From the Graduate Center Office of Career Support
By Ryan Sermon
Being a job seeker is actually very similar to being an entrepreneur. While that might not seem apparent at first glance, many of the skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur are the same skills needed to navigate a successful job search.
Below are five ways you can be more entrepreneurial in your job search endeavors.
- Have An Entrepreneurial Spirit
A major aspect of having an entrepreneurial spirit involves exploring all viable options. Think about how your skills could be used to accomplish multiple jobs in a variety of industries and settings. Look into other companies that you may not have previously considered; examine the size of the company, the nature of the work being performed, and the organization’s vision of itself. Widening your search and pursuing previously overlooked opportunities will increase your chances of success.
- Hold Yourself Accountable
Entrepreneurs live and die by the hustle. As entrepreneurs are self-employed, they need to possess qualities that help ensure they will be successful: self-motivation, drive, excellent communication, time management, and organizational skills to secure opportunities. Just as entrepreneurs are their own boss, so too are you during your job search. You must continually identify and apply to opportunities, seek leads, and expand your network. Creating and holding yourself accountable to SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) is a good strategy to help you achieve success in your job search.
- Identify Your Brand And Tailor It To Your Audience
Good entrepreneurs understand their audience and how their specific brand aligns with what their audience needs. Update your resume and professional documents to ensure that your professional brand is consistent with what you have to offer and what your target employers are looking for. One way to do this is to tailor your experience on your resume, ensuring you highlight what potential employers most care about and, as much as possible, do so using the language of the employer.
- Engage With Your Audience
Entrepreneurs regularly engage with their target audience. Similarly, you will want to engage with professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters in your target field as often as possible. LinkedIn is a great place for this engagement. In addition to being a platform for job listings, it is a professional networking site. You can use LinkedIn to connect with others and gain insights into companies and organizations. One of the key aspects of LinkedIn is the ability to strategically hone your brand. Here are some ideas about what that can look like:
- Personalize your URL to emphasize your name or brand, instead of the pre-generated URL that is already provided for you.
- Use emojis next to your name to highlight your brand. For example, think about putting a light bulb if you’re creative or a piece of laboratory equipment if you work in the science field.
- Use your headline to tell your audience what problem of theirs you can solve or how you identify professionally. Don’t wait to be bestowed a title!
- Seek recommendations from others with whom you’ve worked. While this can be tricky, just as entrepreneurs appreciate reviews of their services and products, we too should strive for positive and public feedback on our work. It’s okay to ask a former or current colleague or supervisor if they’d be willing to share feedback about working with you on your LinkedIn.
- Learn From Your Failures
Failure is inevitable. While no one likes to fail, entrepreneurs use every failure and rejection as an opportunity to learn. Similarly, you as a job seeker can learn from every step and misstep in your process, especially the ones that end in rejection. Applying what you learn in order to make changes in your job search is not only strategic but increases your chances of success.
Clearly, as a job seeker you are an entrepreneur. This is a good thing because entrepreneurs are creative and innovative people and, with an ever-evolving hiring landscape, you will have to be creative and innovative yourself. Thankfully, you aren’t required to have all the answers, and you don’t have to go it alone! We in the Graduate Center are available to support you. That said, framing the job search as an entrepreneurial effort can really help put into perspective the tasks that must be accomplished and help with overall success in the process.