Career Growth For Young Professionals

I’m a young person just starting out my career, what can I do to set myself up for success?

1. “Interview” one person a month.

This could be someone who is farther along on your career path or has a role you’re interested in.

By the end of the year you will have 12 new connections who will most likely be happy to look out for and refer you for opportunities, as well as provide perspective on career challenges.

For those of you who flinch at the idea of reaching out to someone you’ve never met before, consider working in sales to break yourself of that fear, remember that people generally love to talk about themselves so making the conversation all about them is imperative.

Here’s a template for your next LinkedIn connection request message:

Hi {first_name}, congrats on over __ years at ___! Your background in ___ piqued my interest. I’m curious how you got into that space, why you’re still in it, and what type of skills you view as most crucial for success.

After they accept your request propose a time to meet.

2. Document what you’re learning.

Yes, you’re just starting out in your career.

But don’t buy into the lie that you have nothing to teach others.

Hundreds of thousands of other individuals are just starting out their career in your field, or are hoping to soon, and could benefit from reading what you’re learning along the away.

Additionally, the things you’re learning likely overlap with timeless principles which tenured professionals relay on.

3. Establish consistent learning habits.

Every Tuesday you read a newsletter from a professional in your space.

Or maybe it’s watching an informative lecture.

Whatever learning style you prefer, make time for it.

The majority of the hurdle at this point in the conversation isn’t that these are hard things to do, in fact they probably take less than 30 minutes per week to accomplish.

The hurtle is prioritizing it.

Enter our friend accountability, dressed as a social experiment.

Envision a spreadsheet with three tabs, one labeled daily, one labeled weekly, one labeled monthly. In each page there are three columns, one with your email, your name, and your goal.

As the spreadsheet is filled in pairs are made every two rows. In a pair, you’re responsible for checking in with the other person on whatever cadence the page you’re both on denotes, e.g. I write a goal in the monthly page so the person below me and I will check in with each other on a monthly basis.

If you put your name under someone who doesn’t already have a pair you’re responsible for reaching out to them to get the accountability going and editing the sheet to indicate that a new pair has been formed. (This way there doesn’t have to be a sorry soul who’s watching the spreadsheet and making pairs.)

This may be a terrible idea and no one wants to do this, after all the person above you is a stranger and maybe you don’t want a stranger checking in with you or having your email.

Or maybe it ends up being a wonderful catalyst to new friendships.

You’ll never know until you try.

If you’re a frequent reader of the blog and would like to weigh in on how this could be improved, I want to hear from you. Reach me at

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