Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
August 29, 2012
Students who take an entrepreneurial approach to their job searches are better equipped to navigate through today’s shifting job market, says Megan Houlker.
“The edge entrepreneurs have in the market is that they are opportunity obsessed,” explains Houlker, director of Babson College’s undergraduate center for career development. “Today’s job market is fluid. Those who can move beyond the need for an overly structured career path will quickly surpass the rest of the pack.”
She says that, among the qualities of an entrepreneur that translate well to job seeking, are:
- Having passion
- Embracing change
- Possessing a high capacity for creativity and innovative thinking
- Recognizing, assessing, and creating opportunity
- Being resourceful
- Taking risks
- Developing and launching effective strategies
- Being a global citizen
- Making a positive impact
“Entrepreneurs think and act differently,” she points out. “There is a method and a mindset of leadership that can be taught and learned.”
Houlker says the best way to infuse entrepreneurial thought and action into the career development process is to become action oriented.
“Research is great, but it often paralyzes students,” she says. “Instead, we need to help students continually move forward by providing experiential opportunities for them to do so. Students need to take action and try things on for size.”
One major impediment to their success, Houlker says, is that many are afraid to fail.
“This fear gets in their way as they feel all of their decisions need to be perfect,” she says. “Careers don’t work that way.”
To combat this fear, Houlker recommends that career services practitioners help students realize that their interests and skills will change over time, and students need to remain open to that change.
Says Houlker: “Entrepreneurial thought and action provides a framework for taking small steps forward and adjusting along the way.”