The struggle for creativity in a job search

Being creative is difficult enough without the pressure of a job search weighing you down.

If you are honest, the moment you start looking in earnest for a new role, initial thoughts often revolve around retaining and building on the status quo rather than creating something entirely new.

This is a huge missed opportunity.

Whenever one of our consultants talks with a candidate for the first time, I always remind them to stress the importance of encouraging creativity in the process. The more open a candidate is to new challenges, the more they will be able to explore their potential (rather than fall back on their experience).

Maybe the problem starts with the interview process.

It is natural for an interviewer to focus on what a candidate has done rather than what they could do. Highlighting desired behaviours by talking about past actions is a solid way of showcasing your talent to a prospective employer, but such a mindset seeks to chain a candidate to their past rather than make them open to new possibilities.

The past can act as a signpost to their future direction, but candidates have to be aware that they can step off the designated path at any time. They simply have to tell their story to a future employer in such a way that their next step makes sense.

We do a lot of work in the life sciences industry and some might consider it to be a highly niche and specialist area where there is little scope for creative career choices. If you compare this to an HR role (for example), this seems to be a valid point, but the nature of many life science roles means that there are a wide range of transferrable skills. Life science professionals change career tack far more often that you would think.

Is it inconceivable that a QA professional might find their calling in product development? Not if they have the right qualities. Can an engineer move into a technical sales role? They have the perfect background to back up their pitch.

They need to consider two words: why not?

That is when the unease begins and the creativity starts. If you can put the former to one side, then you never know where the latter might lead. Starting a job search with a blank(ish) sheet of paper and asking yourself what you really want out of your next role is the perfect first step.

It is our job at Harris Lord to help our candidates navigate those first moments of “what do I do next?” If you are creative in your thought process, you never know what might follow.

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Julie Simmons

16th October

Career Advice

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