Career Success Advice for New College Grads

Yesterday was an anniversary for me.  I graduated from Penn State on March 25 1972 – that’s 40 years ago! To paraphrase Bob Seger, “40 years, where’d they go? 40 years, I don’t know.”

I have to admit that I’m not sure where all of the past 40 years have gone – and they have gone by very quickly.  But I’ve spent much of the last 40 years helping people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  Brett McIlwain, my niece and goddaughter, graduated from Florida State on April 26, 2008 – four years ago.  Brett did well.  She graduated cum laude.  I was proud of her then and I’m proud of her now.  She has built a great career working for a company that makes sports apparel.

I was writing this career success blog back in 2008 so I decided to dedicate a week’s worth of blog posts to providing Brett and her cohorts with some of my best advice on what it takes to create the life and career success they want and deserve.

Several people sent me e mails telling me that they liked the career advice in these five blog posts and suggesting that I publish it as an eBook.  I did, but never distributed it widely – until now.

Here is the introduction to the little eBook I wrote to provide some career success advice for my niece as she graduated from college and began her career.  I call it An Uncle’s Advice to His Niece on Her College Graduation.

If you would like a copy of the entire eBook please send me an email ( requesting it.

Congratulations on your graduation.  You’ve worked hard these past four years.  You deserve to take a little time to celebrate your college accomplishments, and to take a deep breath before plunging into to your new job.

I’ve written down some of the things I’ve learned about what it takes to succeed in this world.  This is advice I wish I had when I graduated from Penn State in 1972.  I hope you find it helpful.

I’ve found that all successful people have five things in common.

Successful people are self confident.

Successful people create positive personal impact.

Successful people are outstanding performers.

Successful people are dynamic communicators.

Successful people are interpersonally competent.

Self confident people have at least three things in common:

1. Self confident people are optimistic.

2. Self confident people face their fears and take action.

3. Self confident people surround themselves with positive people.

People who create positive personal impact have at least three things in common:

1. People who create positive personal impact develop and constantly promote their personal brand.

2. People who create positive personal impact are impeccable in their presentation of self.

3. People who create positive personal impact know and practice the basic rules of etiquette.

Outstanding performers have at least three things in common:

1. Outstanding performers are technically competent.  They remain technically competent because they are lifelong learners.

2. Outstanding performers set and achieve goals.

3. Outstanding performers are organized.  They manage their time, stress and lifestyle well.

Dynamic communicators have at least three things in common:

1. Dynamic communicators are excellent conversationalists.

2. Dynamic communicators write in a clear, concise easily readable manner.

3. Dynamic communicators are excellent presenters – to groups of two or 100.

Interpersonally competent people have at least three things in common:

1. Interpersonally competent people are self aware.  They understand themselves and their impact on others.  They use their self awareness to increase their understanding of others.

2. Interpersonally competent people build solid, long lasting mutually beneficial relationships with the people in their lives.

3. Interpersonally competent people are able to resolve conflicts with a minimal amount of problems and upset to relationships.

The pages that follow contain my thoughts on each of these characteristics and my best advice on how you can use them to build a successful life and career.

This is a sampling of the ideas in An Uncle’s Advice to His Niece on her College Graduation.  If you would like a copy of the entire eBook, send me an email ( and I’ll send you one.  Feel free to pass on your copy to any young people you know who are just beginning their careers.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.  You have my best wishes for your life and career success no matter where you are in your career.  Feel free to call on me anytime.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

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