Innovation is a highly-prized asset for many companies. A 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey noted that 61 percent of companies emphasized innovation in their employees in order to develop new ideas. Despite this intention, however, another report from Jeremiah Owyang noted that 57 percent of companies faced difficulties developing internal company cultures that continue to innovate and experiment.
Clearly, an innovative perspective is so important to many companies when seeking new employees. They value new ideas and want to hire creative-thinkers who can shake up business-as- usual.
If you’re a creative and innovative thinker, you’re certainly desirable to many companies! The difficulty, however, is how to communicate your capacity for innovative thinking. Certainly, it isn’t always easy to convey your inventive habits and accomplishments first on a resume and later in an interview, but it is possible.
Here, we’ll share our six top suggestions for showcasing your original thinking during the hiring process.
On Your Resume:
1. Use specific keywords that focus on your ability to independently identify problems and solutions.
Instead of using the word innovative on your resume, use targeted keywords that convey out-of-the-box thinking in connection with specific tasks and achievements. Here are some ideas:
- Spearheaded [a new program or initiative]
- Predicted [a trend]
- Developed [a new model]
- Identified [different outlets ]
- Recognized [an opportunity or channel]
- Created [a new product]
- Fostered [a new relationship]
If you include keywords like these, the hiring manager will understand that you’re someone who can both devise innovative solutions and put them into practice.
2. Connect your innovative mindset to measurable results.
You could be the most original thinker in the world, but if your unique way of thinking doesn’t lead to results, it’s not valuable to your potential employer. So, be sure to link these keywords to specific, measurable achievements.
For instance, you could say you “fostered new relationships with 15 new clients that led to a $10 million increase in revenue” or “developed a new product through all stages of the engineering, capital acquisition, and facilities improvement in 18 months.” Linking specific outcomes with your innovative mindset is the way to go.
In the Interview:
3. Before the interview, brainstorm examples you want to introduce.
As you’ve already written your resume, you’ll already have ideas about examples that prove your creative capacity. However, during the interview you’ll have more time to elaborate on these examples, rather than just pigeonholing them into a one- or two bullet-long resume description.
What more do you want to convey about your experience? What specific details can you include that demonstrate your soft skills of creativity, ingenuity, and collaboration?
4. Choose examples where you used your creativity to drive demonstrable results.
While you may be innovative in many aspects of your career, you want to choose examples of your forward-thinking mindset that led to provable results. During your interview, you want to offer up as many examples of this kind of thinking as possible, whenever the hiring manager asks a relevant question. Of course, you can’t answer every question with an example focusing on your creative tendencies, so make the examples you can offer up really have an impact.
5. Share your thought process.
When detailing an example during an interview, make sure you also emphasize your creative thought process. For instance, describe how you came to recognize a certain issue was a concern. Then, share how you considered multiple solutions before landing on the course of action you eventually did. Finally, highlight how you led your project from imagination to fruition, by communicating clearly, delegating tasks, and using feedback to modify your plans. Here you also want to demonstrate flexibility in your innovation, show that you think about your own ideas critically and that you collaborate with others in bringing a concept to life.
6. Use the STAR method to give specific examples.
Whenever you answer an interview question, you want to make your responses as descriptive as possible. Always use the STAR method to thoroughly detail your answers. STAR is an acronym that stands for:
ST – Specific task or problem
A – Actions devised to resolve that problem
R – Results that derived from your action
Once you’ve come up with examples, also make sure you’re prepared with enough information that lets you prove you improved that issue.
Deploying these tactics in your executive career search will demonstrate your commitment to novel thinking. Effectively describing important parts of yourself is an important part of packaging yourself as the best fit for a position – as well as for finding the right position for you.
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