9 Executives Share Their Biggest Pieces of Advice for 20-Somethings

Monday night, as per program tradition, we hosted a networking night with executives from our local partner employers (including our current program partner, T-Mobile). It’s always a fun event, because as we say over and over again in program, networking should be fun. At its core, networking is connecting with other people and listening to their stories. Plus, snacks and drinks. We conclude every networking night with a panel Q&A. Last night’s questions included “What’s your advice for someone trying to figure our what they want to do?” and “What makes you want to hire someone?” Here are our favorite bits from the evening.

1. Never stop moving.

“Choose a direction and go with it. But also put very specific success metrics on it, and set reminders to check in on those goals. Then, choose another direction and go with it. You have to keep moving.” Saar Safra Founder and CEO, ActiveGiver

2. Don’t be afraid to commit to something.

“Remember that nothing is permanent. I used to worry a lot about committing one way and closing off another. You can close a door, but you can always re-open it. I was a writer, I published four novels, then I was a lawyer, and I’m now a producer. Picking a direction and committing to it doesn’t mean that you’ll do it forever.” Jennie Lyman Senior Producer, Intentional Futures

3. Focus on accomplishments, not tasks.

“It’s really hard to show that you have experience if you don’t have a lot of experience. So instead, show me something that you were successful in. Maybe it was a club or athletics — show me something that you accomplished. If you’re a go-getter and willing to do the work, you can be taught a lot of stuff.” Dave Hinton Co-Founder, Glassnetic “I’m not as interested in the duties you did, but what you accomplished. What were your results? I want people who accomplished things, not people who were assigned tasks.” Jared Flynn Head of Talent Acquisition, T-Mobile ENN---10.19.15---1

4. Don’t stop networking.

“Your networking doesn’t stop when you get the job. It’s more important than ever to build support around you. Meet with people one-on-one to discuss their roles and yours. Build a support group around you. When you need something, they’ll be there.” Wade Sugiyama Manager of Brand Strategy & Development, T-Mobile

5. Figure out how to tell your story.

“When applying to jobs, find the channel that will allow you to tell your story and show the hiring manager what you’d accomplish on the team. Whatever that channel is — that’s what you go for.” Bill French Head of Talent Acquisition, zulily

6. Do your homework.

“A lot of times I talk to people, and they know nothing about what we do. I will always ask, ‘Why T-Mobile?’ in an interview. Make me excited that you’re excited. Woo me. Show me that you know something about the company besides, ‘Hey, I saw this job and applied …'” Patrick Snyder Senior Corporate Recruiter, T-Mobile ENN---10.19.15---2

7. Stop making stuff up.

“Don’t make things up because we can tell. It’s so painful for us. If you don’t have the experience we’re asking about, own it. And then show why you’re still an amazing candidate for other reasons.” Meilene Tipp Recruiting Manager, Avvo

8. Be an owner.

“You’re going to fail. You will. The key is that you can demonstrate learning from it and own it. I’ve had people make mistakes and try to cover it up. People who are forthright with it and show the self-awareness to work on it will stand out.” Jared Flynn Head of Talent Acquisition, T-Mobile

9. Make them like you.

“I look for personality on resumes. You can list all your experience, but if it’s boring, I’m out. I want to know what you love and what drives you. I want to hire people we can go have a beer with. I want to know why you want to work for us and why you’re applying for this position. Tell me what you want and how we’ll benefit from having you. And make me laugh.” Renee Fujii Early Career Talent Recruiter, Redfin ENN-10.19.15-4

Michaela Gianotti serves as Koru's content specialist around job seeker and candidate experience advice. She attended Whitman College, where she spent the better part of four years convincing her family that English majors can get jobs too. She has since found awesome work (SEE!) at 826 Seattle, msnNOW, and Koru.

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