“You will be bitter in life, when you compare yourself with others. Run the race of life at your own pace.” — Lailah Gifty Akita
There's a reason you were told to never compare yourself to others.
And, there's no better way to explain why than by the founder of Smart Youth Volunteers Foundation and author of "The Alphabets of Success: Passion Driven Life," Lailah Gifty Akita.
Comparing yourself will get you absolutely nowhere in life, especially in the job market of today.
For those of you who are graduating high school or college in the upcoming month, congratulations! You did. You made it.
Enjoy the moment because I can guarantee it won't last very long.
No matter how scary the word seems right now, soon you'll be looking for a J-O-B.
Regardless of whether you are currently living in New York, London, Tokyo or any other city on this planet, finding a job is no easy task.
Whichever job you're applying for, there's probably a hundred more people striving for the same position.
Standing out from the crowd has never been as difficult as it is today because unfortunately, having a college degree alone won't get you your dream job.
Think of it this way: How do businesses become successful?
Businesses brand themselves. Branding is the process to create a unique name and image to stand out from all other brands.
According to the business dictionary, "Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers."
What if you were a brand? How would you differentiate yourself?
To spare you the trouble of thinking (because I'm pretty sure you're all tired of it), here are five ways you can stand out from the crowd in the job market:
I currently speak Russian, Dutch, French, English and have been taking Chinese classes for over a year. Let me tell you: I have every intention of learning a few more languages.
The ability to express yourself in more than one language will give you a substantial advantage in the job market today.
You'll be able to adapt to and understand several cultures and traditions.
You'll be able to communicate with those whose first language is not English, making them more comfortable when they are with you.
Multinational companies are everywhere nowadays. With bases in Shanghai, Moscow and everywhere between, who knows where you'll end up spending most of your time?
Just yesterday, I watched an old interview from 2004 with one of the few people on Earth who needs no introduction: Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg stated all he wants to do with Facebook is to "create something cool."
Well, we all know his dream came out! Humble people have better relationships (inside and outside the workplace) because they accept other people for who they are.
Being humble means you are grounded. You see the situation in 3D and are not caught up in your own ego.
You listen and respect others. Being humble is trait everyone can adopt, and it will certainly help you in the job market.
When you go out to club or bar, do you see a group of people surrounding one single person? Well, I have.
And ironically, people aren't always attracted to the ones who are the most beautiful, but rather to the ones who believe they are the most beautiful.
It's no secret that confidence is the sexiest characteristic that exists.
Confidence attracts people like a magnetic force; there's no escaping it.
So, next time you go to a job interview, remember to keep your head and chin up high because if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will.
Sometimes, it's not only about what you know, it's about whom you know. Connections will get you far in life, so don't be afraid to lean on people to help you.
Whether it is your parents, your friends, your professor or anyone else, there's no shame in asking for help. It shows you are motivated and diligent in finding your dream job.
So, talk to people, be open-minded, and fill your phonebook with names your future self will one day thank you for.
Dress The Part.
I'm a firm believer in the phrase, "Never judge a book by its cover."
Unfortunately, the cover is the first thing we see, and we are more likely to buy a book when we like the cover.
First impressions count, and in a world where time is money, you'll probably be judged before you even say your name.
Dressing the part will not only make you look better, but you'll even feel better, too.
So, put on that dark navy suit or high stilettos and dress to impress others as well as yourself.
At the end of the day, people are going to look at you. Make it worth their while.
Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Elizabeth Holmes and Oprah Winfrey did not build their empires overnight.
It takes dedication, failure and passion to make your dreams come true. There may be hundreds doing the same job you are, but remember, you are irreplaceable.
You are unique. Don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
Because at the end of the day, as Marilyn Monroe said, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”