If you’re anything like the rest of us, it’s not a stretch to say you’ve probably sat around at some point thinking – what makes me unique? How do I stand out from the crowd? These existential questions particularly rear their ugly heads when you’re faced with a personal statement for college or uni, or a cover letter for a job.
And it’s tough. Everyone’s their own biggest critic, but when it comes to singing your own praises, especially as to why you’re a better choice than anyone else, it can feel like an impossible task.
Yeah, we know you’re all pretty amazing. But to really stand out from the crowd of other applicants for a job or course, you need to have something else on offer besides the same GCSEs, A-Levels or degree as everyone else you’re up against.
Don’t get us wrong, qualifications are massively important – they prove that you’ve been dedicated to your studies, and that you have the knowledge and skills that the employer or admissions tutor is looking for. But chances are, at least half of the other applicants will have the same grades. This is where you need the X-Factor. No, not the painful TV show. That something extra, that makes you an exciting candidate with an edge.
This can be loads of different things, and you can develop your X-Factor in whatever way suits your interests the best. This can be part-time jobs alongside your studies that give you experience in soft skills like communication, teamwork, people skills, confidence and leadership – things that are useful wherever your studies or career may head. Bonus – you get cold, hard cash to spend on whatever you like.
It could be volunteering, which will not only develop your soft skills, but shows your dedication to something without the promise of a cash reward. Maybe think about clubs or societies – there’s something out there for everyone. Sport is great, but if it’s not your jam, think about something you’re passionate about, or something that might be beneficial to your career interests. Think: creative writing society, debating club, student newspaper, local football team, major league gaming. Wherever the wind takes you.
While you have the free time to play with, spend it on something you care about and enjoy, and without really putting too much effort into it, you’ll be investing in your future. The next time you’re asked to tell someone about yourself, you’ll be ready to blow them away with your X-Factor.
Simon Cowell would be proud.
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