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Careers Café

Getting started in the workforce

BY UA/AU | JUN 25 2014

This is a guest post by Kriti Kapoor, a marketing professional, start-up advisor and angel investor, having worked across Asia Pacific & Japan, UK/Europe and the United States. Follow her on LinkedIn at sg.linkedin.com/in/kritikapoor/ and via Twitter @kriti_kapoor.

My incredibly talented cousin graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in May this year. We were talking about her career, job search, and dreams to work in Los Angeles as a screenplay writer. She asked me how I managed to orchestrate a move to New York City from Singapore, nearly two decades ago – a move that proved to be a tremendous launch pad for my career. This was pre-social web — LinkedIn, Twitter, Google were not even on the radar, and I had less than three years of work experience.

Reminiscing with my cousin got me thinking about a few key pieces of advice for others just entering the workforce. This is advice that I wish I had received when I started my professional journey.

1. Get on LinkedIn
This may seem obvious to some, but with over 300 million professionals on LinkedIn, it has never been easier to find and connect with people across any profession, industry, geography and company on the planet. Use LinkedIn to get informed about the type of work you want to be doing.

For example, a quick five minute search on LinkedIn for my cousin got us:

  • 1,190,917 results for film production and 398,169 results for film producer
  • 164,092 people employed in Motion Pictures and Film
  • 20,361 first and second degree connections in film production in my network
  • 18,161 production companies globally, 1,339 based in Greater Los Angeles
  • 4,623 results for people associated with NYU Tisch School of the Arts
  • 729 discussion groups on film production

Invest time to create and update your LinkedIn profile; look at profiles of people who inspire you, see how they describe themselves and their work. Tap into your existing networks (classmates, teachers, professors, friends, family), and invite people to connect with you. Engage in and contribute to the group discussions. The more you participate in discussions, the more people will see how serious you are about advancing yourself.

2. Showcase your body of work
Imagine the body of work you will build over the next 30 or more years. The possibilities are endless to establish yourself as an expert in your craft, globally. Start early and develop your personal voice. Share your unique perspectives on what you learn from the projects you undertake, the presentations you deliver, the people you work with, the markets you serve, the customers you advise, or the businesses you create. Participate in conversations on LinkedIn Groups, Twitter, forums and more to let people know what you are up to.

Learn from authors like Gary Vaynerchuck and Seth Godin and others who are sharing their bodies of work through Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, LinkedIn, blogs, and books. They have successfully established themselves as thought leaders in this new world by putting themselves in the spotlight and sharing their story.

3. Run your own race
Fulfill each dream and build your career like it is a marathon, not a 100 meter dash. I often experience life with a sense of urgency, a competitive spirit and where I benchmark myself against my peer group. This might be symptomatic of the Singapore education system or just me! Remember, there is nowhere to get to, no one to “beat.” Dance to your own tune, focus on your craft, run your own race.

Invest in your ongoing development – allocate a percentage of your annual income to take courses, attend workshops to further educate yourself.

Map out where you would like to be a decade from now, what you want to be known for in your industry, the skills and experiences you would like to build, the people you would like to work with, the organizations you want to impact or the companies you want to create. Then go make that happen. And of course, be flexible – life will throw you curveballs!

Some books I recommend reading to get you thinking about your career development:

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