Creativity: graduate recruiters like fresh thinking
You may not think the role you are applying for will require much imagination. However, that does not mean that you won’t need it to get the job. Employers like hiring creative employees because these are the people who come with ideas, both big and small, to develop the company.
Creativity skills examples
Creativity is something that can be assessed in different ways at different stages. For example, in the initial application, employers will be looking out for any potential flaws. If you have simply pasted text from a website (including this one) they will spot it and filter you out. Copying isn’t really creativity, is it?
That said, don’t go crazy trying to make your application new and original. Employers like to be able to process applications with ease. While ‘creative applications’ such as CV T-shirts, or advertisements aimed at CEOs have grabbed a lot of headlines, they certainly don’t have a 100% success rate.
At an assessment centre, creativity and imagination are more likely to be tested with problem-solving exercises. In interviews and psychometric tests you will be given lateral thinking exercises. The best way to tackle these is to make sure you understand the problem. Say it out loud, or write it out again on paper. These actions can help to stimulate the logical process, and may reveal the answer.
How do I phrase it on a job application?
Do say: ‘When I was thinking about ways we could improve our figures I came up with an idea. I put together a proposal and persuaded my manager to let me run a trial. It was so successful that it was included in our strategy.’ – What employers really want to hear about here is that your creativity had a significant positive result.
Don’t say: ‘I got a B in GCSE Art…’ – If you can’t think of any good recent examples of a skill, then employers will simply assume that you can’t demonstrate it. Academic grades are often not the best way of showing off your skills, and they don’t let you talk about your interesting extracurricular life either.
How to develop creative skills
One of the best ways to develop creative skills is to set up a student society. This will give you a lot of opportunities to exercise your creativity. You will need to figure out how to attract members, raise cash, organise events and more. These all require initiative, but this is also an excellent forum for brainstorming innovative ideas.
Another good place to try out your creative skills is at a part-time job, or even on work experience or internships. This is more likely to happen at smaller organisations, since you will need to agree to test out the idea with the manager. You will need to agree a benchmark for success and measure the popularity of the project.