It’s Graduation Time. Lesson One.


It will be graduation time soon.

So what kind of world will you be graduating into?

There will be at least two worlds.

The first is one you can’t control and that world is called the New Normal.

The New Normal Started in September 2008 when the world almost melted when Lehman Brothers went away. You may have never heard of Lehman Brothers.  They were a 156 year old company when you were in your teens.  Those effects are still being felt today.

It probably didn’t mean as much to you then as it did to your parents.  But then again you may be graduating from a school neither you nor your parents wanted you to attend because of it.

It may have happened before you even entered college but it has defined the world you are graduating into.  Things are getting better but things are different and you will live in that difference unless it changes.

The New Normal affected your college experience.  Few courses and more competition for them. Larger class sizes. Longer graduation times.  I read an article in the New York Times that only half of first time college students graduate in 6 years.

What’s up with that?  I went to the University of Western Ontario which you have never heard of and I got two degrees by staying for 6 years.  That’s how I got to California.

In fall 2012, a record 21.6 million students are expected to attend American colleges and universities, constituting an increase of about 6.2 million since fall 2000. More people for fewer jobs.  I graduated into the kind of past.

The average student college debt will be $27,000. Yea.

The current unemployment rate in the U.S. is 7.7%  Better.

The unemployment rate among people under 25 is 16%. Ouch

The unemployment rate among people under 25 in Spain is 55%. That gets people into the streets. As the Rolling Stones sang in the 60’s the time is right for fighting in the street boys.

That world didn’t impact graduates much in the Old Normal but it is does in the New Normal.  As Marshall McLuhan said when I was going to school “It’s a Global Village”. You may have never heard of him and you may not have been to Spain but you are living his prediction.

You need a new lens to see in the New Normal.  In the Old Normal your parent’s friends were more old people.  In the New Normal they are data bases. Mine them.

The second world is the one that you can control and that is the world you personally create around you. How well resourced are you?  How well LinkedIn are you?  How resilient are you?  How well rounded are you?  What would make you interesting to a company? How wide is your network?

More on that in Lesson Two.  Soon to come.

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

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The Slash Generation.

Watch this Video on Why Young People Shouldn’t try to Get a Job.


The Slash Generation


I spend a lot of time with Millennials.  I knew many when they were teenagers. Some younger.  I have used smart paid interns for over a decade.  My first intern now works at Oakley.  Another intern that worked for me in the past recently got married.  His new bride works for Oakley as well and reports to my first intern.  Yes pretty crazy.  I have written about some ideas in this area in a post called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.

I recently went to a New Business Conference up in LA sponsored by Think LA.  One of the closing panelists was Mike Sheldon the CEO of Deutsch LA a very large and successful agency.

He shared a comment that resonated with me. Not totally sure about the context but he talked about using the power of account coordinators/slash video people and using their passion to get things done at the agency.  As I remember they used them for research or interviews.  They were hired to do one thing but their passion skills were also being utilized in other ways.  That only happened because they were recognized.  Somebody saw the slash skills.

Now CEO’s of major agencies rarely talk about harnessing the power of entry level people but that has been something I have doing for years.  Maybe I live closer to them.  I bet Mike has children.  I bet he has a daughter.  I could be totally wrong.

I believe that we can do great things by capturing the power of the Slash Generation. It is a win win opportunity.  Many young people have a hard time entering the work force and many employers often try to evaluate young people by old rules and need to change their hiring lens. I am not talking about the advertising industry here.  It has always embraced outliers to a degree.  Few companies today would hire somebody with no college degree that studied calligraphy like Steve Jobs.

I believe that the Slash Generation also needs to bring their slash skills to the forefront more and not neuter them. Conformity shouldn’t be the aspiration of youth.  It is the compromise of later life.  Forget your parent’s resume template.  That is from the Old Normal.  The resume, bio, curriculum vitae of the Old Normal has to become an infographic of you. Can’t do an infographic then make it highly visual. Young people don’t read and old people are tired of reading.  It should outline both your achievements and your passions. Do not suppress you passions.  Photography, building computers, being a DJ can be valuable to the right company.  If companies don’t get it they aren’t right for you.

If companies want to hire their potential future success based on the criteria of the Old Normal they will be left behind. Company growth doesn’t come from rigidity.  It comes from adapting and reinvention. Who better to reinvent you that the future generation?

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank


You can watch a video by Hank on Networking Tips for Young People.

You can also read some other blogs that may be able to help you.

Graduating Into a Recession

The New Glass Ceiling.

Why Young People Shouldn’t Try to Find a Job.

Networking Tips for Young People Who Hate to Network.

Why MBA Schools Need to Teach a Course On What To Do When You Get Fired.

The Best Graduation Gift You Can Give Your Children.


I have spoken on many campuses on networking for over a decade now and I have written many posts hopefully helping today’s young people become better networkers.

One of my most popular blogs remains Networking Tips for Young People and College Students Who Hate to Network.

I have also written on Why Graduates are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places and Teach your Children to Network Well.

I believe that the new glass ceiling is the one encountered by today’s youth.

