They Don't Teach Corporate in College

BOOK: They Don't Teach Corporate in College
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“If you're looking for a guide to ease the transition from flip-flops to wing-tips, a fine choice is
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
. Alexandra Levit does a great job attacking assumptions that high-achieving college grads drag into the workplace with them.”

—Mary Eleen Slayter,
The Washington Post

“Ms. Levit teaches newbies such practicalities as making a memorable first impression, networking without cringing, coping with difficult personalities, and learning to be an effective boss. The book is easy to read and loaded with common-sense techniques.”

—Steve Powers,
The Dallas Morning News

“We walked into our CEO's office to brief him on the Millennial employee panel we were planning with Alexandra. We brought a copy of
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
along to show him, but to our surprise, he already had a stack of them in his office. He gives them to promising young employees he happens to meet in the company.”

—Amanda Tolino, Campbell's Soup, Inc.

“…workforce newbies need a boot camp like this to face up to the rigors of the working week.”

—Abby Wilner, coauthor of
Quarterlife Crisis

“Alexandra Levit has written a savvy, informative guide for first-timers making their way in Corporate America.”

—Stacy Kravetz, author of
Welcome to the Real World

“Her straightforward, practical advice is something that all colleges should recommend to their outgoing seniors.”

—Amy Joyce, author of
I Went to College for This?

“This book explodes with practical and relevant advice for young professionals who want to master the fast track yesterday.”

—Harry E. Chambers, author of
Getting Promoted

“There's only one thing I hate about this book: that I didn't have it when I was in my 20s! In a compelling and eminently readable volume, Levit lays out the secrets that it takes most of us at least a decade—and a lot of mistakes—to discover.”

—Rachel Solar-Tuttle, author of
Table Talk: A Savvy Girl's Guide to Networking

“I am a college professor, and I have been using
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
as a supplement to my supervisory management class. Alexandra Levit is right on the mark with this book. The students have really enjoyed reading it and have learned so much from it. I have incorporated this book into my class discussions, and the students will be more prepared for the corporate world because of it!”

—Mary Sakin, Farleigh Dickinson University

“Alexandra Levit writes with honesty and a refreshing bluntness about office mysteries that boggle young employees. Sprinkled with bullet points and real-world examples of corporate successes and gaffes,
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
can be referred to by twenty-somethings (and those who need a refresher) again and again.”

—Beth Herskovits,
PR Week

A Twenty-Something's Guide to the Business World
They Don't Teach CORPORATE in College
Third Edition

Copyright © 2014 by Alexandra Levit

All rights reserved under the Pan-American and International Copyright Conventions. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without written permission from the publisher, The Career Press.

, T
Cover design by Howard Grossman/12E Design
Printed in the U.S.A.

To order this title, please call toll-free 1-800-CAREER-1 (NJ and Canada: 201-848-0310) to order using VISA or MasterCard, or for further information on books from Career Press.

The Career Press, Inc.
220 West Parkway, Unit 12
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Levit, Alexandra, 1976-

They don't teach corporate in college : a twenty-something's guide to the
business world / by Alexandra Levit. -- Third Edition.
               pages cm
      Includes bibliographical references and index.
       ISBN 978-1-60163-308-8 -- ISBN 978-1-60163-484-9 (ebook) 1.
Business--Vocational guidance. 2. Success in business. I. Title.

HF5381.L48 2014



For my husband and partner in life, Stewart Shankman, who reads every word.


They Don't Teach Corporate in College
is the result of years of personal experience in the workplace, as well as valuable input from the following talented individuals: Jason Alba, Ken Blanchard, Harry Chambers, Diane Danielson, Judith Gerberg, David Gordon, Alison Green, Christine Hassler, Stacy Kravetz, Dan Pink, Lindsey Pollak, Linda Price, Karen Schaffer, Mark Schwartz, Rachel Solar-Tuttle, Neil Stroul, Bruce Tulgan, and Abby Wilner.

