At first glance, it may not seem like artists and salespeople have much in common. The work they do, the way in which they do it, and the markets in which they operate are quite different. But these two groups may have more to teach job seekers than you might think.
It turns out that these two broad job categories are both highly competitive. That’s according to the Occupational Information Network. It’s a database of job-related details compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor. In its list of the most competitive jobs, careers like choreographer, creative writer, and music composer show up next to real estate agent and securities and commodities sales agent.
When competition is fierce, you need all the help you can get to stand out in the crowd. What can these two very different job types teach job seekers in all fields? Here are three important lessons.
Lesson #1: Location Matters
Not every city or region is great for every job type. While one city’s real estate market is stagnant, for instance, another’s might be thriving. One area might not be at all receptive to cutting-edge art, while another has a vibrant cultural scene. At the same time, however, places can become oversaturated. That happens when they become too well-known as the places to be for a particular field. As a result, competition reaches an even higher level. Knowing where the hotbeds are for your chosen career can help you get ahead.
Lesson #2: Your Network Is Invaluable
Real estate agents are told to get familiar with the area in which they’re hoping to practice. Get to know the people who live there. Explore the neighborhood. Learn from local agents and investors. Similarly, artists benefit from knowing agents, publishers, dealers, editors, and even other artists. Sometimes what makes you stand out just a little more than everyone else is who you know and what connections you can lean on. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in. A strong network is an asset.
Lesson #3: Skills Can Support Passion
Writing and real estate careers can both take time to get going. The former requires a diverse skill set and a fair amount of experimentation. The latter takes learning and licenses. If you’re hoping to transition into a career like one of these from another field, you don’t have to make the jump cold turkey. Think of the professional who practices writing or studies real estate in her off hours. In the same way, you can use the skills you have to support yourself while you learn what you need in order to pursue your passion in your free time.
If your job market is competitive, these lessons can help you stand out. Even if it isn’t, it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to these factors as you look for the job you want.