How to develop your creative muscle to further your career

How often have you said, “I’m not creative”? Well, that could be a limiting thought in the current world of work. cites multiple sources that have reported that Creativity and Innovation are highly desired skills for 2022, including LinkedIn, World Economic Forum, Bloomberg Job Skills Report, and the American Management Association.

What is Creativity?
Don’t panic! Creativity does not mean you need to rush out and take oil painting lessons or start reading poetry. Creativity is about being curious and thinking about problems differently.

According to CoachHub, creativity is “the ability to think, act, and express uniquely.” Creativity, or what McKinsey calls Mental Flexibility is a set of skills that allow you to learn, adapt, empathize, ideate, and synthesize.

What is the difference between creativity and innovation?
Creativity is creating something new, a new idea, a new concept, or a process. Innovation is using creativity to enhance the performance of a process, product, person, team, or organization. At a time when technology, economic and political factors, and environmental conditions are creating global and competitive disruption, creativity has never been more sought after. Agilus recruiters have reported job seekers who can demonstrate proven creative thinking and innovation are more likely to be given an interview.

What are examples of creativity in the workplace?
- Devising a new process to improve the speed of reimbursing expenses
- Developing a new product to take advantage of supply chain limitations
- Creating a survey to capture client’s reactions to a new pricing structure
- Building a social media strategy to attract job seekers
- Writing a policy on office attire taking into account new hybrid work options.

Why is creativity a key skillset in the new knowledge economy?
Soft skills are more important than ever as employers look for key attributes that demonstrate candidates are adaptable to disruption and have a higher likelihood of success for reskilling and upskilling. In this tight candidate market, employers are no longer looking for cookie-cutter candidates who fit the unfilled role perfectly, but someone who can grow and adapt to constant change. Creativity is one of those soft skills that tells an employer you’ve got what it takes to problem solve and offer new points of view to address disruption.

Creativity isn’t only limited to the marketing and digital sectors. Creativity has become an important skill for all sectors and roles including management consultants, supply chain and logistics managers, and financial experts where constant change has become the norm and proven solutions quickly become out of date and ineffective.

How can you develop your creative skills?
PsychologyToday offers a plethora of activities to push you out of your comfort zone and embrace your inner creator. Here are a few of their suggestions:

1. Play – According to Psychology Today, “Creativity comes from open-ended or not well-structured problems, which can be defined or approached in a multitude of ways. Exploring those possible ways can seem like a waste of time in our productivity-obsessed culture that wants to account for every moment of our day.” You might be surprised how successful you are when you seek out-of-box solutions or daydream solutions to a problem.

2. Look for unexpected connections and new experiences – “Openness to experience is the most fundamental attribute of creative individuals.” People who are curious enjoy exploring new ideas and as a result more creative. They try new foods, learn about different cultures, and don’t shy away from new experiences. Interestingly being curious creates more empathy for others.

3. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes - Imagine being someone else. PsychologyToday conducted an experiment where they asked “one group of college students to describe what they would do if the school was canceled for a day and another group to imagine themselves in the same situation as 7-year-olds.” Not surprisingly, those who took the perspective of a 7-year-old were more creative and adventurous. This exercise of taking on a different perspective is especially useful for those who were more introverted and less spontaneous in their everyday lives.

4. Dare to create - Creativity is not for the faint of heart. It requires taking some risks and putting your unorthodox ideas out for judgment by your peers and supervisors. “The good news is that creative individuals are not fearless or natural risk-takers. They are more aptly described as tolerating risk and tolerating uncomfortable ambiguity arising when engaged in open-ended problems. Start small and look for smaller problems to solve or ideas with limited risk, but the more you get comfortable with uncomfortableness the easier it will be to think differently.”

In fact, there are numerous online courses, TedTalks, and books to help you nurture your curiosity and think more creatively but perhaps the best teacher is just to be more curious. Take a different route to work, try a new recipe, watch a new TV program, speak to a stranger, read outside your favorite genre, or learn a new language. Be open and listen for ideas that challenge your own and don’t negate them – embrace them for a moment to see their potential.

Out-of-the-box thinking is the superpower more employers are looking for in candidates to address global disruption, inflation, supply chain issues, and future pandemics. Ensure you build this muscle and promote it on your resume with some examples of how your past employers have benefited from your skills. Looking to get more feedback on how to make your resume better? Read more resume tips here or subscribe to our email alerts at as new exciting employment opportunities are posted daily.

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