The hardworking folks who were essential in helping me turn a good idea into a published book include my agents, Alex Glass and Michelle Wolfson; my generous friend Peter Castro; my patient and wise lawyer, Josh Grossman; my editors, Diana Ghazzawi and Kara Kumpel; and the rest of the very competent and always responsive staff at Career Press: Ron Fry, Michael Pye, and Laurie Kelly-Pye.

I will be forever grateful to the dozens of professional twenty-somethings who inspired me with their personal stories, and to the thousands of readers who made the original and second editions a success and paved the way for this 10th-anniversary edition of
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
. I am also deeply indebted to the HR, recruiting, and training professionals, the university professors, and the corporate partners who helped spread the book's messages to large populations of twenty-somethings.

I'd like to thank my friends, my colleagues through the years, and my family—especially my husband, Stewart Shankman, and my father, Robert Levit—for keeping the faith and encouraging me each step of the way.

And finally, this edition is dedicated to my mentor and inspiration, the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey (1932–2012), whose thinking has shaped my entire career.


Preface to the 10th-Anniversary Edition


Chapter 1: Find Yourself, Find a Paycheck

Chapter 2: Congratulations, You're Hired!

Chapter 3: Working the Crowd

Chapter 4: Be the Master of Your Plan

Chapter 5: The Purposeful Workday

Chapter 6: Check Your Attitude at the Door

Chapter 7: People Management

Chapter 8: Moving Up in the World

Chapter 9: You're the Boss Now!

Chapter 10: Exit Stage Left



About the Author

Preface to the 10th-Anniversary Edition

Ten years ago, a little book called
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
was written in a second-floor apartment in eastern Long Island, New York. At the time, I was working as a PR manager for a Fortune 500 software company and was engaged to my college sweetheart. My career had finally hit its stride after years of setbacks, and more than anything, I wanted to share the lessons I'd learned with twenty-somethings who were just beginning their business world journeys.

In 2004, there were no other books like
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
, and I was very fortunate that the content seemed to resonate with people. A new career was born.

Throughout the next 10 years, I became a spokesperson and researcher on issues and trends facing modern employees. I wrote for the
Wall Street Journal
and the
New York Times
, and worked with companies like American Express, DeVry University, Deloitte, Intuit, and Microsoft. I traveled around the world, from Budapest to Sao Paolo, sharing my learnings with audiences as small as 10 and as large as 1,000, and I consulted with the U.S. Department of Labor on an online course called JobSTART 101. Last, but certainly not least, I got married and had two children.

I wanted to get my message of career readiness out as widely as possible, because with the 2008 recession, twenty-somethings needed more help than ever. Young professional unemployment and underemployment soared. The most driven and qualified college graduates were sitting on the job market for years at a time, struggling with displaying an effective online and offline personal brand and competing with dozens of candidates for every available position. Even those who were gainfully employed experienced an unprecedented level of stress as their organizations flattened and downsized, technology accelerated, and work/life boundaries blurred.

When general hiring resumed to somewhat normal levels last year, the job market for young professionals remained stagnant. At least in part, the reason is an ever-widening skills gap. According to the Job Preparedness Indicator research conducted by my nonprofit organization the Career Advisory Board, only 15 percent of hiring managers feel that current candidates have the requisite skills to fill open positions. And college grads are some of the worst offenders, lacking highly desirable traits like basic business acumen and communication skills.

In honor of our 10th anniversary, I'm doing what I can to address this skills gap. This new edition is jam-packed with new content, including advice for navigating a business world that is increasingly global, virtual, entrepreneurial, and unpredictable. You'll hear current thirty-somethings sharing wisdom with their twenty-something selves, and will hear my take on the most frequent questions asked by
They Don't Teach Corporate in College
readers in the last 10 years. But, as I said back in 2009, life in the business world hasn't changed in the 80 years since Dale Carnegie talked about getting people to cooperate, so many of the original lessons are intact.

BOOK: They Don't Teach Corporate in College
5.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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