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The Best Career Advice You’ve Never Heard Before

When it comes to career advice, some of us may like to think we’ve heard it all. Work hard, get good grades and find a good job – simple, right? Well, it turns out the real world isn’t always that simple, and there are people who pave a different path to success – they choose to improvise, you might say. One such person is a man by the name of Fred Cook. 

Cook is currently the President and CEO of Golin and recently published a book titled Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO detailing his incredible journey from traveling around the world as a cabin boy to working as a hotel doorman to becoming CEO of one of the most successful communications firms in the world.

Sound like someone you could learn a thing or two from? Yeah, we thought so too. Lucky for you, a few Her Campus members were able to attend Cook’s presentation at Tuesday night’s COMM Career Conversations Speaker Series and have compiled some of the key takeaways and advice he offered, both for your career and life in general:

1. Improvise –taking the ordinary and making it special.

Don’t be afraid to see things differently.


2. Expose yourself – to new experiences, to new opportunities, to new worlds.

Don’t settle for more of the same.


3. The more experiences you have, the more interesting the options.

Broaden your horizons. Explore new opportunities.


4. Stepping outside of your comfort zone will prepare you for the big bad world.

It’s probably one of the hardest things to do after college, and yet, vital to your future career.


5. Be comfortable with bargaining.

Don’t settle for less than what you can earn.


6. Make an impression.

Go the extra mile – above and beyond what is asked of you.


7. Find the way past ‘no.’

There’s no shame in asking again.


8. Customer service is at the heart of every business.

In order to succeed in the business world, you must understand customer service.


9. It’s about the little things.

Anyone can offer good customer service. It’s the small things you do differently that will set you apart.


10. Run with your ideas.

No matter what they may be. They just may pay off.


11. Don’t be afraid to take your own path.

The right path is not always the easiest one.


12. Worry less, be brave.

Be fearless about your careers and life in general.


13. Courage is built by experience.

By having the courage to step out of your comfort zone, the rest will become a lot easier.


14. Failure isn’t fatal.

The rejections you face along the way will not determine your future unless you let them.


15. Careers are not about salaries – they are about experiences.

Form a different perspective of your future, and focus on what is truly important.

Obviously we can’t tell you everything Cook shared with us, but if you’re interested in learning more about this “unlikely CEO” and his incredible career advice, we highly recommend checking out his book. It just may be your first step to future career success.

Rachael David is currently a senior at Penn State University and serves as the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Penn State. She is majoring in public relations and minoring in psychology. Her love of creative writing and all things Penn State is what inspired her to become a member of the HC team in the fall of 2013. Her background experience includes working for the Undergraduate Admissions Office at Penn State as a social media intern in the spring of 2014 and is currently working as a social media intern for an internet marketing company in Harrisburg called WebpageFX. This past summer she also served as a PR intern for Tierney Communications. Rachael enjoys anything media related especially catching up on her favorite shows, including Saturday Night Live and any show on Food Network. She has a passion for food but also loves being active and spending her free time running or hiking. She hopes to gain more experience in all aspects of the media industry during college and plans on pursuing a career writing for a life & style publication in the future.
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