Remember what it was like as you neared college graduation knowing you had to set yourself up to be ready for the real world? (Ugh, scary as it was exciting!)

Or if you chose a different path over college, you knew you had to do something to launch your first career at that young age. Regardless, I have two career-enhancing “timeless” tips that will forever be your best assets for all ages.

I spoke to these points in my “Mentor Monday” Zoom call on July 27th with my alumni’s career services stellar program, Aztec Mentor Program. Several hundred alumni make themselves available to mentor seniors ready to graduate each semester. I’ve been a part of the program since 2015. This article and that Zoom call to college grads, speaks to the vital importance of building relationships and connections, given Generation Z, in all fairness, has not well trained or experienced in that life skill.

Golden Nugget:

  • You will have the biggest impact on your life by the inspirational and life skills books you read and the people you meet.Today more than ever it’s vital to build an authentic connection and relationships by talking and meeting with people; not just texting and email. It’s a timeless success principle that will never go away regardless of age group.

Two career-enhancing tips:

  • 1) Create the know, like and trust factor with people – that means take an interest. Introduce yourself and be authentic in how you proceed. I have a story I will share in a moment about what happened to me when I did this very thing to jumpstart my 22-year career in PR.
    • What’s personal is universal. All professionals who have many years of experience were in those shoes before. We were just as hesitant and unsure of ourselves after college entering the job market.
    • It’s always awkward before it gets elegant. No one was great at anything in the early stages. Taking a leap of faith, and repetition is the key to mastering something.
    • My story: I had little confidence right after college to be paid to write and do PR so I avoided it for two years by working at a TV station in San Diego in their production dept until I got bored and realized this is not honoring my love of PR and writing.
    • I was inspired during one serendipitous day at the TV station when I met a visitor my age (mid-20’s) in the green room of our TV station who was a show guest. I was taking a break and meandered into the green room. I initiated a conversation with her.
    • I asked her what she did for a living and she said she was a publicist for Warner Bros. I asked her to explain what a publicist did, as I had no clue! Much to my surprise and delight, it’s all the PR activities I learned in college. I was hooked at that point! That was it! I found the magic I was hoping for that would begin my PR career. I felt over-the-moon excited!
    • That spontaneous meeting changed my whole life. At the time, I was hoping for a break like that. I took it a ran with it by strategically quitting my boring job unsuited for me and temped in the entertainment industry all summer with odd jobs as I looked daily in all the entertainment trades classifieds for entry-level PR jobs.
    • I got my 1st PR job, thus creating a 22-year amazing fun career! All because I was curious, willing to ask questions, and initiate conversation. It changed my whole life! Talk to people.
  • 2) Have an insatiable curiosity. Develop being curious about people and initiate conversation everywhere you go. Master this skill. It will pay off big dividends personally and professionally.

The best, most compelling book on this topic is Brian Grazer’s, Face to Face: The art of human connection. 

  • He is a world-renowned Hollywood producer of Imagine Entertainment who used curiosity and engaging people in conversations as he built the know, like, and trust factor. It was the secret to his illustrious career. All the fascinating stories in his book speak to this. Learn from his expertise! It’s excellent!

Share with me a memory where your curiosity and communication skills served you well.

Tweet: It’s always awkward before it gets elegant. Taking a leap of faith, and repetition is the key to mastering something.  @marladiann  #curiosity #coaching #mastery

Have a blessed week!