"Take Good Notes in College"--Start by taking good notes in college. It seems notes are of real value even if they aren't yours. According to research conduced by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, instructor notes are best. Having instructor notes helps with the "completeness" of learning the subject you need to learn by helping the student connect important ideas and information from previous lectures.
"Aim To Get A Degree. If You Can't, Just Keep Moving Forward"--Employers are always asking potential employees for degrees, but often times the jobs don't really require them. For example, while 41% of job postings for "Architectural/ Civil Drafter" required a bachelor's degree, only 27% of the job holders had one. Yet that's not all: 60% of "Computer user-support specialists" also don't have a college degree vs.39% that do; 66% of "Credit authorizers" don't have a college degree (26% of them do). The list goes on.
"If You Do Obtain a Degree, Make Sure It's In STEM"-Make it in one of the Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (collectively "STEM") areas since there will be 1.4 million tech jobs opening up in the next decade and only 400,000 qualified people.
"Maybe You'll go in Your Own Direction"--If you decide to become an entrepreneur be "risky-conservative" since those who have taken this step (including me) are both willing to take risks, but are often hedging their bets in cautious ways. It stands to reason, since taking the leap blindly is a foolish formula. Keep in mind that entrepreneurship is not exclusively for the young. The fastest growing group is composed of people ages 55-64 and the shrinking group is 20-34.
"Be Attractive"--According to the "Economist", the typical chief executive "is more than six feet tall, has a deep voice, good posture, a touch of grey in his lustrous hair and, for his age a fit body." Conversely "overweight people are judged to be incapable of controlling themselves." I'm not only being politically correct when I suggest that we need to get rid of these stereotypes, I'm being realistic since some of best bosses I've worked with have not been straight from central casting.
Great Potential Latino Initiative (GPLI) Implications: These are tough economic times and Millennials (in particular) are having a great deal of trouble getting their careers started. While being focused is good, take a look at the broad landscape to chart out a future. Ideas and answers can come from anywhere and everywhere. You just have to look a bit closer to find the opportunities.
"Take Notes From the Pros" New York Times, 10/31/14
"Uncredentialing" New York Times, 11/2/14
"Worth the Risk" Parade, 11/2/14
"The Look of a Leader" The Economist" 9/27/14
Steve Moya is the founder of the Great Potential Latino Initiative (GPLI) and the corresponding book, "Great Potential: Latinos in a Changing America," by Author House (2013). Author's website