The best advice for recent college graduates entering the exciting world of professional services is to consider themselves entrepreneurs on day 1. Although they may not realize it now, the professional service industry is one of few that allow employees to eventually become business owners. Even if they have no intentions of becoming a partner or starting their own firm, it is important for young professionals to distinguish themselves by creating a personal brand and an entrepreneurial spirit within their profession.
Find Your Niche
Like most entrepreneurs, young professionals should find their niche, a specific area that they are passionate about. This could be real estate accounting, wealth management services, or even insurance sales. Finding the right niche is the first step to building any entrepreneurial endeavor.
After realizing what area of their profession interests them, young professionals should find others within it and learn from their expertise. Networking is crucial and connecting with others is a sure fire way to broaden your horizons.
Develop Your Skills and Knowledge
If you want to start a business the first thing you need to do is immerse yourself within it: attend seminars, talk to future competitors, analyze barriers to entry. If you want to develop your skills, train others, and eventually manage your enterprise, you are going to need to develop and strengthen your knowledge and skills.
This is true for any young professional as well. To be a partner at any firm you need to gain the skills and expertise necessary for the job. This is not something that happens overnight but instead takes years of ‘moving up the ladder’ to accomplish.
Build Your Brand
Personal branding is a must for any young professional, especially in an age when professional services are becoming a commodity. In order to safeguard against these disruptions professionals must set themselves apart by leveraging their personal brand.
The first step to building a personal brand is considering oneself and ones service as a product. Young professionals need to ask themselves many questions before building their personal brand: What is your value proposition? Why should people buy this product? Who are you trying to target?
Don’t Wait For Opportunity: Create It
The biggest stumbling block for young professionals is waiting for opportunities instead of creating them. Allowing others to dictate ones success in a specific profession is a sure fire way to guarantee disappointment. For any young professional, waiting for someone to hand them a promotion or give them that well deserved pay raise is akin to doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – it’s insanity.
If you feel like you’re being underpaid, find a better job. If working for others isn’t your style, go out on your own. If you’re being passed up for promotions then step up your game and make sure management recognizes your hard work. These are all things young professionals should adhere to instead of waiting on the sidelines.
To make it ahead in the competitive world of professional services, young professionals must distinguish themselves among their cohorts. This can be done in a number of ways but the first steps are finding a niche, developing skills and knowledge, building a personal brand, and creating (not waiting) for opportunity. Following these simple steps could make all the difference and create a huge impact in their careers.
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