Jerry's Advice to New Grads

Take a long term perspective: the overarching goal should be to generate as many career options for yourself in May 2016 as possible.
Becoming an attractive candidate to start-ups/entrepreneurs should be an arrow in your career ambition quiver (i.e. along with other arrows...becoming attractive to graduate schools...ditto nonprofits...ditto consulting firms...ditto Wall Street, etc.).
Step #2 on the start-up front is to lay some foundation. While it would great to land something for this summer, if for whatever reason that is not possible, I would still encourage you to network with the Austin-Rice Alliance and build personal relationships. Then during Christmas 2013, start putting out feelers for openings for Summer 2014.
Steal a page or two from Reid Hoffman’s presentation, “Amazing Career Advice For College Grads From LinkedIn's Billionaire Founder“ by introducing yourself to Rajiv Bala and asking, “how can I be of help?/ get involved?”.
Figure out when the next meeting (e.g. open house) is scheduled. If none is forthcoming, figure out a way to invite Rajiv out for coffee. Or meet up with him for lunch. Cultivate him. Make him smarter (e.g. send noteworthy articles his way).
If there is no possibility of getting a face-to-face with Rajiv, and you are forced to write a letter/email,
Volunteer. Gather information, get informed, then we can figure out where to go from there (Step #3). (the beauty of the right volunteering opportunity is to help organize is that it places in a position to see several start-ups before cherry-picking the one you want most to be associated with).

Two things that you may want to give thought to:
(1) Start thinking about your (many) skill sets. Within your current role as a leader at a youth camp, you’ve had to inspire those in your charge. You got terrific experience with tteamwork. I would imagine that over the years, you’ve seen many personality types on your various football teams on which you’ve played. You’ve had to figure out ways to get along with all of them. You now know how to do this and can apply this to the start-up environment with its engineer/ developers-types, marketing types, admin-types. You personally use all manner of mobile devices and cloud services. You’re a Millenial. If the start-up’s business involves selling a product or service to Millennials, you’re a one-person focus group. You’ve learned critical thinking skills in various courses at school etc.
(2) I don’t know how much coding experience you have coming out of high school or how much exposure to it you received this year at Rice. However, as the letter to the editor below concludes, consider picking up the very basics of software programming (e.g. the grammar and the logic of a computer language, familiarize yourself with the concept of APIs).


last updated november 2013