5 Ways to Grow As a Young Professional



May 12 2014, Published 7:02 a.m. ET

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Don’t fall off your game after you leave school. You can still lead without losing your head.  ♦ 

Hard work alone is not enough to get you noticed. Developing your leadership skills will help to distinguish you from your peers, and give you the clarity, confidence, and charisma it will take to achieve the success you want. Some people are natural born leaders – but everyone can develop leadership skills. Today, I’m going to share five tips that will help you to begin developing and showcasing these key skills.

Ask For Extra Responsibility.

Taking on more responsibility at work is a great way to grow professionally, and if you handle the extra responsibility well, your boss and superiors will definitely take note. Reflect on what skills and knowledge you excel in, so that you have a few concrete ideas on where you’d like to get more involved. A simple “Hey, I’m ready to take on more responsibility and think I could really help the team by….” may be just what he or she needs to hear to give you more.

Head a Professional Organization Committee.

Committee positions and working behind the scenes of an organization’s special event or fundraiser provide the chance to learn and practice management and leadership skills that improve your personal career. Heading a professional organization committee also gives you the chance to rub elbows with your industries’ best and brightest. Almost every field has some form of a professional organization. Find yours and get involved!

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Join Diversity Groups.

Because women and minorities tend to be underrepresented in leadership positions, joining a diversity group can help to cultivate a strong sense of leadership in those who wouldn’t have developed this skill otherwise. Seeing someone you can relate to in a position of power makes it seem like a more viable option for you.

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Take Initiative.

Why stand around and wait for someone else to get things started? Don’t wait for someone to direct you when you know exactly what needs to be done. Set an example. Your unique knowledge and skills may be just what’s needed. By being decisive, energetic, and enthusiastic, you can and will help get things done! Consider starting a discussion group, book club, or organization of your own.

Become an Expert.

You should be consistently and continuously acquiring new knowledge. Stay on top of new trends and developments in your field. If you’re seen as an expert in a particular subject, you are more likely to be needed for special projects and assignments. One simple way to stay up-to-date on topics concerning your industry is to set up a “Google Alert” for topics relevant to your industry, company or team’s area of responsibility. Any articles featuring the terms you’ve chosen will be emailed to you daily.

Developing leadership skills is key to your success. With the right attitude — and these tips up your sleeve — you’ll be climbing that career ladder in no time!

About the author: Mariah Thompson is a 20-something year old writer living and loving in Atlanta, GA. Follow her on Twitter.

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