Monday, December 18, 2017

How to Be Taken Serious as a Young Professional

As a young business owner or professional it can become frustrating to deal with partners, co-workers, and clients/customers who may be older in age and as a result, they don’t take you seriously. You may be used to being treated like “the baby”, “the kid sister”, “the possible date”, “the naive little girl that can be manipulated”, and the list could probably go on and on. We are often viewed as not being as intelligent or responsible as our peers, but there is great value in bringing a fresh boost of energy and way of thinking to the table.

Below are 6 tips for being taken seriously as a young professional:

1. Know Your Industry
You have to do the work. Conduct the necessary research so you know your industry inside and out. Know who the industry’s key players are and why they have become so successful. You must also be aware of what is going on in your industry, how has it changed, what are the forecasted industry trends, and what are the new critical developments and technologies. This will demonstrate that you know what you are doing and are taking your position/business seriously.

2. Develop Your Professional Persona
Business is business, it is not personal. You must keep work and play separate. Don’t drink too much at business/networking events, avoid the office romance (just to be clear – do NOT date co-workers, employees, partners, clients/customers, etc.), limit recreational social media surfing, and clean up social media content.

A very important step in developing your professional persona is you have to watch what you say. Others may wish to engage you in gossip or jokes, but maintaining a more serious demeanor earns respect. The goal is to earn respect not friendship.

3. Develop Your Professional Wardrobe
I know most readers will think this is trivial, but the way you present yourself to the outside world is a critical component of your success. Others will forma opinions about you before they ever hear 1 word come out of your mouth. You have to dress appropriately for the position you are in or the position you are going after. No longer being stylish or “dressing old” is a fear of many younger professionals, but there is a way to still be stylish and a professional. Be thankful for the internet many bloggers and fashion media outlets offer inspiration to help you achieve your desired look. If your personal appearance is not up to par this can prevent potential clients/customers from wanting to use your product/services.

4. Stick to Your Guns
Know what you stand for, know what you represent, know your values, and never compromise! Mental weakness and a lack of confidence are often associated with young age. You have to teach people how to treat you; so be sure to speak up, do not speak too softly or shy away from what you have to say, and use strong action words that reinforce your values and your decisions. Young professionals have a habit of fading into the background out of fear that what they have to say isn’t good enough. . Highlight that you have fresh ideas and a fresh perspective.

5. Take Responsibility
Take responsibility for your mistakes. When you own your mistakes and offer solutions instead of playing the blame game it demonstrates maturity. In a business/professional setting most of the time everyone is more interested in finding a solution than they are in placing blame on another individual.

6. Show Up
You miss opportunities when you don’t show up or when you show up late (I am ashamed to say that this is one of my biggest struggles). I can admit that I have missed a great deal of opportunities due to my tardiness or being too “tired” (lazy) to attend networking events and conferences.

When you show up, and you are on time, make sure you are prepared to make connections. Have your business cards, additional marketing material, and a prepared “elevator speech” describing who you are, what you do, and why your brand/company is important (what problem can your product/service solve).

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