. He added stories and life to his photographs when most photographers were preoccupied with just refining their shots.

The results of his action were impressive.

Not only his photos were well received by the audience, but millions of souls were also moved by the story each subject or photo conveyed.

So how can you set yourself apart from others?

1. Become a subject matter expert.

Most of us have been part of a workplace in which, when you have asked how to execute a certain process, project, or task, you’ve been told to consult with the workplace’s resident expert in what you want to learn. “Oh, you need to talk with Susan; she’s the office expert on Excel spreadsheets.”

Find a niche that makes you the expert in a specific area of your profession, such as a lab procedure, a method for closing sales, or something else. If your field of expertise is cutting-edge, you will stand out. Your coworkers will notice your expertise, and you will have differentiative skills that you can market while looking for your next position.

2. Every bullet item on your resume should bring value.

While sifting through your resume one sentence at a time, identify additional things you can say about each adjective, statement, or achievement. Determine how each point indicates the benefit the employer will receive from hiring you. Make sure you can back up every assertion with specifics and outcomes. This method is also great for preparing for interviews since it helps you to remember all of your strongest selling points.

3. Have a voice.

Not speaking up at work is one of the most frequent reasons for fading out. Speaking up can be intimidating at times, but doing so will get you recognized. To ease yourself into it, set a goal for yourself at your next staff meeting to stand up and contribute rather than remaining silent and jotting down notes.

4. It is more important to remain interested than just to appear interested.

The most prosperous individuals are persistent learners. Even when it's outside of their area of expertise, they make an effort to learn in any manner they can. They understand that they can learn a fresh concept from a different discipline. These people are aware that being interested matters more than appearing to be interested. Continuously learn ‘how to learn’. You may discover something new if you develop your childlike curiosity.

5. Get the referral stamp of approval.

Getting referred is a highly effective approach to standing out since employers regard applicants who are recommended by dependable employees more than prospects who are not. Networking with employees of your chosen employer is the best approach to getting referred. When the supervisor starts asking around the office whether anyone knows suitable candidates for a job that is in the pipeline, network contacts who are aware of your strong performance are likely to recommend you.

Pursue the extra mile no one wants to do.

In the words of Andrew Carnegie, “Don’t be content with doing only your duty. Do more than your duty. It’s the horse that finishes a neck ahead wins the race.”

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