As children, you were probably taught not to cause a fuss in class, not to become the class outcast and always conform to what adults told you. What happens when you don't conform? In the job world, a lack of conformity can get you noticed and put you in the right direction toward career happiness.
Stand out Anyway
Students who are told to stay within the confines of the rules and certain criteria tend to limit their potential later in life. Don't conform and face the possibility of ignoring your true talents. Getting in touch with your rebellious side actually works in your favor when it comes to finding a great job that caters to your skill set. If you love rock bands and wear grunge clothes, good for you because you might find a great job as a concert promoter, venue manager or even a member of a band.
Show That Innovation Leads the Way
When you don't conform, it causes change in the organizations where you work. Innovation and creativity come from people who think outside the box and differently from the norms, because companies that innovate and adapt more quickly tend to survive the ups and downs of their markets versus competitors that do not innovate.
Your difficulty comes from the fact that you have to convince a hiring manager that different is good. You don't conform to the company's expectations, but you can offer creative ways to solve problems. Feel free to break some rules of the hiring game to show you stand out yet still have what it takes to be a part of a viable team. For example, send in a cover letter when the instructions say not to, use first person when writing your resume, or develop personal relationships with employees instead of using job ads to land a position. Along the way, demonstrate that standing out from the crowd and innovating can solve problems and lead to success.
Take a Stance
Stand up for yourself and show why standing out wins the day. Wear that outrageous tie to your interview. Try the different shade of eyeshadow. Standing out doesn't mean be controversial or in-your-face, but it does draw attention to aspects of your personality that are memorable. When you take a stand and show what happens when you don't conform, you have an opportunity to demonstrate to an employer that nonconformity can be an advantage.
Explain Why Sameness Stinks
Technology disruption, lots of competition, a fast-changing global marketplace and swings of economic prosperity can all change a company's market stance very quickly. That's why sameness can kill a company and why having diverse views and personalities in an organization help weather the storms of change. Simply look toward Toys "R" Us, Sears and Neiman Marcus for examples of big-name companies that failed to get through rough times because they didn't innovate or change with the times.
Forget what you learned in school and don't conform to the norms of a company. There's a perfect job out there for you and your personality; you just might have to convince a hiring manager of that fact. What do you do to stand out from the crowd during a job search?
Photo courtesy of Randy Benson at Flickr.com