Career Advice Cisco Employees Would Give Our 20-Year-Old Selves

We asked some Cisco employees what advice they would give interns – or what advice they would tell their 20-year-old selves if they could go back in time. Here are some of their replies.

Here are the top 10 responses.

  1. Work to live. Do not live to work. This would be our personal advice – something it took a long time to learn. You need to take time to enjoy the life you are working to enjoy. That is not to say that you do not work hard, but do not let work become your life. Believe us, you will not be 90 and think to yourself “I wish I would have worked more.”
  2. Expand your horizons with other cultures. A common theme was “Learn another language” or “Study abroad.” Kasia Ousch, a Cisco recruiter from Krakow, Poland, said, “I would get a diploma from overseas university or spend some more time abroad to gain more of diverse perspective.
  3. Be bold. Be brave. As Senior Director of Talent Acquisition in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Kevin Blair puts it, “Don’t depend on everything learned at school, experiential learnings (hands on experience) are key to your early success.”
  4. Take chances. Along the lines of bravery, Cisco recruiters seemed to agree that even if you think you are not qualified for a job, apply anyway. Whatis the worst that could happen? They say no? They might say “not now” or “we have something else coming up.” Cisco HR strategist Ray Leung advises, “It is overcoming the obstacles in life that builds character.
  5. It is okay to start small. Not everyone gets their dream job right out of college. But find a job related to what you want to do, or maybe not even related at all – every bit of experience is valuable. Amanda Darnell, from Cisco’s University Relations team suggests, “Know that you will not get that “dream” job right away. Sometimes you have to earn your stripes. But also do not settle for something that might lead you away from your end goal.”
  6. You have got to work for it. Nothing good comes easy, but hard work pays off. Silvia Spiva (@silviakspiva) from Cisco’s social media team, says to “embrace your inner action hero every day.” Her personal favorite is Sailor Mars. She also quotes “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten as an example of superhero-ness. “I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion.
  7. Get involved. You never know where that connection will come from. Maybe you share a fandom with a hiring manager. Or maybe that Toastmasters group will give you the introduction you need. Or, if you get an internship, a few Cisco techies suggested making the most of it. “Always be open to learn and network. There is so much to learn and so many people to meet.” says Richie Chea, a Cisco business systems analyst
  8. Get social. There is no excuse anymore for not being a social networker. Just do it. Find something to talk about (maybe your chosen field) and post your thoughts about it. You would be surprised the connections you will make. Current HR intern Kali Pike would tell her fellow interns the same. ““Having great social pages and networking with them is a top priority for me.
  9. Be tech savvy. Want to be in marketing? Learn a bit of code. Want to be a project manager? Learn a bit of code. Want to be a coder? Learn a LOT of code – but learn a little about different languages. Know how to download an app. How to Google an answer. Carly Enarson, a program specialist for Cisco Services University Relations, reminds you, “Take as many technology classes as possible.
  10. Do what you love. This was the most resounding piece of advice. You know that Confucius saying, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life?” Turns out, Cisco employees agree. “I have so many friends just out of college like myself that are miserable in roles that they just do not enjoy at all. I am so much happier in life with a job I truly enjoy.” says Ana Alessandra, a Cisco marketing project specialist.


This article was originally featured on Cisco Blogs, written by Carmen Shirkey Collins.


NetAcad Advantage Reading Note: As you strive to be successful in your future career, it is important to know that technology will be intertwined even more within all industries and job positions. Obtaining a strong base of knowledge through courework at Networking Academy and also through certifications will be vital to your success.

As you search for jobs, make sure your resume is flawless and you adequately prepare for the interviews..