Advice for Young Professionals
Starting brand new in the workforce can be very exciting, but scary. Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your time so you can keep moving forward!
1) Establish your personal brand.
The first thing is to decide what you want your reputation in the workplace to be and let this define your actions. Developing a professional brand should seep into your personal life. Monitor your social media and use it effectively to make good connections.
2) Seek out a mentor.
This does not have to be established formally, but can even happen naturally. Lookout for people that you admire and want to learn from. Many mentors don’t even realize their importance!
3) Keep up with the news every day.
Try to be up to date on what is going on within your organization or industry. Being educated on what is relevant will help you in professional conversations and show others how passionate you are. This will make you memorable!
4) Get away from your desk and walk outside
You don’t have to go far, but attempt to get out at least once during your workday. Your brain needs natural light and fresh air. This will create more productivity after you return.
5) Plan your work.
Although life is always changing and you should be flexible, there should be some solid plan in place. Try writing down your 1, 3, and 5 year career goals and find a mentor at work who can teach you the ropes. This will help you prepare appropriately and know what your next move is.
6) Always be open to learning.
Do some research on what the leaders in your profession are reading and participating in. This will help you seek out professional development opportunities. Be willing and open to learning from those who have paved the way.
7) Go to your boss with a solution, not a problem.
Bosses tend to solve problems all day. A way to make both of your lives easier is to present a solution when you present a problem. It doesn’t always have to immediately solve the problem, but it will show your boss that you are trying a proactive approach.
8) Write thank you and follow-up notes.
Ask for business cards when you meet new colleagues at events and meetings. Sending them a thank you note, even an email, will set you apart and help them remember you.
9) Travel any chance you get.
Don’t put off travel. As busy as you are at work, it is important to both personal and professional development. If you can’t take extended time off, try a weekend trip and explore a small town.
10) Be interested and ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking thoughtful questions will show people that not only are you interested, but you want to learn. Speak up when you have something to offer, but remember that your colleagues have things to offer you as well.
11) Stay in the loop, but avoid the gossip.
It is good to know what is going around the office, as long as it pertains to your position and needs. Try not to gossip. It will keep you respected and show others that you are trustworthy.
12) Don't come to work sick.
It may seem admirable, but coming to work sick puts everyone else at risk. You are given sick days for a reason. The more you use them, the quicker you will recover.
13) Make contacts outside work.
You never know when your next career opportunity will be presented to you. Keep yourself open to meeting and socializing with others, even when you aren’t at work.
14) Learn from your mistakes.
Everyone messes up occasionally and no one should expect perfection. Instead of trying to forget your mistakes, evaluate and learn from them.
15) Strive for work/life balance.
This balance will look different everyday, but make sure you give yourself time for self-care. This will not only keep your mental health in check, but it will make you a more productive employee.