If you are looking to excel at something, to improve, to be better or to become the best, you hang out with best. To make an analogy, and there is not a musical bone in my body if I wanted to be a rock star, who would I spend my time with and who would I listen to; a rock star and his or her circle of influence, right? Of course!
When I was growing up, I had a notebook full of my favourite musicians’ photos and lyrics, at that time Mariah Carey, 3T, Destiny’s Child were popular. I could get all these lyrics every Sunday from the Daily Nation Newspaper. I had crammed all the lyrics of the songs I liked. If I had been tested on the lyrics of 3T, I wouldn’t have missed a single word. What if we did the same with our careers, I know it sounds boring. But if you are in high school, college/university, you’ve already heard people complaining how difficult it is to stand out from the large pool of job seekers in the career world and how opportunities to network with industry experts and professionals might not be easily accessible to all. So to prepare you for your career after education, you need to ask yourself, “Who is the star in you chosen field of work?” I am not talking about your neighbour whom you claim is tech savvy, but he never leaves the house, just plays computer games all day. I am talking about real stars in the industry: Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, President Obama or Trump in politics (depending on whom you admire), Julie Gichuru in Media and Journalism, Chris Kirubi in investment and businesses, amongst others.
I know what you are going to say, “How do you expect me to meet these people and hang out with them?”
The Use of Social Media
A survey conducted by Facebook showed that 2.5 million Kenyans below the age of 35 spend more than six and half hours per day on Facebook. That is a quarter of your day! And if you are not using it to develop yourself, then you should rethink your priorities. This goes for both job seekers and millennials who already have jobs but want to achieve more in their industry. You could join groups dedicated to professional growth on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and develop a network of contacts that might be willing to help you get an internship, temporary job, or perhaps a volunteer position. Also, spend time on LinkedIn to develop your professional network. Join groups dedicated to your intended line of work to further develop your network. Read all you can about your industry, and engage in meaningful interaction with members of your professional groups.
Social Media is a double-edged sword, and you decide which side of the sword to use! Tweet This
Being just a graduate is no longer enough, acquiring educational certificates is just the beginning, and if you are telling yourself that you want to be great in your field of work, you finish your Bachelors, maybe a Masters Degree then you think that’s enough for you to achieve your career goals, you might have to rethink again. Educational certificates are just enough for someone to lend you an ear, and if you have no substance in what you are about to say, you lose an opportunity that could have changed your life.
Through social media, you will also be aware of any upcoming events that might be of interest to you, company charity events, volunteer opportunities, you can get to network with people already working in the companies that you are interested in. Use social media to your advantage. Stalk the experts in your field (metaphorically) instead of stalking the so-called “socialites”, your crush or your ex.
Read, Read, and Read Widely
I completely understand that this might not be appealing to someone who has just finished their studies, but it is important to know that, great books will take months and years off of the learning curve that often keeps people from becoming the expert in their field.
The Person you will be in 5 years is based on the books you read and the people you surround yourself with today.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
Invest in books written by industry experts, and if in your field of work, no experts have written a book yet, through following them on social media, you can find out what they like reading and read what they are reading. Find out what they feed their brain with and feed your brain with the same.
I understand, that a job seeker’s budget can be tight, and therefore if you can’t afford books, subscribe to the experts mailing list, read their blogs, any articles they publish online, magazines, business journals, be a sponge and absorb knowledge from the experts. For the ones who don’t like reading books, you can watch their documentaries, autobiographies or biographies.
And as you continue developing your career, strive to remain Curious, Be Teachable, and accept that you will always be a continuous Work In Progress!