Questions and Answers with Career Expert Patrick Combs
Please note: On a somewhat infrequent basis, Quintessential Careers asks noted career experts five questions related to their expertise and publishes the interview in the current issue of QuintZine, our career e-newsletter. Those interviews are archived here for your convenience.
Patrick Combs is author Major in Success: Make College Easier, Fire up Your Dreams, and Get a Very Cool Job.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||If asked what you think has been the biggest change in job-hunting over the last few years, you would probably say the Internet. What directions do you see online job-hunting taking in the next few years?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||I’m not an expert on what will be happening with online job hunting in the next few years. But right now, online job hunting is just a tool, no better and no worse than informational interviewing, cold calls, alumni connections, professional associations, etc. Personally speaking, I still a fan of picking up the phone and calling the company of your dreams to ask for an informational interview. The human touch still beats all. This way you can stand out — attach a voice and possibly a face — to your job inquiry. On the net you’re just a bunch of keywords.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What trends and changes in job-hunting in your area of expertise have you observed in the last few years that have little or NOTHING to do with the Internet?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||None that are significant. Yes, the job market is hot. Yes there’s a gold rush for Web designers and engineers in Silicon Valley. But job hunting is still job hunting. Those who will get the best jobs are those who will push through their fears, and take the biggest chances. Try for the job you think is out of your reach — that’s how the greatest jobs are gotten.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What is the most important piece of advice you feel you could offer today’s job-seeker in YOUR area of expertise? What’s the biggest mistake job-seekers make that your advice could correct?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||College students: Be aware, the most important homework you’ll ever do during college will never be assigned. Do the unassigned homework (fully explained in my book or by any good career counselor). Don’t make the single biggest mistake most students will make — don’t let your fears stop/kill you from going for that way cool, totally great, off the beaten path job that no one else has the guts to try for. Screw safety, screw what other people think, screw your major, screw money, and go for the job that, for you, would be sheer bliss.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||Do you see today’s job-seekers (especially at the college grad/entry level) becoming too complacent about job-seeking because of the robust economy? How can job-seekers make the most of the strong economy and be prepared for when the current boom subsides?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||The question itself sucks because it’s asking me to lump college students together as one giant glob of sameness. Granted, most college students I meet are on auto-pilot. Not yet awake to their awesome ability. Being killed bit by bit by their fears. But many that I meet have a wild ambitious look in their eyes and a fire in their guts. Robust economy means nothing. The quality of your life always comes down to the quality of your dreams/ambitions/ideals. A robust economy might mean a “cush situation” to the huddled masses, but to the truly turned-on, it simply means fewer obstacles to what they were planning on doing anyway. If the boom subsides, those without their own dreams will suddenly be lost when the recruitment fairs dry up. But those with their own dreams will still know exactly where they’re going.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What distinguishes your approach to “majoring in success” from anyone else who advises/targets college students? What make it different/better?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||I’m not boring. I’m not conservative. I’m not a play-it-safer. I’m not afraid. And I never underestimate a student’s potential to do wildly cooler things than even I imagine possible. I won’t dare say that my approach is better — it’s just distinctly different. (It takes all types.) What makes my suggestions super stronger, wildly passionate, intensely sincere and easy to get excited about is that they all reinforce the key truth: “It’s reachable.” Whatever you can dream for yourself, whatever you can imagine — you can reach. That might sound cornball, but it won’t after you read the bazillion stories of celebs and non-celebs in my book who did just that. And one other thing that makes my book a great read for many — I love this stuff. Showing people just how easy it is to succeed wildly is my burning desire, and has been for seven years now. (Cheez, time flies when you’re having fun!)|
A REALLY REVISED version of Patrick Combs’ Major in Success is just began hitting stores (3rd edition). The revision contains a better chapter on figuring out what you’re passionate about, a much improved chapter on fear, a new chapter called “Money Matters,” a new chapter on the almighty power of journalizing, and a new forward by Jack Canfield, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. The book is totally updated with web resources. The book also features new special tips for artists, athletes, teachers and exchange students. Besides Combs’ book, he is launching an Internet company that will give the world a different, more uplifting take on the daily news. Combs tours the college circuit with his Major in Success keynote speech. He speaks to corporations and talking about the key factors to doing Great Work. Look for his new Website, Patrick Combs’ Site. His other Website, Patrick Combs’ Good Thinking Site is still up and dashing. Asked about his recent projects, Combs says: “If I can call my new baby girl, Alyssa, a project without being demeaning in any way, then she’s my greatest, most important project of all!”
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