Alex K. | 22 July 2016
If you're digging the blog cover image (Home Alone), chances are that you'll benefit the most from my new blog page. Not because my posts will cover nostalgic 90's movies (although I can't promise an absence of references), but because I'm assuming you're following closely in my trail.
What I mean by that is...I'm going to assume that you're somewhere between the ages of 20 and 30. If that's true, then I'm in the right ballpark and I hope my recent and ongoing lessons can help you in your own personal endeavors. My mission is to provide a quick, free, and simple set of guides to help you with your career navigation.
Let's face it - finding effective mentors and people you can trust is difficult. I'm sure we'd all love a successful mentor like Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, or Barbara Corcoran (Shark Tank), but that's easier said than done. Successful people are busy, and they're usually tied up maintaining their own success. More importantly, I've found that advice is often too far in the future. For example, sure, I'd love to learn about "How to take a company to IPO" or "The aspects of being a Board member", but I'm at least 10 years from that, even in an optimistic light.
Instead, I recall the critical struggles of transitioning from college life to "the real world" (another great, but also horrible, 90's memory). I know there are universal and natural transitions like taking on more financial responsibility, and adding some variance to your social life (beyond blacking out), but there are even more critical experiences to understand, and the faster you learn them, the better!. Examples include: How to effectively network and not seem like you're just being superficial? What are the most effective ways to find a job? Understanding your unique personal value that companies want. Making smart decisions and investments in graduate school (or not). How to write a genuine resume that best communicates your value? How to pursue entrepreneurial ventures with a post-college bank account? How to crush interview opportunities that come your way? Seeing the big picture, and understanding leadership too.
This is the start of the list, and there are many more topics and sub-topics, but it provides the highlights. I'm sure you can relate to at least a couple of these.
I anticipate that your next thought might be "Why should I trust this stranger's advice?" And if that didn't cross your mind, it should have!
One of the challenges today is that we're constantly bombarded with advice and subtle requests to trust people, product, services, and data sources that we don't even know. This is part of the reason Amazon has a highly successful Customer Review section, and I can guarantee that the reviews hold a pretty high weight for you when you're considering making a purchase. This is because you TRUST them more so than a company or someone that you haven't even met. It's really genius.
The truth is that gaining trust is very hard. One of my favorite quotes is "It takes a lifetime to form a relationship, but only a second to break it". For anyone who's been on the receiving end of broken trust, you can relate. So in light of that, my answer to your hypothetical question is...it will take time. However, here is my start - I'm not too far from where you are now. I don't want to turn this into a story of "me's", "I's", and personal stories, but I've accrued some valuable experience in my 5 years since undergrad. More importantly than the experience though, I genuinely enjoy helping people. I don't know why, but I do (which is most of what networking is about, by the way). This will be partly an experiment for me, but I've already helped several people in their career, and I look forward to mimicking that success and doing the same for you. I don't promise that I'll land you a job, but I do guarantee you'll learn a thing or 2 along the way (otherwise I wouldn't be spending my Friday night writing this post).
My first piece of advice is this - In order to reach some personal goal, you absolutely have to take chances. You have to jump in, and take a leap of faith with no worries of hitting the ground. For each company or person that turns you down, let that fuel your motivation even more. And in that process, seek and take advantage of the like-minded resources that you find. They're not easy to find, but they're out there. I guess that's one of the main reasons for these blogs. Hopefully after each one, you realize you're not alone, and you can figure it out. I'm happy to help.
In order to get somewhere you've never been, you have to do something you've never done.