In the past few weeks, a long time friend asked me to meet with his younger brother. His ask was to help him determine what type of job would be best for his next gig. He’s in his early 20’s and has been out of college for over a year now. That’s all I knew.

I set up a coffee chat with him. I tried to understand more of what he’s interested in and why he’s not loving what he is currently doing. And we all know, everyone has their reasons for not loving a job – from the people you work with to your boss to the work you are doing. He had his reasons and I completely understood them.

As a side note – In the past, when I have been asked to chat with a friend about career/job stuff, I always felt a smidge bit of pressure.  Genuinely, if someone asks me to chat with them about their career or job, I’m honored. But I want to ensure they leave our conversation with valuable tips that they can utilize for the rest of their life.

That’s exactly what I did with my friend’s brother. I spent some time discussing various roles that I believed he would be a good fit for, but I then took the time to give him 3 tips that I believe he can keep in his career reservoir for the rest of his life:

  1. Networking. What it really means.

In the dictionary, network means an arrangement of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines.  Do you get it? …Me either. Let me explain from my experience, not the dictionary’s.

During my college internship, I had a phenomenal manager who was not just my boss, but my teacher, my leader, and someone who dedicated their time and effort to ensure I succeeded at a young age.

One thing she taught me was how to network. In one of our one-on-one meetings, she handed me a post-it note with three names on it. She looked at me and she said, ‘Lauren, I want you to email each one of these people, tell them who you are and setup a 30 minute meeting with them.’ My first few thoughts were, ‘What in the world am I going to talk about with these people? And why would they want to meet with me anyway?’ She told me, ‘You are going to learn to network with these people.’ Whatever that meant.

She proceeded to explain to me background on each person so I had some context. But ultimately, she told me to generate my own questions for them and build an organic conversation so I could genuinely get to know them.  Then she said, at the end of your meeting, ask them for 3 additional people to meet and have a similar conversation with. Following those discussions, ask each of those people to recommend 3 additional people. And so on. The networking began. By the end of my internship that summer, I had met with 87 people. Crazy huh?

Ever since then, I have cultivated many relationships that have not only helped me get various roles in my young career, but have taught me more than I could have ever imagined.

Many people may relate networking strictly to their job or career and realistically, that is where we discover it.  But at the end of the day, networking is all about building relationships, inspiring and serving others, and sanctioning various learnings from some pretty amazing people.

My hope for those of you reading this is that you embrace anyone that crosses your path. Schedule a coffee date or Skype call and get to know them.  You may be able to encourage them and they may be able to inspire you. Allow the horizontal and vertical lines intersect!

2. The 3 H’s.

Whether you are interviewing for a position, been in your current industry for many years or very few, or eager to start something new – there are 3 H’s that you can always refer to:

1. Hungry

In everything that you do, be hungry. Go after what you want. If you don’t have a strong desire for what you are doing, stop doing it. Take the risk. Do the job that excites you and provokes a deep hunger in your mind, body, and soul.

2. Honesty

We’ve all heard the phrase – honesty is the best policy. Well….it is. Honesty can be hard sometimes. Identifying the right approach for the right person can be very difficult especially with nerves and emotions thrown in the mix. But no matter what the work situation, honesty will always triumph in the end.

3. Humility

As people ‘climb the latter’ so to speak – there can become some air or ego that heightens, which can be perceived as arrogant or egotistical.  No matter how far you go in your career, humility is key in being a leader. No one will want to follow you if you are too proud. Keep your head held high and strut your stuff – no one said you can’t be confidence. But always remain humble while you’re doing it.

3. Serve Others.

I touched on this a bit in my first tip, but it deserves a separate call out.

We are all busy. We have family, friends, work, and a social life to maintain. I get it and I have to balance all that fun stuff on a daily basis.  But there is always time for anything we ‘want’ to make time for.

I want to rally everyone to set a goal – once a month, dedicate time to serving and empowering others.  Take a Saturday with your girlfriends, go to a homeless shelter, and serve. Become a mentor to someone at work or a friend within your social circle. Volunteer time at your church. There are so many ways to get involved in your community or work. Let’s do it!

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