Take charge of your destiny

Published: 30 July 14
By Ronald Lee, Managing Director, PrimeStaff Management Services

Not everyone can be a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. You may not even dream of starting your own company one day. But having an entrepreneurial attitude can really help you soar in your career. How so?
Let’s start with five qualities that entrepreneurs have in common.

1.    They have a clear vision

Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to see the big picture.

If you are a fresh graduate looking to land your first job, having a clear vision of the type of career you wish to carve out for yourself will help you narrow down your options and make the right first choice that can lay a good foundation for the rest of your career. At the job interview, your ability to communicate your vision for your career will help impress your interviewer and increase your chances of securing the job.

As for job-seekers with experience or employees looking for a new opportunity, such clarity of vision can also help you better plan a roadmap for your career and identify what your next step up the career ladder should be – and ultimately lead to a higher chance of finding career fulfillment.

2.    They are not afraid of failure

Didn’t get the dream job you applied for? Don’t let it stop you from trying again during the company’s next recruitment drive.

Entrepreneurs are tenacious and they will exhaust all possibilities before waving the white flag. Giving up is not an option – but failure is. They know that failure is par for the course if they want to achieve anything great. And because they are not afraid of failure, they have the guts to try their hand at various projects and ventures. If they do not succeed, they will learn from their mistakes and move on to the next project until they strike gold.

You may have headed a project or business division that did not quite take off. Don’t let it defeat you. Take stock of what went gone wrong and the lessons learnt will add to your professional experience while strengthening your character.

3.    They love to innovate

It goes without saying that entrepreneurs don’t accept the status quo. They love solving problems and that is why they are in business in the first place. Being innovative is the name of the game.

As a job-seeker, you need to stand out from the crowd in a competitive job market and one way to impress the interviewer is by taking a creative approach to the job application and the interview process.

But before you do anything outrageous, the litmus test will be to ask yourself whether the unconventional act serves to exemplify your skills and experience and is relevant to the position at hand. Or is it just a silly stunt that may backfire?

In a 2013 survey by CareerBuilder, for example, one of the creative techniques that didn’t work was the candidate doing a back flip into the interview room. To be sure, this exploit has zero relevance to the job – unless you’re applying to join Cirque du Soleil, perhaps. Other techniques that fell flat include the candidate dressing as a clown, conducting a tarot card reading for the interviewer, and sending a fruit basket to the interviewer’s home address, which the interviewer had not given her.

So stay away from deeds bordering on the creepy and make sure your out-of-the-box act is somewhat relevant to the specific position you are interviewing for.

For instance, a candidate applying to be a public relations executive could write up a mock press release with a hypothetical but exciting angle on your prospective employer’s products or services. Hand it to the interviewer during the interview and this would singlehandedly showcase your initiative, expertise and originality and boost your chances of getting hired.

4.    They take risks

The above illustration also demonstrates a risk-taking attitude, which is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur. Calculated risks, to be precise.

An example of taking a small risk could be speaking up during an important meeting and sharing your idea about how a certain product, service or business process can be improved. Sure, you’ll risk having your idea shot down and may be embarrassed in front of your peers. But imagine if your boss accepts and implements your suggestion resulting in cost-savings for the organisation. You’ll be lauded companywide and it will certainly stand you in good stead the next time you’re up for a promotion.

5.    They surround themselves with winners

Go-getting entrepreneurs always surround themselves with like-minded people who are ambitious and primed for success. They are often members of high-powered networks and associations, and these contacts help to open more doors of opportunity for them.

In the office, do you hang out with the top performers or the clique that is always complaining about the boss or engaging in office politics?

As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Who you choose to surround yourself with at work will influence how far you will go in your job or career. Cynicism is a success killer so stay away from negative people. Mix with the high performers instead, as their enthusiasm and drive will naturally rub off on you and you’ll be more goal-oriented and thus more likely to achieve success at work.

Ultimately, bringing an entrepreneurial attitude to your job hunt or career will create a greater sense of ownership and employers love that as you’ll be a great asset to any team. It will not only make you more employable, but you’ll also be in charge of your own destiny.

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