For all the good that it brings, the development of certain fields and markets to maturity has its own set of problems, such as an oversupply of qualified individuals looking to enter the same field or too many businesses with that focus popping up. If you’re trying to gain a formal qualification for a certain professional field – like law for instance – you pretty much have to go through the exact same channels as everyone else looking to do the same.

The same applies to most professional fields; employers already know the profile of their ideal candidate, and the successful applicant will be the one that most closely matches that ideal.

Deviating from the norm does not rule a candidate out, however, and can present an interesting wildcard where rival options fall short of the ideal.

As in all business, marketing is key. Identify yourself as you would a product or service; drawing the greater part of your appeal from being as typified and ordinary as possible. The basic features of bottled water, for instance, are typical across all brands. The consumer requires safe drinking water in a bottle, at a convenient price and location. It really doesn’t matter to them what shape the bottle is, or who the brand of the bottlers is, until there is competition for their purchase. To compete, brands then presents a broad range of unique selling points over and above the basic requirements – which complicates the choice.

So, the question is: in a world where you have to fit into pre-set pigeon holes to realise success, how do you safely set yourself apart without being dismissed as too complicated or confounding prospective employers at the expense of demonstrating that you meet all the necessary requirements?

It is important to try and set yourself apart, even if you’re in quite a rigid industry. Set yourself apart by emphasising a special characteristic; but keep in mind those core requirements in all of your communications. Some market-leading tyre manufacturers, for instance, set themselves apart by specialising in something like winter tyres, while the majority stock and sell tyres in more of a general manner.

There’s plenty of room for specialisation in all fields and often those who get ahead in each of those fields are those who endeavour to look beyond the here and now – those who look beyond the current norms and offer that clear, special something that innovates the next generation of success.

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