11 successful people share their best advice for new college grads

Tj miller, techcrunch, crunchies
T.J. Miller, star of HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley.’ Steve Jennings/Getty Images

In honour of graduation season, personal finance websiteNerdWalletrecently asked 27 successful business leaders, executives, musicians, actors, and athletesto share their best career advicefor the Class of 2015.

Here are some highlights:

T.J. Miller

Comedian and actor; Star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley”

Advice for recent grads: “Work harder than anyone else around you and be nice. That truly is the formula. It worked for me and I have mediocre talent and a horse jaw. And as a good friend of mine says: ‘Know who you are and don’t apologise for it.’ — Erlich Bachman”

Amy Ockert

Competitive Strategy Director at Whole Foods Market

Advice for recent grads: “The best thing is to find a mentor that you admire. Not your manager or even someone in your department, but someone you respect professionally. Bounce ideas off your mentor, work with him/her on issues that arise at work, and glean information to help your development as a professional.”

Leah Remini
Actress Leah Remini. Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Leah Remini

Actress; star of CBS’s “The King of Queens”

Advice for recent grads: “To aspiring actors: It is not an easy business for everyone, you have to love to entertain and you have to go in it for that reason, because if that is truly what is in your heart, those times you are told no will not allow you to give up. You can’t give up if it is something you truly love.”

Eric Bahn

Product Manager at Facebook; cofounder of Hustlecon

Advice for recent grads: “Your network will become increasingly important as you progress in your career. Once you build a reputation and build the right contacts, then you’ll never have to apply for a job again — opportunities will come to you. When you encounter an interesting person, grab their email and add their info into a master list of network contacts. Write an annual email during the holidays to your master list to keep your contacts warm and updated; you’ll be amazed how effective this tactic is.”

Brian Lee

CEO and founder of The Honest Company; founder of ShoeDazzle

Advice for recent grads: “Find something that truly inspires you, and join a company that has the same passion, or start one yourself.”

Sanya Richards Ross
Track and field athlete Sanya Richards-Ross. Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Sanya Richards-Ross

Professional athlete; four-time gold-medal Olympian

Advice for recent grads: “To be bold and fearless. The world needs new, fresh ideas! The world needs you! Don’t conform or be afraid to try and fail. Failure is an important ingredient to success. You’ll be happier and more proud of your results when you take the risk.”

Sam Reich

Head of Original Video at CollegeHumor

Advice for recent grads: “My advice for people starting out in this industry is always this: (a) Do what you love to do, a lot, for free, until you get great at it. (b) Get any job you can somewhere you’d like to work — no matter how stupid it seems at the time. Many of our best writers are former interns. Murph, who is one of our writer-cast members, started as CollegeHumor’s front desk guy!”

Katrina Lake

CEO of Stitch Fix

Advice for recent grads: “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.”

George stephanopoulos
Journalist George Stephanopoulos. Ray Tamarra/Getty

George Stephanopoulos

ABC News chief anchor; co-anchor of “Good Morning America”

Advice for recent grads: “Relax. Almost nothing you’re worried about today will define your tomorrow. Down the road, don’t be afraid to take a pay cut to follow your passion. But do stash a few bucks in a 401(k) now.”

Hermione Way

Founder of WayMedia; Star of Bravo’s “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley”

Advice for recent grads: “There has never been an easier time to start a business. There are so many free online tools. Just start, and if you fail you can always go and get a normal job, but you will learn so much along the way it will be a great experience.”

Patrick Lee

Cofounder and former CEO of Rotten Tomatoes

Advice for recent grads: “If you want to do your own startup, you don’t need a job to get experience first. You will learn faster doing your own thing than working at some entry-level job. You will make mistakes (lots of them), but that is all part of the learning process. If you want to learn to swim, don’t be afraid of getting wet.”

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