Some of you may recall that I was a complete dud in my first corporate PR job. My boss despised me, my colleagues thought I was overeager, and it took me two years to get a promotion that people with half my work ethic achieved in six months.
The second company that employed me kindly spent a few thousand dollars sending me to a professional development course that changed my career and my life. I like to think that everything that the course taught me about developing a strong reputation at work, being diplomatic with colleagues, and driving my career forward was a good investment, because I was much more effective after that.
The truth is, though, that not every college graduate has access to training like I had, and some really gifted people spend their post-college careers floundering because they aren't given the chance to learn the skills and strategies that will meet with success.
I got tired of waiting for someone else to fix this problem, so I worked with the Business Roundtable, the HR Policy Association, and Accenture to create JobSTART 101, a free online course that prepares college students to meet and exceed employer expectations when they enter the workforce. It includes video and workbook components covering topics like how to establish your e-brand and how to problem-solve on the job -- basically, all the information I wish I'd had in my back pocket when I was just starting out.
If you're a student or recent grad, I hope you'll check it out for some decent advice, but more importantly, I hope each of you goes into work today and thinks about what's sorely needed in your company and industry. And then if you can create it, go for it. The world -- and your career - will thank you for it.