Heads up, college seniors. Graduation's right around the corner, college debt's hanging over your head, and that career track you were promised is effed.
The good news? Reid Hoffman, who launched LinkedIn, says hope is not lost. Hoffman is the guy who invented social media. No, not Zuckerberg. Hoffman invented SocialNet while the Facebook billionaire was still in middle school. Hoffman then went on to play key roles in PayPal and Zynga before launching LinkedIn.
In his new book, "The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career," he shares key advice for the class of 2012: In a nutshell, approach your career like an entrepreneur.
"You have to think about, 'OK, how do I invest in myself?' " Hoffman explained as part of MTV's Pioneers Speakers Series. " 'How do I build soft assets? Skills, relationships, but also, how do I take an intelligent risk?' Small gambles, things that could lead to a breakout for you."
"Start-up of You," co-written with Ben Casnocha, breaks entrepreneurial thinking down into byte-sized bits, and provides examples from the brains behind Twitter, Flickr and more. The headlines? Be nimble ("permanent beta" in Silicon Valley speak), and build a better network.
"You are not a finished product. If you don't keep evolving, you start dying," Hoffman explained. "And your network is key to how do you find opportunities and how do you get access to the right kinds of people and opportunities.
"It is no longer guaranteed that you will have a career when you graduate from college," he added. "You actually have to live and work entrepreneurially."
This from the billionaire at the helm of a social network half the size of the United States. So, listen up.