What career advice do you have for recent graduates? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Mira Zaslove, startup specialist, on Quora:

Find a good mentor and surround yourself with the best possible colleagues you can. Most people underestimate how much other people have to do with their success. Being surrounded by the right people probably has more to do with career success than anything else. For many people finding a mentor is more of a "nice to have" and for most people it's a bit of a throw way piece of advice.

Company culture is for real. When you work with good people, your work is elevated. The best thing about working for great companies is the excellent talent and quality of people around you. Sure, the pingpong table is a nice perk, but the highest impact perk is the conversation you get while you play. The free food isn't nearly as valuable as the camaraderie built over time eating that free pizza.

Jim Rohn sums it up simply: "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." And most people spend more time with their work colleagues than they do with anyone else.

The people you work with will highly influence not only your work but also your character, actions, and thoughts. Habits and mindset are contagious: If everyone you work with comes in at 7am, likely you'll be getting in earlier than if everyone rolls in at 10:30am. If the average employee complains and gripes about the company, likely you'll start to feel a little worse about your job and start complaining yourself.

If your team prides themselves on their work, you'll likely do a better job than if the team prides themselves in how much they can slack, and how many corners they can cut and still collect a paycheck.

A month can either be a short or long period time to complete that project, based on what everyone else is doing. How much you are expected to do and how well you are expected to do it, will be largely impacted by those five colleagues you work most closely with.

Success is rarely achieved alone. It's hard to succeed without a good team around you, and it's nearly impossible to succeed when surrounded by weak links. If you find a mentor who is invested in your career success, your career will start on the right foot and you will be leveraging their career to help yours.

This advice is only important for recent graduates looking to join a company, a mentor can also help guide you through your entrepreneurial journey. As John Rampton writes, in 10 Reasons Why a Mentor Is a Must, Mentors have the experiences you can learn from to prevent making the same mistakes beginners make." And mentors are connectors that can, "provide access to those within your industry that are willing to invest in your company, offer their skills and expertise, introduce you to talent that can fuel your business and help you get closer to your target audience."

When choosing a job, the number one thing to look out for: Which people will bring out your best work? Which culture and team best fits your style?

Finding and engaging with the right people is likely the single most influential career move that most people neglect to consider.

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Published on: Dec 10, 2018