Vincy Workplace
May 28, 2010
Increase your Professional Savvy

The first step to increasing your overall organization skills is recognizing that business is a game and there are many unwritten rules that govern success. Careers are made or broken daily based in part on the professional acumen of an employee. Here are a few suggestions for new professionals looking to build a solid career.{{more}}

Take a Course in Fine Dining and Get Wardrobe Assistance

Strong workplace relationships are usually fortified in social settings, centered in part around food and drinks. Being able to be comfortable and confident at galas, receptions and luncheons is essential in the process of building alliances that can position you for better opportunities. In addition, being appropriately attired (without being a fashion statement) for each occasion, especially in the office can make or break your career. Some new professionals fail to take the extra care needed to craft their brand and reputation.

Get Strategic about Networking

First generation professionals do not have the luxury of relying on the network of their parents or other family members/friends to open doors. Getting invited into the right circles can seem like a herculean task; forge through anyway. Set goals and build your network so it stretches across race, ethnicities, industries, states and even countries. Step out of your comfort zone and build a bridge with an organization or person that is unlike you. Show up often, early and volunteer in the places and organizations where you want to excel.

Too Many Mentors Is Not Enough

No one can truly build a solid career with just one mentor or even two. Especially for first generation professionals, I highly recommend they actively seek out a group of advisors. Start with your college alumni group and build your way out. Never ask someone to be an advisor as more than likely the answer will be no. Ask instead for permission to ask for advice occasionally and then always express your gratitude. Your group of advisors will give you ears and eyes in places you may not have immediate access. Be bold and ask anyone you want to get to know better.

Strive To Be A World Class Communicator

What seem to be occurring every day globally is highlighted by the title of the movie “Lost in Translation.” When placed in a new position many first generation professionals experience feelings of loneliness, alienation and sometimes absolute culture shock. As a result, it’s critical to learn how to be a confident, effective communicator. Strive to improve your business writing, work hard on your ability to make clear, concise presentations and when building relationships with colleagues, learn how to listen and know how and when to speak.

Be a Leader

There’s a misperception that in order to lead a title is necessary. People who become great leaders were leaders long before they were given a title. Actively look for opportunities within your organization where you can take charge and solve a problem. Look for small opportunities to lead. You’re probably not going to get the big initiatives this early in your career. Volunteer for committees, company sponsored events, extra projects in your department and gain early success which will build your track record.

Be a Follower

In every business and educational organization, there are a plethora of courses on leadership. If everyone is in training to be a leader, who is following? Before you can become a good leader, it’s important to be a good follower. There will be times when the leader you are following may seem incapable, yet you have no control or influence. In these times, be a team player, offer your ideas and support as much as you are able. Avoid the trap of being a consummate complainer or the “know it all” personality that plagues many teams. Learning how to be an effective team player in such difficult circumstances will improve your ability to be a more effective leader when it’s your turn.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to [email protected] Visit online at