Career Wisdom 4 You Series Mission: To serve invaluable insider-wisdom to college students across the globe as they work towards having an impactful & healthy career.
Featured Guest For Wisdom Session #1: Tim Conrod, Sr. Manager, Content Sales at Twitter
(Disclaimer: The expressed opinions below are solely Tim Conrod’s and not of Twitter or his past employers.)
Question 1: What do you enjoy most about your current role & career overall?
There’s probably about a dozen different answers I could give to this question, but when I boil it down, it’s two things: the people and the product. It sounds corny to say, but I enjoy my coworkers the most. In my time at ESPN and Twitter, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best in the business. Many of the folks I’ve worked with have become amazing friends while others have become more like family over the years. It’s been a blessing that I’ve had a number of stellar mentors who have taken an interest in my career over the years and helped me develop and learn. I try to pay that forward whenever I can. I’ve also been blessed to have worked to help monetize two products I can’t live without in my day to day life: ESPN and Twitter. When you believe in the product and use it on a daily basis, working to sell it feels natural.
Question 2: How should students best maximize their internships?
Get there early, stay late, and never say no. Most of the people you’re working for have been in your shoes and have done the busy work you’re being assigned. They notice those who take it seriously, ask for more and act professionally. Treat everyday as if you’re in the midst of a three month job interview. People notice the difference between an intern that’s on top of their game and who is slacking off. Everyone you are working with is a potential future supervisor or colleague. It’s your time to impress and lay the groundwork for future employment.
Question 3: What skills and personal characteristics do you feel contribute most to success in your industry?
The skills that I think contribute most are: problem-solving, collaboration and communication. I find it most helpful to view these skills through the lens of application in times of crisis. If there’s a problem: can you think it through and help solve it? Can you collaborate with a cross-functional team to align on a solution? And once the problem is solved, can you communicate the solution effectively to your stakeholders? If the answer to those questions is yes, you’ll have success. The characteristics I think contribute most are: being genuine, having curiosity, and having confidence. Translation…Be who you are, ask a lot of questions, and believe in yourself. People can always spot a phony…be yourself, and people will more readily be able to find common ground. Curiosity leads you into conversations that will teach you things you never would have thought you would have needed to know otherwise. Be afraid to ask one question to few more than one question to many. And, if you have confidence in yourself, others will too. Confidence doesn’t necessarily translate to bravado and manifests differently in introverts than extroverts.
Question 4: What are the biggest early-career mistakes to avoid?
This is another question that I could probably give about a dozen answers to…mainly because I’ve made most of these mistakes early in my career.
Mistake#1: Thinking you “know it all” because you master one part of a job and know enough to be dangerous about the other parts. Taking that to another level and actually talking like you “know it all” to seasoned co-workers who know more than you.
Mistake#2: Chasing promotions in lieu of focusing on your development and trying new areas of work to see what’s the best fit for you.
Mistake#3: Feeling the need to hear your voice in every meeting to prove you were there.
Mistake#4: There’s also probably some type of disclaimer worth mentioning on avoiding workplace gossip and being cautious interoffice dating, but I’ll leave those to your discretion.
Bonus Wisdom: What final piece of advice do you have for students?
Be curious and let that curiosity fuel your professional networking. If you’re asking thoughtful questions and for time on people’s calendar to talk with them about their lines of business, you’ll learn a lot and expand your network dramatically more than you would otherwise. Worst case you’ll spend 30 minutes with someone you’ll never talk to again. Best case you’ll be talking with a future boss or colleague who enjoyed your conversations and remembered you when a new role opened up. Best case you make a life long friend who you can bounce ideas off of and drink a few beers with.