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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Looking for a Job?

Gavin Christensen, Principle at VSpring and Director of Kickstart Seedfund, spoke on career development at a recent luncheon I attended.  His thoughts on personalizing the "Innovators Dilemma" were the most remarkable.

One of the basic ideas of the Innovators Dillema by Clayton Christensen is that the management principles that grow a company to a certain point, may not be the ones needed to take it to the next level, and, in fact, may be injurious in the future.  The same can be said about career development.  The skills used to get a first job might not be the skills necessary to get a first big promotion, or next job.

Career development has been on my mind recently as I look forward to my last year of higher education and graduation with an MBA.  This summer I landed an incredible internship, which is already opening up doors for incredible career opportunities.  I would sum up job searching for beginners in 3 points:
  1. Market yourself within a niche:  be it an industry, a talent, or even a contact.  I chose the biotech industry, have marketed myself as relentlessly resourceful, and name drop like crazy.
  2. Look for that first break.  Mine came with a little unpaid internship with a start-up pharmaceutical company.  I honestly didn't do anything monumental, but I talk about it like crazy and it was just enough to get my foot in the door of this industry and qualify for bigger opportunities.
  3. At the end of the day it's all about personality.  I recently helped hire someone for my company.  She wasn't the most qualified, but she was more likable and so she got the job.  I think likability is job specific so interview with the type of people who are more likely to like you.  
These tips aren't universal or proven and should change after you get further into a career, but the nice thing about free advice is that it's abundant.