Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Life Lessons from Entrepreneurship

One of the classes I'm enrolled in this semester is Entrepreneurship/New Venture Formation.  I've been wanting to take this class since I found out about it because I've always had an idea in the back of my head that I would one day start my own business.  However, in all reality when I leave the fairy tale land of college and enter the "real world" in a few months, I'll be "working for the man" as my professor calls it/warns against.  So while I'm taking in the valuable information about starting a new venture and filing it away for my distant future, I've also been trying to relate what we learn in the lectures to my future career.  

Today in class, we discussed three important things to keep in mind when forming a business plan.  As we were going over them I realized they're also good advice for forming your own "business plan" in the process of job searching.  If you see yourself as the "product" and concentrate on how to market yourself to future employers, the following information can be very helpful in a job search.  
  1. Be compelling and provocative.  If you can't show how you're distinct and interesting, you're just noise.  As Jack Welch said, "If you don't have a competitive advantage, don't compete".  This is important to keep in mind when presenting yourself to possible future employers.  Especially when the job market is tight, if you can't show what sets you apart then why should an employer choose you over any other candidate?
  2. Be credible.  Don't offer cliches, don't lie.  Back things up with facts.  Instead of saying "I'm creative," say "I designed a promotional postcard for the company I interned within New York last summer."  Don't just say how great you are, prove it.  
  3. Focus on your audience.  If you're applying for different jobs with a variety of companies, you don't send out copies of one identical cover letter.  Market yourself to a specific position in a specific company, and show why you're interested in that one job.  
Although I think my professor would die if he read this post (sorry Mr. Hanks!), I think this goes to show that there are certain lessons that you can apply to any area of business, whether you're going out on your own or working in a huge corporation.  

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