When seeking investors, collaborators, celebrity assistance, fundraising, a unique job opportunity or any other endeavor where one faces competition and must demonstrate their worth as a candidate for an opportunity, one’s “validity factor” will come into play. It is therefore necessary that we are aware of our validity factor and do what is necessary to increase points towards the development of our publicly perceived validity.
What is the Validity Factor?
This is a means by which others measure our accomplishments and whether we are fit for a given opportunity or not. We enhance our validity factor by aligning ourselves with organizations, individuals or experiences that speak on our behalf.
A lender might look at your resume and see that you have a strong educational background. This gives validity points. Even better, the lender sees that you have worked with widely known and highly desirable people, known to the lender as representing quality and success. The validity factor rises. At the same time, they see that you have an abundance of experience for which an opportunity calls. Validity factor rises further.
Venture capitalists see a well developed and professional plan that not only clearly communicates the mission of the business, plan of action and potential for profit, but they can also see that you have raised funds in other areas, leading them to believe that what you are creating is of value (or potentially profitable). Validity factor rises.
You are auditioning for a role in a Broadway production. The casting director sees that you have worked off Broadway and with several known directors. You stand out. Your validity factor rises.
In developing a career in the arts, we need to be aware of public perception of our experience, resume, CV and other declarations of our proof of experience.
The higher your validity factor is, the more attractive you are to receive opportunity.
Jim Hart is the Director of Arts Entrepreneurship Program at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and is the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway, a two year conservatory in Entrepreneurial Arts Training, based in Oslo, Norway.