Summer is a time for many professionals to kick back a little. But for recent grads, the anxiety is just ramping up. With commencement parties over and done with, for the class of 2016 the reality that there's a whole life in front of them to navigate is just sinking in. That's exciting... but also terrifying.
Lots of big-name entrepreneurs want to help. Having once been uncertain young people themselves, many top founders have helpfully offered their best life and career wisdom to the ambitious strivers coming up after them. I've rounded up some of the best tips from across the web.
1. Gary Vaynerchuk: Don't be practical.
Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia, stresses that the five (or so) years after you graduate aren't a time to play it safe. "If you are 22 years old, regardless if you're graduating from college or not, there are two things you should keep in mind," he wrote in a recent Medium post.
"The first is to acknowledge that you are entering some of the greatest years of your life. The second is that this is the moment when you don't go practical--don't take the 'safe' route. This is NOT the time to get the job Mom always wanted you to get. This is NOT the time to try to maximize as much money as you can make so you can save up to buy a sick ride. This IS the time, however, to realize that you have a five-year window (three for some, eight for others) for you to attack the life that you want to win."
2 Alexis Ohanian: Don't wait to get hired.
Forget waiting around for some company to certify that you have the skills to accomplish whatever it is you'd like to do in life. Just set about doing stuff yourself, advises the Reddit co-founder.
"Let's say you want to do marketing. You could just get the internship at such and such company. Or, why even wait for their permission for that internship? Just get started, right? Find a friend of yours who wants to run a Kickstarter campaign," he has said.
3. Andrew Ng: Ask yourself these two questions.
On Quora, the Coursera co-founder recommends grads the same two-part formula for figuring out how to spend your time that he uses personally: "When deciding how to spend your time, I recommend you take into account two criteria: Whether what you're doing can change the world [and] how much you'll learn. Even today, this is how I decide how to spend my time."
"With digital technology and modern communications, ideas and products can spread faster than ever before. With the right ideas and strong execution, any person can quickly help a lot of others on our planet," he explains. "So, ask yourself: If what you're working on succeeds beyond your wildest dreams, would you have significantly helped other people? If not, then keep searching for something else to work on. Otherwise you're not living up to your full potential."
4. Jason Kilar: Find your own path.
"Doing what you love, pursuing your own path, is often the most unsettling option at the outset. The paths that others have traveled before you, paths that have greater visibility--they appear lower risk. They play better in conversations with the aunts, the uncles, and the neighbors. But don't fall for it. You're better than that, and you have the strength to go your own way," the founding CEO of Hulu told grads at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's commencement last year, Business Insider reports.
5. Katrina Lake: Focus on learning.
According to the Stitchfix founder, when choosing your first job out of college you shouldn't look at prestige or salary. Instead, focus on growth. "Focus on finding roles where you can learn, grow, and develop most. Make sure you work for someone you admire, and that your manager can be a mentor and champion for you in your career today but also for the years to come," she told NerdWallet.
6. Reid Hoffman: Embrace uncertainty.
Here's the good and the bad news for recent grads, according to LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman: "That uncertainty you feel right now about your future -- it won't ever go away. In an ever-changing world managing your career is a lifelong process." The obvious implication: stop trying to find stability and embrace change as a constant.
7. Liz Wessel: Say yes.
As the 25-year-old CEO of startup WayUp, Wessel has managed to land her dream job young, so she knows both what her fellow 20-somethings are going through and what they need to do to find success. Her advice: "Your 20s are for figuring out who you are-so don't be afraid to take risks, bounce around, travel, and try new things. I say yes to as many new opportunities and projects as possible, and it has paid off every time."
8. Guy Kawasaki: Ship.
The investor and entrepreneur's best tip for recent grads can be boiled down to just one word: ship. "Don't wait for perfection. Life isn't perfect. Do the best you can and ship. Real people ship, and then they test and then they ship again. Then you wake up one day and you have something insanely great," he said in a commencement speech a few years back.