The Similarities Between Looking for a Job and Starting Up
A lot of research, identify the need or a problem, align the skill sets and then develop the product to suit the market
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While, there are many articles written about how the job search facet is changing with the way social media has took over and people mostly finding jobs online through job portals, LinkedIn, Facebook and the likes. It is interesting to note that even today the tricks of the old-world works. People still can find excellent jobs through networking, meeting people, socializing, talking to strangers and what not.
Since my venture into helping people find jobs in Australia, I have realized that it is not just about your resume or LinkedIn profile or interview skills but it is all that and much more to it. I believe there are a lot of similarities between how we build our business and how we find a job and I wanted to draw the comparison so people are better equipped with the mindset required while searching for a job.
As an entrepreneur, what would one do during the launch stage? A lot of research, identify the need or a problem, align the skill sets and then develop the product to suit the market. Sometimes, even do a reverse and develop something that you think you are good at and then find the market. There is no right or wrong approach but whichever approach you take, make a note of words like research, product, alignment and you will realize that all these are true in the context of searching for a job too.
Research your market
Understanding the market is very important when one considers starting a new business and the same approach to be applied to the aspect of searching for a job. Questions to answer are:
- Is there a market for my skills?
- What kind of jobs are available that are related to my skills?
- What are the possible roles that can match with my skills?
- Which kind of companies would hire my skills?
You will notice that the emphasis here is on the skills and not on the roles. I have seen many people who get attached to their roles and it is difficult for them to see beyond and realize their true potential. When doing the research, google is the best friend. Relying only on social media and job portals is restrictive in nature.
Product presentation is the key
When starting a company, one would have a product and service built based on the need or the problem that the product would like to solve or address. In the case of job search, the product and the service that is offered is me and through me. One of the key concepts that I have understood about selling is to focus on the benefits than on the features of the product. The same is true while searching for a job and presenting yourself.
The resume (I consider your LinkedIn profile as another way of presenting your resume) should list your skill sets but should be written in a tone where the benefits that you can bring to the role and the organization should be highlighted more. Consider the resume as a product brochure, which means that the presentation, the copy, the images, everything should be representing the best version of the product, in this case you. Also, I should mention that nowadays creating a personal brand is equally important (And there are tons of articles and resources on this). The concept also extends to the way you present yourself everywhere.
- How do you portray yourself in the mirror?
- How do you dress?
- How do you introduce yourself at a networking event?
- How do you come across at an interview?
- In your presentation and conversations, do you sound needy or someone who sounds confident about their features and the service that they can offer?
I will repeat this that while skills and achievements are important but the benefits that you can bring to the organization is of the utmost importance.
Cultural and emotional Alignment
In the context of entrepreneurship, many a times it is mentioned that an emotional connect with the clients goes a long way in building a solid brand. Emotional and cultural alignment can make or break a product or even an organization. What works in one culture, may not work in another and it is important to adapt and change.
Coming to the job searching approach, aligning your values and goals with that of the organization is very important. Sometimes it is more important to align skills to the role. Because, skills could be acquired but values and beliefs come from character. People like to work with people they like and you should be likeable. There is a thin line between sounding needy and being likeable. Recently at an event I organized, I came across an amazing term "humbly confident" and I could relate to it in all aspects of searching for a job.
In conclusion, I would say that the job searching paradigm is changing and it is quite like taking your own entrepreneurial journey.