Job Search Creativity: 30 Ways to Bolster Yours

Creativity shortens job searchesIs your creativity and career search up to the challenge of a new year?

Let’s face it, it takes abundant creativity and sustained focus to set and achieve resolutions. I’m a resolutions sort of person and enjoy the end-of-the-year and beginning-of-the-year planning processes. Some years I do quite well at achieving my goals; other years I don’t do well at all. Looking back, I do my best goal achievement when I can sustain creativity and focus throughout the year. What about you?

Creativity is on my mind because my husband and I took 2 of our nieces to see James Cameron’s 3D journey into the world of Cirque du Soleil over the long holiday weekend.  Without a doubt, this movie was the most exuberant explosion of creativity I ever seen – from the music to the production to the incredible talents of the Cirque troupes. Wow! Humans capable of this much creativity are surely also capable of solving almost any problem our species ever faces.

So how can creativity help with job search and career transition challenges? When you think about it, you can see that being in a career transition offers challenge after challenge to your creativity, because you have to constantly think of new language for resumes and cover letters, new employers and industries to pursue, new key words to use for job board searches and career documents, new ways to express your brand, new strategies for getting the attention of hiring managers and recruiters, and so on. If you allow yourself to relax into a creative rut during your search, it will stall, like a high performance vehicle with no gas.

Creativity is the fuel that drives any life transition – without it you will wander aimlessly and achieve next to none of your goals. Hence, if you want to  shorten your career search in 2013, one not-so-obvious way to do so is to bolster your creativity. By improving your ability to think outside the proverbial box, you can approach your search in fresh ways.

If you already see yourself as a creative person or have creative outlets you pursue, then you will likely have some creativity-enhancing habits in place. I use music and sensory stimulation (scents, images, sounds) to cultivate my creativity, for example. I go to my favorite coffee shop or my back porch where I can access or craft a creative environment for myself. My husband, who is a stand-up comedian and professional stage performer, always begins his idea-generating sessions with mindmaps. I know folks who use mindmapping software to do the same thing.

Here is a quick round-up of different creativity tools and techniques to consider if you don’t already have good habits in place:

  • Use mindmapping software such as iMindmap or Mindjet MindManager
  • Complete one or more lateral thinking exercises
  • Journal with creativity prompts
  • Turn the TV off, watch less, or get rid of yours altogether
  • Listen to more music (and a wider variety of musical genres)
  • Stimulate your senses
  • Surround yourself with inspiring images and art
  • Spend more time in nature
  • Go for a walk
  • Hang out with your pets
  • Create a collage
  • Turn off your computer and use paper/pen or pencil instead
  • Practice serenity, silence, and/or meditation
  • Learn a new language
  • Dance
  • Read poetry out loud
  • Free yourself from perfectionism
  • Build creative time into your daily schedule
  • Reward yourself daily with play
  • Act like or play with a child (on their terms)
  • Try list-writing
  • Invest in a nice journal and writing instrument and keep all of your career-related ideas in one place
  • Change your perspective
  • Play an instrument
  • Read as much as you can about every topic under the sun
  • Debate
  • Take frequent breaks while you’re working
  • Shift mental gears
  • Exercise the right side of your brain
  • Take a 10 to 15-minute nap

Here’s my New Year’s challenge to you: Try one of these techniques daily for 15 minutes for a week. I predict you’ll begin to see a rise in your creativity, even if just a modest gain. Any gain whatsoever can enhance your creativity and your efficiency, which is turn can help shorten your career search. Now wouldn’t that be a grand way to launch into 2013?

Here’s to your creative New Year!

Cheryl