University graduates should network for job success
The greatest asset of recent graduates of Northern Caribbean University (NCU) is their social capital or network, according to renowned entrepreneur and business columnist Paul Carrick Brunson.
“Social capital is everything because who knows you and who you know is truly your net worth. Every job opportunity that you get … everything that you get in life, for the most part, is going to come based on your social capital – your connection to the network,” Brunson said. He was the main presenter at Career Fair 2021, which was hosted virtually on April 20 by the Career and Employment Services at NCU.
“That social capital is based on the perception of you, which is your brand. That’s the reason why I think, as a new graduate, you have to be focused on this,” added Brunson, who is also a television host.
He encouraged graduates to put themselves in situations where they can display their skills and talents to build their personal brand and thus create strong social capital. Brunson suggested that social capital is even more important for graduates in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
“The social ladder is much harder to climb in Jamaica … so the easiest way to climb up is going to be through who you know; your social capital,” he reiterated.
Brunson also recommended being an intern, an apprentice, or an assistant to a successful person in one’s chosen field as other avenues for entry-level professionals seeking success on the job market. For graduates opting to start their own businesses, the serial entrepreneur emphasised that doing diligent research is important to prevent new ventures from failing.
“Most small businesses end up terminating within three to five years,” Brunson stated. “The number one reason why new businesses fail around the world is lack of market need, [so] before you launch your business, you need to do research. You need to determine: does the market actually need my product? Do people truly want to purchase it?”
Brunson also advised that entrepreneurs must decide to either make products for the wealthy or for low-income individuals, based on today’s economic landscape that sees the middle class disappearing. He said that young entrepreneurs will profit better from first making products and services for the wealthy.
To beginners who want to enter entrepreneurship but are afraid, Brunson suggested associating with someone who has successfully started a business, getting surrounded with people attempting to launch a business, and gaining aspiration from podcasts and social-media content focusing on business success stories as ways they can relieve their fear.
He implored students to continue pursuing what they are passionate about, even when family and friends do not support it. “You have one life, and the quality of your life is based on the quality of your decisions,” Brunson asserted.
“As long as you are making decisions in the support of your values, in the support of your passions, in the support of your conviction, the quality of your decisions will be high.”