Looking for a Brand New You?

The Preference for Potential

Posted on: Monday, March 30, 2015 Category: Uncategorized (59)
< 1 min read

Who is more impressive: someone with the potential to achieve great things or someone who has already achieved great things?

While it is important to achieve, there is science to back up the notion that people often have a basic preference for potential.  Untapped potential can be seen as more interesting and more compelling than actual achievement.  (Zakary L. Torala & Jason S. Jia from Stamford University, Michael I. Norton from Harvard Business School).  Compelling = memorable.

So how do you sell potential? When you are  looking for a job, potential is exactly what employers are looking for.  Having never worked that actual job before, chances are they are not looking at you as someone with the exact experience.  Employers are looking for someone who can learn the job, who has the skill to learn what is required.

5 Top tips for selling potential:

  1. Ensure your CV includes something you are working towards achieving- work or hobby, it doesn’t matter.  It just needs to show that you have potential.
  2. Ensure your social media exposure is consistent and demonstrates your potential to grasp new things.
  3. Be passionate – people buy why you do something, not what you do.  Passion is compelling.
  4. Don’t be afraid to admit you need help or you don’t know the answer to something.  It takes courage to be vulnerable and ask for help.  People feel good giving advice, especially when they believe it will be listened to.
  5. Your potential has to be authentic and it has to be based in fact.  There is a difference between potential and delusion!


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