I’ll start this by stating that a mentor can be a great resource to help guide your professional and personal growth. I believe mentorship is akin to friendship and should not be one-sided. The best mentor relationships are the ones where each side learns something from the other. No matter how young you are, you never know what someone can learn from you.
For those of you who have not been fortunate enough to find a mentor within your own organization, you should look into formal mentoring programs. These can be just as helpful. One example is ASCE Mentor Match, which has a framework set up to facilitate mentoring by putting the onus on the mentee to choose a mentor based on criteria such as occupation, years of experience, specialty, or interests.
Once you have a mentor, it is important to ask the right questions.
Here are my top five questions to ask your mentor, as a young professional:
1. What is a key lesson you’ve learned that you wish you’d known as a young professional?
This is a question I always recommend, since it can provide valuable insight that you can take on board in your own career. This helps you avoid falling into the same pitfalls as others and can help you with mapping out your own path.
2. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how is it valuable?
I always like to ask this one because it helps you learn leadership techniques and ways to apply them. Leadership is a skill, and learning from others will give you a head start in developing your leadership skills.
3. How do you balance your work and home life?
I believe this a great question to ask as young professionals often find it difficult to set boundaries. I know I did. It can be difficult to say no and all too easy to try to impress your peers by taking on more than you can handle. However, you must take care of your health and clearly define the line between business and personal to have a more fulfilled life.
4. Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult co-worker or work environment? How did you handle it?
As a professional, you will undoubtedly be faced with difficult situations, and it can help to understand how to best navigate those, learning from someone who has gone through it. Learning how to have difficult conversations and deal with conflict can be a useful skill to learn early and can later be used in leadership positions.
5. How do you go about building/maintaining your network?
This is may be common knowledge but having a strong network is beneficial to growing professionally. Your network can open doors for you and provide opportunities – whether that be jobs, contacts, mentorship, the list goes on. I believe it’s best to begin building your network as a young professional and continue to grow it as you progress in your career.
There are several other questions you could and should ask your mentors. These are simply my top five that I believe will give you invaluable insight and hopefully help you start your career off on the right foot or keep it on track.
If you don’t already have a mentor, I definitely recommend finding one. Just someone you can turn to when you need advice.
**See article featured on Member Voices here: https://collaborate.asce.org/careerbydesign/member-voices
Here are my top resume tips for young professionals and students that I think can help you secure more interviews and stand out based on my experience and having spoken to a couple of recruiters.
Lastly, I always recommend getting your resume reviewed by a colleague, peer or family member to help catch any errors or check for clarity. That being said, I am happy to review anyone's resume, so please send them my way. Hopefully you can find some value from these tips and they help you secure more interviews and subsequently jobs.
**This a re-post from an article I wrote on LinkedIn in 2016 but I believe the recommendations still apply and I tweaked it slightly for 2021**
From the euphoric highs of graduation and reveling in the culmination of a 4 year long goal to the depressing lows of staring at a screen hoping for a lifeline, I've experienced it firsthand. Life often comes at you hard and fast, leaving you to scramble to get to grips. I know what it feels like to be unemployed immediately after graduation, it is not a pleasant feeling to say the least. It's difficult to see your peers progressing with their careers while you're standing still. But I'm here to tell you it doesn't last forever, just believe! Here are some of my tips for getting through this challenging period.
While I was applying to all these jobs over a span of time that felt like forever, a close friend would always tell me "you only need one to say yes". Thankfully, I have now been employed for 4+ years and have even switch jobs once. Those firms took a chance on me and I come in everyday making sure they never regret that decision. I hope this helps anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation.
**These tips are based on my personal experience and should not be taken as guarantees**
Here we go, welcome to my blog! I having been debating about starting a blog for over a year, because I would like a vessel to share the information I have gained throughout my young career. While not all the information, tips, and thoughts may be useful, I believe there will be at least something in each post that can be taken away. I am gearing this toward early career professional in the Civil Engineering industry but hope to add more young adult life content as well.
Hope you take this leap with me as I begin my blogging journey!