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leadership lab

Derek Ting is co-founder and CEO of TextNow, a mobile phone service with more than 10 million monthly active users.

You're graduating. Well done. So now what?

Finding a job is probably top of mind, and as you join the throng of graduates looking for that perfect balance of high pay and meaningful work, try not to sweat the long-term.

Instead, focus on the here and now.

And whether you're thinking of going corporate, joining a startup or starting something on your own, these seven secrets will help set you on the right path.

Don't over-invest in what may not be the right fit

The Lean Startup principle can work for you too. The Lean Startup principle suggests startups should spend as little time as possible validating what the customer wants and not over-invest in an idea that may not work. In this case, that's you – you're the customer. Think about what you want to validate in terms of fit at a given opportunity. If something doesn't feel like the right fit, pivot to something else. Don't invest further when a situation isn't the right fit for you.


It is important to start building your network early, both professionally and personally. It doesn't matter if it's LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, make connections with people and remember the old (but true) saying: it's not just what you know, but also who you know. Networking and connections have always mattered, but in a global world fierce with competition, they matter more than ever. Shamelessly tap into your network and see where it leads you.

Always learn

You have learned a lot already, but you have not learned everything. The most successful people know what they don't know and always continue learning. Just because you've finished school doesn't mean the learning ends. It's a forever thing. Use every opportunity and every job you have to learn something new or how to do something better.

Love what you do

A job should never be a means to an end. You should always love what you do, and what you do should always lead you to something else more interesting. That matters more than anything, because if you enjoy what you do, then it no longer is work. Find what you're passionate about doing and learning. It makes getting up Monday-to-Friday a lot easier.

Find your perfect fit

Not all companies are created equal. Different companies have different cultures, missions, size, teams, and products. Think about what kind of culture, mission, team and product you want to be part of. ("You" is key here. Remember lesson 1: You're the customer). If the company culture isn't the right fit for you, you're not going to last. Pick a company where the culture, mission and team are a perfect fit.

Find the diamond in the rough

Most people only submit their resumés to the most well-known companies like Google and Facebook. However, the best opportunities lie in companies you have never heard of. The best way to learn is to join a small company where you can do a range of different things and where there's room to grow. Look for a company that empowers you to not just do your job but grow into a new one by allowing you to increase your responsibilities and expand your opportunities.

Many doors will shut before one opens

You'll hear no and no thanks, and you'll fall, and you'll fail. That's okay. Don't get discouraged. It takes quite a few nos to get a yes. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback when someone says no. Think of those times as opportunities to learn. Then take those lessons to improve your next attempt. You'll win. You'll see.

TextNow a mobile phone services with more than 10-million users and I found success by following these principles, and I am sure you will find success as well if you enjoy what you're doing and you believe in yourself.

Perseverance, grit, determination and commitment are critical. And whether you're seeking a job or building a company, remember you have to create or find a mission that makes you feel passionate about your work and a company that cares about its culture and about encouraging you to learn and grow. When you're feeling valued, you'll do valuable work.

Executives, educators and human resources experts contribute to the ongoing Leadership Lab series.

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