Every Wednesday, I curate and post job opportunities on my Facebook page, YourPRMentor. Of course, I read all the opportunities. I’m forever interested in knowing what the job market is looking for, especially in public relations and strategic communication. Recently, my brain zeroed in on a word that kept appearing in the job descriptions: “…to craft innovative, creative, and highly-tested communications programs.” “…to design creative online strategies.” “…to have a portfolio of creative campaign products.” One opening said the right person would “be a member of the creative group.” That word “creative” appeared over and over. I went on LinkedIn to follow my instincts. Sure enough, that word was everywhere: “…develop programs that inspire creativity and innovation.” “… possess a high degree of creativity.” “…use your creativity and communications to transform business strategies.” A minimum competency for a massage therapy instructor was creativity. I think you get the picture.
Creativity is the number 2 top skill companies look for and need. Notice that I wrote skill, not quality. A skill is something you can do.
After my trip down the rabbit hole of the word creativity, I asked myself a big question: What IS creativity? I followed up that question with several other questions that I think are just as important to ask. It’s one thing to write the words creative and creativity in job descriptions, but can companies define creative and creativity? Is there a precise and actionable definition? Or, is creativity a subjective qualification? An even bigger question occurred to me: Can I demonstrate that I am creative—in actionable terms?
As I reflected on my questions, I remembered a dream I had. I had written that dream in my journal, so I looked it up. I dreamed that my high school friend invited me, all expenses paid, to a Google conference. He told me that Google might offer some communications contracts. I went and attended a panel discussion on digital and creativity, which featured Pharrell Williams as the speaker! You know who I mean—the rapper—Mr. Knower and Doer of all things creative. I won’t get into details, but in the dream, I imagined a world-wide, interactive conference that used every type of media to engage in his talk and the discussion. I wrote the details of that dream because I now want to develop what my dream showed me in real life!
Re-reading that dream, I realized something. I have a big imagination; my unconscious goes to work when I dream. But, imagination is only one aspect of creativity. The “moneyball” skill, it seems to me, is being able to turn imaginative ideas into tangible products and services. Whether companies do or don’t state this specifically, this is what they mean. They are asking “can you show me the money?” They want you to move their bottom line. Because if you can, they want you; and they want you to prove it. What an opportunity we have to re-examine and reflect on our creative skills; revise our résumés; and rewrite the ways we can show companies and clients our creativity. More importantly, what an opportunity to use your skills to create for yourself. What are you waiting for?