Millennial Talk- New Series
We all have those friends, the ones we are constantly in awe over and impressed by their every move. Well I am fortunate to have a whole crew full of ambitious, driven, and poised ladies to call my best friends. Inspired by these impressive ladies, I am starting a new series touching on topics including personal and professional growth, finances, and discussions to encourage millennials to be better and do better all while convincing our elders that we are better than what we may seem. I hope you enjoy! Let me know what topics you would like to see discussed each week. I will pull from my network but also reach out to agencies and professionals in a variety of fields to answer the questions you want asked.
For the first installment of Millennial Talk, it was only fitting that I tapped into the knowledge of my dearest friend, college roommate, and my personal career coach. Her name is Kaitlyn Hudgins and I admire her curiosity and fearlessness to ask, whether it is asking her university for funding to travel overseas and present at a conference, or asking for increased compensation and a re-evaluation of her job description to accept more responsibilities. She has guts and is not afraid to hear no (I believe she got this from her mama). We have only been out of school for a handful of years, but in that time, Kaitlyn has secured countless promotions and professional development opportunities that includes working as a Director of Member Services, a position she lobbied for and developed at the National Human Services Assembly. She now serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She is a board member of Flying Scarfs, a Social Business creating intelligent solutions for peace, stability, and economic freedom in Afghanistan. She received her Bachelor of Science in Anthropology at Wake Forest University and Master in Public Administration at Clemson University. It will only be a matter of time before we see Kaitlyn’s name in the top 100 professionals list making a change in the world. I am so incredibly proud of Kaitlyn and her professional work but I am more blessed to have her as a friend.
I asked Kaitlyn to share her thoughts on growing your personal and professional brand. Read on for her top 5 tips for professional development.
Growing Your Personal and Professional Brand- written by Kaitlyn Hudgins
So my best friend Megan g-chatted me the other day and asked if I would write a guest blog post with career advice. She couldn’t see my facial reaction but I literally threw my head back in laughter because what as a 26-year-old can I really offer the blogging world. I’m no expert. Sure I’ve made some gains in the few years I’ve been an adult in the working world but many people scoff at career advice. Why? Because there is no blog post, article, book, class, or other medium that substitutes real-life experience and most importantly YOUR OWN real-life experience. That being said for the good of the cause I’ll share a few things I’ve done in the past couple of years that has led me to build and grow my brand both personally and professionally and I’ll leave it to you all to determine whether this “advice” is applicable to you.. Here goes:
- Exploit every opportunity to learn. Professional development opportunities may be regularly handed to you or they may be discouraged as expensive or unnecessary. Whatever the culture around professional development is at your organization take advantage of it and then add on to it by approaching everything as an opportunity to learn. After a crummy experience at my organization I mentioned to my boss “well at least we can learn from this” to which he wholeheartedly disagreed with me. It’s a mindset and one you have to hone. Schedule time out of your day to learn.
- Teach what you know. Take advantage of opportunities to teach, whether you are teaching a coworker how to use a new software system, whether you are doing webinars instructing others on a particular topic, or teaching your parents that your Facebook wall is not their personal messaging platform, it’s the best way to start thinking in new ways, start putting yourself in others shoes and to boost your own confidence. Take advantages of opportunities to teach. They literally are everywhere.
- Invest in your emotional intelligence. For these purposes I’m using good ol’ Wikipedia’s definition of emotional intelligence as the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. This is a funny one to me because how is this not something everyone carries around with them? I mean we co-exist with others, so why would we not try and be aware of what’s happening with them? This might be inherent in many of us but I think it can also be taught/learned. So super important – this is something that should be used when navigating each and every encounter with your boss, your peers, your clients, etc. Every interaction should be navigated based on how you are feeling and how others around you are feeling.
- Know when you’re ready to give up your safety net and when you’re not. This gets back to emotional intelligence. You need to know how you, yourself, are feeling. As you grow in your career and take on new leadership roles there are less rules to follow and more people you are affecting. Take stock in your emotions and know when you’re ready for those little leaps and if you’re not, what you need to do to get there.
- Everyone has their own comfort level surrounding what they are willing to share with people (especially coworkers and sometimes we’re thankful for that) BUT most careers have you spending more time with coworkers than friends and family. You see or interact with these people for the majority of your whole week. Develop relationships with as many people as possible, not just your coworkers, but people in your industry as well and let them in (at least just a little) on who you are. Do you have a family? Are you a cake or cookie person? What do you do on your commute to work? People need to relate to others and the more levels in which you can do that, the deeper the relationships become and the more successful your outcomes, whatever they may be.
So this is my first blog post. Let Megan and I know if it should be my last.