STAND OUT career advice for young professionals

Sep 23, 2014 | STANDING OUT

Around 25 years ago I wrote a series of articles for a now defunct magazine called ‘Career Accountant’. I had cause to reflect back on these recently when adapting my keynote talk on the importance of STANDING OUT from the crowd.

I was speaking to a group of young professionals and my presentation was on the topic of: How to STAND OUT and build a more successful  career.

Whilst there have been many changes in the professions over the last quarter of a century(!) some fundamentals of career development haven’t changed. What is different is how much easier it now is to build your profile and to STAND OUT as compared with in the 1980s.

Here is an outline of ten of the tips I shared during my recent talk:

  • There are many positive ways in which you can STAND OUT without being loud, brash or opinionated;
  • Your objective is to do sufficient to ensure that you are remembered, recommended and recruited for the roles you seek; what experiences, training, skills and qualifications will help you to STAND OUT for good reasons in this regard?
  • Career building relies just as much on building trust and confidence as does generating new clients or forming new ‘romantic’ relationships;
  • If you are evidently happy being seen as just another [lawyer] you may only be considered suitable for similar roles that slow your career progression;
  • Consider your answers to the question “What do you do?” and decide whether you want to come across as positive and motivated even if you are looking to move on. Who would want to promote or recruit a misery guts?
  • Be realistic and ignore the nonsense advice that suggests you need a USP;
  • Remember that technical skills will rarely be enough. Ambitious professionals get recruited as much because of their perceived business and personal skills; An absence of key qualifications will hold you back as you will STAND OUT as under qualified.
  • How positively can you talk about your work? You’ll STAND OUT positively if you focus on referencing your clients or colleagues, the problems you solve for them and the outcomes you secure – as distinct from the processes or day to day tasks you undertake;
  • Ensure that your Linkedin profile works for you and that you are well connected on that platform; endorse your connections for skills you know they have and they may do the same for you. Stick to those skills you want to highlight and endeavour to build up your endorsements so that you STAND OUT from others like you who have yet to do this;
  • It’s never too soon to start trying to STAND OUT online and in face to face interactions. You may be too late if you wait until you need a new job;

I also mentioned a free white paper I have prepared to help professionals to set up and enhance their Linkedin profile. The principles are widely applicable and you can get it via this link>>>

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