Navigating the Career Jungle: 3 Steps for Young Professionals for Advancement

Navigating the Career Jungle: 3 Steps for Young Professionals for Advancement

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Great people have touted the value of experience in breeding wisdom. From Mahatma Gandhi’s notion that “knowledge gained through experience is far superior and many times more useful than bookish knowledge,” to Albert Einstein’s famous words, “The only source of knowledge is experience,” learning vital lessons via doing is key to success as a leader.

[Related: Inside the Congressional Black Caucus’s Hottest Events for Young Black Professionals]

One savvy millennial is taking her experience working with hiring managers from Fortune 500 companies, serving as a former vice president of professional development at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and advocating for young professionals as a leader with Levo League, to empower and advise peers on how to set out on career success early.

Below, Jacqueline V. Twillie, millennial career coach and author of Amazon bestseller Navigating the Career Jungle: A Guide for Young Professionals, shares her own story of career advancement and three steps to success for young professionals. What personal experience led you to write your book?
Twillie: I was inspired to write the book after observing how I received multiple jobs during the height of the great recession and noticing that wasn’t the norm for my peers. My first job out of grad school, I learned a lot of valuable lessons that no one taught me in school, and I wondered why there wasn’t a book about it.

I spent a year as an account manager at an IT staffing and recruitment firm. Many of my friends knew that I had worked directly with hiring managers from Fortune 500 companies in Metro Atlanta, and they wanted me to teach them how to become competitive. After many phone calls and emails, people started calling back saying that my advice worked, and I decided to write the book.

What are the top three challenges you’ve found young professionals face in the job market in terms of advancement, and how can they overcome them?
First, wanting to advance before proving themselves to be valuable to the company. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in a position. I tell millennials that you have to show your value to the organization by emulating excellence in everything that you do. If you want to advance, you have to consistently deliver and exceed expectations.

The second thing I see is the ‘not my job syndrome.’ If you want to advance in your career, sign up for the hard projects and the things that no one wants to work on, and then nail it by exceeding expectations. That’s how you become known as a problem solver and leader.

The third challenge is not having a plan for advancement from day one. I’ve noticed that millennials think that as long as they do a really good job, someone will notice and give them a raise or promotion. It’s not that simple. If you really want to advance you have to be able to articulate what you want to do next, why, and you will continue to bring value to the company in the new role.

What are three awesome resources for young professionals who seek career growth, mentorship, and a network of like-minded people who promote success?
The Levo League, and their #Ask4More campaign is awesome. The Black Career Women’s Network provides mentorship, events, and resources for young professionals. Lastly, Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) like Coursera, help you brush up on skills or learn a new skill. They are affordable and flexible.