Poor Career Advice For Young People.


I got a couple of emails recently. Both had graduated from the same school decades apart.  One introduced to me a young man who had recently graduated and was looking for a job.

A solid networking strategy is to reach out to your Alumni.  I went to the University of Western Ontario which is a long way from where I sit in Orange County, CA.  Yet I can do a LinkedIn search and plug in my zip code and the school name and over 100 people who went to Western pop up. Continue reading


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.

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


Networking Tips for College Students and Young People Who Hate to Network


I have spoken on college campuses for many years now.  The thought of networking was a foreign concept to students in the past.  Oh, and I am not talking about being on Facebook. That is socializing, not really networking in a business sense.

I think when students thought of networking they thought “UGH, I rather stick a fork in my eye!”

I think attitudes are changing now because students see the impact of the recession in their households and know they need a lot of tools to successfully enter the job market.

So here are some of my networking tips for college students who hate to network.

First, hope is not a plan.  When my kids were growing up I used to have a saying on my fridge.  “Hope is Not a Plan.”  I hope I get into that class, I hope I pass, I hope I graduate etc.  You need a plan of action to achieve your academic goals and it is the same with networking.  You should set a strategy for what you want to achieve and who you need to meet to get you there.

You need to intensively focus your activities on getting a job. That’s key today. You need to use all of the tools available to you. You don’t have much of a choice. That means attending events where there are lots of adults versus student networking groups.  Hey, don’t get me wrong,  I think being involved with PRSA student chapters is great but the jobs and internships are at the mainstream PRSA and IABC Chapters.

It is pretty basic but you need business cards.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  If you have any design or creative courses at your school, connect with those people and have them design your cards so they are unique and distinctive.  Believe me gents, handing out business cards will make you look like much less of a… (I will let you fill in the blanks).

Register your own domain name by buying your name. You may move a lot but your personal URL will be your permanent address. It will help your SEO and the background checks that will be done in the future, will be yours forever.  Find your favorite geek to build you a one page landing page. You will keep building it for the rest of your life and that’s what websites will become in the future.

Then, hit your parents up for a budget to attend networking events.  The majority of events have student rates.  I think your parents will be more receptive to funding you attending networking events than going to Vegas for the weekend.

You need to master Linkedin.  You have no choice because that is what HR departments use.  Use a business type photo on your profile.  I can guarantee that you will look very impressive if you have a complete profile with lots of connections and recommendations.  Get recommendations from your Profs, part time jobs, volunteer connections etc. Post updates daily, not about your favorite taco but about the networking events you are going to attend.

Another tip is don’t think of your parents friends as old people.  Look at them as data bases,  Linkedin with them.  If they are in a field you are interested in, ask for a courtesy interview.  Trust me, they will be eager to help.  Most parents are instilled with secret wiring code that says you must help your friends and peers children.  It is an unwritten rule.  Leverage it.

Create the world you want to live in the future by forming it with your networking activity today.  If you want to connect with people with lots of social currency then volunteer and attend fund raising events which are excellent networking events.  A lot of people prior to the recession used to live in a world of “this is what I got.”  We saw a lot of that in the last decade.  It didn’t last and neither did its values.  These are the times to live in a world of “this is how I can help.”

Let it define your networking strategy.

Remember it is up to you to reinvent the world to your vision and create the promise of change that all ages embrace.

To contact Hank to speak to your school, company or any organizations you may be involved with send him an e- mail at hank@hankblank.com or tweet him @hankblank

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