7 Tips to Be Taken ‘More’ Seriously as a Young Professional

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7 Tips to Be Taken ‘More’ Seriously as a Young Professional

“Well, you’re so young.” I have heard that many times. I’ve heard it to explain why I didn’t get a job, why someone isn’t going with my idea, and why I might not have been respected. Of course there are more variations of this phrase and other reasons it might be brought up.

I’m a young professional and a millennial, and by “young” I mean I'm in my mid-twenties, and to some people I look like I’m not even in college yet.

Needless to say, I’ve seen the impact of my age play out in many ways. I have definitely been able to tell that some people don’t take me seriously, and I then shocked them. I also find that people are surprised after interacting with me before meeting me in person or they learn my age. They assume I’m older. It’s the sad truth that being young can get in the way or impact how you're viewed. Many others have experienced things like this time and time again.

I’m also a kid at heart, and I’ve been told that in order to be taken seriously I need to make sure I don’t have fun or stay true to myself. That I need to do things a certain way or accept it all- accept that I apparently won’t be taken seriously because I’m not experienced enough or too young to know better. No, thank you!

Over the past few years post graduation and even during college, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks so that I’m taken more seriously as a young professional (or I shock people because they don’t expect much).

These seven tips and tricks have helped me out a lot in various situations and be able to stay true to myself! 

 

1. Learn how to write proper, correct, outstanding, and professional emails and letters.

Show your confidence and that you know what your talking about. Practice email etiquette; concise and eye catching headers, address people properly, use correct grammar, reasonable length, etc. It’s easy to practice and learn- search online!

Yes, it’s hard to tell tone via texts and emails, but you can still establish authority and wisdom in an email. You can start earning respect, get things done, and network all at the same time.
 

2. Look the part.

Specifically, know when you might need to overdress and be the most put together person in the room. There is a point when people say "dress for success." This includes dressing professionally. This doesn’t mean you cannot keep hints of who you really are here and there.

 

3. Know how to present and how to interact with people.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Practice those presentation and speaking skills. 

Having a lot of "likes" and "umms" can really distract and take away from what you’re saying. You might be terrified and have no confidence, but it’s important to fake it until you make it (or until it’s over with). A firm handshake can also go a long way! Be respectful with people you're interacting with. 

 

4. Over prepare like nobody’s business.

Have those notes, stats, and data ready for meetings. Know where things are that you need. Make sure your notes are neat. Know what you are doing and what you are talking about. Maybe you did way more than you needed to-- maybe you barely use any of it-- but you showed up ready to go. And, who knows, maybe this prep will help next time!

 

5. Online presence.

People are going to look you up. End of story. We all do it. Maybe try looking yourself up in a search engine to see what comes up? Make your LinkedIn flawless. Be aware of what is on your social media accounts. It does matter and impacts what people think of you as a young professional. 

 

6. Know you are young.

You are young. It's true. Know you might not have as much experience as other people. Know that you have things to learn and be willing to learn them. There is a point where you could go overboard with confidence which could come off in negative ways. It’s important to be confident and know your worth while also being humble and respectful.

 

7. Connect with experienced professionals.

You can learn so much from experienced and well-established professionals. You can learn from them and watch how they command a room. Mentors can make a world of difference. They can vouch for you regardless of your age. You can learn things that might help your interactions in the industry based on what they do in various situations. 

 

You might do everything you can to hide your age which is perfectly fine. You might embrace it-- showing them what a millennial can do-- and nodding along when everyone says you’ll appreciate how young you look later.  

All and all, try your hardest to be the best in the room or the situation. People do recognize hard work. Sure, a lot of these things do relate to appearance, but we live in a world full of, and based off of, impressions. Make them count because it is a small world and you don't want them to impact your career and ambitions in a negative way!

It can be hard to get people to take you seriously as a “young kid” but you have experience and expertise to bring to the table. You also have these tips and tricks to help you along the way!