I wanted to start this blog out with “The problem with young-ins nowadays is…” but then I thought better of it.

When I was just beginning my career I had no idea what I was doing, like all fresh college grads I never put much thought into building a network or volunteering in the community. Looking back now, it is obvious how important community is to success. Not to mention, don’t be a dick…if you are working in the community and expect people to hire you then you have to invest and give back.

We have a very young staff at 834 and part of their job is to get involved. We ask that each employee choose a professional association and a nonprofit to participate in. This could be the American Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America or another industry specific group. It could include a business association, neighborhood association, local shelter…really sky is the limit, we just ask that you find what you are passionate about and become involved.

There seems to be an issue nowadays with younger professionals not seeing the benefit or not being willing to give of their time.

**Correction to this original post: I should not lump all young professionals together. This blog could rightfully apply to any professional. 

A few reminders on why the community factor is so important.

  1. A network. Connecting and knowing those that are in the same industry, similar career path and have the same aspirations and challenges as you do can be incredibly valuable. Having a support system you can turn to when facing questions within your career or to use as a reference is a great benefit to all professionals.
  2. Opportunities. You never know what opportunities might present themselves. It could be a new job, conference, continued education, expanded network…the list goes on. When I served on the board of the American Marketing Association of West Michigan I was able to go to Chicago, on the association’s dime, to meet other marketers and learn how to better serve our members. It was an awesome learning experience.
  3. Thought leader. Giving of your time, talent and money, pays off in big ways. I sat on multiple marketing committees, boards, volunteered at events, emceed races – you name it, I did it. As my reputation grew in the community and I was asked to present to different groups and was invited in to chat with companies about 834 and the services we provide.
  4. Enjoyment. I found so much joy in hanging out with other professionals and going to networking events and continuing the conversations long after the affair ended. The individuals I met early on in my career are still part of my professional network and many have become close friends.

Building your career and becoming a contributing member of society, requires unselfishness and commitment. If you want to build a kickass network and uncover opportunities, then you have to give of your time and talent. It takes time, I have been doing this for over 10 years and I am still just scratching the surface.

Good things come to those that keep at it, not expect instant gratification.

 

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