5 Ways Young People Are Messing Up Their Career Advancement Chances

Pass this post to a youngster you know – especially those 18 to 25 years of age.

Young people aspire to get somewhere in life: finish school, get a job, find an internship opportunity, become an entrepreneur, etc.

All of us need assistance to get to that ‘somewhere.’ But those who can assist us get there, have to: see, get encouraged, and attracted by certain attitudes, trades and etiquette we demonstrate.

There are a few things which young people do badly and they won’t get attention from those who can help them if they continue with them.

I will highlight these few pointers. They are helpful to anyone – of course and certainly to young people – in getting ahead career wise.

I am an optimist. There are opportunities in abundance. There are challenges yes, but, always, great opportunities lie in problems. These are the best times to be young and living in South Africa.

The usual aspiration is to be able to go to tertiary, graduate and then get a job you are qualified for. Unfortunately, not everyone will get this opportunity.  And, deliberately, some do not want to get tertiary education.

Anyhow, whether you want to get an opportunity to go to university, attract an internship, and/or get into entrepreneurship, the following pointers will be of immense help.

(Those with jobs are lucky enough have someone teach them the following.)

1.    Keep your word and get things done

Some excuses are good. Unfortunately even the good ones get nothing done. Good excuses are still excuses.

I have friends who outsource small jobs (graphic design, copywrite, research, etc) to youngsters. Often times they are disappointed. Sometimes the youngings do not deliver the work on time or not at all. They give excuses. Some even go awol.

Completing a job means you are worthy of the getting next one and receiving good resume/CV references.

Keep your word. Do the work. No excuse is good enough.

2.    Professional communication: Email versus Facebook and Whatsapp

Presentation buys attention.

It is ok to message someone on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin. But only with the intention of *briefly introducing yourself – what you want or what you are offering – and requesting their email address to take the conversation further.

Do note they are not for making professional conversations. Get that email, get out and email them in detail.

You can ask for contact numbers. They could say no, or not even respond to you. To have a chance of least getting their email addy, and to avoid getting a no or none response, after briefly introducing yourself and what you want, say this: “can I have your email address and or cellphone number.”

Most professional people’s cellphone numbers are not public. But if their number is public, e.g. on their website, that’s a tacit right for you to call them (during work hours and not at night or weekends).

Even if person X hooks you up with person B’s number – whom you need something from – it is prudent for person X to ask permission from person B before handing over the contact numbers. A lot of people do not do that. And it doesn’t mean it is right. It backfires at times.

As for Whatsapp, do not whatsapp people who you’ve never got permission to whatsapp.

It is not a professional communication tool unless you’ve agreed to it.

Email is the professional communication work-tool. Respect it, communicate professionally on it.

I have seen emails in short hand and without headings. No one takes such seriously.

Complicated email addresses with several numbers are not cool looking, e.g. 779tiisetso@Hmail.com. Your name and one number at the end is good enough, e.g. tiisetso4@Hmail.com. There’s no need to add more numbers.

3.    Mentorship isn’t a paying job for mentors

People imagine mentorship as some sitting down every month formal type of thing.

Those you see as mentors value their time, and importantly, the company they keep.

The effective way to have a prospective mentor become fond of you is to be of value to them.

Figure ways to add value to them. It could be by enquiring what they are working on and then offering to help freely in a way you can.

Read this article: How to Get and Keep a Mentor: Why Nobody Wants Your Coffee Offer http://bit.ly/2EodVNx

4.    Check emails every day, at least in the morning, afternoon and around 16h00

That is it. You got to have an email address and check it daily.

If you can’t check it frequently, e.g. limited internet access due to not affording, put an auto-responder that informs people that you have limited email access. Add that you will reply as soon as you able to and that they can give you a call if it is urgent (include your cellphone number in the email address).

5.    Give freely

To get to anywhere in life, or importantly, to turn yourself into an entity reckoned with, you have to hustle, grind and provide value.

In the beginning no one knows what you can do, and you yourself do not know. Just like interns working hard and getting pushed around with low pay, you gonna have to intern yourself.

Yes you can intern yourself.

Find businesses or even startups you can work with. Give yourself freely to them. In that way you will learn and gain testimonials and contacts.

“Give until it hurts,” Timothy Maurice.

I am not saying do things for free all the time, but, to get ahead quicker, offering value freely to the right people or companies is a sharp tool to get yourself in and to get noticed for whatever ability you want to develop. You discover your capabilities in this way.

Also check out this article: What Graduates and the Unemployed Can Learn from Facebook and Twitter http://bit.ly/2snw5JD

By the right people or companies, I mean those that have a good reputation.