Take the 21-question quiz to reveal your hidden "Honesty Type"

Click Here

4 Ways to Get Hired by an Entrepreneur

Peter Kozodoy logo Posted Monday September 12th, 2016 4 Ways to Get Hired by an Entrepreneur

If you like this article:

I can't speak for HR specialists, because I'm not one. But, I can speak for entrepreneurs, who need to make hiring decisions amid decisions about operations, finance, marketing, sales, new products and services, and so on and so forth. How do you stand out? Luckily, there are only two things you need: Likability and Legitimacy.

Although "likable" seems vague, it's not. Consider this: when you meet someone new, you know within seconds whether you jive with that person or not, based on personality, shared values, similar humor, and so on. This dance is much the same when it comes to hiring at an entrepreneurial venture. The values of the entrepreneur will be reflected in the values of the organization. So, the question is, "do your values match with the values of the organization?" If so, how do you show those values quickly and efficiently? How do you clearly demonstrate your likability - in relation to the organization - on paper?

Before we get to that, let's explore "legitimacy." To quote the great MC Hammer, you must be "Too Legit to Quit." In other words, you must demonstrate very quickly that you have what it takes to be a stellar employee and job performer. Exhibiting legitimacy is typically more about packaging than it is about substance, per se. If that weren't generally true, nobody out of college would ever get a job! So, how do you package yourself to show legitimacy on your resume and cover letter?

Here are 4 ways to increase your chances of getting hired by an entrepreneur:

  1. Increase your likability by aligning your values to the organization's values. With a bit of research, you can develop a sense of what the brand cares about. Put that front and center; use the organization's own words and phrases in your opening sentences to demonstrate that you are actively picturing yourself in the culture. This small trick will go a long way towards moving your resume to the next round.
  2. Increase your likability by personalizing your materials. Never forget that you are marketing yourself, here. To that end, find a great picture of you and display it prominently on your resume, along with fun facts. These facts can be about your favorite foods, extracurricular activities, or volunteer experience. Most applicants bury these, but if they're up top you'll humanize your resume to the reader and make an immediate and personal connection. Think: The entrepreneur's greatest risk is choosing a candidate who doesn't fit into the culture. Minimize this risk by giving the entrepreneur a glimpse into what it will be like to have you in the office!
  3. Increase your legitimacy by packaging yourself like a product. Think about the packaging of a cereal box. It has a variety of elements, both designed and written. It probably touts things like "whole grain!" and "low fat!" I'm not suggesting you pretend you're a box of Cheerio's, but what I am suggesting is that you think about the snapshot that a cereal box creates: At one glance, you get all of the important information and you must turn the box to see more. In your case, the most important information will be different from someone else's, since you'll want to play to your individual strengths. To that end, consider building a "snapshot" portion of your resume - perhaps in a highlighted box on its own - that tells your story quickly and efficiently, highlighting the best parts and using design elements instead of only copy. In fact, you can go a step further and pretend your resume is the home page of a website. What elements go up top? What goes in the middle? What's at the end? What if someone doesn't scroll all the way down there? How can you use designs, logos, etc. to boost your visual appeal and tell a story? Do this correctly, and you'll end up with a piece of paper that looks so unlike most resumes, you won't be able to prevent extra attention!
  4. Increase your legitimacy by providing value to the entrepreneur. This is a sure-fire way to get noticed, and it's built on two realities: First, every entrepreneur is looking for new ways to move the organization forward. Second, (almost) every entrepreneur has a virtual existence that you can mine for clues as to where she or he is going. Look at the entrepreneur's social media profiles, LinkedIn profile, company website, personal website (if applicable), client lists, etc. In my case, you would see that I like to write on entrepreneurship and leadership. You might see that I'm getting into public speaking, and that I'm shopping my book. Trust me: any applicant who references any of these things will get a more thorough read-through than an applicant who doesn't mention any of it. Furthermore, any applicant that provides value here will absolutely be at the top of my list. How do you provide value? In my case, you could suggest an article or book on speaking that I might find helpful; provide a link for speakers to apply for engagements; offer some feedback on a recent article along with a few topics for future articles; congratulate me on my recent Inc article (yes, flattery will get you everywhere!); or even write a paragraph on how your being at my organization will actively help me achieve my own goals or the goals of my organization.

Although there are lots of great applicants out there, in my experience, there are very few stand-outs. Master these 4 ways to get noticed, and you'll be well on your way to getting hired by an entrepreneur. I can't say for sure that these tips will work at big companies, but wouldn't you rather work for an entrepreneurial organization anyway?

I know I would!

If you liked this article: