If I Were Running A Company…Career Hacks

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Credit: The Ink Factory

A couple weeks ago, I watch the live-stream of MCON14 (Twitter highlights here), a 2-day conference for millennials making an impact on society. I only caught the second day and I’m glad I did.

The most intriguing guest was CEO of Malaria No More, Martin Edlund. How did he became a CEO of a nonprofit? He did not have a career path, but being a career hack by acquiring skills from different places. If you look at his Linkedin profile, it’s all over the map:

  • He majored in Government at Harvard.
  • Founder of one of the last successful companies in the dot.com era.
  • A writer.
  • Heads up a nonprofit.

All those places he worked for, he learn something and acquire a skill. Edlund says you can’t prepare for career opportunities that may or may not exist in the future, but learn something from your opportunity you have and take it to your next phase. Edlund also mention that people need to be a MVP…minimum viable product, to be an essential core features that are needed for something to go to market.

I want to break down Edlund’s talk in three categories: entrepreneur/executive, the employee, and the job seeker.

Entrepreneur/Executive:

This is self-explanatory as the entrepreneur/executive used to be in the position most of us are in right now. They did the work, they know the colleagues and their functions, they know the culture, and have the intangibles to maintain it or take it to the next level. They know the ins and outs because they’ve been down this road before.

The Employee:

The employee’s main job is what they’re doing with the company, but that should not be the only thing. Employees should check out to other departments of how they function and attend to their events. Employees should also attend company functions. Granted, it maybe cheesy or you’re too cool for it, but it’s your best opportunity to learn about your co-workers and what they do. As an employee, you have the best view of how everything works and make it better.

The Job Seeker:

This is where it gets tricky. The job seeker has the skills to handle a job (or jobs), but are not defined because the path they took. This is where the recruiter or hiring manager have to project if they’re a good candidate to interview and then if he/she is a good hire. Most of the time, Hr professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers are looking for known qualities and a sure thing than take a project and develop them in their company. I’ve always said that although recruiters can be innovators for the company, most tend to look at talent at face value.

How can job seekers change the perception to recruiters? Actually nothing, but you can change the hiring manager’s mind. This is why the cover letter is an important weapon.

There was a debate that if you need a cover letter or not. Here’s the thing: recruiters look for information on the internet and the resume about you. Hiring managers want to know what you have done, step-by-step. The cover letter should be to the hiring manager. The recruiter gets it as an additional attachment, but it helps that the recruiter understands what the job entails by seeing it in his/her eyes.

Martin Edlund’s talk reminds me that in the hiring process, we need to eliminate the “What do you think you’re going to be in 5 years?” stuff since it’s projected millennials will work around 25 jobs in a 50 year span. In addition, job hopping used to be bad thing because it perceives you’re not showing loyalty, when in reality, they (employee and/or employer) could have run its course, both wanted different things, or something else.

What job seekers and employers should focus on is:

  • Why did you apply for this company?
  • What skills, that you acquired, that could help our department/company?
  • What did you learn from each organization you work for?

If you answer these questions, you can force the issue with HR, recruiting, and the hiring manager. It’s up to them if they want and that will depend on their needs and projection of the company. All you have to do is still work on acquiring your skill set to be a better worker in the future.

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