April 15, 2024

15 Tips for Young Professionals and Career Changers

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I was recently invited to present a webinar for financial planning students at Kansas State University. The objective of the webinar was to share my personal story on becoming a financial planner, provide insight on how I run my firm, and on how I work with my clients. I was also asked to include in the presentation any tips I could think of that might be helpful to the students.

I put together a list of tips based on personal experiences from my 28-year career in the high technology industry and from my experiences switching careers to become a financial planner.

The picture accompanying this article is of me in my home office. I am thrilled to be doing what I am doing now. I love being a financial planner and I love running my own business and being in control of my destiny. I have been working from that 15-inch laptop screen for over four years now since starting my business. I have had a goal of setting up dual monitors in my office ever since I started my business. However, I wanted to wait until I reached a certain level of revenue before making the purchase. I reached my revenue goal this year and just last week, I purchased two very nice Dell UltraSharp 24 inch monitors. I will be rearranging my office this weekend to setup the new monitors. This all relates to my tip number 3 that is about formulating a vision in your mind about what you want to accomplish and how you will feel when you reach your goals.

Following are my 15 tips for young professionals and career changers along with one final big picture tip at the very end.

Job Interviews

1. Dress up for a job interview; you can never be overdressed – impress them.

2. Prepare for a job interview by researching the company.

  • Browse their website and learn about what they do, what approach they take, and what types of clients they work with.
  • Learn about the founders and others who work at the company.
  • Based on what you learned, write down some specific questions you can ask during the interview.
  • During the interview be ready to interject what you learned about the company at the appropriate times and find opportunities to ask your questions.
  • The people interviewing you will be impressed that you took the time to learn more about them.

Nurturing Your Goals and Dreams

For more information on my personal journey, read I Am What I Was – An Entrepreneur and Your Dreams Give You Direction and Purpose.

3. Formulate a vision in your mind about what you want to accomplish and replay it often. Imagine yourself reaching the goals you have set and how you will feel at the time.

4. Talk to as many successful people as possible about your dreams so that you can learn from the experiences of others, and possibly find people who will help you reach your goals.

5. However, always remember that it is your dream and not theirs. Other people have a way of interjecting their biases into your dream when you ask for advice. Don’t let those biases cause you to doubt your dream and don’t let negative feedback deter you from your dream.

6. Hold a little back and don’t tell all that you are dreaming of. You need to keep some of it to yourself so that you can nurture it and grow it without any outside influences.

7. Be flexible and open minded in your thinking and in your approach to accomplishing your goals. Adjust along the way when things do not work out as planned and take setbacks in stride. Don’t give up just because something is taking longer than anticipated but instead, update your plans and keep striving to reach your goals.

Doing Your Job and Developing Your Career

8. Be open minded to new opportunities – view each assignment as an opportunity to succeed even the one’s nobody else wants.

9. Become the go to person in your organization – the more your bosses and colleagues need you the more valuable you become to the organization.

10. Ignore and stay away from negative people – stay focused on your job, your goals, and doing the best job possible for your bosses, your colleagues, and your clients.

11. Be patient and be humble – success does not happen overnight.

12. Embrace lifelong learning – you will go on to earn additional degrees and credentials – it never stops.

13. As a leader, give credit to those who deserve it – praise the success of your team and recognize individual successes – when your teams succeed you will be rewarded.

14. Being a leader is a privilege not a right – a title does not grant respect – respect must be earned.

15. Give back – be kind – help others without any expectations – you will be rewarded.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy Life Every Day

As we go through our journey in life and get focused on our careers, money, and achieving goals, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle and forget to stop and enjoy the moments along the way. In my article, It Is Not All About Money, I wrote the following with an emphasis on the part in italics.

“Because of my profession, you might get the impression that all I think about is money and believe it is more important than all other things. Well, the answer is yes and no. I do think the most important thing you owe yourself and your family is to put the proper foundation in place to help secure your present and future financial well-being. I believe it is your responsibility to act as a steward of your money, oversee it, and manage it well. However, the other equally important thing in life is to enjoy it every day, to feel it, to live it, and experience it. Do not let all of the moments slip away with you being absent either mentally or physically from the world around you.

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