It’s Graduation Time. Lesson Two.


Prior to reading this you may want to check out It’s Graduation Time. Lesson One.

In the Old Normal extracurricular activities may have made you well rounded. In the New Normal your knowledge of technology makes you king or queen or prince or princess.   Know than the hiring manager or your boss will make you valuable.  The more you can keep us with technology the more you will rise.

You can only control what you bring into the game and how you use the assets around you. College job fairs are nice but are from the Old Normal.  In the New Normal your LinkedIn profile is more important than your resume.

College can tend to homogenize people. Conformity is safe but doesn’t make your distinctive.   Real value comes from distinction and being your own identity.  It is hard to build an identity when you don’t always have a clear focus on who you are.

In the New Normal networking is more important than hanging around with you peers.  You have done that enough already.

In the New Normal creating your own job may be a better way to make money than trying to find a job.

In the New Normal surround yourself a variety of growth mentors. All ages, all disciplines.  Start with digital wizards. Have friends who are programmers even if you are a musician.

In the New Normal you need a career plan for yourself.  Start by finding ways to monetize your passion.  That will provide a career that runs with zero energy and provides positive life emissions.

In the New Normal the distant future is five years.  Twitter is 6 years old, Instagram is 2, and Vine has just been born.  Target industries and markets that will make your more valuable to the job that comes after this one.  Plan your career two steps ahead.

Avoid industries that are going to be Kodak’s in five years.

What skills will make you more valuable in 5 years?  What language should you learn?  What skills should you acquire?  What countries should you visit and expand your connections in?  It’s More Romania than Italy. Nice food though.

When I was in college I was reading books about Watergate.  President Nixon had a couple of advisors that worked for the advertising firm JWT.  I thought that was kind of interesting.  I ended up working at JWT for ten years.  I wasn’t in advertising, in the United States, and knew nobody.  President Nixon used to walk the beaches in San Clemente.  I still talk to my college roommates from Canada. We have drinks on the pier in San Clemente close to where I live.  My college roommate’s sons live in Shanghai. They must have read Marshall McLuhan.

Where are you going to be and live when your college roommates comes to visit you in the future and how are you going to get there?

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

Like Blank and Associates on Facebook

You might enjoy these articles.

Why College Students Need to Get Into Linkedin.

Networking Tips For Young People Who Hate To Network.

Watch this Video on How to Rise Above the Crowd.


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

Like Blank and Associates on Facebook

You might enjoy these articles.

Don’t Let Your Business Cards Weaken Your Personal Brand

The Slash Generation.

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


Why College Students Need to Get Into Linkedin.


I live surrounded by young people.  I have hired paid interns for ten years and often speak on campus colleges on networking and why young people shouldn’t try to get a job.

That’s how I got this nice poster designed by Kyle Ready when I spoke at CBU in Riverside.


I am amazed by how many college students in their senior year that are looking to enter the workforce aren’t on LinkedIn.  Young people are natives in the world of technology.  I was an immigrant to their world of technology.

I embraced LinkedIn as an early adopter.  My largest client last year found me on LinkedIn.

College students who aren’t using LinkedIn lose their native status and become LinkedIn immigrants. They look like they aren’t ready for business. They don’t speak my language. And guess what?  I don’t want to hire them because I don’t want to train them on LinkedIn.  I want to teach them other things.

As a solopreneur I want an intern to help me from the get go.  That’s my world today.  And the world that today’s college students will live in when they are 50.  There are numerous articles documenting that in the near future a large proportion of the workforce will be consultants, freelancers, or temp workers.

When I speak to students I advise them to go where you want to be.  If you want to be in business then use the social media channel that businesses use, and that is LinkedIn. The best way to get a job in the field you aspire to is to engage with the people living in that world. LinkedIn provides you with that opportunity.  If you want to work in the future communicate with people that may hire you in the future while you are in the past.  You should start your job-hunting a year before you graduate or sooner.

I recently met a young man with 500 LinkedIn connections.  He was twenty years old and was soon to graduate from UCI.  I wasn’t surprised. Did the 500 plus connections help him graduate early?  Probably not.  I am sure that his attitude of preparing for the future did.

I have always said some of the worst career advice for students comes from people in the Old Normal.  They focus on resume building.  That’s all good, but resumes don’t appear on the Internet, your LinkedIn profile does.

Today resumes should be info graphics or simple websites.

Young people today will have many jobs in the New Normal or create many companies.

The foundation of their success will be their network.  LinkedIn is a simple platform to build it and amplify your voice.

In the Old Normal there used to be simple insights shared that ran like this.  If you saved a dollar a day starting at 21 you would be a multi-millionaire by the age of 65 based on the principle of compounded interest.

In the New Normal if you connect with one person a day starting in college you can be sure of having lots of social currency and an improved chance of financial currency as well.

LinkedIn can help you get there.

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

Like Blank and Associates on Facebook

You might enjoy these articles.

Don’t Let Your Business Cards Weaken Your Personal Brand

The Slash Generation.

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

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


I had a great time recently speaking to the students at CBU Graphic Design class on How to Rise Above the Crowd.  My presentation was about how to transition learning into a career. My expertise comes from my experience as a person who has to create a job each and every day as a solopreneur in the New Normal.

Young people can certainly get a lot of advice these days on how to get a job.  Most from people who live in the Old Normal and don’t walk the physical or digital sidewalks of the New Normal.

You can listen to politicians who largely live an entitled life and whose hearts don’t beat in the New Normal.

Your college professors will give you advice as well but if they have never worked in the business world and strictly have an academic background their advice will be largely theoretical. Like a nun advising you about birth control. I love you Sister Mary Agnes.

Your parents will give you lots of advice but there is a good chance that if they have been employed for more than ten years with the same company that they found their last job in a newspaper  and not from a recruiter calling them because of their Linkedin profile.

You can get advice from your peer group but that will largely be peer wisdom.  Better for a bar.

First, young people need to understand that your focus shouldn’t be about getting a job; it should be about creating your long term personal brand strategy in the working world of today.  You see in the New Normal you will have at least 12 jobs at different companies but your brand will be yours forever.  Twenty years from now there may be no employees only contract worker bees. You need to focus on developing a long term career strategy versus just a job at just a company.

You need to be a brand within a brand.  Even if you work at Apple you need to have your own personal brand and your own unique identity and it needs to be coherent.  Consistency is key in branding.  Your brand says everything about you.  Your brand includes the way you dress to your personal branding material to your on line social media strategy.  Your social media thought leadership should amplify your brand.

Here are the mandatories for young people today and into the near future.  You must have your own personal website.  You must have your own personal business cards and carry them at all time in addition to the business card of your employer.  You must rock on Linkedin because it is the social media channel of business.  You must own the first page of Google.  All ten postings with a presence that is consistent with your personal brand.  All of the digital platforms that you use must be based on your name and not an alias.  Do not tweet about tacos.  Tweet about show how smart you are.  Most important, develop a powerful personal network that others don’t have that reflects your brand and the resources you uniquely offer.

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 Graduates are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.

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.

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