Successful career starts

Successful career starts

College students are torturing themselves by being single focused on a handful of tech companies. Avoid the FANG companies like the plague when you graduate. It’s a waste of time, energy, and emotion. (FANG = Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google)

I know, they sound so amazing and fun and won’t-this-look-good-on-my-resume. But, no — that’s not it.

  1. You are not ready. The FANG companies want to hire people with accomplishments. The vast majority of fresh college grads don’t have any accomplishments (GPA doesn’t count). The few who do get hired right out of college started coding in high school and have a healthy list of accomplishments before they leave college.
  2. You are not actually educated. The real world is vastly different than academia. It’s like reading about surfing vs actually riding waves. FANG companies are not designed to be “entry level” environments for you to learn.
  3. You will suffer from drastically reduced education opportunities at FANG companies. Big companies are siloed. People stick to the tasks of their narrow job description and have only nominal understanding beyond their immediate sphere. This is a crippler for your career.
  4. You peaked at 25? OK, you arrived at your dream company. Now what? Eat free food, update your LinkedIn profile, and sit through endless meetings every day. Damn.
  5. Tiny fish, big pond. Unfortunately having a FANG brand on your resume is not a magic key into other companies. People at other companies will still ask what you accomplished. Your options will be limited to companies who only want a square peg in a square hole.
  1. Accomplish stuff. You have all kinds of opportunities to engage in the real world, learn, and provide impact.
  2. Prioritize learning to expand your career knowledge. Learn as many different roles/areas/functions as you can. The smaller the company, the easier you will find this. You should be finding chances to do everything from coding to sales, marketing to finance. Config the routers if you can.
  3. Leverage learning to understand why and how different customers/orgs/people work in companies. Learn the playing field and build a diverse skill set. This equips you to be a very good problem solver.
  4. Learn how to thrive on your own. Learn how to find resources, evaluate problems, be seen as valuable across multiple orgs. You may even find a career pivot.
  5. Figure out where you like to work and where you can have the most impact. This should be obvious but most people don’t hear this and don’t know it’s possible. Find the place where work feels like a playground. Help other people across orgs whenever you can.
  6. Network with people who are doing things. Again, this should be obvious — but way too few people do this. Leverage every ounce of curiosity you have to meet people, learn what they are doing, ask how you can help them. The ROI on this last one is immense. Good networking is silly valuable. Smart networking is all about leveraging curiosity. Go hunting for the cool stories of everyone else.

After 10+ years of real world learning you will either be valuable for a FANG or have learned enough about yourself to ignore them. This shouldn’t be frustrating, it’s just reality.

If you started coding in high school and have an iOS app driving $50K+ in revenue when you graduate college - then the big guys will find you to leverage your knowledge.

This isn’t personal, this is business where employees are an investment. If you don’t have a track record of impact, why should a company with thousands of applicants per opening pick you? They will pick the person who shows their impact best.

This concept should give you a ton of excitement — there are thousands of companies who have way less applicants and where you can learn, impact, and shine.

Your future is excellent — when you can avoid the traps.

You got this :-)



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Bill Lennan

Mental wellness fan. Ardent believer in effort. Parent, partner, persistent, physical. Co-Founder The HAERT™ Program. DBT is awesome :-)