6 Items to Help You Thrive as a Young Professional
Moving to Nashville in 2011 was the beginning of a whole new life for me. The YP Community in this city is strong and the city takes an interest in engaging and developing the 23-40 year old population that eagerly roams around this thriving metropolis. Check out YPNashville .
I quickly had to learn the ropes of navigating Music City to accomplish my ever present goal of being a "mover and shaker" as well as the specific goal I set upon my departure from Durham, NC to "attack the city in which I live". I'm a firm believer in giving back to the place in which you live and work and have fully embraced the life of being a "residential tourist". Nashville is blessed to change everyday and I haven't been bored even once during a little over 6 years. I'm a total tourist, like, I go to the Tennessee State Museum to check out the new exhibits type of tourist.
During this adventure, I've discovered 6 things that will give you a better chance of thriving in a city like Nashville. A place that networks, has junior boards, numerous fancy dress philanthropic parties, over 20 organizations solely for YP, and a city you think is big until you find that you run into the same people all the time.
1. Resume. I know this sounds obvious but you'd be surprised the number of people who don't have an updated resume. I update my resume on a monthly basis. For many things that you apply to be a part of in the city whether it's a leadership development program, an award, a member of a board or committee, and if you're applying for a new job, you will need to submit a resume. People want to know your skill set, where you've work, what you've done, and how you spend your time. If you have a great conversation with a person at a networking event and they ask you to "send me your resume", it'll make life a lot easier if you've already got that taken care of on your desktop. Check out the link above to get some tips from Levo League about how to make your resume pop.
2. Business Cards. If you've been issued a standard office B-Card that's totally acceptable and you should applaud yourself for achieving that professional milestone. There's something sweet about receiving a box of 500 fresh business cards that confirm you're a part of the team. However, for my life outside of my office, I decided to invest in cards that showed off a bit more personal style. The cards contain my personal contact information and details about my Nashville involvement and official side hustles of speaker/facilitator/presenter/blogger. These don't have to be expensive. Check out MOO.com or VistaPrint. People react well and always smile when I offer a warmer and more personal version of the stale and often tossed white and sharp edged business card.
3. Social Media. Have a presence. Keep it clean. You don't have to engage on all outlets but pick one or two that you can commit to keeping fresh and representative of who you are or what you aspire to become. People will check. LinkedIn is great for professional networking, Twitter, because I enjoy live tweeting events and it is an efficient way to get speedy personal and professional development nuggets as you move throughout your day. 280 character sound bites always add fodder to a conversation. Facebook is my place to affirm my brand through daily motivational posts and it allows me to keep up with the largest extended network from college until the present. Instagram is the preferred medium of most these days. Love the visuals and when I don't have the energy to produce a full blog, I can tap out an Instablog to share a perspective, generate conversation, or boost a cause I care about in the world.
4. Bio. Yes, you've got a resume but you'll often be asked to submit a bio to be used in an event program, to use as a method to introduce you to an audience, or just as a concise way to get to know you. Here's an older version of my bio:
Krystal Clark, M.Ed. is a native of Portsmouth, VA. Her undergraduate degree in Sociology/Psychology was earned at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA and her M.Ed. in College Student Personnel was obtained in 2007 from The University of Maryland, College Park. Upon graduation, she moved to Durham, NC and worked in Fraternity & Sorority Life at Duke University. Krystal came to Nashville, TN in May of 2011 to work as the Associate Director of Greek at Vanderbilt University. In May 2013, she began her adventure as the Associate Director of the newly created Office of Student Leadership Development at Vanderbilt. Krystal is the Vice President of Membership for the Junior League of Nashville, Reader for Book ‘Em/Reading is Fundamental, a member of the Junior Board of Women in Numbers, a volunteer for the YWCA, a former Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, a past member of the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run Nashville, a member of ACPA (College Student Educators International) and currently volunteering for her 10th year College reunion. Clark was a finalist for the Nashville Emerging Leader Award in the field of Education in 2012 and is the 2015 YP Nominee for the Nashville ATHENA Award. When she’s not working at Vanderbilt she serves as a speaker/facilitator at college campuses across the country. In her spare time, Krystal enjoys partaking in the music scene, blogging at peculiarpearl.com, is a Barre3 enthusiast, and strives to be a residential tourist taking in all that Nashville has to offer.
5. A smile. Seriously, when you're floating around a big-small town you want to be someone that people are happy to see. I moved here without knowing a soul and a smile coupled with a hello got me through a lot of situations and made me some fast friends. A smile and a handshake moved me through my first networking event. A smile and a hug (this is the south) connected me quickly to a cause. A smile and a willingness to help is everything. A smile and a hand raised to ask a good question. A smile and a head nod to signal authentic engagement in a conversation. Smile. It makes you approachable. It makes you interesting. It makes people feel like they already know you. Smile.
6. Headshot. No better way to show off that smile than in a headshot. No more photos with the hand of a cropped out buddy lingering in the background. Most of our senior pictures at this age already look dated. Some companies offer headshots to employees and with the quality of cameras and camera phones these days a skilled friend could make this extremely economical for you. I've had three professional headshots taken and they have made all the difference. I feel confident about my appearance, the lighting is great, and a professional photographer knows how to pull the best out of you. Model or not, you can have a beautiful headshot. It just makes your social media and documents look polished. Try not to wear anything that will quickly date the photos.
There you have it. Six items that can beef up your journey through the city as a YP. All of these can be done economically or you can certainly splurge if you have the dough. I promise you that all of these items are worthwhile to add to your life toolkit as you'll come back to them repeatedly.
What did I miss? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading.