Graduate Coach Blog

How to demonstrate your entrepreneurial mindset to an employer

Posted: June 1, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Author: Chris Davies

An entrepreneur is a person who notices things most of us don’t. They use this skill to not only help solve the world’s pressing problems – sources of renewable energy come to mind – but also to invent things the world didn’t know it needed but which make it a nicer place – like Nutella and dancing tango.

Because of this, people with entrepreneur as a soft skill are prized by employers. They want employees who will make a difference at work. When many bemoan their lot in life the entrepreneur uses his lot to create a life.

Being entrepreneurial isn’t simply about making money. It isn’t about running a business. It’s a mindset. You can use your entrepreneurial skills to influence governments and policy. It can serve you in practically any type of job role as it is the skill that describes your tenacity, leadership, creativity, problem solving and action-orientated mindset.

Do you have the soft skill of an entrepreneur?

But how do you know if you have an entrepreneurial mindset? And is it possible to cultivate one if you don’t? For sure, you will need this skill if you want to work for a top employer or to go far in your career. The problem is, although most employers look for people who are entrepreneurial it isn’t always obvious on a job advert. Sometimes it is masked behind other skills.

Here are some of the top skills that lie behind an entrepreneurial mindset:

Innovative – is at the top of the list. You will be creative, original, or able to spin a new take on the usual. Although most top employers tend to look for a certain type of individual you will also find they are open to people who bring something different.

Ambition and drive – when we think of an entrepreneur we think of a person fully alive and with bag loads of energy. You need this extra energy to make another attempt when things go wrong or are delayed. You’ll use it to persistently press on when other people want to give up.

Responsibility – an entrepreneur is someone who loves responsibility, not one who shies away from it. People who refuse to take responsibility for anything but blame others and make excuses are a turn off. If instead you do what must be done, and stay on it until it is, you’ll be continually and increasingly entrusted with more opportunities. Responsibility walks with honesty, care, trustworthiness, humility and a desire and willingness to learn.

Initiative – an entrepreneur does not need to be spoon-feed, hand-held or babysat to do their job. Initiative is about thinking and acting for yourself – “No one told me to do it” will not be a part of your vocabulary or an excuse for failing to get things done. This is a person that both thinks and acts.

Communicator – you’ll be good at getting your message across and helping others to see what you see. To do this successfully you must create a connection between the people you are trying to communicate with and yourself. It is never one-sided. Communication is tied up with concepts of empathy and intimacy.

Listener – not only will you be good at expressing yourself and telling others about your ideas, you will be equally happy, and keen, to listen to other people’s ideas too. Your people-building skills will also come into play here as you give others the opportunity to grow. 

A ‘can-do’ man/woman – having great ideas is one thing, making them work is quite another. Henry Ford once said, “Don’t find fault, find remedy.” This will be your mantra too – you don’t just come up with those good ideas but will have a willingness to make them work, even if that means finding a man or woman who can.

Problem solver – similar to the above a problem solver looks for ways to remedy situations that come up. They like a challenge and see them as opportunities rather than set-backs. As far as they are concerned there is always a way forward, so they tend not to lose their heads but have a calm manner as they go about finding that way.

Teamworker – you will understand that not only was Rome not built in a day, but it wasn’t built by a single person working alone. It takes a group of people who ‘get it’ to build a great team, and a great team to achieve great things. Even the most famous inventors among us did not do it alone but had a great team behind them. Hog the limelight and trample over others and you will alienate people and make them unwilling to help you.

Inspiration – is other energy force the entrepreneur has in good supply and it will be used in a variety of ways. You will use inspiration when you are communicating your vision to your team and trying to get them on board. You will use it to keep yourself from giving up when the going gets tough, and to help others to do the same.

There you have a number of skills to get you started on the road to recognising what it means to be entrepreneurial. Begin to cultivate these skills in yourself wherever and whenever you get the opportunity. Then go solve the world’s problems and invent stuff that make it a nicer place.

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