By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and public relations account coordinator
It is the end of August… and the back-to-school season is well underway
There is no denying that there is an air of excitement during this time of year. For the next few weeks, students of all ages will take the requisite first day back-to-school photos and then head through the doors of their schools. They will then plop themselves down in their desk chairs, chatting with their friends about their summer activities. And then their teacher of the year will enter, officially kicking off a new period of learning.
Although “first days of school” come to an end eventually, the opportunities for learning never do – particularly for young professionals at the beginning of their careers. Sure, they may leave the classroom after graduating from high school or college – but they can obtain new knowledge by taking on new projects, asking their employers questions, researching, attending networking events and more.
As a young professional myself, I am discovering new things each day. So, here are four reasons I think it is important for young professionals to learn as much as they can in their industry.
- Taking the time to learn early in your career will help you grow professionally – and personally.
As a young professional in an entry-to-mid-level position, you may have spent the last several years of your life studying your industry of interest. While this type of education is effective, you likely have so much to learn when actually entering the workforce.
This is not a bad thing. In fact, this allows you to grow both professionally and personally. By being open to learning at your job, you as a young professional are able to discover tricks of the trade, study how coworkers solve problems and develop new skill sets.
This learning does not simply help you become a better-rounded, experienced worker; it also encourages you to grow individually. After all, in a profession, individuals determine how to handle work stress, bounce back from mistakes, interact with clients and coworkers and celebrate in their successes. All these situations can form you into a more developed person, who can use the knowledge attained from these lessons both inside and outside the work space.
- Current and future employers view knowledgeable and experienced professionals as assets.
Let’s face it – the current job market is competitive. Once a young professional gets a job, they need to show their employers just how beneficial they are to the organization or company. And, if they decide they want to either move up in the business or pursue a career at a different organization, they must try to stand out among thousands to millions of other applications.
Simply put, if you are a young professional, you must have qualifications and qualities that set you apart from the crowd. Thankfully, the skills and knowledge you develop early in their career can do just that.
Consider discussing the industry with a supervisor or taking on new tasks and challenges to build your portfolio and resume. Acquire new skills to discuss in interviews, whether they you are seeking a new position or raise at a current organization or looking for another job elsewhere. Finally, show your current and future employers you have initiative, drive and passion for the work that they are doing.
Overall, through learning, young professionals can be seen useful and beneficial to employers – and this will ultimately lead to the success of both parties.
- Young professionals may someday become teachers within their industry.
As professionals move up the workplace ladder, they are asked to take on more responsibilities. Oftentimes, this means that they are asked to take the lead on projects – or manage and supervise less experienced associates.
While young professionals in entry-to-mid-level positions might find it hard to believe, they might find themselves in such a position – and they are going to want to be prepared for it.
Learning earlier in your career will better prepare you for the day when you will have to educate interns or entry-level employees. This will also allow you, later in life, to put yourself in your subordinates’ shoes and remember which lessons taught you the most – and then pass those teachings on.
Eventually, the student becomes the teacher – and a well-informed teacher is a better teacher.
- Young professionals may discover passions they never knew they had.
A few months ago, Amy Wong, the president of Dot Org Solutions, approached me and said the following:
“I want you to begin helping Dot Org and our clients by working on grants.”
At first, I was completely overwhelmed – after all, I had never written content for a grant application before. However, despite my initial trepidation, I went ahead and took on the task. I researched best practices of grant writing; asked Amy and Sara Lundenberger, our director of fundraising consulting, questions about grant development; and reviewed previously written grants in our computer system.
Finally, I was able to form a grant application (with quite a bit of help, of course!) from beginning to end. And, not only did I learn a great deal during this learning process, but I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed creating grants.
As a young professional, you might find yourself in a similar situation as me. When presented with a learning opportunity, take it on and be open to learning. You never know what you might found out about your profession – and yourself.
If you’re a young professional, you may feel like students on the first day of school – nervous, yet excited for the start of something new. And, like students, if you are willing to learn (and listen to the teacher), you will find yourself more prepared, qualified and successful.
Let’s get learning!