You probably think you don’t have much in common with someone like Adrian Grenier, the 36-year-old actor, producer and director who is best known for portraying fictional Hollywood star Vincent Chase on the hit HBO show Entourage from 2004 to 2011.
After all, he’s a already a celebrity and you’re just a poor student or recent grad who’s desperately trying to get a job and start your career.
But Adrian proved to hundreds of students at the University of Guelph-Humber last week that he shares a lot with Canadian students. He was one of two keynote speakers at EMERGE, a conference put on by graduating Guelph-Humber media studies students (TalentEgg’s own Lauren Friese was the other keynote).
Adrian spoke about his recent documentary, Teenage Paparazzo, which documents the true story of the relationship between a 14-year-old paparazzo named Austin Visschedyk and Adrian – and the relationship between celebrities and the paparazzi in general. The film explores the perks and consequences of media exposure and provides an intimate look at the paparazzi and celebrity culture.
But in his keynote, he also introduced a larger conversation about youth empowerment and the benefits (and drawbacks) of the era that we live in. In case you weren’t there, here’s a summary of some of the career lessons students and recent grads can take away from what Adrian had to say:
1. You are not part of a Lost Generation
To open his keynote, Adrian played a video that we are huge fans of here at TalentEgg. It’s a video that was originally shared with us by Freedom 55 Financial National Recruiting Manager Chris Baker a few months ago called “Lost Generation.” Just watch:
2. Take advantage of the tools available to you
— acheynius (@acheynius) April 24, 2013
Adrian emphasized the fact that the Internet and social media in particular allow young people to express themselves and incite real change – something that previous forms of media, such as television and radio, did not allow since they were one-way only.
Although Adrian was referring to social activism, these tools can have many uses. Taking advantage of all of the technology and modes of communication at your disposal are critical to building your personal brand. In our time, you don’t have to wait for someone else to notice you to make your mark on the world.
3. But keep in mind that technology has its limitations
“As great as technology is, it still has it’s limitations, because it’s only a frame of the truth” – Adrian Grenier #emergeTO
— Rob Borts(@RJBorts) April 24, 2013
As mentioned above, technology is a great tool – but that’s all it is. It’s not a silver bullet and it requires real dedication and effort from you to be effective. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, and diversify your job hunting strategies for the best outcome.
4. Create your own opportunities
— Melanie Hoefs (@melaniehoefs) April 24, 2013
If you wait for your career to come to you, it’s not going to happen. Nobody’s going to just hand you a meaningful job, including employers, your parents or professors. If you want it, go get it!
5. Put ideas on a pedestal, not people
— Elle Zinck (@ellezinck) April 24, 2013
It can be tempting to idolize celebrities and successful businesspeople, but Adrian recommended looking a bit deeper at people’s ideas instead because there’s much more to learn from and take action on there. Besides, great ideas are not limited by how famous you are or how much money you have in the bank.
6. Balance your media diet
— Sydney Long (@sydxo) April 24, 2013
We’re not just talking about reality television here – you need a balanced media diet in your career too! Think about it: there are countless books, magazines, blogs, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn groups related to the industry or profession you aspire to enter. If you’re not careful, you can be hit with information overload. Diversify your media consumption – you’ll be a lot happier, smarter and gain greater perspective for it.