My Video Rant: The Ivy-League Stigma

Video Synopsis

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 🙂

Video Post: Get the Funk Out


Rough Transcript

This video is about getting yourself out of a rut. This video is not for everyone, but for some there are times in life when it feels like you’re just going through the motions, going to the same job via the same rout, running the rat-race, sitting in the same cubicle and “farting in the same chair,” as some might say. There can be times when life loses that excitement and you don’t know how to reinvigorate yourself. You see people around your doing great things with their life, accomplishing things that feel beyond your grasp. You may not know how to push through.

Well the answer is baby steps. Start by doing a little something to make the mind think today. Throw a curveball into your life. Go somewhere different. Shop at a new grocery store, take a different route home. Change it up.

Taking those little baby steps will serendipitously begin to turbo charge the mind. You might stir up old memories, rediscover a passion, meet a new special person, who knows.   Take some time, do a little bit of urban exploring. Make some time. I am sure that will help get you out of your funk. Happiness is a choice; make the choice to push yourself in the right direction and you will be surprised at how much more you are capable of.

My First Video Post: Creating a Job For Yourself After College

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 rĂ©sumĂ© 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 rĂ©sumĂ© 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 rĂ©sumĂ© 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.

Be Persistent.

Please let me know if I can help you in any way. I would love to connect with you @DanHerr on Twitter or LinkedIn.com/DanielHerr