Developed by Brian Hanley, Master's of Engineering degree candidate at Lehigh University

Developed by Brian Hanley, Master's of Engineering degree candidate at Lehigh University
Once a history major, I'm now making history developing innovative products to improve processes. I'm not a millionaire. I'm an expert at nothing. I'm simply here to share what I've learned.

1. Study what you love, do well, and get involved.

love

2. Create a personal brand and tell your story. Share whatever makes you unique with the world. Even if nobody’s listening, a falling tree most definitely makes a sound.

rap

3. Trim down your résumé. Keep only the highest quality content.

4. Customize your cover letters, or at least parts of them, to demonstrate the unique value you’d provide to each company.

5. Network frequently. When you find yourself bored on Facebook, log out and log into LinkedIn. Focus on establishing meaningful, knowledge-sharing relationships. Invest in yourself by building your professional network one connection at a time.

link

Flickr/linkedin

6. Network effectively. On LinkedIn, connect with alumni in your industry. If you graduated from Temple and want a consulting job in Philadelphia, conduct an advanced LinkedIn search for “Temple University,” “Consulting,” and “Philadelphia.” Now, once you’ve identified Temple alumni in your industry, don’t blow your chances by trying to impress them. Rather, introduce yourself, tell your story, and inquire about theirs.

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Flickr/network

7. Avoid energy drink-peddling, multi-level marketing schemes at all costs. If you’re dedicated to becoming a caffeine pusher, do it because you love energy drinks. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I envy you.

energy

Flickr/energydrinks

8. Diversify your career options. Never put all your eggs in one basket. The job market is one big numbers game. Apply to positions early and often. You’re far more likely to miss out on your dream job if you don’t know that it exists. Find it before someone else does.

9. Take control of the situation. Seek out attractive companies, startups, non-profits, etc., even if they’re not hiring, and inquire about future openings.

Office Politics: A Rise to the Top

Flickr/upward

10. Practice interviewing. In preparation for behavioral interviews, learn the S.T.A.R. Method. This effective formatting technique helps structure your interview answers in terms of a Situation, Task, Action, and Result (S.T.A.R.). Reflect on a time when you overcame a challenge. What specific actions did you take? Now, articulate how those actions influenced the outcome in your or your team’s favor.

11. Prepare thoroughly for interviews, but never too much. Research the company and the position. Develop a clear narrative that your résumé supports. Rehearse that narrative and incorporate the S.T.A.R. Method to validate your qualifications with specific examples.

dog

Flickr/studydog

12. Handle behavioral interviews no differently than you do conversations. Listen to understand, not to reply. You have one mouth and two ears. Consider speaking half as often as you listen. That being said, always prepare what you’re going to do and say moments before actually committing.

interview

Flickr/stevejobs

13. Embrace failure. If you don’t land your dream job initially, try to find out why. Accept that your dream job might take years to secure. In the meantime, treasure every opportunity that life brings your way.

14. Be honest. Be yourself. You shouldn’t feel pressured to fake anything. You’re the person who was invited to this interview. You’re the person who’s qualified for this job. You’re capable of achieving whatever you believe you’re capable of achieving. Follow your passion and perseverance to the doors that will open just for you at the perfect time. You belong where you’re appreciated.

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BossPerhaps, in 2013, you didn’t finish a novel, due, not to your short attention span, but rather, the bombardment of literary choices at your disposal. Perhaps, in 2013, you didn’t commit to a relationship either, overwhelmed with the sheer number of bicep bearing or sideboob sporting singles available in your social networks. Perhaps, even while reading this, you’re simultaneously checking emails and notifications, wondering anxiously, is another blog really worth 60 seconds of my life?

 

The fact is, in 2014, with the world becoming hotter, flatter, and rapidly more crowded, we’re caught inescapably in a crippling blizzard of choices. And the problem is, we don’t even know what we want anymore. We only know what we don’t want. Counterintuitive indeed, we find ourselves paralyzed by too much of a good thing.

 

Choice overload coupled with our insatiable desire for excess raises our expectations to insurmountable heights. Since satisfaction is the difference between reality and our expectations of it, we tend to remain dissatisfied with the reality of our decisions. Our freedom of choice proves ultimately paradoxical in that it inevitably results in regret.

 

To help cope with choice overload and subsequent regret, consider these tips:

 

1. Lower your expectations to the point at which you’re satisfied with reality.For example, don’t expect to finish every bestselling novel, but read often for pleasure.

 

2. Forget the number of fish in your sea of social networks. Treasure anyone and everyone who life brings your way. If you’re perpetually busy and convinced you can always do better, you’re just another victim of choice paralysis.

 

3. Stop competing with and comparing yourself to those around you. The grass appears forever greener on the other side.

 

4. Avoid regret. Appreciate, rather, what already is. Put last year’s Patrón provoked make out session with your ex behind you. Be grateful for the family and friends who support you despite your imperfections. Not everyone is so fortunate.

 

5. Realize that nothing is or ever could be lacking in your life. Everything you have, somebody out there wants. Everything you want, somebody out there has. But everything you need is right before your eyes.

 

6. I once met a Spanish man who lived so close to France that at night, he could smell the buttery croissants baking, yet he remained content to die of old age without ever having gone to taste one. Attach yourself neither to results nor destinations. You’re exactly where you need to be.

Maybach1. For the love of Steve Jobs, stop creating products and services from scratch. Instead, resourcefully seek out innovative combinations of existing solutions, much like a talented author creates new meaning from old words. The automobile didn’t arise from thin air. On the contrary, it resulted as an amalgamation of two existing forms of transportation: the horse carriage and steam engine.

