This question was asked to me in response to my call for questions on Instagram Stories. You can ask me questions directly or email questions at email@example.com (I will never share who asked). These FAQ posts will be filed under the Ask Gameonysus Category of my blog.
How do you stand out when there are thousands of people going for your same dream?Asked via Instagram
Try not to think about it too much.
Don’t Think Competitively
I’m a big believer in seeing my peers as community members instead of competitors, even when we “compete” for traffic. Make your goal being the best but don’t get caught up on being better than others specifically. Focus on being the best (you can be). Not being better than others because, let’s face it, you’ll never be better than everyone.
The truth is you never know who you’re up against. Not getting a job, opportunity, or pitch doesn’t always mean that you or your idea is a bad fit. It could just mean someone else had more sauce.
So my first piece of advice is to shift that mindset.
Practical Tips for Standing Out
Secondly, to me the best way to stand out is, to make a list of every “required skill” and “preferred skill” out there. Then start getting those skills.
To make this list I looked at job openings I wanted and kept a running list of skills/preferred skills from companies like IGN, Polygon, Kotaku, GameDailyBiz, and a bunch more.
In addition to doing this, find a few niches that can make you stand out. For me, one of them was liking FIFA. I’d been playing the game since FIFA 16 and am knowledgable, passionate, and have read my share of Pitch Notes over the years. As you may have noticed a lot of game critics don’t like realistic sports sims (among a few other niche genres). So this made me an asset. It was how I landed a pitch at Kotaku.
In fact, this is still giving me opportunities to this day. IGN had me go to a hands-on preview event and at E3 I was able to sit down and interview the developers (leading to this piece) and join them on our live stage.
In general, if you can be the person who knows something most people don’t or if you’re willing to do something most people don’t want to do (esp. when starting as a freelancer), you’re going to be a big asset.
Be sure to check back for others tips I’ll be posting because there isn’t a big secret to standing out other than being good at what you do and becoming known for that. In that sense, all my advice can be filed under “how to stand out.”
PS. If you’re going for a specific job think of ways you can add value to that company (that they’re not already doing or maybe could do better). Then demonstrate, with examples, or explain how’d you do that (in a way that’s not rude to the company’s current efforts!). In general, it’s good to know what companies/sites you love do well and where their gaps are.