Most people ignore advice. So instead, let me just share what worked for me.
Spend more time thinking.
When I didn’t know what I wanted to be and what major to pick, I finally decided to stop everything and think about it. Put everything away, got somewhere that allowed me to clear my head (the living room of my apartment with very loud music) and I just thought about it. I find so often that the reason you don’t know what to do is you don’t take time to think. Thinking is something that requires time and attention, and we don’t give too much of that to important things when we are in college. I recommend a page of “what you want no matter what in your life” and a page of “what I want really bad right now.” Start there.
Take the lead on anything.
But remember, no one will give you the big things until you can show them you can do the little things. So find some little things.
Go above and beyond all the time.
Not just every once in a while. A professor woke me up to the fact I wasn’t good enough. And he did this in front of the whole class. He was the tough love coach I needed. Going above and beyond and trying to do it every day has worked out well for me.
Make a one-stop shop for all things you.
I get asked this by students a lot: What should I do? This is what I would do if I was in college right now: I would have a website on WordPress.com that was my home for all my work, my thoughts and my portfolio. Takes 20 minutes and $18 to get your own domain (yourname.com) and your website live to the world. Do that. Your competition is.
I would contribute constantly to my website.
I would write an amazing narrative on something incredible.
I would hold the lights for the best photographers and learn from them and start documenting with photo and videos.
I would partner with the best and make a video documentary on something remarkable.
Job shadow. A lot. No one will ever tell you no. Even me.
Get to know people way before you want a job from them.
Find out who you like. Spend time with them. People know people who know people who might let you in.
Don’t do what I did on my first job.
I put my head down and tried to impress my bosses. Too soon, I raised my head up and talked too much. Should have kept my head down some more. You have to wait until the right times to share thoughts.
Take advantage of your advantages.
I got pretty lucky on this and I bet if you think about it, you have too. I have some incredible friends who I lean on. One of my big deals is to take advantage of your advantages. If you aren’t sure what they are, you need to get them on paper. I once had a student who said she really wanted to get into broadcasting. When she did the assignment where she had to write down all her advantages, she listed “Dad’s best friend from college works for NBC in New York City.” I asked her if she had ever met the person. She said she hadn’t. I asked if she had asked her dad to do so. She said she hadn’t. That is an example of not taking advantage of your advantages.
Know that if you fail it’s because you tried to do it all by yourself.
Somewhere someone got a lot of people to think they have to do it on their own. No one has ever done it on their own. No one. Not a single person. Ever.