 

2. Use your skills and passions to your advantage. Integrate three of your interests to see what inventive combinations you can generate. For example, I’m an entrepreneurial action sports and hip hop enthusiast who films skateboarding videos while rapping about entrepreneurship.

 

3. Look to the natural world for inspiration. George de Mestral invented Velcro after discovering that burrs of the burdock plant stuck to his dog’s fur. Moral of the story: de Mestral didn’t draw his inspiration from a blank slate. Conversely, he redesigned an existing technology that Mother Nature crafted meticulously, long before his own earthly arrival.

 

4. Develop commercially viable solutions that address specific pain points. Before haphazardly generating solutions to problems that nobody cares about, step back and ask yourself, what pain point am I remedying? To their peril, entrepreneurs often neglect to evaluate customer and user pains. As a result, they make costly business decisions based on untested assumptions.

 

5. Realize that less is more. Southwest Airlines saved $10 million in fuel expenses simply by installing lighter seats in its airliners. Southwest developed what product designers call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which contains all of the components necessary for functionality, but nothing more.

 

Consider French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s advice: “You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.”

 

6. Observe how others achieve high performance levels and imitate them. At the risk of tooting Southwest’s horn, the airline also cut operating expenses — reducing the amount of time that its aircrafts spent grounded — when it adopted the same speedy refueling techniques employed by Formula One racers. Imagine how different technologies used in one field could be adapted to solve problems in another industry.

 

7. Dare to be different and others will remember you. Just think about the iPhone. Apple consigned Blackberry’s hardware keyboard to oblivion by doing exactly the opposite of its competitor: designing a touch screen with fewer buttons. Imagine a Blackberry, or any product for that matter, on Opposite Day. That’s one of the most effective ways to differentiate your products. Define the attributes of an existing solution and reverse them. Whatever the competition makes, make the opposite.

 

*8. Infiltrate untapped market space. In the 1980′s, confronted with declining attendance, Cirque du Soleil reinvented the circus. Rather than enticing waning crowds of children with taller giants and faster fire jugglers, Cirque targeted an entirely new market segment. In doing so, Cirque changed the circus game. It established uncontested market space by attracting affluent adults who were willing to pay a premium for performances of unrivaled proportions. Follow in Cirque’s freakishly acrobatic footsteps.

 

*As the bestselling authors of Blue Ocean Strategy advise, avoid highly contested market space. Ignore the urge to fight for market share. In fact, stop competing to outperform your rivals. Focus, instead, on exploiting untapped market niches, on making your rivals irrelevant, and on rendering their business models obsolete. Change the game and never look back.

Social Media Pic1. You wake up still drunk. A stranger is sleeping in your bed. She’s cute but you want her to leave. Needless to say, you really have to fart.

2. Familiar with one-night stand protocol, you’re surprised, days later, to receive her friend request. To be polite, you accept it.

3. Over the weeks, she joins the chorus on your newsfeed. She posts a couple albums, likes a few statuses, and changes her profile picture twice. You can’t help but notice. It’s happening right before your eyes.

4. You can’t help but notice that she’s dating someone new. Now that you have an open window into her life, you can’t help but notice her every move.

5. Better judgment aside, you find yourself evaluating her new boyfriend. You compare yourself to him and imagine his relationship with her.

6. You find yourself reconfirming and reevaluating opinions of your once one-night stand. During the process, you also reframe and redefine your own self-image.

7. You neglect to notice that her cyber activity reflects but a fraction of her daily activity. You neglect to notice that this fraction results in a distortion of reality.

8. You forget that she, like everybody, engages in two types of behavior. You forget that her front stage behavior is directed towards you, the audience, while her back stage behavior is conducted behind the social curtain.

9. She controls, at least partially, the information that she shares. Only the information that she wants to share becomes public knowledge.

10. As far as you’re concerned, that information defines her character. And she might very well confuse herself with that information. Her good performance fools you and her both.

11. But the person whose profile you see isn’t the same person who you slept with weeks ago. It isn’t even the same person who’s posting the content. It’s an actress who doesn’t shit, shower, or shave.

12. You don’t see her getting ready. You don’t see her struggling to look and feel a certain way. You don’t see the process of her identity. You see only the result.

13. It’s not irrational that you, over the past few weeks, have become attached and increasingly attracted to her. You see her face every day and she looks perfect.

14. But your relationship with her is entirely pornographic. You think that a connection exists, a special bond, due to the frequent exchange of personal information.

15. This distortion of reality ultimately prevents you from seeking out and working for real connections and developing real relationships.

16. You’re paralyzed by your false perception, connected to nobody but a cyber-identity, intimate with nothing but a cold computer screen.

17. You have a few different options.

    • Unfriend her. But unfriending her won’t necessarily solve your problem — aware that she’s still out there, you’ll remain tempted to look.
    • Delete your account. But then you’ll miss out on certain information that you actually consider important.
    • *Learn to let go.

*To learn to let go, consider these lessons:

a) Let go of your self-image. Let go of your perception of her. Let go of your social media obsession. Let go and live your life.

b) Spend your days, not scrolling through life, but fighting for it.

c) Find someone to love, if you’re ready to find someone to love. I guarantee they won’t be perfect, but neither are you.

d) Spend more time on interactions than the Internet.

e) Invest more in your relationships than you do in yourself.

f) Don’t forgo your identity altogether, but be anonymous when granted the opportunity.

g) There is something profoundly human about the one-night stand, and something profoundly wrong with its current state of imperilment.

 

(Originally published on the Huffington Post)