This ain’t your parents’ job market.
That’s what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said when writing about the timeliness of The Start-Up of You. See, for the last sixty or so years, the job market for educated workers worked like an escalator. If you were basically competent, put forth a good effort, and weren’t unlucky, the strong winds at your back would eventually shoot you to the top. Each generation would be better off than their parents For the most part this was a justified expectation.
But now that escalator is jammed at every level. Technology and globalization are destroying traditional career paths and undoing assumptions about how you master the world of work. Old premises that guided your parents have given way to new realities, and with new realities come new rules. The new rules are ones entrepreneurs have mastered for years, and they are what every student today needs to know in order to launch a successful career.
Old Premise: Ready, Aim, Fire…Retire
New Reality: Almost-Ready, Aim, Fire, Aim, Fire, Aim, Fire
For your parents, career strategy was Ready, Aim, Fire (and then retire). But you can’t plan your life or career like you used to. These days, the better approach is almost ready-aim-fire-aim-fire-aim-fire. Entrepreneurial career strategy involves learning while going, executing while planning, finishing while starting, aiming while firing. There are no clear start and finish points; no designated “ready” or “set” phase followed by a “go” phase.
Old Premise: Search for Jobs When You’re Unemployed
New Reality: Continually Search for and Generate Breakout Opportunities
Career strategy used to be a topic you discussed when you were looking for a job. But entrepreneurial professionals know they must always be investing in themselves. Instead of “job hunting” when they’re out of work, they’re continually on the look-out for “opportunities.” Killer opportunities didn’t fall into their lap; they knew how to spot and create them through a series of specific behaviors.
Old Premise: Risk is Bad, Minimize Risk
New Reality: Risk is Unavoidable; Proactively Take Intelligent Risk
Risk wasn’t a relevant concept in the days of the career escalator. The idea was to avoid risk, and avoid “high risk” career moves like freelancing. This is exactly opposite of how winners think today. Every opportunity contains downside risk. To effectively exploit opportunities, you have to be take on the right kind of risk, and manage it prudently. In so doing, you build resilience to the seismic industry and competitive changes that destroy professionals on a more brittle ”low risk” path.
Start a business after graduation? You already have.
Thinking about starting a company after you graduate? You already have: your career is your first and most important business to run. Your skills are your product, your potential employers are your customers, and your salary is your revenue. So whether or not you want to start a new company, you are always at the helm of at least one start-up: your career. But don’t take it from us — check out what professors, students, and business leaders say:
|Everyone, women and men alike, needs to think big to succeed. This is a practical book that shows you how to take control and build a career that will enable you to have real impact. Every college student should read this book.
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook
|As a student, I’m looking for helpful advice on how to build a meaningful career. The Start-Up of You is the best book I’ve read on networking and entrepreneurial skill-building. It’s a great choice for anyone looking to find more meaning in their work. Hoffman and Casnocha give students a practical guide to creating and capturing opportunities through soul searching, goal setting, contact building, and skill development. This book will stick with me for a long time.
Greg Nance, Student, University of Cambridge Business School
|The Start-Up of You has resonated with me to such an extent that in addition to submitting a book request to my bookstore for my fall Career/Life Planning courses, I have touted this book to my fellow faculty members since I finished it. I absolutely loved reading the book and view it as one of the most “on-the-mark” and engaging narratives on how to best prepare/present oneself during a job/career/life search process. I truly believe (after 31 years of college teaching) that The Start-Up of You offers students of all college levels a realistic and straightforward life handbook that can also be read and re-read at each “pivot” point in one’s career path.
Lavinia P. Zanassi, Faculty, Skyline College
|The new normal of the job market is here to stay and the process of landing a job or growing your career must be with an entrepreneurial mindset in order to achieve success. Candidates need to play to their strengths, define what makes them unique, and build authentic network relationships that also focus on paying-it-forward to others. As a career development professional with 12+ years under my belt I have seen the career world change dramatically. The methods Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha discuss in The Start-Up of You are spot on and a surefire formula for success in this ultra competitive climate. I recommend their book highly as a must read for everyone from entry level professionals through C-Suite executives. Take your career into your own hands and design a plan to distinguish yourself.
Caroline Dowd-Higgins, Director of Career and Professional Development & Adjunct Faculty, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Interested in teaching the book?
We’ve been pleased with the strong uptake of The Start-Up of You among students and faculty. Several schools have adopted the book into their First-Year Experience and Common Reading Programs. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and we’re delighted to be able to help shape the way they think about launching their careers. That is why we are creating materials to help educators, such as:
The 3 Secrets of Highly Successful Graduates
The Start-Up of You Student Fellowship
Last July, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha announced The Start-Up of You Student Fellowship. This exclusive online network was created to recognize and connect the most entrepreneurial student leaders in the world and empower them to do more.