In this three part series, we catch up with the CEO of Zomato UK, Kimberly Hurd, to grill her on what key skills the new generation of tech entrepreneurs need to survive in the post-recession world.
We are, thankfully, on the tail-end of 2008's devastating financial crash. Now as technological advances sow the seeds of growth for more start-ups, more jobs for skilled IT professionals are springing up across the UK.
The financial crisis demonstrated that the saying "too big to fail" is simply not true, and as a result a new paradigm of what employers are looking for has risen to the forefront. The tremors of this shift has shaken the structure of business all the way down to the humble CV, so just what makes an exceptional résumé now?
According to Kimberly Hurd, CEO of Zomato UK, as she came off stage after her talk at Startup Grind London, there are a number of things you can do to demonstrate your value to C-level executives.
CV essential qualities
After a recent round of hiring, Kimberley shared with ITProPortal the process they use for finding the right talent who can help build and drive their business forward. One tough truth about running a start-up is that the success or failure of the business is based on the effectiveness of the team, so CEOs of start-ups need to be incredibly picky with who they choose to join their team.
I hesitate to use the term "employee" here because when you join a start-up you are joining a team. Kimberly told us that Zomato's power structure is flat, which means that all members of Zomato provide feedback to each other. Due to Zomato encouraging responsibility, accountability and autonomy, like a lot of other start-ups, the three traits Kimberly values are:
This means a person who is willing to undertake tasks and use their initiative when solving problems, and who has enough personal strength to trust themselves and those around them. A person with these traits work well by themselves and as part of a team and learn that taking calculated risks are more beneficial than not.
To be optimistic is to inject energy into situations, to focus on solutions or alternative routes around a problem. Similarly optimists focus on what can go right so attempt more strategies and if those strategies fail they get back up and try again because "hey, it didn't go so bad the first time."
Accountability means owning your decisions; people are far more forgiving and accepting of those who admit to their mistakes and faults. When you take responsibility for your actions you demonstrate confidence but also a willingness to be wrong and subsequently corrected.
How to show off
As anyone whose hired anyone can tell you, most advertised jobs will receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants who are all "team players" with "good communication" and a "great work ethic." Even if you wrote that you had "entrepreneurism," "optimism" and that you were "accountable" Kimberly still wouldn't hire you. She told us that CEOs aren't interested in reading a load of buzzwords that are on the page because the applicant did a Google search.
To make your CV stand out you need to include evidence. Merely saying that you are "such and such" is worthless. "Entrepreneurial" is just a word, but several sentences that show you took a calculated risk and used a new method to solve a problem demonstrates the trait.
In writing there is a saying; "show, don't tell" to encourage the reader to come to their own conclusions rather than ramming an idea down someone's throat. By providing examples of your traits you demonstrate that you've thought about your actions, you've got previous experience and you understand that actions speak louder than words.
Joining the team
Particularly with newer companies the idea that you'll fit in with the company culture is a huge one. Many of the start-ups in play today, were created when people in a well-paid job, doing something they hated, with people they didn't like, realised that instead of working hard, working smart made more sense.
Part of working smart is creating and populating an environment that allows people to enjoy work and to allows a level of creativity to flow. In order to create that environment it's important to find the right people who'll fit in.
Demonstrate your qualities by providing examples. Talk about how participating in a sports team taught you how to communicate better, talk about how having children gave you a drive to build something, talk about things you love and why you love them and you'll stand out from the crowd.
Check out part two of our insights from Zomato where we share valuable tips on how to get startup finance or part three which expands on Kimberly's points on how to attract and retain talented people.
Image credit: Startup Grind