Advice for Class of 2014

It is over 1/2 my lifetime ago since I was 22 and in that time there have been many lessons that I have learned that has me where I am today. I will say, that when I look at the following list, I realize I am continuously working on these things every day. #IfIWere22

1. Work hard, work smart and mean it. Be in the moment. Old habits of looking at the clock during class and counting down the minutes until it was over are gone. Work is at minimum 1/3 of your life, experience it, don’t just do it.

2. Follow your dream, even if it isn’t paying you anything yet. Get a job that pays, and learn all you can from it, then work on your dream during other hours. ie. If you have to wait tables to pay the rent, volunteer or intern in your dream industry to build the skills, prove your abilities and commitment and eventually work yourself into a paid position.

3. Be honest. If you screw up, own it. Work to fix it. Don’t ever throw co-workers under the bus to cover up your mess, it will come back to haunt you.

4. Do not talk badly about your boss or the company to anyone that you work with…ever! Conversations should be around where there is a challenge let’s brainstorm on what we can do to fix it. You never know, your ideas could have a positive impact on the process or culture of the company.

5. Read as much as you can about your industry, company, trends and innovations. Become the expert.

6. Be a thought leader, blog and share your thoughts on subjects related to your field. CLICK HERE to learn how to publish on LinkedIn.

7. Give back. Help others succeed. Share your knowledge and talents with others without the mindset of what you will get out of it.

8. Grow your network. Before you forget them, connect with all of your Professors. They know people. If I were connected to all my connections and co-workers before 2008 (when I got on LinkedIn) my network would be doubled at least. And, although I have connected with many, remembering names and finding them all is quite a challenge. So, connect with everyone you work with, for and near. Connect with family and friends and people you meet at the gym. The power of LinkedIn is the rolodex. Not just your rolodex but the rolodexes of your connections. LinkedIn gives us the ability to search and filter who we know to connect with whom we want to know…and that it career changing. See a job posted? Pop in the company in the search bar, click on “how you are connected” and get some warm introductions and referrals into the company of your dreams. ( CLICK HERE for the step-by-step directions.)

9. Get recommendations. Go back to your professors and employers and ask the for a LinkedIn recommendation, often they are more powerful that a written letter of recommendation. It is connected to you for as long as you accept it, and it links back to that person for their whole career.

10. Be kind. Be the best person you can be. Make the best choices and consider all consequences of the actions you may take.

11. Think before your talk, your words are your character and your reputation.

12. Read your emails out loud before you hit send. And, don’t ever send anything you might regret later.

13. Don’t share anything on social media you wouldn’t put on the desk of your employer. You are being Googled…make sure you are proud of what they are reading. Make sure your LinkedIn Profile represents you well. CLICK HERE to see the top 10 profile tips.

14. Only love good people. Surround yourself with friends and partners that are the types of people you strive to be.

15. Choose to be happy!

At 22 the world is waiting for you, go take it on and enjoy every inch of the journey.

#IfIwere22

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