A young professional’s tool kit.

As a young professional, you are often viewed as young, not professional. When you find yourself in rooms with high-level personalities, identities, and characters, you must learn to carry yourself accordingly.

I recently began my career as an account coordinator after spending the summer interning here at Crowley Webb. As a young professional, I wanted to share what I have come to learn thus far as the keys to successful professional development.

Be interested in people, smile, and radiate positive energy!

As the saying goes, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” By surrounding yourself with people you can learn from, it is inevitable that you’ll pick up some of the habits that lead to their success.

The best way to introduce yourself to these circles is by being genuinely interested in people and approaching them with a smile and positive energy. Everyone likes to speak about their lives and be heard, so try to learn something from or about each person you meet.

One of the books that has influenced me most is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It provides detailed narratives of how executives, directors, and chief officers have led companies and franchises through successful ventures by simply being interested in people, smiling, and keeping a positive attitude. I advise all my fellow young professionals to give it a read.

There is no tomorrow.

The future starts now. Don’t procrastinate on that website you want to program or that book you want to write. Take advantage of all the time you get to learn or try something new. In Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, he expresses how being in the present allows you to experience every moment fully and  accomplish your dreams instead of chasing them.

Speak with confidence, listen with humility.

At a speaker panel for Tech Buffalo, I picked up a great note from Derrick Parson, executive director of The Exchange at Beverly Gray. When asked, “What are a few traits that one needs as a young professional?” he replied, “Speak with confidence, and listen with humility.”

As someone who is just starting out in a field full of strong personalities, it can be intimidating. The key here is to be proud of the many things you have already accomplished but ready to lend an ear and listen to how someone else did it. Be confident in who you are and who you will be, yet be humble and remember that there are always people who have experienced more than you have and been to places you haven’t.

If you’re just starting out on your professional journey, consider applying for Crowley Webb’s summer internship program.