A Letter to My Younger Professional Self

A Letter to My Younger Professional Self                     by Yesenia Reinoso yesenia.reinoso2@gmail.com

Dear Young Yesenia,
Hold up!   I know what you must be feeling.  Why am I writing to you at this point in my career?  After all, I’m about to enter my 30’s and to some people am just getting started. Well, I used to be in your shoes.   Ready, eager, determined to make a name in my industry. I’d even drawn a roadmap on how exactly I was going to get there.  But sometimes, things don’t go the way you expect. On top of that, there will be struggles, frustration, anger and even doubt of your capabilities.   How many rejections did you receive? Will outside influence interfere and potentially derail you from your path? Do you have the skills and mentality to make it in your industry?

The job search can be very daunting.  It is one of the most stressful and scariest things any professional, regardless of level, can face.  Finding a job is a full-time job. Constant resume sending, networking and application hunting can take a toll on you mentally.  You don’t know how short or long the process is going to take. No matter what happens, you must stay motivated, prepared and positive.  It can be hard at times to contemplate that way, but eventually things will turn around. The key here is timing. When your moment arrives, it will reveal itself.   All you need is that one elusive “yes.” To give you a detailed explanation of what I mean, here are six points you should consider whenever you embark on your search:

  1. Network Like There’s No Tomorrow – In today’s job environment, networking is just as critical if not MORE important than your resumé.  Your resumé is like your certified autobiography and it will get your foot in the door.  However, as the old cliché goes, you will only go as far in your profession as your connections will take you.  So if you are looking for any opportunity, you want to dive into your database. Relationship building does not stop.  It continues even after you land something. How? Through interactive events, industry affiliations, conferences, fairs, presentations, volunteer programs or everyday occurrences.  You never know who you’ll meet on any particular day. That one person may be your golden ticket to your next career opportunity.
  2. Be a Business – We are heading towards a freelancing job market.  As a professional, you must set yourself up not only as a brand, but as a business. We now have to think about ourselves from a business perspective.  In whatever area you decide to specialize, make sure you train and gain as many skills as you can. What do I need to make my business stand out? How do I monetize my strengths? What services should I provide? What are the pros and cons of this selection? The more skills you garner, the better position you are in to sell yourself. You will also develop confidence in how you sell yourself to people.  You are a brand, a product, a business.
  3. Be Unapologetic – We all make mistakes.  It’s part of the learning curve that allows us to grow as professionals.  No need for you to be apologetic. Be proud of what you put out in the field.  Pick yourself up and continue on if an error transpires. If you are overly apologetic to a potential influencer, client or your future boss, it weakens your overall message and presence.  As I learned through Kelly Decker, CEO of Decker Communications, “Be confident in your statements and take control of your message.” Be YOU!
  4. Stick to Your Career Instincts – Do not let anyone tell you can’t do something because you can. The only person stopping you from getting to your career goals is you.  Stick to what you know best. Make the necessary changes. We all have a right to succeed.
  5. Open-Minded Counts – Be open-minded!  Why? The reason is because being multi-faceted in many areas rather than being one-sided pays off.  Having an open mindset opens the door for you to absorb so many new resources, embark on new experiences, meet new experts and be a contributor wherever you work.  Showcasing that approach also illustrates your enthusiasm to make an impact through your expertise.
  6. Volunteer Your Time.  Your Talent Will Thank You – As you continue with your search, schedule some availability on your calendar to volunteer at organizations you are passionate about.  Most nonprofits offer opportunities to keep your proficiencies free and cultivate new ones that probably may be used in your future role. These groups value your knowledge and look to you to lead the way.  Lead transforms to leadership and that is one of the most valuable traits an individual can display. Overall, volunteering builds your profile, raises a nonprofit’s mission and creates positive change to your community which makes all the difference.

I hope that when you read this post, you will realize the potential you can untap. Remember, no road is ever straight, and curves will appear without notice. Just remember that any professional voyage can be just as rewarding as the destination.  It took forever, but I made it to my destination. You can too.

Sincerely,

The Present Yesenia