I'm excited to share something that I call the minimum viable job hunt (MVJ) with you.
There is a really good book that you might wanna check out called The Lean Startup, addressing how companies in Silicon Valley scale and grow so quickly. I thought we should take the key piece out of that teaching and apply it here into our own job hunts.
If you're with me on this, I think you’ll really enjoy this, and definitely sit down, grab a piece of paper, grab a pen, take some notes, and let's kind of map this out together as we go through this.
In the book, The Lean Startup, the concept is of the minimum viable product (MVP). What does that mean? There are three letters there, so let’s go through them one by one.
Let's first start with the P (product) that seeks to “launch” and become the next billion-dollar company. It has a P because it stands for “product”. The startup has something that they want to sell into the market - they have something available for sale.
For companies that want to grow, they must be able to earn an income, they must have a product, and have something targeting a particular issue in the market.
This product completely solves the issue or reduces the pain or makes a process go faster, it makes something easier to accomplish thanks to this product.
For YOU - in your job hunt - does that apply? Do you have a product? Absolutely. Guess what the product is? You! YOU are the product. You are the P and the market is the employment market.
You are the thing that you are marketing into the job market in exchange for your compensation.
Something that is viable means that it goes some distance to solving the particular problem. It's not a minimum perfect product, it's minimum viable, so it's enough to be differentiated, it's enough to be unique.
This product is enough to go some distance where people will be willing to exchange some of their hard-earned income for this particular product, a minimum viable product.
When a company first goes out into the market to launch its MVP it may not be viable at all. One of the great things that are part of the MVP concept is the concept of iteration - of trying and improving.
We also hear in the media “failing forward”. This is the idea is that we're gonna bring this product into the market. It's a beta product. Let's test it out, let's see if we can get it to actually work. That may not happen on the very first try, so if you're following along here, we're talking about the Silicon Valley concept of the minimum viable product (MVP).
And we're looking at what does viable means? So in your job hunt, do you have an MVP yet? Well, maybe be not - and maybe you do. How many times have you taken it into the market? How many times have you taken yourself into the market to test it out? And how do we do that?
Traditionally applying online is one way we try to enter the job market, but increasingly that provides very little feedback because we don't hear back. Later, I'm gonna go into some detail today on the special on how to market yourself, how to establish viability - We’ll save that for a little bit later.
The question here I would say is what are you doing to establish viability or get to “viable”? What does viability look like for you? What's the minimum that we can do? How lazy can we be and still get our dream job up? And this concept takes us to the next word, minimum.
What's the minimum that we can do? How lazy can we be and still get our dream job up?
What's the minimum that we can do in a startup? They're gonna have their pre-launch, their beta, even their alpha product. They're gonna do one of the most basic things that they can do to make it useful for other people.
Maybe it's some sort of spam filter for email that reduces email by some non-zero amount, which kind of works, or it's some enhanced AI-enabled voice transcription software, which well, probably transcribes with some fairly improved degree of accuracy, but it's not looking to take into account the 100% solution.
When I think about you and your job hunt and how do you get to an MVP, I'm thinking, what can we do to do the least amount of work and get the maximum benefit? Get into the dream firm, get into the job that we would love to have, but not do so much to get there.
A simple example I will offer right here is when we're doing the job hunt and we're trying to establish some credibility in a market, and maybe we don't have any experience at all. What job hunters will tend to do is grab for the things that they think will give them some credibility, like getting certificates, getting badges, or maybe people will try to attend a CFA exam.
Say if they're trying to get into a finance job, and these things can be very time-consuming, the better thing to do would be to only focus on meeting people. Now, I'm not saying you don't have any skill development that you need to do, but what people often do is jump right into skill development and they skip this whole part about meeting people, which is the most direct path to getting hired - networking.
It's that direct interaction with the market, where you can identify what you need to have in order to be minimally prepared, minimally good enough to get that dream offer. You don't need to come in having been an expert in something in order to get hired, to do the thing, especially at one of those early-stage careers.
Now, if we take this concept and bring it into the job hunt, what if we were to call it the MVJ - minimum viable job hunt?
How could we do the minimum amount of work to demonstrate that we have a viable, we all are a viable solution for that particular market that we're seeking to join. P, the product, us, how are we packaging ourselves in terms of the solution? Are we doing that well in this case?