This article has made major ripples in the hiring waters recently because Google has stated that GPAs and test scores are “worthless” and that the proportion of people without college degrees working at Google has increased over time.
What should you be taking from this as a high school student about to head to the college level?
1. Take Initiative
One of the biggest criticisms of the Millennial generation is that they always need to be told what to do and how to do it. You will absolutely set yourself apart if you specialize in getting things done. This means that you don’t fear doing things incorrectly and that you’re willing to put yourself out there. The head basketball coach at Marquette, Buzz Williams, said in an interview that he sent hundreds of hand-written letters to coaches around the country before being offered his first position. What will you do that your peers are too scared, lazy, or unprepared to do to get what you desire?
2. Be Willing to Learn
Recognize that you don’t know everything. Some of the most innovative products have come from asking seemingly stupid questions. When you think you’ve learned everything you can, then you start placing blame on those around you when things go wrong. Always be ready to take feedback and improve. The article calls this “Intellectual humility.”
3. Gain Experience
As the relevance of test scores and GPAs decreases, it will be increasingly important that you prove yourself in your field. Get internships or jobs that relate to your area of study, volunteer, network, etc. As a Freshman in college, business professionals will be impressed if you try to set up a lunch meeting simply to pick their brain (this goes back to taking initiative). The more experience you have working on teams, learning from different environments, and excelling at various levels, the more willing a company like Google will be to give you a shot.
At the end of the day, I don’t work at Google, and I can’t give you a perfect blueprint for being hired there. I can, however, promise you that doing the three things above will put you in a better position to get a great job or start your own company after college. Good luck!
Hey, aren’t you that guy from Three 6 Mafia?”
This was my question to a man sporting several facial tattoos and silver teeth in the Minneapolis airport. I wasn’t completely sure if it was him, but I figured there was no harm in asking.
No, but you are.”
His response was said sarcastically with a big smile on his face, and we proceeded to shake hands and take a picture together. After talking with me for a couple minutes, DJ Paul gave me his new mixtape, then went on his way.
My interaction with DJ Paul was brief, but it did lead me to one lesson that I thought I’d share.
Reaching out is never as risky as you think
I’ll never forget making cold calls for a summer internship during college. When I first started, I was nervous.
What if someone asked me a question I didn’t know the answer to?
What if the person on the other end of the phone hated my guts?
After making thousands of cold calls that summer, I realized that it doesn’t hurt to ask for what you want, in sales, in relationships, and in life. Being transparent can have several positive outcomes. Some of these might include bringing forward objections, leading to questions and discovery, or…getting exactly what you want.
In my DJ Paul scenario, I wasn’t making a tangible sale of any kind, but I did want that picture with him, and he wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t reach out and ask him for it.
He could have said no. He could have laughed and walked away. He could have given me the middle finger. But he didn’t, and people typically won’t (this also varies with what you’re asking for and how you’re asking).
So calm your nerves, put on a smile, and reach out. Ask for new business, ask someone on a date, or ask for a picture. To get what you want, you must be willing to reach out and ask for it, and it’s never as scary as you think.
At the end of the day, the real risk is never asking any of these things and wishing you did.