Startup: You – How to approach your career like an entrepreneur

Are you looking for your first job, want a better job in a new company or more from the one you have now? The world of work and careers has changed and will continue to change over the coming years. Fortune had a good article awhile ago that is still relevant now – a unique way of looking at your career plan and growth. It’s by Erika Fry and looks at “wherever you are on the corporate ladder, whatever you do for a living, if you want to jumpstart your career (or just keep up) you’ve got to think like you’re launching a business from the ground up”. Just like, perhaps, an entrepreneur might do in Silicon Valley. She quotes LinkedIn co-founders Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha in their book The Start-up of You, “all humans are entrepreneurs”. She says that “to accelerate your career in today’s economy, you’ve got to embrace that spirit and apply the Silicon Valley formula – adapt to the future and invest in yourself- no matter how comfortable in your job you might be.” Especially because being comfortable could change tomorrow.

Erika says there are five new rules to consider for your career plan (i.e. your mini accelerator):
1. Choose growth over profitability – think long term and what you need to do to get there – invest in yourself and continue learning.  I would also say be intentional in your career and plan it out.
2. Bet on who you want to work with, not where – in other words pick the place you want to work, for the people that work there (do your values match theirs?)
3. Find your special sauce – what makes you unique from all your competition for the job you’d love to have
4. Celebrate uncertainty – know that things will not always go your way, adapt and regroup and move on
5. Be public – create a brand and be consistent in how you show up

It’s really all about how does ‘the business of you’ market yourself to this new world of employers? Because the skills they are looking for have also changed. It is much more about the ‘soft’ skills as I’ve mentioned before – are you authentic, and self aware? Do you have the ability to navigate ambiguity, learn and adapt to ever changing circumstances? Can you collaborate and build consensus? And can you articulate this whenever asked, in an interview or in an elevator with the person that holds the key to your next promotion? These ‘skills’ aren’t really taught in college but can and need to be learned. Create your own ‘Board of Directors’ to help and advise you.

Erika reports that “you have to stay relevant and evolve” and “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. Just like an entrepreneur does. Entrepreneurs are agile and invest in themselves. They build their professional networks. They take intelligent risks. They make uncertainty and volatility work to their advantage – they plan and are persistent in following their dream.

What is your dream?  Believe in it and get others to believe too. You are the CEO of your life. Don’t let your business (i.e. yourself) down. Start now to create the job and the life you want.

If you want help getting the job and pay you deserve, email kathy@kpcoaching.com

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