The world has completely changed in the last 20 years. Nowadays, age does not mean experience, age does not mean value and age certainly does not mean intelligence.

Unfortunately the 40+ crowd does not agree with me as they fear that some 22 year old (potentially without a college degree) is going to take their job.

Step 1: Determine quickly what you are good at while keeping in mind what you love to do?

–          Does working with numbers excite you?

–          Do you like to write?

–          Do you love working with other people?

–          Do you want to work alone?

–          Do you want control over your day 2 day activates?

These are a few questions that should answered to start building out your dream career. You must notice that they are “like” and “love” questions… not “are you good at”. Picking something within your strengths is only going to help you excel faster.

Step 2: Become an expert in Microsoft Excel

I do not care what anyone else tells you. The single most important part of climbing up the salary latter is your ability to manipulate huge data sets in an efficient and timely matter. I will quote an old supervisor of mine, “I have always put excel on my resume. After working with you, I now understand that I actually do not know excel as well as I should”. I promise you one thing, if you MASTER excel, you will be successful in and crucial to any business you work for.

–          Learn pivot tables (they will be your best friend)

–          Understand how to write an IF statement and use nested Ifs to fill in data sets

–          VLookup and Index/Match are crucial to any monster spreadsheet

–          Use formulas to build personal insight and confirm validity of data

–          Learn the basics of VBA and how to implement/use Excel Macros

Those five pointers are the backbone of becoming an Excel EXPERT. They will decrease the amount of time it takes to analyze any data set.

Step 3: Get a job and don’t be afraid to move

Take any job related to what you want to do. Work for a bit and move. If you find yourself at a company in an assistant/analyst/solo manager position for more than a year…get out. Take the risk to gain more responsibility. Do not accept counter offers… it is simply a way for supervisors to take their time in replacing you.

Step 4: Build a LinkedIn profile and start networking with others

–          Interact on topics that you feel strongly about

–          Do not over emphasize your opinions, however let people know that you are not afraid to stand up and be an innovative thinker

–          Write recommendations for people that have done great work with or for you (let people know that you believe they are doing an awesome job)

–          Request recommendations from colleagues and supervisors. Trust me in the fact your colleagues know more about your work ethic and ability than your supervisors do.

–          Connect with third party companies that your current company works with (they may be very useful in future situations)

Step 5: Don’t be afraid to be the expert

There is a fine line between cockiness and expertise. Use both and never be afraid to admit that you were wrong. Take chances and try to do something new… something you own. When someone ask you for advice, follow these steps:

–          Respond (very little thinking)

–          Explain

–          Confirm

–          Plan

Others will tell you to take a second and think. I’m telling you that if they are asking for your thoughts, it is because you already know. Respond first, explain it to them, confirm it after the conversation and then plan what is next. If you need to follow up with additional thoughts and/or corrections after… that is completely fine.


–          Don’t think that your education is going to get where you want to be

–          Don’t rely on others failure or successes to help you move up

–          Stay positive and always revisit Step 1

–          Open a savings account and get ready to deposit $$$ every week!

In closing:

Take this as you will… it has been arrogant and to the point. You might ask, who is this guy and why should I listen to him? Without being a know it all and/or egotistical… I am a guy that reached 6 figures before I turned 26. Oh, and I did it without graduating from college.