Leveraging Your Skills and Connections to Find Work


You don’t need to be told that getting a job can be difficult in this day and age. Even if you can afford to get a college degree, you’ll face a lot of competition from other professionals when you get out there and actually start looking for work. If you want to become successful, learning how to leverage your skills and learning how to effectively network will come in handy.

Take law student Anya Freeman as an example. During law school, she used to look at her fellow classmates and wish that she had the same networking opportunities they did to market her Russian-speaking skills. After graduating and finding work at Florida law office Coffey Burlington, she was guided by Kendall Coffey and encouraged to found the Russian American Bar Association of South Florida. Now that’s the way to use your skills and connections for good use!

Maybe you don’t speak Russian, but you definitely have your own skills that you can leverage during your job search. Here are a few suggestions on how to do just that.

What are your skills?

What kinds of skills do you have, and where will they take you? The types of skills you possess will determine what kind of network you’re trying to cultivate, the types of jobs you’ll apply for, and the image you’ll aim to create for yourself as a professional.

Note that this is not the same as choosing a career path (i.e., do I want to be a doctor or a lawyer?). Many people have varied interests and therefore a complex, nuanced set of skills with connections to match. It’s all about creating options for yourself!

Participate in your alumni association

Most large schools have alumni networks, where past graduates of that institution can help younger graduates find employment, network with others in relevant industries, and more.

Being involved in your school’s alumni association will create a lot of networking opportunities that will be easy to take advantage of. The advantage, when compared to regular networking, is that you start the conversation with a lot in common already—being from the same school, having a similar background, likely having similar goals, and so on.

Maintain a solid online presence

In this modern age of technology, it is commonly expected that professionals will have their own online portfolios, where their past work and skills can be showcased for potential employers to see. Regardless of the field you wish to enter, obtaining your own website should absolutely be on your list of things to do!

Do a bit of research on other people in your industry (or the industry you’d like to be in) to get a good idea what type of website you should create.

What’s more, maintaining a solid online presence (especially on social media websites like LinkedIn) can naturally create new networking opportunities for you.

What are your tips for using your skills and networking connections to find work? Let us know in the comments section below!

Amy Poehler, Charlize Theron, and More Famous Women Honored for Their Philanthropy

Amy Poehler

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

“There are so many children in the world who have nothing. Who are we to be in this room and be living this life without helping them?” Amy Poehler said in tears. She was honored for her work with the Worldwide Orphans at the Power of Women Luncheon.

Both Poehler and Charlize Theron got emotional when they gave a speech after being recognized for the philanthropy they had done over the years. Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Hudson and Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal were also honored at the event.

In her speech Poehler talked about how she recently raised money for the organization with John Hamm. They created an Emmys Losers Lounge party, where the winners were asked to make donations in order to get in.

Theron thanked her mother for “teaching me through your actions to be a strong and powerful woman.” She was honored for all she has done to help stop HIV and AIDS through the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach project.

Hudson left her speech tearing up, after being recognized for her work with the Julian D. King Gift Foundation which was created it in honor of her nephew who was murdered.

Jessica Alba attended the luncheon and talked about her work with her brand of natural baby products, Honest Co. “Entertainment is so fun and I love doing it, but this really feels like I’m doing my little part to make the world a better place,” Alba said. “If you’re blessed with a platform and access to pop culture and media, and you have the heart, being able to raise awareness for things that you care about is amazing.”

In closing, Poehler joked that, “Giving to charity is good for your skin,” she said, “and it makes your (butt) smaller.” Check out the video below.

Pete Cashmore

Pete Cashmore

IMG: via Time Magazine

Pete Cashmore has become a must-know name in the tech industry ever since founding Mashable. This website shares news on social media, tech, entertainment, and more. Mashable brings in over 20 million unique visitors every month and has been named a “must read” site by PC Magazine and Fast Company.

He came up with the idea when he was 19 because he wanted to keep people up to date on what was going on in the tech world. Mashable quickly became one of the top 10 and most profitable blogs in the world. Pete also has a pace on Inc.’s “30 Under 30” list. He was also listed as one of Forbes’ “Top 25 Web Celebs.”

