MTV star Ryan Kahn talks jobs and internships

Kahn, a career coach specializing in helping college grads land their dream jobs, talks with the Minnesota Daily.

Megan Nicolai

Ryan Kahn, a nationally recognized career coach with Dream Careers, Inc., spent part of Thursday speaking with the Minnesota Daily about the best ways to get ahead in the job market. Kahn was also featured on MTVâÄôs âÄúHired!,âÄù a 20-episode documentary series where he helped recent college grads land a job in their dream careers. He recently released a book by the same name.

In this economy, students might be a little scared to go after their dream jobs. How do you suggest they start out on their own?

I wish I had time to help out as many people as I get emails from, but I put together the book as a way that if thereâÄôs someone who doesnâÄôt have the opportunity, thatâÄôs a way that they can get some guidance. ItâÄôs not me telling someone what to do; itâÄôs more of me creating a path they can follow. I want the reader to create their own success and drive their own career, all I do is give a couple steps and help pave the way.

The economy is tough and the unemployment is high. Should students look for other opportunities for experience outside of their dream career?

No. Even in a tough economy youâÄôve got to keep moving toward it. But if you have a passion itâÄôs not always a straight and narrow path to get there.

âĦThe key is always travelling toward your passion, and not taking sacrifices. It would be a detriment to say âÄúoh, I canâÄôt get a job, so IâÄôm just going to work in retail.âÄù No âÄì there are jobs out there, you just have to be creative in how to get one. IâÄôm confident someone can land one if theyâÄôre really passionate and willing to take risks.

WhatâÄôs the best way for students to build up their resume?

The best way is internships. IâÄôm a huge advocate of internships and the value that they bring. I have a quote: âÄúnetwork is net-work.âÄù If youâÄôre able to get in there and complete a lot of internships and meet a lot of people âÄì make a great impression âÄì youâÄôre going to put yourself in a much better position to be hired. Part of that is, when youâÄôre at your internship donâÄôt just be another intern, be the best intern theyâÄôve ever seen. If you make that kind of impression on a boss, as soon as thereâÄôs a job opening they know about, you can bet that theyâÄôre going to say âÄúIâÄôve got the person for that job âÄî sheâÄôs right here.âÄù

What skills can students highlight that employers are looking for?

Social media âÄî itâÄôs so important and every business realizes how important it is. And honestly, the people that are best at social media are people that are in college. TheyâÄôre on the cutting edge of whatâÄôs cool, whatâÄôs hot âÄî they live it, they breathe it. If you can prove that youâÄôre a master at it, it can help open additional doors to the position youâÄôre going after. If you can bring to the table, âÄúI took my twitter account from 1,000 followers and now I have 100,000 followers,âÄù theyâÄôre going to be like âÄúWhoa! How the heck did you do that, and how can you do that for us?âÄù College students can really leverage social media to their advantage. Businesses get that thatâÄôs important. They just donâÄôt know how to do it as well as college students do.

What do you suggest to make a good impression during an interview?

The best way to go into an interview is to already know the boss. The way to do that is to already do an interview with them. They already know your work ethic; they already know you from around the office. ThatâÄôs the best way. ThatâÄôs ideally where IâÄôd want someone to be, but maybe youâÄôre coming into an interview cold, and youâÄôve never met them. My best advice is to do a couple things. First, know yourself really well. If youâÄôre able to talk about yourself really easily and all of your work experiences, and all the things youâÄôve accomplished âÄì thatâÄôs going to give you that boost. The next thing to do is study up on them. If you know everything about them and what their company does, youâÄôre going to feel confident if they ask âÄúwhat can you do for us?âÄù or âÄúwhy do you want to work here?âÄù I think with those two tips, youâÄôll feel calm, cool, no curveballs will come your way because you know yourself really well, and you know what youâÄôre going after.

Can you talk about the MTV show you were on?

Last year, we ran 20 episodes of âÄúMTV Hired.âÄù It was a ton of fun, it was a blast. We helped a lot of real people get real jobs on the show. Right now there arenâÄôt plans for more episodes coming out, but the whole experience was amazing and I was very happy to have been a part of it.

Any final advice?

The one message I try to get across as best as I can is, itâÄôs very comfortable to spend the summer at home and work at the local retail store, but IâÄôm always so impressed with somebody that actually takes risks and goes for what they are truly passionate about. Sometimes that means that you have to fly out to L.A. or New York because you want to work in the fashion industry. I really admire people that take those kinds of risks. ItâÄôs not easy, but thereâÄôs great reward for those that do that.

Episodes of the MTV show can also be seen here: http://www.mtv.com/shows/hired/video.jhtml?filter=fulleps