It’s a virtual smorgasbord of entertainment options out there for comic book and superhero fans. With all kinds of new movies hitting theaters — like Batman vs. Superman, and Captain America: Civil War — and many more on the way, if you have any sort of appetite at all for Marvel or DC Comics superheroes, chances are you’re going to get your fill. But there are numerous lessons and themes explored in these comic book universes, and more to read into than just watching wanton destruction and large-scale battles.
If you read between the lines, you can actually pick up some very real, actionable advice to improve you life. We’re not simply talking about being nicer to, and cherishing your family (Spiderman and Batman learned this the hard way), but actively improving your career prospects as well.
That’s right — superheroes, with all of their brains and brawn, can teach you a thing or two about career strategy.
Career expert Vicki Salemi — a world-renowned author, speaker, and consultant — has put together a very cool infographic in partnership with job-search site Monster detailing how, exactly, we can learn about career development from our favorite caped crusaders. Here’s it is, in full:
The image may be a bit small, but we’re going to go into detail in the next several pages. Take these tips, utilize them, then hit Monster to find the job you’ve always wanted.
1. Create your brand
Take a page out of Superman or Batman’s playbook — everybody knows their symbols, and they use that to their advantage. Batman even has the “Bat Signal,” for crying out loud. Think about that concept, and try to devise a way that you can incorporate something similar into your professional life. Do you leave your mark? Does your work have an unmistakable calling card?
Distinguish yourself from your co-workers, and build a personal brand. You don’t need a fancy logo or anything, just a way to set yourself apart from the crowd.
2. Build your network
Networking is an essential part of career development these days. You need to know how to play the crowd, meet the right people, and keep in touch. Social skills are even some of the most important elements that employers are looking for. You can network online, but should also be hitting up events with co-workers and industry leaders. Go to conferences. Go to happy hour. Put in the time to expand your presence.
3. Rock a powersuit
You can take this one literally: you need to dress to impress. While it’s easy to go out and spend a ton of money on the trendiest fashions and expensive brand names, you can also make an impression with thriftier purchases. The point is that you’re using your clothing as a tool to change people’s perception. Like it or not, what you wear matters.
Superheroes wouldn’t go fight their arch nemesis in a T-shirt and jeans, would they?
4. Channel your skill set
Another way to think of this? Know your strengths. This is more than just an annoying interview question; you need to know what you’re good at, and how good you are. You can use this as leverage to get a better job, or ask for a pay increase. Find ways to quantify your achievements, and measure how far your skills are taking you — and your company.
5. Know your limits
The inverse of your strengths are your weaknesses, and you’re going to need to be able to recognize what those are. Yes, it’s the worst interview question in the world, but if you can think critically and recognize your own shortcomings, you’ll be better off because of it. You’ll be able to work on your weaknesses, and become a better all-around employee because of it. It’s not easy to be self-critical for some people, but think about where you have room to improve.
6. Use good judgment
Follow your moral compass, or use good judgment. That seems to be the common thread with most superheroes, and one that you should adopt as well. It’s relatively simple: Just think about what you’re doing or saying, and consider the consequences. Obviously, we’re all going to make mistakes. But just take time to consider the ramifications of what you’re doing, and it’ll likely go a long way.
Ever notice how the hero always seems to show up at exactly the right time? Yeah — you should do that too. And that means simply being where you’re needed, when you’re needed. For most people, that means being at your desk or workstation at 9 a.m, or whatever time you’re scheduled for. But take things further than that — use checklists and productivity apps to set deadlines for yourself, and get ahead of your work so that you’re never behind.
8. Share your story
Backstories are incredibly important in the comic book world, and you need to use your own to your advantage as well. In fact, creating a narrative is a great way to “hook” an employer during the interview process. If you’re interesting, people are going to want you around. Just make sure you’re not lying or making up a bunch of nonsense just for appearances. That can backfire.