How would an entrepreneur apply for a job?

First of all, the title of this blog doesn’t make sense.  Entrepreneurs don’t typically apply for jobs – they create them!   That said, I wanted to use this subject to illustrate something we talk about a lot at the University of Michigan – the entrepreneurial mindset.

Too often I hear from people who are frustrated in their job search and it is amazing to me that they don’t approach getting a job in a more entrepreneurial way.

Typically, people who are looking for a new job will look at the available opportunities, identify several that look interesting and then apply through the provided application mechanism for that opportunity.  After that, they usually complain that they never hear back from the employer and then eventually move on to the next opportunity.

I’m sure that many of you who embrace an entrepreneurial way of thinking would read that last paragraph and scratch their head.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Someone with an entrepreneurial mindset would identify what type of job they believe is a good match for their passion and skillset; Select a company that appears to be the best match and then create the opportunity to join them.

How would you create an opportunity like that?  Here are some suggestions:

1)   Learn everything you can about the company.  What is their history?  What value do they provide?  Where are their challenges?  Where are they going long term?

2)   Use business networks like (or social networks) to connect with people who are in the company you are targeting and create a connection with them.

3)   If you can’t find someone directly connected start creating connections via the same network… if you make a good case for a connection such as “I’m very interested in your company and want to learn more” you can get a connection.

4)   If the company exhibits at a tradeshow go to that tradeshow and attend.  Meet the people, who work for the company, talk to them.  Find out how you can get involved.

5)   Find out when key executives are going to be at a trade show and walk up and say “Hi, you don’t know me but I’ll give you 10 reasons why you need to hire me!”.

Will this work 100% of the time?  Absolutely not, but that isn’t what matters.  You’ll still get rejections and it will require a lot of work but it may lead to some surprising opportunities.

What people don’t realize is that employers are looking for people who show initiative, think creatively and are passionate about the same things they are passionate about.

Employers are looking for people with an entrepreneurial mindset!



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