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Tips for Young Professionals

Posted on 10 November 2009

Advice to Grads:
‘Be Ready for Change’

Smart college students know their career futures won’t be stable. Most new graduates will work in several fields or jobs over their lifetimes and will be continually adapting to ever-faster technical developments.

But you can take steps to be ready for an uncertain work world. First, accept that your education doesn’t stop with college or graduate school. To be successful and rise up through the ranks, you’ll need to be a lifelong learner. Second, be ready for change. View new systems and processes as opportunities and volunteer to get involved with them.

“Students should get ahead of the technology curve and look at leading-edge fields, like augmented or virtual reality or nanotechnology,” says Glen Hiemstra, a futurist in Kirkland, Wash.

Despite all the flux, there will be plenty of jobs. Through 2012 U.S. employment is expected to increase 14% and the supply of workers will grow 12%. Jobs will be plentiful, especially for professionals. Due to shortages, employers will seek out women, minorities, welfare recipients, retired seniors and even prisoners to fill openings.

Currently, the economy is so strong that some students assume they’ll land jobs easily via the Internet and are neglecting college job fairs and other college recruiting events, says Craig Mosurinjohn, director of career services at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

“Student registrations at career fairs are suffering a little because they want to do it on their own,” he says.

For managers, skills in an industry will likely be less important than functional skills, such as leadership or communications, says Roger Herman, a management consultant and futurist with the Herman Group in Greensboro, N.C. “Employers are more willing to let people move from industry to industry,” he says. “Partly, it’s because they don’t have any choice.”

Five Tips for a Successful Future

Nonetheless, employment in some fields will be red-hot. Services businesses, such as personnel or health-care supply agencies or computer training and repair businesses, will account for virtually all job growth through 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The nation also will become more dependent on technology. Between 2002 and 2012, employment in computer and data processing services will swell by 117%, faster than any other industry.

Public relations is an industry where employment is expected to grow 45% by 2012. This is good news for Cedric Bass, a master’s of business administration student at Florida International University in Miami. He wants to work in corporate PR after completing his degree by the end of 2009. While he didn’t choose the field because of its hot forecast, “my career prospects seem very promising,” he says. “The job market in the different regions is booming.”

While students shouldn’t pursue a career solely because employment is booming in that field, it doesn’t hurt to consider employers in fast-growing industries.

Five Tips for Young Professionals

Get on a learning curve. Identify what you need to learn in the next six months and create a plan for accomplishing this goal. Continue to set learning agendas for yourself. As the world keeps changing, successful professionals will stay up with new developments.

Be technically knowledgeable. Virtually all work in the future will require technical competence. You don’t have to be a programmer, but you should be competent on basic computer systems and software programs and aware of how technology can be applied.

Improve your personal-interaction skills. More routine work will be automated, leaving employees to do what’s left. Young professionals will stand out if they can interact with and manage people effectively.

Be good at balancing work and life. As work spills over into life, and vice versa, professionals must know when work starts and stops and help other employees to set those boundaries as well.

Take time to look over the horizon. Be a futurist. Cultivate the ability to forecast what’s just around the corner, so you can prepare for it, says Mr. Hiemstra.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Data structure interview questions says:

    I also believe all students who are studying in top colleges gets a good advice from there seniors but this not the case for other medium level colleges.So those students should interact with students of top colleges so that they can share their advice.

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