Written by: Ei Ei Moe
Have you ever had that experience where someone who doesn’t know you has decided something about you based on your appearance or your industry no matter what the actual situation about you is? This is stereotyping, and everyone has been stereotyped at least once.
Stereotyping usually occurs when strangers consciously or subconsciously assume something about you. For example that IT people typically have poor communication skills or that creative people are messy and disorganised. If you think stereotypes are unfair, they are. The good news is that no matter what stereotypes might be placed on your career and your profession, you can actually use them to your advantage to help you secure a job.
Breaking through stereotypes
Knowing your career stereotype is the first step to breaking them. Recognising this will allow you to improve and work on the particular trait that has been assumed about your industry.
If you are a creative and you are organised, you can build further on these skills by focussing more on small productive tasks in your daily life. This can be planning out your day the night before or creating lists of things you need to do and their deadlines. This will create more structure in your day-to-day life and gradually build on your organisation skills. These are small steps, but beyond the organisation benefit they will provide you, people will start to notice these differences when they compare you the the stereotype they might have of other creatives.
Combining the skills you already have
Incorporating the skills you already possess alongside the skills that you have built up can make you more versatile. This will help you become more easily adaptable to situations and help you stand out in your industry.
- Not only will you stand out in your industry, you’ll stand out in job interviews.
For example, if you’re from IT, engineering or another technical profession, work at your communication skills, especially written and spoken, aim to become the technical expert who everyone can understand. Communication skills are commonly left behind by technical professionals so if you build up a strength here, you’ll not only stand out from the stereotype, but you’ll also have a distinct advantage when people need an expert they can also understand.
Embrace the contrast
We’ve looked at a few classic stereotypes, and maybe we’ve missed those that apply to your industry, but once you’ve identified them you’ll know what to work against. Once you have developed and improved on the skills you will personally start to stand out from the stereotypes that are applied to your field, and you can use that to your advantage. This will make you more attractive to your managers or employers when you combine your strong traits and traits assumed by others that you do or don’t have due to stereotypes.
You will also be one step closer to reducing the stereotype that has been placed on your industry.
- Put your best foot forward, know your strong traits
- Know how you are perceived as by others around you and how you want to be perceived
- Be aware of the stereotypes in your field and break them by improving upon them
- Recognise your strong traits
Showing off your skills in your industry can advance you in your career and make people want to work with you. Imagine yourself being one of the select few who stood out in a series of job interviews!
Want to stand out even more?
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