“Pete started Mashable because he wanted to be part of the conversation about technological change,” according to his Times piece. “Mashable gave him a voice. Today, it gives voice to millions who are trying to make their lives better through digital innovation.”

As you can guess, Cashmore is very active on social media. He has over 3 million twitter followers— which is almost twice as much as Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffinton Post. While he is from Scotland, he also shares his time with New York City and San Francisco, but spends most of his time in New York.

The crazy thing is that he is only 27; imagine what 10 more years could bring.

Niloofar Rhmani becomes The Afgahan Air Force’s First Female Graduate in over 30 Years


IMG: via afcent.af.mil  Photo Credit: Scott Saldukas

In May of 2013, 21-year-old Niloofar Rhmani became the first women to graduate from the Afghan Air Force since the 1980s. She was awarded this honor after completing the air force’s undergraduate pilot training program. She was required to fly about 145 hours, and she spent about a year learning English to be able to qualify.

“First, it was my ambition, and second, I want to show that Afganistan can have female pilots,” she told the Times.

She posted her story on Reddit, and has received almost 30,000 upvotes since Tuesday.

One Reddit user, who is an Afghan male wrote, “I’m proud that she’s giving hope to all the little girls back home who have to better themselves under daily threats of violence. I hope this is the beginning of changing attitudes back home.”

While there is speculation if she is actually Afghanistan’s first female pilot or not, she has made a great impact regardless.

“Now my goal is to help my country have a bright future and stand up for females. I helped break down the doors for them after me,” Rhmani said on the website of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command.


Arianna Huffington Profile

arianna huffington

Img: C2-MTL via Flickr

Arianna Huffington is the president, chair, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. The Huffington Post is an online news and blog website, which she launched in 2005. While at first it was not taken too seriously, not it is one of the most read, lined to, and cited media on the Internet. In 2012 it won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

She is on the Forbes Most Powerful Women list, and is also an author of thirteen books and a nationally syndicated columnist. In 2006 and 2011, she was named in the Time 100, which is the magazine’s top 100 influential people list. Arianna Huffington is constantly coming up with new ideas to improve the site. Spanish and Italian versions of the site came out this year, and she’s released one of the first iPad only digital magazines, Huffington.

She has stated that, “Our current obsession with creativity is the result of our continued striving for immortality in an era when most people no longer believe in an after-life.”

Arianna Huffington graduated from Cambridge University, and has a Masters of Arts in economics from Girton College. She serves on many different boards including EL PAÍS, PRISA, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Center for Public Integrity.

Alexia Tsotsis



Alexia Tsotsis is the co-editor of TechCrunch, a “leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news,” according to their website.

Tsotsis first job in media was as LA Weekly’s Internet Culture Reporter. After that she moved on to be SF Weekly’s web editor. At TechCrunch, Alexia Tsotsis covers the early states of startups. Doing so, she has interviewed founders of very successful ventures such as Groupon’s Andrew Mason and FCC Chairman Julus Genachowski. She is on Forbes list of “30 Under 30: Rising Stars of Media List.”

Tsotsis graduated from the University of Southern California Los Angeles where she majored in Writing and Art. Afterwords she moved to New York City and took some courses at New York University. She then returned to Los Angeles, where she is currently living.

George R Roberts


Img: via kkr.com

George R Roberts is most known for co-founding KKR alongside his cousin Henry Kravis and Jerome Kohlberg. While he may shy away from the media, he is still a very active part of the company on the regional Private Equity Investment and Portfolio Management Committees. Since the founding in 1976, the company has become a staple in the private equity industry.

A couple of years ago, George R Roberts sat down the the Stanford Business school and talked about his success. “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” he said. He also urged the students to not let opportunities pass them by. Roberts is very passionate for education and helping students learn the business world. In late 2012 he made a $50 million dollar donation to Claremont McKenna College (his alma mater) and has given several other talks over the years.

