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What You Can Do Now to Pursue a Business Career

f you mean business about a career in business, there are things you can do right now to start your journey on the road to success. While you may have heard the old adage: do what you love and the money will follow, business experts say: not so fast. Instead, focus on your talents first and your passion second. Those skills and strengths your friends, family and teachers notice in you – that’s the key to unlocking a promising career.

FOCUS ON YOUR TALENT

“Figure out what you’re good at and what people are willing to offer you compensation for, and really develop that talent,” said Juan Molta, an LA-based entrepreneur, financial consultant and student tutor for Wyzant. “It may not be your number-one choice in terms of your passion, and that’s OK, because if you find it’s difficult to be compensated for your passion, make that your hobby and spend 10 to 20 percent of you time doing it.”

Once you unlock your talent, you can jumpstart your higher education in business in dozens of summer programs at top-tier universities across the country.

“When you believe in something, you go for it,” said Molta. “The greater the ambition, the greater the sacrifice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK … AND KEEP IT REAL

Yes, who you know matters, especially in the business world where relationships are the cornerstone of success.

Real and authentic connections breed real results, and the quality of these relationships matters most. When making a connection, don’t just set it and forget it. Building a network takes dedicated time, effort, nurturing, give and take. and authenticity in your interactions.

Danny Massare, known startup guru and founder and president of Small Axe Consulting and co-founder and managing partner of a popular Hollywood piano bar, credits networking as a critical foundation of his success.

“During the course of my entrepreneurial career, networking opened doors to powerful business partners, sales channels and new business opportunities,” said Massare. “One of my current business partners started with a friendly introduction at a barbeque and blossomed into a successful colleague over the course of six years. Networking, by itself, is a skill you will need throughout an entire career.”

He advises joining or creating a business group among classmates and reaching out to the local chamber of commerce to inquire about in-school presentations by community business leaders.

“It is as simple as introducing yourself to people you find genuinely interesting, asking questions, listening, and keeping the conversations going on a regular basis,” said Massare. “At first it may seem hard, and you may not know what to say. That’s okay. The verbiage is not as important as your genuine interest in the person and communicating your intention to connect with them in the future.”

GET A JOB

Whether you land a traditional job during high school, an internship, join community groups or decide to volunteer your time to causes important to you, all our experts say to make it happen now. The jobs you take in school and over the summers will build the essential real-world skills needed in business.

“I can wholeheartedly say that nothing helped prepare me more for my career than the years I worked in the restaurant industry,” said Jessica Wise, creative marketing manager with HelpSquad. “While working in the food industry, you learn customer service, time management, interpersonal communication and how to think on your feet.”

And starting small results in big returns.

“Get a job at a small local business,” said Ian Sells, CEO and founder of RebateKey. “Try to find a part-time job somewhere where you can get to know the owner of the business and learn directly from that person. You’ll pick up so much about what it means to run a business just from being in a work environment. When you work in a small local company, you’ll get to see a side of the business that you probably wouldn’t see if you were in a big national chain.”

BUILD YOUR RESUME

What you’re doing right now matters, and that includes coursework and personal activities too. Take the time to build out a resume or portfolio and get ahead of the game.

You can join LinkedIn in high school and begin connecting with employers you may have already had, teachers, guidance counselors, mentors, family friends in business and alumni from your high school.

Robert Perry, career academy director at the Atlantis Charter School in Fall River, Massachusetts, said, “Take pride in your accomplishments and don’t forget your extra-curricular activities,” he said “Keeping a portfolio or resume is key. It is important to outline what you learn and perform during your work/internship experience. Don’t think of any task to be too small.”

Manasi Simhan is a young inventor who patented an ergonomic chair and a 2020 graduate of Laurel Springs, the first online U.S. private high school, which offers the career exploration program Find Your Drive in key areas, including Business & Entrepreneurship.

Simhan recommends building your resume in other unique ways too, including through competition. “In business, it’s important to have experience talking and collaborating with others. Join a club where you debate or discuss topics with others. “Participating in the National History Day competition each year really helped me. This competition was a great way for me to network and meet knowledgeable mentors and professors, which has been really helpful as a college student.”