Find Your Point of Difference
Everyone has a unique story to tell. Perhaps you are from a different culture, have an unusual name, or grew up without any connections to the field where you want to work. Instead of being a weakness or vulnerability, however, these can be strengths. What is it about your identity that makes you stand out? How can you find your point of difference?
For Yalda Hakim, it took some time to figure out her point of difference. Though she had a unique perspective as an Afghan refugee who emigrated to Australia, she grew up wanting to be like everyone else. But early in her career as a journalist, she noticed something: her capacity to understand other cultures and languages was exactly what put her in a place to contribute something special to a topic. It made her stand out and tell a better story.
Finding your point of difference does not need to come from just your identity, however. In Yalda’s case, she also invested in skills and traits that were relatively uncommon. She taught herself how to use a camera. She self-funded trips to remote parts of Australia to film mini-documentaries. She created her own platform using social media to circulate content. This combination of her unique identity and concrete skills became her point of difference–and has led to a successful journalism career.
So, how can you find your point of difference? Below are Yalda’s three tips:
1 . Never give up - Yes it’s a cliche, but it’s also true. Whenever you get rejected or a barrier gets in your way, find a creative way to overcome it or reflect on how you could use it as an opportunity to improve.
2. Get out of your comfort zone - Though it can be scary, doing new and challenging things can give you opportunities to develop your knowledge, which will ultimately help you stand out in your field.
3. It’s not always about what you know, but who you know - The network you build is essential. This can include friends, colleagues, and mentors. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in fields you are interested in to grow your network.
Doing these three things has helped Yalda build an exceptional journalism career, and it can help you stand out too!
Find an item in your home that best represents your identity or uniqueness—one of your points of difference. Show us what you found and explain why. For example, you might want to show us your culture, and therefore pick an item you use for a family tradition. You might want to describe yourself as a good listener, and therefore show headphones. You might describe yourself as “someone who holds everything together really well,” and therefore show a paper clip. Please do not let these ideas stifle your creativity!
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