创业失败后如何找工作(How to get a job after your startup fails)

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A few months ago, I made the decision to close Vinetrade, the startup that I had been working on for the past 18 months. Closing down meant the end of my job, my income, and the need to find something new.

Three months after making that decision, I’m working at Adzuna, another UK based startup, as the Country Manager for their Australia, Canada and South Africa expansions.

This post is intended to help founders in a similar position, describes some of the process I went through and the advice I’d give.

1. 运转你的社交圈

对外宣布你将关闭自己的公司后,你该马上把你的社交圈运转起来。尽可能多地邀人喝喝咖啡,向他们说明你的现状,请教他们你接下来该做什么。打听哪些人在招聘,需要怎样的人才。有许多工作都不对外公开招聘的。

愿意给你提供支持,帮助你的人数会让你感到惊讶。只是你得确保接触了尽可能多的人–不要期望他们已经听说了关于你创业失败的消息。越多人知道你在找工作,你尽快拿到offer的几率就越高。

2. Figure out what you want to do – be open minded

As a founder, you often have to be the jack of all trades. In the 18 months I was running Vinetrade, I got my hands dirty in just about every area of the business. I taught myself how to code, sell a product, build a team, manage finances, raise money from investors, manage relationships with customers and investors, and so much more.

Working for other people is usually very different. Other companies need people to do specific tasks and fill a gap in their business. They want people with specialised skills. You need to think about what you’re best at, and focus on that. This might not be immediately obvious, but will likely become apparent in conversations with others (e.g. you’ll be talking to another founder about a position that they’re hiring for, and realise that you’re quite well suited to it).

2.确认你想要做什么——是一个开明的态度

作为创始人,你经常不得不成为万事皆通的人。在18个月中我一直在做葡萄树贸易。这个生意在任何地方都要亲自动手。我开始自学如何编程,卖一个产品,组件一个团队,管理财务,从投资者那里筹集资金,管理和顾客以及投资者的关系,还有很多其他方面的事情。

为他人工作通常是不同的,其他公司需要员工去做特定工作,并且填补了他们的业务,他们希望员工有专项技能,你必须思考什么是你最擅长的,并集中精力做好。这可能不是立即就能看到的,但是在与他人的交流中可能会变得明显(例如,你正在和另一位创始人谈论关于他们正在招聘的一个职位,而且他们意识到你是比较合适的)。

3. Tailor your pitch and CV to different roles

When you’ve got such varied experience, it’s best to tailor your CV (or resumé) or pitch (if you’re talking face to face) to different roles. Bring out the experience and skills relevant for the position that you’re targeting. If you don’t have huge amounts of experience in a particular area, show how quickly you can learn.

When you’re being interviewed, compare your startup experience to day-to-day life in another organisation, and be clear about how that experience can be beneficial. Show that you understand the business model, and ask intelligent questions.

3.定制你的音调和简历到不同的角色

当你已经有了各种各样的经历,最好对不同的角色定制你的简历或音调(如果是面对面交流的话)。使和你的目标职位有关的经验和技能明显,如果你在某一个领域没有太多的经验,就展示你快速学习的能力。

当你在面试时,在另一个组织里比较你每天的创业经验,并且清楚认识到这一经验可能是有益的,表明你所理解的商业模式,并聪明地问一些相关问题。

4. Avoid HR departments – go direct to the founders

HR people often look after recruitment for an organisation, and act as gatekeepers to the founders or management team, who you would meet at the later stages of an application process.

Unfortunately, HR people will have defined roles that they need to fill, and a list of requirements for each role. In my experience, if you can’t tick all of those boxes, and they have a pile of other applications, you’ll get rejected. There’s little attempt made to look at the potential of a candidate based on previous experience, and they’re much less likely to see your startup as a positive experience.

Founders, on the other hand, are much more open minded. They get how difficult starting a company is, and know just how much you’ve achieved, even if it didn’t work out. They’ll be able to empathise with your position, see your potential and be more willing to take a chance of you.

4. 避开HR部门 – 直接找创始人

HR部门负责公司的招聘,并且在创始人和管理部门之前扮演着守门员的角色,并且将在稍后的面试阶段与他们相会。

很不幸,HR会订立他们需要寻找的职位的角色,并列出每个角色需要的技能。在我的经验之中,如果你不能全部符合这些要求,并且他们还有候选的应聘者,那么你就会被鄙视。根据应聘者的经历来判断他的潜质的方法并不一定有效,而且他们很少去关注你创业开始的经历。

相反,创始人的思想更加开放。他们知道创立一家公司是如何的困难,并且知道你获得了什么样的经历,即使最后你失败了。他们会更肯定你的位置,看到你的潜力,并愿意再慢慢观察你。

5. Be clear about wanting to work for someone else

A lot of people expected me to go away and start another company. Other founders asked what my next idea was, and a few VCs said they were looking forward to seeing me come back and pitch within 12 months. I was clear about my financial need to find employment and support myself, my need for some time off the emotional startup rollercoaster, and desire to learn from other founders and businesses.