George R Roberts is also the founder and Chairman of the board of directors of REDF (Roberts Enterprise Development Fund), a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California. This program helps to create jobs and employment opportunities for “people facing the greatest barriers to work.”

He has a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and a J.D. from the University of California Law School. Roberts is currently listed as #104 on the Forbes 400 list.

Alisa Chumachenko Profile

Alisa Chumachenko


In 2012, Alisa Chumachenko founded Game Insight International in Moscow. Her companies’ most successful mobile app is Paradise Island, and at one point was making $1 million per month on Android phones. Game Insights International reported $50 million in revenue in 2011. She just added a San Francisco headquarters, which has its own publishing website.

“While we definitely enjoy creating more casual titles for social and mobile, and have seen great success from games like Paradise Island, Airport City, and The Tribez, Dragon Eternity was something of a passion project for us,” Chumachenko stated.

Today, Game Insight Group is a big player in the social network and mobile game market. During just one year, the user number of their games being played exceeded the twenty million mark and is still growing.

Before create Game Insight, Alisa Chumachenko worked as the Vice President for Marketing and Advertising in a holding company Astrum Online Entertainment. She formed an amazing marketing team in in Russia, which allowed the company to have steady growth and launched dozens of free to play MMOG projects. Alisa Chumachenko continues to create great work and was dubbed as one of the Top 5 Women in Tech Startups to watch Out For by the Huffington Post.

17 Year Old High School Student Sells Mobile App to Yahoo for $30 Million

nick d'aloisio

Img: Kmeron via Flickr

Nick D’Aloisio was a pretty average high school kid, that is until he sold his app Summly to Yahoo for $30 million. D’Aloisio’s app provides bite-sized summaries of content from news and other websites for it’s readers. He is currently a high school student living in Wimbledon, south London, and will be working at the Yahoo! London headquarters after graduation. While he enjoyed making different apps and programs, he never expected to actually profit from it. He stated that the money will go into a trust fund, and towards a new computer, as well as some new trainers.

Diana D’Aloisio, his mother, said that, “I knew he was a little out of the box, but I didn’t expect it to happen all of a sudden like this,” she said. “From a young age he displayed abilities in technologies I frankly didn’t understand. He was doing 3D programming, and we bought him a book called C Programming For Dummies. My husband and I just used our computers for work, he was doing totally different stuff.”

Nick D’Aloisio began making films on computers at the age of nine, and started programming at 12 when Apple opened the App Store. He released his first app a couple years later called Fingermill, which is a virtual treadmill for your fingers. He launched Summly in November of 2012, and it won one of Apple’s best apps of 2012. So far, 90 million summaries have been read. Since being sold to Yahoo, it will be shut down and integrated into Yahoo’s business.

Henry Kravis – Business Profile


Img: Via kkr.com

Henry Kravis co-founded Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), along with is cousin George R Roberts and mentor Jerome Kohlberg in 1976. He is currently the Co-Chairman and CEO of the firm with Roberts. Henry Kravis started off his professional career working at Bear Stearns alongside his cousin in the late 1960s. After Bear Stearns rejected several of their ideas, Kravis, Roberts, and Kohlberg decided to strike out on their own. Flash forward to 2011 and KKR has over $62 billion in assets and were responsible for major buyouts such as RJR Nabisco, Safeway, and more.

Henry Kravis has used all of his power and money to help others as well. He, alongside wife Marie-Josee Kravis, partnered with Claremont McKenna College to create the Henry Kravis Leadership Institute. The organization sponsors the programs and training of future leaders, and the winner recieves $250,000 towards non-profit operational costs. He also frequently gives talks at Claremont McKenna and other schools about leadership, business, and more.

Kravis was also a founder and co-chairman of the New York City Investment Fund, a “private fund with a civic mission.” Created under his vision, the fund seeks to mobilize the city’s financial and business leaders to build a stronger and more diversified local economy.

Henry Kravis currently resides in New York City with his wife, Marie-Josee Kravis. He has a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

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