15 Important Career Tips I Learned at Howard University

"Fortitude" Sculpture at Howard University
What does it take to land that position? To stand out among the rest? How can you better market yourself or your brand, to further your career or small business, and take it to incredible heights? These are questions we ask ourselves daily as we think about our future; we all want that dream job, that prestigious role, to be recognized amongst certain circles and be well known for the incredible work that we do and at the prestigious Howard University they give you the tools you need to land and succeed the job of your dreams, not just in your intended career field, but in any field you wish to excel in.
Upon completing my course and receiving my certificate at Howard, I have implemented the following 15 tips that have not only helped jumpstart my career in Fashion but expanded my social and professional circles for more opportunities to come and will surely help you too!
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 1) BE UNIQUELY YOU     
        A no-brainer, but it is true that your voice, your unique creativity, and talents, is what sets you apart from the rest. Find that voice & know who you are at your core. Implement that into your work so they can see the real you and not just another number.
 
2) NETWORK & CONNECT
    You'll find this one recurring within the list, but the power of networking is truly a lucrative one! Reach out, Email, Follow, Comment, Connect and build genuine connection between you and those who inspire you or who you'd like to work with. We all hate having to talk to new people and mingle, especially in person or at events (oof), but with the miraculous invention of Social Media, you can connect even easier, faster, and more productively!
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3) ASK FOR & RECIEVE FEEDBACK
    We all need a little peer review every now and again as it can greatly help improve our work. Don't be afraid to ask people with experience, your community, or your audience for feedback on your work. Take notes and apply the important ones to future projects. This not only shows initiative but connecting with your network this way shows you are always open to change and improvement, which brings about more job opportunities.
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4) BE INSPIRED BY OTHERS
    Do you have an influencer you look up to? A co-worker who knows how to open doors with just a few words? An artist whose detailed work you aspire to achieve? Don't feel defeated, instead feel the inspiration! Take notes, study their work & ask yourself how you can learn from their achievements to curate and succeed in a brand all your own.
 
 
5) PUSH & EVOLVE YOUR STYLE TO EVOKE EMOTION
    If you're a creative type like me, this will definitely apply to you! Look at your work, put your heart into each piece and bring out the passion to make your audience feel what you're trying to convey whether it's in art, writing, acting, etc., and never stagnate. Always push and challenge yourself to be on the frontier of change! Tying back into tip 1, this involves being uniquely you to effortlessly apply your own mark and ultimately recognizable from the rest!

 

 

6) BUILD YOUR BRAND WITH EFFECTIVE NETWORKING
    And there it is again, that dreaded yet most beneficial task you will ever implement in your life! Networking without an effective plan or goal can get pretty messy quick which is why you must have one. Know what your goals are, find people in positions or communities you want to be part of and genuinely connect with them. Tell them what you hope to achieve and ask if they can be of assistance with any questions you may have. Be sure to reach out to people they follow within the same circle too to grow your network and make beneficial friends in the long run!
  
7) IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW, BUT WHO KNOWS YOU
    You may amass a substantial network, but how many of them know what you do? What your work ethic is? How many of them can confidently recommend you to a fellow colleague for that top position you've been aiming for? When networking, be sure the people you are communicating with know what you can do, what ideas and skills you can contribute, and how valuable of an asset you can be to others! This will make them more confident to recommend you to many colleagues which in turn opens many more doors for you!
 
8) DON'T WAIT TO PURSUE YOUR DREAM, DO IT NOW!
    For every dream, we think that there has to be a perfect moment or right amount of preparation we need to take before living out our dream when in reality, there is no such thing.  There is no right or perfect time to start and waiting for that "right moment" is time wasted from what you could be doing now to achieve your dream of future success. Grow that business plan, take that online course, create your media presence, write that paper, start your venture. Your dream can start from just about anywhere, so it doesn't matter where or how you start as long as you start today!
 
9) TEAMWORK, DOES IN FACT, MAKE THE DREAM WORK
    Part of what makes a project or dream a success is a proper team around you. Not only how they can help you but how you can help them in turn which, in turn, creates a community of supportive, trustworthy like-minded connected individuals coming together to achieve any goal they set out for themselves individually or as a group. Be a mentor, a source of inspiration, pitch in ideas and advice, and receive all of the same in turn. By actively engaging in teamwork you become an essential team player and colleague others will want to help and work with in the future.
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10) DREAM BIG 
    Kind of goes without saying, but there is no limit to pursuing your passions. Figure out what said passion is, ask yourself what motivates it and why. The better you know the answers and the more in touch you become with your core beliefs, the more authentic your work will be.
 
11) BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED, BUT PLANT YOURSELF WHERE YOU CAN BLOOM
    So you've found the career you know you'll thrive in, but does the environment around you suit your needs? In order to successfully bloom you must know your proper soil. Do you prefer a fast-paced, busy, team-focused environment, or a moderately paced eventful, but not too busy space where you can work individually? By first understanding which environment you'll thrive in best, you will be able to have an easier and overall better experience, not only in your job search but in work productivity within the company.
 
12) YOUR FUTURE IS DIGITAL
     Instagram, Linked-in, Twitter, Facebook.  We live in a highly connected era thanks to the rise of these platforms and even E-mail. No matter the role or career path you decide to embark upon in life, every interaction, market, mode of networking is digital. This is essential for making your brand or even yourself knew so that people will see and potentially want to know you which will open more doors to success. Make yourself familiar with social media platforms & what SEO, SEM and analytics are. Tap into the practice of sending emails to people you wish to connect with. By doing so, you'll discover the internet holds far more resource than basic research information.
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13) COMBINE PASSIONS TO CREATE A CAREER YOU LOVE
    What are the parts of your life you enjoy the most? Is it being a creative Cosplayer? A master at numbers? Travel and writing? Think about what passions or hobbies fill your life with excitement and find how that can tie into your career future! Perhaps you can go into movie costume design, Be a Wall Street Wolf, or be a travel blogger for a major magazine. No matter your passions, you can find pieces of them in careers you never thought of but will ultimately be your dream job in the long run.
 
14) BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR CAREER AS YOU ARE WITH YOUR WORK
In case it wasn't clear in my Networking tips, many job opportunities are ultimately done through referrals. In order to further your chances of being recommended by others, you will first need to and continue to cultivate your brand. Your profiles, whether online or in print, should reflect what you do and what you're looking for. Even in the event of new opportunities, never turn down entry-level positions or internships, as it could be a pivotal stepping stone towards taking your brand to the next level. 
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15) ALWAYS LEARNING, FOREVER PURSUING
    Not even your dream career will be glamourous going in or even at all, but the important thing is that you're always learning something new each day to keep it as exciting as when you decided to take on this career path. When you understand both you and your work are apart of something greater both in the company and your overall future, the less it becomes mundane. Always pursue knowledge and ask questions to take you further in your position and eventually up the ladder to something even more amazing.
I am grateful to have attended Howard to both learn and implement these tips. As a result, I have successfully been able to gather my dream network, connect to wonderful helpful people, start my dream, build my brand, gain career opportunities both within and outside my company and so much more!  I have the utmost faith and confidence that my future will excel far beyond where it has been for the past 5 years, and if you see a better future or career path for yourself, I highly recommend you give some of these tips a try. You'll be amazed at how far just one might take you! 

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