Hey Darrin, care to share a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I'm Darrin and I'm from Orange County, California. I'm a first-gen Asian and, like a lot of my friends, I went to school to find a stable career and thought I wanted to become a doctor. However, I soon realized this wasn't the path for me so I compromised with my mom to go into engineering instead. Fast forward to college, I went to California State University, Long Beach and college wasn't what I was expecting at all. Since it was a commuter school, I went to classes that didn't really interest me and it wasn't really fulfilling. I wanted to do something in order to fill up my time and so I joined Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business organization. There I met a lot of great people to start my professional development and after graduating from college, I started Engineered Careers in 2018. Now I go to work in the day and do Engineered Careers as a passion project at night/weekends. I create events and help students tell their best stories.
For those who don't know, can you explain what Engineered Careers is?
Sure, when we launched in 2018, EC started off as an editorial service where we revised Linkedin profiles, resumes, cover letters, etc. When COVID hit, we moved towards webinars and online panels. Our goal is to bridge the gap between students and professionals in order to help align them with their career goals. We aim to give students insight by partnering with student-run organizations or career services to create specific events.
It wasn't until recently when I started building up my team through the network around me. In the span of 3-4 months, we added on 4-5 people so now we're a team of 7. The spark note version is, EC is a career development service to help people land their dream job.
What made you interested in creating Engineered Careers?
I remember going to the library every day and spending 3-4 hours applying to jobs with my friends. I got so many rejection emails saying "You were a great candidate, however..." and I always wondered why. My peers were also having similar experiences which inspired me to create a platform for students to show their best self on paper in order to decrease rejection rates and increase probability of hires.
3 Character traits that would make someone excel in being their own CEO
Inspiring- as a leader, you need to be someone that can inspire their team to do above and beyond work. If you're someone with a vision that can inspire others, that's a huge step in being a CEO.
Vulnerability- being able to admit your faults and know when you made a mistake and also make sure to share that with your team. When you express your willingness to admit fault, it tells your team that you don't know everything and that you need one another to make your vision come to life.
Friendly- I think I work well with my team because we're all friends first and business partners second. If you can develop a relationship where work doesn't feel like work but more of a passion project with your friends, that just ties everything together and makes you more aligned with your team and the goals you guys are all seeking after.
Best advice you've received/heard?
A lot of people when they have ideas of starting a business, sit around, and think about it a little bit too much. One thing I would say is to just try it. Don't spend too much time thinking about if it'll work or not. Once you're able to go from ideation to execution, that's when you'll be able to see if your idea will work or not. It's okay if your business doesn't work out, I'd rather have someone try and fail rather than waiting for the rest of their life to figure that out.
Any last shoutouts, thoughts, or recommendations for someone who wants to become their own CEO?
Most of what people have ideas about will always be out there already. You just need to focus on what you're doing and not what others are doing. Just double down on what you can do and growth and progress will come as long as you do everything in your power and be calculative in how you're going to reach your goal. You'll slow down if you look at your competition so spend that time focusing on yourself and your goal.