Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani Shares Best Career Advice He Has Received

By Thatiana Diaz
June 08, 2017 06:38 PM
Kumail Nanjiani
Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

There’s the typical career advice, such as ‘Go the extra mile,’ or ‘Be the last to leave the office.’ Then there’s the advice comedian Kumail Nanjiani has lived by. According to the Silicon Valley actor, the words he lived by to make it in Hollywood were: ‘Fake it ’till you make it.’

“I don’t know who told it to me. But I remember specifically making the decision to follow it,” he admitted. “I pretended like I knew what I was doing. Secretly, I was reading tons of books about how to write for TV, and looking up scripts for TV shows I liked.”

He concluded, “Nobody really knows what they’re doing. Some are just better at pretending like they do.”

Nanjiani shared this personal story as part of a new series on LinkedIn about life-changing career moments.

Kumail Nanjiani
Nanjiani accepts the Comedy Star of the Year Award during the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards.

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The television star was raised in Pakistan and when he was 19 years old, traveled to America for a college education. After graduating, he moved to Chicago and started his career as a comedian. Nanjiani went on to land a lead part on the HBO comedy Silicon Valley. He also stars in the new romantic comedy The Big Sick, which he co-wrote with his wife Emily Gordon.

Last month, the comedian delivered a commencement speech for the graduates at Grinnell College in Iowa, which he graduated from in 2001. It was there that he gave some advice telling the graduating class, “Have sex with an immigrant. We’re going through a tough time right now, and it would just be really great for morale.”