Besides my own children there are always been many young people in my life constantly.  My blogs have connected me with young people across the world who have reached out to me because what I wrote touched something in them.  I have used college students to help me with my consulting business ever since I started it.

So Graduation Time is coming up soon.  The unemployment rate among college graduates has been slowly declining but remains high.  Many students question the value of their college loans when they compete for jobs with the previous year’s graduating class who are still looking for jobs.

The best graduation gift you can give your children is your network and teaching them on how to be great networkers. I can tell you from personal experience your kids will initially not embrace it but as they mature they will see the value of networking.

One thing that young people learn to appreciate is the efficiency of networking once they learn it.  Young people love efficiency.  That’s why they cryptically text versus e mail because it is quick and fast.  They know that a Google search connects them with a vast network.

When their network builds and they see how a few calls can provide them with solutions they buy into its power.  They learn how a well resourced network can make their life easier and they like easy because they have lots to do.  Not really but I don’t want to get any texts from my kids.

The first thing you should teach your children about networking is that networking isn’t about going anywhere.  Networking is about being connected with the people around you not going to places.  If you want to be really good at something you have to do it all the time not once a week.  You need to connect with people all the time. You need to live your life with an attitude of engagement not isolation.  Networking is really about just talking to people.  You start doing that and you will turn your city into a village.

The worst thing you can do is to do it for them. I often get e mails from parents asking me to help their kids try to get a job or connect with someone.  They attach their children’s resumes. That’s not the way to do it.  I would rather have your kids connect with me.  That is the way they get empowered.

Also don’t try to teach them how to get a job based on the way you got your job.  You worked in a world where how long you worked at a company was seen as a value and something to be respected.  In the new world we make movies called Up in the Air.

Your children must also learn to master Linkedin.  The New Normal resume.  Share some of your connections with them to get them started.  Ask your friends to Linkedin with them.  Want to do something for them.  Pay for a professional photograph of them.

In the Old Normal, the old model was that your kids might one day work for you.  In the New Normal, your exit plan may be working for your kids. I am looking forward to it. The stronger their children’s network is the greater the chance that scenario could become a possibility.  We have all witnessed what happens when the world melts and the world will always be prone to it happening again.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Connect on Facebook

Watch his video on Why MBA Schools Need to Teach a Course on What to Do When You Get Fired.

The New Glass Ceiling


We all know about the term Glass Ceiling which refers to the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.

I think that today’s glass ceiling is very low.  Today’s glass ceiling is the barrier that young people face in getting their first solid career position.  I would say it is probably the hardest it has been for youth to get a job for decades.

Many young job seekers find their job prospects somewhat bleak.  I have read that the unemployment rate among young people aged 16 to 24 is around 17% and I am sure that number is probably understated.

Unemployed youth is a global factor that has lead to unrest in many countries around the world. In Spain, the unemployment rate among young people is around 50%.

Recently I spoke to the Student Bar Association at Whittier Law School.  The biggest challenge that students were facing was encountering the full funnel of graduates from the last couple of years that have not landed and we competing for the same jobs.  There is a large inventory of unhired lawyers.

A belief in future opportunity has always been vital for youth.  It leads to optimism and a general sense of pending improvements in society. It must never be dampened. It is vital to both the growth of financial and social currency.

When I graduated, the job situation was also quite bleak as there were millions of Baby Boomers graduating at the same job and simply not enough jobs.  I was lucky that in Canada at that time there were some safety nets and programs to help the transition and soon I found my first job in advertising.  I think sometime it helps to be oblivious to doom and gloom news as a young person and forge your own trail.

So how do you break through today’s glass ceiling if you are looking for your first job?

Well first you have to start networking earlier in your life and learning how to capture the power of networking to get your first job and all the jobs you will land in the future.  I have written about this before in my blog called Networking Tips for College Students and Young People that hate to network. It remains my best read blog ever.

I have also written a blog for young people called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.  When things change you have to change.  The animals that emerged from the ice age were not the biggest and the strongest but the ones that adapted the quickest.  Eight of the ten services I offer today in my suite of marketing services I didn’t do ten years ago. Reinvent constantly.

You also have to start on your job quest much earlier and Go Where You Want to Go.   Sure it is an old song lyric but there is some truth to it.  Today you need to go where you want to work.  Develop a list of the five companies that you want to work for in the coming years and engage with them in the New Normal.  Connect with their people on Linkedin, post content on their Facebook page, Tweet their content.  Make relevant and learned noise to create awareness about you.  Don’t send them your resume.  Write the head of the department where you want to work and tell them you want to work for them when your graduate and continue to communicate with them on an ongoing basis.  Start this while you are a Junior.  Yes a Junior.

I also believe that today’s well travelled and experienced job holders should help to mentor today’s young and emerging graduates.  I think this is a great opportunity for people in transition.  Young people can probably help you develop some skills particularly in the social media space.  And young people can pick up some life skills that experience provides.  For me that’s a powerful Each One Help One Promise.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank


Watch a video on Why Graduates are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.