What I’ve Learned As A Young Professional

Hi friends – happy September! Moving out of the state I’m comfortable in has taught me a lot in general, but specifically a lot regarding my professional life. In no way have I mastered everything (or anything even remotely close to that), but I’ve garnered lots of good tips from people I’ve encountered and would love to share those with you.

Do not undermine your abilities.
How many times have we been complimented on something we’ve done and instead of accepting, we undermine it? “Its no big deal.” “It was easy.” We may all be guilty of this one, but in an interview and a professional setting, you cannot lack confidence; you must be proud of the things you accomplished. Instead, proudly accept the compliment! Brag about what you’ve done; don’t be obnoxious but don’t feel the need to cut it down, either!
Abandon fears of networking.
This is probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since moving to Minneapolis; networking doesn’t have to be scary! My dad taught me this better than anyone else. Meeting up with a completely random person my dad introduced me to helped me find the job I am currently working (and loving!)
Networking may never feel comfortable for some people, but you still have to challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Consider this: if you adapt the confidence to speak about your accomplishments, than networking should be no big deal.  Being good at talking to people can help you find your next opportunity.
Look at every opportunity as a growth opportunity.
Young professionals rarely find their dream jobs right out of college. In my case, I don’t even know what my dream job is. The job I started at was not where I thought I would be; in a lot of ways, I was disappointed with myself. However, that job turned out to be an amazing learning opportunity.  It taught me how employers should treat their employees. My boss from Farmers Insurance, my first job out of college, wrote me a beaming recommendation. If I had let my attitude toward the job affect my actions, he never would’ve written that! Make the absolute best of every opportunity you’re given. There is value in every single job you work.
Don’t burn bridges.
This is very closely related to my last tip and a piece of advice my aunt Betsy taught me; never burn a bridge with a prior employer. In my last weeks at my previous job, it was tempting to quit showing up… I was burned out, stressed about moving states, and feeling completely overwhelmed. However, I gave it my all until I clocked out on my last day. Especially considering it was my first “adult” job, I knew that was a bridge I couldn’t afford to burn, and thank goodness I didn’t!
If Bryan and I ever move back to Michigan, I may consider working at Farmers Insurance again; had I burned that bridge, that may not be an option. So it may seem difficult, but be professional until the very end.
Negotiate Fairly.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for more money or inquiring about a raise; good employees do it! That is part of knowing your worth. However, it gets bad when you make it about anything other than yourself and your qualifications. Here’s what I mean; just because a co-worker makes more than you do, does not mean you should bring that up and demand to make the same. There is almost always something you don’t know; bringing up another co-worker will just distract the conversation. Approach the situation with an open and determined mind. Ask for a raise because you deserve it, not because you want to make what your colleagues make.
Be open to learning from your seasoned associates.
Every single one of these tips has been taught to me by someone who’s been doing this for a while. They have obviously succeeded; there are things they’ve learned along the way. It feels great to be independent and figuring it out by yourself, but have an open-mind; you might not end up taking the advice, but it’s still worth listening to someone who knows from prior experience.
Apply for the dream job.
My new motto in life is “do the damn thing!” I think that applies perfectly when considering taking the chance on your dream job. You have a 0% chance of getting a job when you don’t apply for it; at least there is some chance of you grasping the attention of a hiring manager when you toss your resume into the hat. The worst that can happen is that you don’t get the job. So take the risk. Apply for the job you’re not qualified for; it might just work out in your favor!
Ultimately, just know you are doing enough. It is such a hard world to navigate but you will figure it out and you will overcome the obstacles you face. As stated above, I definitely do not have it all put together… I still have no idea where my life will take me. But I’m so open to the opportunities that come my way!