CEO of Trend Hunter, New York Times bestselling author, and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 recipient, Jeremy Gutsche, discusses how to stay innovative in a competitive labour market.

Mediaplanet: How did your higher education shape your career path?

Jeremy Gutsche: As an entrepreneur at heart, I was always searching for inspiration. During my undergrad, I learned the fundamentals of business, but it wasn't until my MBA at Queen's that a marketing professor named Jay Handelman  introduced me to the business of hunting for cool. Inspired (and well before Facebook or YouTube were a thing), I coded Trend Hunter as a place for people to share business ideas. Years later, we're celebrating billions of views, hosting Future Festivals around the world, and advising brands like Starbucks, Adidas, and NASA on what's next in their industries.

MP: As a marketing role model, what advice do you have for people just starting their careers?

JG: Be cautious of the millennial trap — switching jobs too quickly because you feel you aren’t experiencing career fulfillment. In the beginning, you have to put in the years to actually learn how to be awesome at something. Then you become a badass ninja in whatever field you've studied, and you can go out and conquer the world. But it doesn’t happen without effort and commitment.

MP: What advice would you give to a young professional trying to make it in a competitive labour market?

JG: Actively work on your own self-development, which could mean reading books, watching TED talks, or staying on top of trends at Trend Hunter. As you build up your war chest of skills and knowledge, you’ll become even more appealing to employers who are desperately looking for ambitious people interested in self-development and their careers.

Also, if you've got a big interview lined up, learn everything you can beforehand about the company, the role, and your interviewers — read their website, watch their YouTube videos, and figure out what they’re trying to do. Not only will this allow you to find the right opportunities, it’ll help you to optimally showcase your ambition and alignment with the company’s goals during your interview.