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“Get realistic,” everyone told her. “You’ll be competing with hundreds of thousands of other smart, hard-working and driven new graduates.” Related: 4 Ways To Build Success From Scratch Nicolette Weinbaum was freshman in college when she discovered the importance of becoming professionally independent. With all of the tough competition happening today, she knew that she’d have to do something immediately if she wanted to land a career she loved. “Having a good job right out of school could put me on a promising professional path,” she said. “Financial stability and independence was always a huge factor in the back of every student’s mind too; especially when I consider how much my parents have sacrificed to pay my quarter-million dollar tuition.” But how? What could she do to stand out among the millions of other students our there? Instead of using the weak, yet overused excuse, “I’m only a freshman. I’ve got plenty of time to get experience,” she went on a mission to find a meaningful internship that would kick start her career. And, instead of falling back to traditional, outdated job search techniques, she got creative and used the technology she had available to her. After determining exactly what she wanted and who she wanted to reach out to, she started a targeted LinkedIn ad campaign, utilizing social media marketing to find relevant, valuable opportunities for HER. Her ad for an internship was simple, but EXTEMELY effective. She received tons of emails applauding her creativity, as well as several job interviews and offers. (You can check out her full story here.) Get it, girl! That’s what Professional Independence is all about: taking initiative, finding creative solutions, and ignoring negativity in order to get out there and take control of your career. “Professional success won’t fall into your lap,” she said. “It takes determination, vision, and persistence.” Knowing that many recent grads are having difficulties in the job market, Weinbaum was generous enough to share her secrets to professional success. So, what has she learned? Here are her top career secrets that EVERY college student needs to know before leaving school.

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“Sure! Let me get back to you on that.” As I hung up the phone, I wondered at how my work life had changed over the years. At the time, I was working full-time as the HR manager for a startup company, but the phone call was from another company in town looking for a few hours of HR project support. Related: Find Out How Much You're Worth To Employers All of my life, I have wanted to “do my own thing.” While my wife has known that since we first met, she has told all along that she never wants me to own my own business. Funny enough, I often have to remind her that I’m already doing it, just not in the traditional sense. If you have the interest and the availability, you could do the very same thing. Here’s how I made it work for me:

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Are you sick and tired of depending on other people for your career success? GOOD! The only person in charge of your success is you. If you’re feeling trapped by a job you hate, a bad boss, insulting pay, or all of the above, it’s time you take ownership of your career. Okay, great - but where do you start? Here are three things you can do to start taking control of your career today:

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