The Young Professional Series: Ten Skills to Master

As a fresh college graduate, I was more than ready to ditch the classroom and find a job. Not only did I need the money, I was ready to take a mental break from studying, studying, and studying.

As a new person to the world of full-time work, things felt serious. These jobs were not going to be three-month summer gigs, or part-time, nights and weekend deals, these jobs were legit. And that was intimidating to me, far more intimidating than attending a college class.

Entering the workforce, it turns out, was not the end of my learning experience. In fact, learning became more intense. Now, I had to take initiative and teach myself how to be professional, and how to excel in my career. That meant putting in some extra time to learn how to be a well-rounded employee.

For starters, master these ten professional skills that college may have neglected to teach you.

These ten skills come from Business Insider

1. How to be honest

Whether you are running late to a meeting, or need an extended deadline on a project, I have learned that being honest, no matter how difficult, is the best way to earn trust and to have a clear conscious. It is much better to apologize for poor planning, than to create excuses for why you are late. Work on this by owning up to even the smallest things that don't seem to matter, and saying what you are really thinking.

2. How to receive criticism

The first time I received criticism at work, it was hard. I had to become comfortable with the fact that my work was not perfect, and that I had a long way to go. A lot of times, people take criticism as a personal attack, or as a sign that their work is not good enough. The fact is, being new to a job means that mistakes are inevitable. When people point them out, use them as starting points for improvement. 

3. How to start an interesting conversation

Talking to the person sitting next to you can open up numerous possibilities. In college, I always found it easier to attend class and keep to myself. I have learned that doing the easier thing is usually not better, especially for personal growth. Getting to know people is the gateway to making new business connections, learning something new, finding a fresh perspective on an old topic, or even making a new friend.

4. How to ask for something you want

Asking for what you want, starts with knowing what you want. The first step for me is getting clear on my goals. Visualizing the outcome helps me to be direct. Whether you want a raise or a new position within the company, muster up the courage and the confidence to ask specifically for what you want. If you don't get it, you can follow up with, "what do I need to do in order to get it?" Not asking is the best way to ensure that you will not get what you want in your career.

5. How to keep your promises

Making promises to do something - whether it's completing an extra task, or attending an after hours meeting - it is important for your personal well-being to stick to your word. Breaking promises, and failing to follow through, can lead to a bad cycle of excuse-making and loss of faith in yourself.

6. How to communicate effectively

Writing is something I enjoy, but communicating clearly in a conference is a tough challenge for me. Being shy makes these types of interactions difficult, but not impossible. No matter your career, or your personality type, learning to communicate effectively is an important skill that you should brush up on. Effective communication can help you achieve your professional vision.

7. How to be resilient

Bouncing back from setbacks, failure, and sadness is an essential skill. Life's uncertainty is a challenge that everyone will face, and the way in which you deal with obstacles can make a huge difference in your work output and quality. Being emotionally and mentally tough can help you to deal with life's (and work's) hardships and joys.

8. How to have good table manners

It may seem absurd to consider mastering table manners. However, many important conversations take place over lunch or dinner, and sloppy eating and chewing can really form an impression on an employer or business partner. Be polite and avoid the slurping at dinner.

9. How to manage your anger

Channeling your anger into positive, creative outlets is a good way to deal with frustration at work. Whenever something upsets you, which will probably happen at some point, practice finding releases for your anger that will contribute to the improvement of your work. Sometimes, anger can be motivation to work harder and be more productive.

10. How to live within your means

After I graduated from college, it was so nice to have an income, and so tempting to spend it. Finally, I had some freedom to buy the things I wanted! I had to remind myself constantly about upcoming student loan payments, affording rent, and buying groceries (the essentials), so that I wouldn't end up having to move back with my parents.

Do you have any tips

Take care!


Sources:  Business Insider