Nationally-renown Career Coach and star of MTV’s HIRED!, Ryan Kahn (or rather, Ryan Kahn’s people) contacted the IRISH ROVER with an exclusive interview offer. Ryan lectures to thousands of students each year, and links hundreds of graduates with their dream career. Featured in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, USATODAY, YAHOO! NEWS, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, STAR, the HUFFINGTON POST, and now the IRISH ROVER, this Southern California native promises success through persistence and positivity. Read on for tips on interviews, interning, and Ryan’s favorite book.

How did you get from college to your present successful position?

I spent several years working in the music industry including the Warner Music Group.  During that time I would voluntarily speak at UCLA helping students by introducing them to my friends and placing them into jobs and internships. From there I realized helping others secure their dream careers became my passion.  Now I have advised and placed 1000+ students into jobs and internships in some of the most coveted positions in the world.

Could you name one class, event, lesson, or conversation that prepared you best for the working world?

A great lesson for me was learned from my teacher Randy Jackson in my Artist & Repertoire class.  Despite his hectic schedule filming the show American Idol, with a newly released book, and press interviews around the world including Oprah, he still took the time out of his day to be at our class to teach his students.  This work ethic was definitely an inspiration for me.

What is one thing you know now that you wish you had known then?

Do a ton of internships–they are crucial and a great way to test out different industries before you graduate.

What are your top three interviewing tips?

The interview starts with the receptionist.  The casual conversation you have with the receptionist could help you in the final decision. Often employers will ask his or her opinion, and I don’t want you to miss any opportunity to make a great impression.

Research the interviewer’s online presence. It’s best not to broadcast that you were researching them specifically, but to look for common points you can casually bring up during the interview.

Prior to the interview, have a stamped, addressed blank thank you card ready and with you. This way, right when you walk out of your interview you can write your thank you note while everything is fresh in your mind and drop it right in a mailbox.

What are your top suggestions for interns?

These days, internships are crucial to landing a job out of college.  The more experience and contacts you make, the better you are positioning yourself for your future.  Make personal business cards you can hand out as you meet new people through your internship.  Over the years continue to keep in touch with everyone you meet. A rule of thumb is to reconnect at least once per semester with your employers, even if it’s just to say hi.  Know what you want and learn how to ask for it.

How can one network without feeling like a slime ball who befriends others only to use them?

It’s better to think of it as relationship building.  Have the right intentions and never ask for anything at first: give, give, give and eventually they will give back to you.

Do you have any secrets to success for finding a meaningful job these days?

It’s the same as you’ve heard a million times: It’s all about who you know.  The more active you can be today through internships and building relationships, the better you will be setting yourself up upon graduation.

Is it better to be feared or loved?


What do you see as the most pressing issue of our age?

The obvious answer is the job market with the economic downturn, but you’re in college: have fun and take the time to explore your career with internships.  Challenges are your greatest opportunity.

Should one sacrifice financial stability in favor of the tuggings of conscience?

Do what you love and for the right reasons.  It’s your career and not anyone else’s.  To do what you love can take great sacrifice, so surround yourself with champions who support you and never, never, never give up!

How should one balance hobbies and employment?

Find ways to tie your passions in with your career.  For example if you love fashion and have a strong accounting background, shoot for a Junior Accountant position with BCBG.  Interweaving your hobbies and passions with your career will make work less like work and more like somewhere you actually enjoy going to every day.

On a related note, could you tell us a little about Rock Start?

Rock Start is a non-profit I started where I donate guitars to kids.  Music has changed my life and I am fortunate for the first guitar my dad bought me as a child. I hope to share that same moment with other children interested in music but without the means.  Last year I was able to donate 30 brand new rock star black guitars to some great kids around the country.

How do you think lightning-fast and ever-present media affects our realities nowadays?

I think it’s great Social Media is the way to get yourself out there.  For your career, utilize social media to the fullest.  Network is Net Worth.

What do you find most fulfilling in your current career?

I help people’s dreams come true!  I love reconnecting with students who are now in their careers and seeing how successful they are!

Do you think Americans work too hard? Or not hard enough?

There are two issues I see from time to time.  The first is people chasing in the money.  I want grads to make boatloads of money, but there are ways to do it while still having a career you love.  Seek out the career that plays off your strengths and passions and the money will come to you.  The second is some students just follow the career path their parents want for them.  You have to listen to your parents and take in their opinion from their experience, but at the same time, ultimately it’s your career so take ownership of it. Due for a change?  Do for a change!

What’s your favorite book?

I’d recommend my book for any students and recent grads looking to go after their dream career.  By design, the book is a quick read that helps map out your career as a step-by-step guide.

What are some ethical dilemmas you have had to face in your career, and how did you face them?

Always give your best and you will never look back in