Every time I think about the first job I had I smile. I had a male boss who I had a crush on and a female boss who I thought was bitchy. Today, she is one of my mentors.
I was the overly enthusiastic youth who was willing to help everyone. I was just nineteen (19) at the time, ten (10) years later I can still remember them and lessons learned and I have my first boss to thank for this.
You have to be intentional about your goals and identify factors that hinder your progress. If you feel under accomplished, do something about it. If you lack expertise in a certain area, do something about it.
FIND YOUR STRENGTH AND DEVELOP IT!
And if you are still uncertain, here are 7 remarkable ways to help you stand out as a young professional.
1. Be present: Stay updated, listen to the news – This was one of the hardest habits I had to improve; which is still a work in progress because I was not a TV or radio person. Be present means – knowing what is happening in your area of interest, in your country and around the world. For example, if you are interested in disaster risk management, you ought to be informed about the intricacies of disaster; the risk, vulnerability locations, potential hazards and changes in the climatic conditions. Attend conferences and pay attention to all press relating to your interest. The same concept applies if you want to study journalism, chemistry, engineering, economics and any other field. Acquiring knowledge about all the trends that surrounds your interest is an excellent start and you can compare the different dynamics based on geographical location. WHY? Because you will make a better conversationalist, professional, and leader. How – subscribe to Google alerts. This brings me to my next point.
2. Networking: Some of the best ways to network is to attend events, seek mentors and find influences who already did what you are trying to achieve. You should attend events that not only fall within the realm of your interest but non-correlated events. Learn new things, meet new people and develop a taste for multi-disciplines to understand the constantly changing world which you live in. Targeting a specialty is good but depending on your interest – building rapport with a person from multiple disciplines is more advantageous. You will eventually begin to analyse things differently. For example, with a background in economics – I look at economic development trends – I also assess the economics of the fashion industry (how much women spend on fashion + beauty), health sector (cost of improving self-care now to reduce morbidity rates), agriculture (how food security is vital to survival and importance of conservation) and public sector economics (how the state incurs cost for persons who enjoy and abuse free goods such parks and roads). Politicians and Accountants will view these things differently than I do. When you network you build relationships with different intellectuals. Most upward opportunities depend on who knows you and not who you know.
3. Hang out with like-minded people: You ever heard the metaphor which says “birds of a feather flock together.” You might slightly differ from them but the top 5 people whom you spend your time with have a huge influence on your progress. It does not matter how strong-minded you think you are, you will still need some external motivation and objective opinion from your circle. Choose your friends and even acquaintances (the ones who do not know your little secrets but you occasionally go out with) wisely. People who are progressive and driven will always be focused on self and professional development. They spring up new ideas swiftly and push towards it. They are never satisfied with the mundane life and always want to try things. Their goal is a success to make a difference and earn extra income. They are not lazy – they exert grit and commit to their goal. These are the people you need in your circle. I am not saying to change your friends but I am saying to re-evaluate your “squad”.When you decide to dedicate a full weekend towards working on your project, will your friends understand and not consider you boring? The majority of successful entrepreneurs sacrificed a lot during their early stages. Take care of your infant stages because what you do now will certainly impact your long-term results.
What is your circle like? Are they all about vanity, living life for fun only and satisfied with the safe route?
4. Be yourself: In your quest to grow, remember to be yourself – your best and authentic self with no carbon-copies. Treat others better than they treat you – and be genuine about it. That way you allow your flaws to show and people to trust you. In becoming more marketable you have to be trustworthy and by being authentic people will open up to you more. Transparency will create an avenue for building community and grow your brand.
5. Never stop learning: Learning does not end after college. In order to grow incessantly, you should learn continuously, whether it is through accredited online courses, in-person workshops or information publications online. I slowly developed a passion for more reading after university life. This is how this blog was conceptualised. With some research, I was able to get started with my own blog where I am still learning daily. There are free online courses in several training areas on Google and his “big cousin” YouTube. Regardless the field you are in, learning can be both practical and theoretical – your methodology and capabilities in how you market yourself is what matters.
6. Create an online profile: Build a website to showcase your portfolio and accomplishments. A website gives you authority as a professional in your niche and it shows that you know what you are about. Many people have the knowledge but are unable to apply themselves. This website is my online community to start my coaching business and venture into entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, I believe in helping others to become more marketable whilst I grow. Therefore, I concocted a plan to provide useful strategies for others who have goals and need direction with their professional development.
7. Volunteer: Beside my super nerdy obsessed with writing, I participate in cultural activities. This is one of my “drug” where I let loose and have fun with my team. My cultural group is more than just a group. We contribute towards community development by hosting training events, pageants, coordinating annual village feasts and doing occasional performances.
Because it teaches you more about servitude, patience, and communication than anything. You are not pressured and the discipline is internal. This is where you learn the basics of dealing with multiple personalities, teamwork, and commitment. Saying that you volunteered shows that you are not only driven by financial rewards but by the positive impact on lives.
You do not have to join a cultural group but you can volunteer with clean-up group, clubs like rotary, lions, toastmasters, sports clubs, community development clubs and even church clubs.
Truth be told – these are not a finite set of rules but simply guidelines. I know some of them are convoluted habits to develop, but I assure you, these lifestyle practices will evoke a longer glance in your corner and more people will pay attention to what you have to say.
All may not apply to you but let me know in the comments which ones work for you. I will be releasing an email course in July.