Challenges of Proving Yourself as a Young Professional

As a new professional, I’ve noticed how challenging navigating the workplace can be. If I’m honest, a class really can’t prepare you for that transition. I recently read an article by Andy Kolinsky and Jake Newfield in the Harvard Business Review titled “How to Gain Credibility When You Have Little Experience”. The authors recommend five steps to improve your credibility.

  1. Leverage your research skills
  2. Identify (and embrace) your specific contribution
  3. Volunteer willingly
  4. Manage your workload and communicate proactively
  5. Work to build a network of close relationships

This lead me to reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities I’ve had as a new professional. I quickly realized that I had utilized many of these steps to create more training opportunities. The below reflection is an example of my experience as new employee in the workforce.

As a college graduate, I started a position with a nonprofit that hired mostly consultants. I was the youngest employee and it really impacted how I was viewed. I took a position with IT and quickly found that our employees lacked some necessary skills to perform their jobs. Though my position wasn’t in training, I offered to create a training for our employees to address the gap. I saw this as a growth opportunity and I was lucky my boss approved it. Of course, as an hourly employee I had to dedicate some of my time to training, which left some of my other responsibilities in the air. Due to my close relationships with my coworkers, they were happy to help. I met with experts, both in the training arena and the IT arena, I tracked some common concerns, and I met with management to understand the expectations of our employees.

It was challenging. As a 21 year old, I was training consultants in their late 40s and 50s. I had to become a subject matter expert and present the information well. Fast forward a few weeks and I was sent to all of our regional offices to present the training due to such high reviews and strong recommendations. This lead to greater opportunities with training. I was able to dedicate more of my time to training and working on integration projects with the IT team because I was able to showcase my passion for training and work ethic. I’m a firm believer that following the above steps will help any young professional prove their voice is worth hearing.

Click here to access the article.

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