When you think of creativity, what comes to mind? For most people, their immediate inclination is to associate creativity with the arts. Writing, painting, and playing musical instruments are most definitely skills that require creativity. But did you know that creativity is becoming an increasingly coveted skill hiring managers are looking for – in every industry? To some job searchers, this news may be disconcerting, because most individuals don’t believe that they are creative, especially if they don’t work in a “creative” field.

However, you may have more creative talent than you think. Harvard researcher Shelley Carson, Ph.D defines creativity as “the ability to combine and recombine bits of information — either from your store of memories and knowledge or from the outside environment — in novel, original, and useful ways.” In other words, creativity is simply the ability to create something new! If this definition of creativity stands true, chances are that every job searcher is creative in some way.

But even if you believe in your own creativity, if you don’t know how to utilize it how can you show a hiring manager that it’s a skill you possess? Plus, if your field isn’t necessarily considered a “creative” one, like graphic design, how do you prove that you can cultivate creativity in your industry?

Think of your job search as the perfect opportunity to learn how to harness your creativity in any situation – even when you think you don’t have it! Here are a few tips on how to harness your inner creativity and develop that skills that hiring managers are looking for:

  • Learn something new

Think about your time in school. Every day, you learned something different, and added more information to your brain to be utilized at a later time to solve a problem. We’re not saying you should enroll in college courses just to foster creativity, but engaging in activities such as attending museums, or even watching a YouTube video about how to change a tire, will make you a more creative problem solver – it’s that simple. The more you diversify your knowledge and creativity, the more content you can point to during a job interview or causal conversation while networking.

  • Keep the ideas coming

Have you ever had an idea that seemed great at first, but seconds later you decided to scratch it? We are most definitely our own worst critics, and sometimes it would benefit us more than we realize to give ourselves credit for our ideas. Don’t be afraid to write down the “crazy” thing that popped into your head all of a sudden. Sometimes, the most outrageous ideas are the most creative, and even the smartest. They could also be the ones you use while answering how you’d solve a theoretical problem for a company during an interview.

  • Seek out inspiration

If you’re trying to solve a problem (i.e. job searching), sitting in a small office with white walls probably isn’t your best bet for culminating creative thoughts. Instead, don’t be afraid to seek inspiration – from wherever you find it! If you’re a people-watcher, spend some time at a local coffee shop before an interview. If you’re more of the outdoorsy type, take an hour-long walk at the park before sitting down to look for listings. You may be surprised at how ready you are to work your creative mind after some fresh inspiration.

  • Turn off your devices

One of the easiest ways to kill creativity is to spend every spare moment on our devices. We get it – sometimes your brain just needs that quick fix of mindless entertainment, which technology so easily provides for us. However, by turning off your device and spending some downtime journaling or whatever fosters mindfulness for you, you’re destined to come up with some genius ideas that you didn’t even know you had. Imagine all that could happen if we abandoned Facebook for just a few hours a day!

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Also published on Medium.