Matthew Capala (@SearchDecoder) is the Head of Search at Profero, a leading global digital ad agency, Adjunct Professor at NYU, where he teaches a graduate course on search marketing, and the Founder of SearchDecoder.com, and Author of ‘Away with the Average.’ Matthew lives in Brooklyn, NY, and obtained his MBA from Baruch College.
More and more students I speak with are gaining the realization that, particularly in current economy, the world does not owe them a rewarding job upon graduation, regardless of their schooling.
Job seekers in this day and age need to enter the workforce prepared to succeed on their merits, and demonstrate ‘their extra.’ If you want to get ahead of the pack, you need have a plan and execute it.
The secret is in online entrepreneurship and building relationships with others. The two go together.
I discovered it early in life. I lived in Poland until the age of 24. I moved to New York 10 years ago where I have led several lives: construction worker, scaffold operator, waiter, office manager, digital marketer, trainer, professional speaker, professor, and executive. In that order.
Online entrepreneurship enabled me to create opportunities that I would not have had otherwise
Below is an excerpt from my free e-book on personal branding: Away with the Average: How Online Entrepreneurship Creates a Unique Advantage for Job Seekers.
When I was in business school I read the World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. The title is a metaphor for the post-Internet world viewed as a level playing field, where everyone has an equal opportunity. It also alludes to the shift in skills and approach required for companies and individuals to compete. The book was my game-changer.
Almost a decade later, Thomas Friedman continues to challenge the way we think about America’s workforce, education, and business. In his recent thought-provoking piece in the New York Times, the Average is Over, he wrote:
A membership in a student association and two Summer internships used to be enough for college students to find work after graduation. Today, that’s average.
A one-page resume is no longer enough to get an interview either. Today recruiters search your name in Google to learn more about you. That is your zero moment of truth.
In order to stand out in the pile of job applications that recruiters receive every day, you need to find your extra.
It is helpful to have a roadmap. I don’t proclaim to be an expert on this subject, certainly no Mr. Friedman, but here’s what has worked for me…
Demonstrate online entrepreneurship
Businesses that are hiring today have transformed their organizational models, removing layers of hierarchy in favor of flatter structures. As an employee, you are expected to fit in and add value on day one. It’s actually best to consider yourself something more than an employee; you should assume ownership.
Prior to the shifts caused by the digitalization of business that Mr. Friedman talks about, entrepreneurs faced high barriers to entry. Not anymore. Putting up a website on WordPress is free. All you need is a domain name and hosting. GoDaddy is one of the favorites because they have great customer service.
Become a Blogger
Blogging has helped me move up in the world. ‘Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field’ says Penelope Trunk, author of a bestselling career advice book, The New American Dream: A Blueprint for a New Path to Success.
If you are a beginner and don’t know where to start, read Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk. I started here as well. I recommend WordPress as a blogging platform because it has a lot of free social media plug-ins that will make your blog stand out.
Brand yourself on LinkedIn
Let’s be clear about something. Your mere presence on Linkedin is not an extra. It is average.
You should be very serious about how your Linkedin profile looks. What are your extras? How many connections do you have? How many people have endorsed you for skills or recommended you? Do you have a professional photo? How many Linkedin groups are you an active member of? Do you share insightful content?
Become your own curator of information
Content curation is about sorting through content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful way around a specific theme. That’s not rocket science.
Social media provides great tools for you to express your creativity. And the best way to generate following and gain authority is to curate and share great content.
Higher education plays an important role in fostering online entrepreneurship. At the NYU School of Professional Continuing Studies, graduate students in the Integrated Marketing Program take a proactive approach. In 2012, we founded the Inbound Marketing Clinic to equip students with the tools to get ahead of the pack.
Want to become an entrepreneur? Come to the NYU Start-Up Career Expo at Stern on Thursday, November 21st at 4pm.