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3 Things for Young Professionals to Keep in Mind

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Not all investments are created equal. Brand new cars depreciate the second you pull off the dealer lot. Stock values can bounce up and down. Your early career is certainly an investment, and even the return on that investment can vary. The sweat equity you put into your career in its beginning stages can propel you toward success.

Here are three things to keep in mind while building your career:

1. Make the right connections.

As you begin your career, you need to know and understand the importance of having a professional network. Developing and maintaining peer relationships will help you to have allies within your chosen profession. We all know there will come a time when you’ll need them, and they’ll need you.

Networking cannot be overstated — build your own relationships and leverage them to open opportunities you may not have seen coming your way. Of course, there’s the bonus of having an advocate on your side within companies and around clients you’re working with. Find young professional networks, trade associations and local networking groups related to your chosen profession.

2. Start to build your career.

There is a dwindling pool of skilled workers looking for new job opportunities. That means those with enhanced skills can go farther, faster and earn a higher income, regardless of the economy.

Translation: you’ll be in higher demand.

It’s always better to be prepared and have an ace in the hole. Prime the pump before you need the water — don’t let today’s rosy economy make you complacent. It’s more difficult to find a job without proper education, experience and certifications. So hedge your bets and prepare yourself to weather future storms, and make sure you’re working in valuable internships and externships.

3. Using all available resources

It’s cliché, but true — there’s no road map for success. But you’d better have a game plan and sense of direction. Any sports fan knows a good game plan brings in every tool and trick play.

  • Make sure you have a mentor. When the days of submitting applications get long, lean on them and glean professional wisdom. Learning from the experiences of others is invaluable and may save you from unnecessary struggles and pitfalls. Individuals who have worked their way through the corporate ladder know more than you, and more than likely, they’re willing to impart their knowledge to you if you just ask.
  • Are you using social platforms to your advantage? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Is it up-to-date? Are you connecting with your peers and actually using it? If no, then why not? Use this early period in your career to work on your online presence. Take advantage of the added value.

Did you know there’s more to the online professional presence than just LinkedIn? It’s true. Twitter can be leveraged professionally, too. In any industry, there are influencers and motivators, and many of them are on Twitter. Follow them, engage with them and their other followers, just like you. Consider it research — what information or best practices can you glean from these individuals?

Just like any tool or technology, it’s all about utilizing it for good. The internet and social media are the same.

Be flexible in your game plan and leave room for adjustments — the road is unknown. Use perceived detours to hone your skills, and discover more ways to apply the knowledge and tools you already possess. You will develop into a more well-rounded professional, and will ultimately have more to offer as you move through your career.

 

Nicole Tropp is the public relations specialist for the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the voice for standards and education in the pool and hot tub industry. She has worked as the content manager with EducationConnex, a leading enrollment solutions provider for non-profit organizations.

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