Instead of filling your life with other people’s stories, gossip, news and social media; fill life with your own stories of action. I encourage you to find and bless the world with your unique value of creation… your creativity, your perspective and your passion shared with the world for the benefit of all, yourself included. Listen in the stead of talking. Walk the talk to let your voice be heard through others. The sound of one rock rolling pales in comparison to the avalanche of action. Let your value flow through you and let nothing stand in its way.
When I tell people that I graduated from Cornell University, there tends to be a certain stigma associated with going to this ivy-league school and I want to clear up some misconceptions of the stereotypes that are made of me. I was not a National Merit Scholar, I was not lucky, I did not have an inside connection there, nor did I come from a rich family: I simply had (and have) determination. It took two rejections before I was finally accepted to Cornell and even then my first semester I received the worst grades I ever had in my life earning a 1.53 GPA with my first ever C, D, and F course grades all in one term. I took winter and summer courses throughout the following three years to make sure that I graduated in 4 years total after only receiving 26 of 42 transfer credits from Washington State and receiving unacceptable grades for graduation in my first semester at Cornell. Graduating from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and is a firm example of my determination, not the result of coming from a big money nor influential family. Thanks for listening to my rant 🙂
Rough Transcript from my Video:
Today’s video is geared toward recent college graduates or graduates to be, whether you’re a senior, or working on your masters or even a PhD. There comes a time in life when you have to enter that scary realm of going out into the “real world” and getting a job.
First and foremost understand that you are not going to walk out of college and get a management job; its not going to happen regardless of the degree you get. I made the same mistake thinking I would walk out of college and be a Vice President, Director, or Manager. I’m know I’m not the only one that has thought this way; many people walk out of college thinking they are going to have a high-paying ($60,000 – $100,000 per year job) with management experience. Be realistic, it is not going to happen.
Secondly be persistent and determined at whatever it is that you truly want to do. Sending out your résumé through the Career Navigators and Monster.com’s of the world doesn’t work anymore; times have changed. I encourage you to adopt an inbound marketing or guerrilla marketing approach to getting the job, creating the job that you truly want. There are ways to create a position for yourself in organizations and industries that you are interested in. Be persistent and truthful about where you really want to go with everyone that you speak with. Most hiring managers today will only glance over a résumé that ends up on their desk without the context of conversation or a relationship connection behind it.
Thirdly, no one is interested in hiring someone who waffles about what they are interested in and throws their resume in every pile hoping for a job. [On a side note, if this is the case, perhaps you need some perspective by getting outside of everything that you are familiar with – read “go travel outside the country”]. If you are determined to work in the companies and the industry of your interest it can happen, but it takes hard work, lots of networking and relationship building.
Networking isn’t just showing up at a mixer [especially if you only talk with people that you already know]. You need to meet the people in and around that organization or company that you are interested in. Start to develop those relationships [meet people for coffee, lunch, a drink, or a round of golf if you have time]. [If you don’t know where to start, or what people at this organization do outside of work, simply ask; ask them if they have few minutes to get together with you to tell you more about their company… people love to talk about themselves, but you have to be willing to listen]. Every time an opportunity presents itself (as is naturally the case when asking people about themselves), be straightforward about what you are true interests, what your goals are, and where you would like to be.
Coming from an engineering and mathematical background I always thought it was about getting the best grades, doing the best that you could at your assignments, and that putting together the best resume was what would get me the job. [In doing that with limited experience, you tend to stretch the truth because you need “x-years of experience” to get the job, but you need the job to get the experience]. Today it is not about the résumé landing on their desk; many hiring managers today actively pursue candidates instead of the wasting time posting an ad or a listing. Many will even pre-qualify applicants by, for instance, doing a simple boolean search in Google (i.e. “site:linkedin.com inurl:in Reno Nevada Solar MegaWatt Project Manager” to find a Solar Project Manager in the Reno area on LinkedIn who has experience with MegaWatt-scale systems). But most hiring managers do not even make it that far; they start by asking through their network of colleagues, friends and family to see who they might know that could be a good fit for their company, for a potential opening, before it is ever posted (in fact it never will be posted).
Even before there is a “Job Description,” many managers are looking for the right people for their team. You need to show them that you are the right people. Perhaps they don’t have the capacity to hire you right now, but if you are determined to work with that company or in that industry, don’t stop turning over new leaves, meeting new people in and around that organization. Create opportunity for yourself.
“Fall down 7 times, stand up 8”
– Japanese Proverb
Determination is the key. Seeking and never giving up. Being creative and finding a way. If you want something bad enough there is no excuse for anything short of making it happen.
In January I gave a presentation in New Orleans where I emphasized “Guerilla Marketing for yourself.” Many people refer to Guerilla Marketing in an annoynomous hacker, secret organization, crazy, “I don’t know who did it” sense; but then again, that’s the key. Do something so different and unique that people want to learn more about you. Capture their interest. Besides, it ‘ain’t all about you.
When you have a purpose, being unconventional can be a very effective means of getting where you want to be. The fact of the matter is that the “traditional” means of generations past are today’s lie. That lie of paying your dues, going to college, applying through traditional means (application, résumé, phone call, interview) and getting a standard 9-5 don’t work in today’s world. Succeeding today requires doing things unconventionally with a purpose. Personally, I have always had an extreme issue with tradition for the sake of tradition, even family tradition. Why do something just to do it? Why do something because it is how things have always been done? What you should do is use your creative genius and your own two legs to market yourself in the most cost effective means possible. The true definition of Guerilla Marketing is using low-cost unconventional means to get noticed.
One of the simplest means is one that I have used for every job that I have every had; find companies and ideas that pique your interest, tell the owner (or whomever you can get a hold of) that you have read about them, like the idea and would love the opportunity to hear more about the idea. Find a way to get in front of them by engaging them with one of their interests. People like to talk about themselves and brag about their successes; be willing to listen. Be persistent, but sensitive; and be genuinely curious and intrigued.
This is an article that was written about my style in the Reno News and Review. I am not saying it right for you, but the point is to be unconventional and you’ll get noticed:
“When Daniel Herr was trying to get a job… he didn’t go banging on their door with his résumé…
“…He gently knocked, asking a few questions about them, just out of curiosity.
“…He learned about their work researching, designing and installing wind, solar and solar thermal systems.
“…Then, as people do in such conversations, they asked Herr about himself.”
My approach may not always be right; in fact I am wrong many times per day. Regardless of how I am pushed and how I am wrong, every time I get knocked down, I stand back up. As long as you stand up more times than you have been knocked down, you are still standing. Cool concept hunh 🙂