Take the time to gather

Gather relationships

Gather experience

Gather knowledge

Gather qualities and traits to add to your resume


If there was one thing that I would tell 20-somethings, it would be to take your time to gather.  No, I don’t mean to gather and party, I mean to go out and gather.  Gather experience. Gather knowledge. Gather relationships and gather connections. Finally, gather the qualities and traits to add to your resume. 

Take the time to continue your education through experts.  Learn the soft skills that employers are willing to pay top dollar for.  Soft skills are very hard for companies to train for so if you can walk in the door with the important personal skills like communication, planning and work ethic, you’ll set yourself apart from your competition.  In a tight labor market, you will be able to command a higher compensation level.  In a competitive labor market, you’ll land the job over the other candidates. 

Many of the older people who do most of the hiring have a bit of a jaded view of ‘young people today’.  Set yourself apart by showing them that you are different – that you are exceptional.

The other reason to invest your time and attention on developing these things is that you have the luxury of time.  When you don’t have the heavier commitments that come with raising kids or carrying the higher financial burden that come with debt commitments, you have the ability to spend more time cultivating knowledge, experience and relationships in a way that you might be limited to do later on. 

Take the time to allow your path to be cultivated.  A garden does not grow overnight.  Plant many seeds, tend to them and reap the bounty.  The truth is that it is unlikely that the first job you land out of college will be your forever place, so seek positions that will fill the gaps of experience that you’ll need to ultimately land your perfect career.  Here’s a useful exercise:  If you have an idea of what you want to do, browse job positions to find out what your targeted job requires for experience.  Write down what experience and skills you will need.  Use this as your target or guide to help you find positions that will help provide you with that experience.  I see this as building your resume backwards – starting with the end in mind.

Don’t try to keep up with your peers when it comes to how much money they are making or the seemingly high-fluting job title.  Where someone is today does not mean that they are further ahead than you.  They are just where they are currently.  It’s not uncommon for someone who lands a high paying job right out of college to become stuck.  Stuck in a place because they earn good money, as these opportunities don’t always equate to the perfect long-term position.  It can actually hold them back from getting the more comprehensive and varied skills that could lead them to their ideal place. 

If you’ve read my book, Find Your Flavor: A recipe for discovering your ideal career, you’ll remember the story I tell about going from working on my own earning a six-figure income to taking a job paying me less then a third of what I was making because it provided me the opportunity to gain a tremendous amount of experience.  The experience I gained from investing just two years of my life, has more than paid dividends.  I far out earn what I would have if I would have stayed with the higher income work, I was doing at the time. The greatest return you’ll ever receive is to invest in yourself through time and money. 

Take the time to really work on figuring out what your ideal career is and you’ll have a greater ability to create more fulfilling career for yourself – long term.   Take the time to cultivate a robust garden filled with the experience and skills needed for your ultimate dream job.