Some prospective employers expressed concern about my ability to work for someone else, largely having been my own boss for a long time, and with just a couple of years experience working for others. When challenged on this, I’d point out that as a startup that has raised money you still have accountability (and nowhere to hide) – it’s just to your Board and investors instead.

5. 要清楚认识你是为其他人工作

很多朋友希望我离开公司并再创立另外一家公司。其他创始人会问我有没有其他点子了,还有一小部分风投会希望我在未来的12个月里面可以卷土再来。我清楚知道我需要找一份工作,并养活自己,而且需要休息一段时间,去向其他创业者学习,还有相关的商业知识。

一些雇员会怀疑我为其他人效力的能力,很大程度是因为我在很长时间内都是自己做老板,并且只有很短一段为其他人打工的经历。对于这点,我需要说明,在作为筹集资金的创业阶段,你还是需要向某些人负责(而且无法避免)- 但这些人只是换成了董事会和投资者而已。

6. Be prepared to take a short term contract

Don’t be scared to take a short term contract. You can buy yourself some time to figure out what you want to do long term – and you’ll have some cash in the bank.

This gives you a chance to prove yourself and gain some valuable experience, new connections and new ideas. Remember that the learning curve is usually steepest at the start of any new project – so even if you don’t stay permanently you’ll get a lot from the job.

6. 准备接受一份短期的合同

不要害怕短期合同。你可以争取一些时间来清楚自己想长期做什么——同时你在银行也会有一些存款。

这给你机会去提高自己增加一些有价值的经验,新的关系和新的创意。记住的是学习曲线通常都是在开始任何新项目的时候最陡峭的——所以即使如果你不会长期停留,你也能在工作上获得很多东西。

7. Optimise for learning

Have a long hard think about the reasons why your startup failed, and areas where a bit more knowledge and experience would have made a huge difference.

Try and find a company with exceptional founders, who you’ll get to see in action and making decisions every day. You’ll learn a lot just from being around them. If you’ve never been in a company that’s scaling up, try to find one that is. If you want to start another company in future, that experience will no doubt be invaluable.

In my new job, I get to be part of a rapidly growing company, and get some solid experience in some of my weaker areas (particularly marketing and PR).

7.积极学习

在很长时间思考为什么你会失败之后,如果在这个领域能再多一点知识和经验,结果可能会有很大不同。

寻找并尝试那那些来自卓越的创始人的公司,每一天你都可以看到各种行动方案和商业决定。你就可以在他们身上学到很多。如果你没有到过一家不断壮大的公司,尝试去寻找这么一家吧。如果你以后还想再创立另外一家公司,这些经验决定是很有价值的。

在我新的工作中,我进入了一家迅速成长的公司,并获取了很多我想对较弱的领域的经验(尤其是市场和PR)。

8. Brush up on some skills you’re lacking

A lot of jobs will require specific skills – e.g. a particular programming language, or experience with Excel. If you’re not confident in these areas, put some time in to teaching yourself.

I realised that I needed to improve my Excel skills – so I got online, completed some tutorials, asked some friends for help, and made use of the product for some personal projects. Having a firm grasp of the basics goes a long way. You can learn a lot in a week – you don’t need to have many years of experience.

8. 提升你所缺乏的技能

很多工作需要特定的技能 – 例如某种编程语言,或者使用Excel的经验。如果你对这些领域不太熟练,那么你需要花点时间去自学。

我发现,我需要好好提高自己的excel技能 – 所以我在网上,完成一些教程,请教一些朋友,并且在我的私人项目中好好利用一些产品。掌握坚实的基础知识还有很长的路要走。你在一周内可以学习到很多 – 你不需要拥有多年的经验。

9. Be patient – give it some time

Don’t expect to have offers flooding in overnight, or to get those coffee meetings the next day. You might suddenly have a lot more free time, but the people you need to meet with will be as busy as you were before closing down.

Similarly, give people time to make you an offer after an interview. Companies will have processes to follow or need time to think a decision through. Ask for a timescale – and don’t be scared to chase (by email and phone) when it slips. I found that it took 4-5 weeks from my initial emails to getting a solid offer.

9.耐心点——给它留点时间

不要指望能在一夜之间得到录取通知,或者第二天有在咖啡馆面试。或许你突然有许多空闲的时间,但是那些你需要会见的人却和你创业公司没倒闭之前一样忙。

同样,在一场面试之后给人一点时间去决定你能否得到录取。公司需要遵循一些程序或者需要时间通过一项决议。询问时标——当它丢失的时候不要害怕去追问缘由(通过电子邮件和电话)。我发现从我最初的垫子邮件到得到一个可靠地提议需要花费4-5周的时间。


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