Monday, February 27, 2012

If you get a degree, you get a job…right?

A few days ago I did an interview with Mark Babbitt, founder of the innovative internship search website YouTern. I wanted to talk to Mark about the upcoming conference YouTern is putting on called 1KV (one thousand voices). This conference will bring together college students, post-grads, and young careerists who realize, as Mark put it, that being negative and complaining about the economy isn’t in our best interest. The economy isn’t going to change; we have to change.

So YouTern is bringing together a group of like-minded individuals who are ready to make a difference in the world and find success in a time when it can seem so far away.

Why does success feel so out of reach for young careerists and post-grads, and even some college students? Because, as Mark put it, his generation “lied to us.”

Mark boldly admits that his generation told young people that if you get a degree, work relatively hard in college, you will get a job. And not just any job, but a great job!

But today many post-grads find their post-college job in food or retail, working alongside those who are still working on their college degree or who never got one. Many post-grads find themselves living at home. And many post-grads feel lonely, confused, frustrated, and wonder what those four years were for anyway.

A college degree is incredibly valuable. But it’s vital to remember that the single credential, the single piece of paper, isn’t enough anymore; hence, the “lie.”

What is the truth?

The truth is that you must figure out how to focus your college degree on something you are great at and find interesting, and you must build career-related experience as soon as possible.

In short, you must go the extra mile.

And I have a step you can take towards that extra mile right now. How about attending YouTern’s 1K Voices conference in New York this March 23-25? How about joining the other like-minded people who are ready and excited to do more. How about recharging yourself during a weekend that will remind you what it takes to reach your dreams, and provide you with the tools and the support group to help you get there.

And want even more good news? Because Mark and YouTern are so awesome and really like you guys they gave me a special promotional code just for you to save some big bucks on your registration (please note I am not being paid at all to talk about this…I will only ever recommend anything to you that I truly believe in and think will actually help you, end of story).

But before you scroll down to get the promotional code and sign up for a weekend that could be a turning point in your life (and also sounds like a heck of a lot of fun), check out some of the incredible and exclusive insight Mark shared with me based on his incredible experiences and success working with our generation and their career search.

  • Q: What inspired you to start YouTern?

A: Mark started YouTern because he felt we were losing the “human” part of human resources when it came to searching for jobs online (ever applied for a job and never heard anything back….it's the worst!). In Mark’s previous successful start-up he had interns who got a lot out of the experience working for a small business doing actual work (NOT getting coffee) and getting mentored along the way. He found his interns were going on to be incredibly successful, and he wanted to create a portal where more businesses and non-profits committed to mentorship-based and real-experience based internships could share their opportunities. He also wanted to help the struggling populations of students who wanted professional advice and high quality mentor-based internships.

What is really cool about YouTern is that they screen all of the company’s that post internship opportunities on their site so that, as Mark put it, “it’s not some creepy guy in his garage.” While of course they can’t guarantee it will be a perfect experience, they can guarantee they’ve done everything possible to guard against the “creepy” guys and only showcase internships that feature small businesses, non-profits, and socially responsible organizations.

  • Q: What inspired you to create the 1KV conference?

A: Mark realized there wasn’t a conference for young careerists who are transitioning to the professional world. There was nothing to teach college students and post-grads what to do after you walk down that aisle in your cap and gown. There was nothing gathering together people who wanted to contribute to the world in a positive way and do whatever it takes to succeed – no matter what is going on in the economy. He wanted to bring together a group of people who refuse to sink to the negativity in the news and who realize the only thing we have power to change is ourselves. And when we increase our knowledge and skills and surround ourselves with good people – our situations almost magically change. This is a conference for positive people who are ready to get fired up about how to make an impact in the world and discover success in their career after college.

  • Q: What is the number one benefit conference attendees will receive?

A: Realizing that only YOU can make yourself successful and getting the tools to know HOW to make yourself successful. One of the best ways to reach success in your life is to surround yourself with positive people who will keep you accountable, as well as learn from those who have had success before you. This conference features incredible speakers (e.g. Jenny Blake author of Life After College) who will ensure that you will come out with more than just a fired-up attitude and new friends to keep you accountable – but the tools to actually know what to do and how to get your life on track.

  • Q: What is your best advice for what my readers should be doing right now in order to find a great job after they graduate from college?

A: Mark said that we have forgotten that getting jobs is a competition in which only those who take it as seriously as an athlete will win. The number one thing to do right now (and one I firmly believe in as it is the heart of my book)? Networking! Because as Mark said, 8 out of every 10 jobs are being filled through personal relationships. 

So right after you finish reading this blog do at least one thing to build relationships with people in your desired field and show the world that you are taking your career as seriously as an athlete. Create your LinkedIn profile and connect with a LinkedIn group that interests you. Join a Twitter chat (I love #InternPro). Join this blog's Facebook community. Visit your career center and ask if they have a mentorship database so you can meet with a professional who does a job that interests you. Find a mentor on And…

Register for the 1KV Conference using the promo code: CCSuccess. 

I hope to meet you there!

P.S. If you're like I was in college and are broke and have no idea how you could ever afford to go to a conference in New York, just remember that anything is possible if you want to make it happen. Get creative. And never forget that an investment in your own success is the only guaranteed investment in the world. 

To read more about Isa's personal story how you can build relationships to: make positive friends, be more successful in academics and work, find the right people to connect with, and access the hidden job market, grab a FREE e-copy of the first chapter of Community College Success: How to Finish with Friends, Scholarships, Internships, and the Career of Your Dreams! Claim your free copy on the Facebook page!

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