Top Ten Career Tips for Young Professionals

January 29, 2013 5:14 pm Published by 2 Comments

Having lived and worked in many different countries, over the years I have  often been asked by people about what brought me to a specific country or into a  specific job.  When I think about my own life and career there are 10 main  reasons why I have been happy and successful so far. Some are rather personal  but some are applicable to others I believe. Here they are in no particular  order of priority:

1. Develop a vision for yourself
It is very important to  think about your vision for your own life and career. You need to think of it as  a whole. You cannot distinguish between your personal and your professional life  as our parent’s used to do. You only have one life and you need to define your  goals and ambitions. These may change over time and that’s perfectly fine. But  without goals nothing can be achieved.

In my case I have had three goals since I was fairly young:

  • Become an international person, learn languages, travel and live in  different countries
  • Develop into an Entrepreneur at some point of my career
  • Be a happy person embracing the world and enjoying life.

2. Look for a mentor
Especially when you are  younger, but not only, the opinion and advice of others can have immense value.  Having somebody you can trust, gives you honest feedback, understands you and  sees the potential in you and opens some doors for you can have a life-long  positive impact. A mentor in business can be particularly helpful to help you  finding your way and to set you on the right path early in your career. In my  case I was fortunate to have a very senior mentor in my first job who offered me  a job in Milan/Italy soon after I had started. This was the beginning of an  international journey for me and my family that has taken us to live in seven  different countries so far.

3. Express yourself
Communication skills are  critical to express yourself, convince others and make a point. You need to be  able to articulate well, you need to be able to argue and to debate. You need to  be able to deal with difficult conversations and to defend your point of view.  And you need to be able to present well, including on stage, because  communicating with others is essential. You can learn and train this, most brilliant public  speakers were not born as such but have developed their skills over the  years.

4. Never stop learning
Learning never stops, we all know  this. But the pace of change and the amount of new information is ever  increasing. Thankfully so are the opportunities to constantly learn and improve. One of  the ways to constantly learn is the internet and social media which gives you  access to unlimited information, opinions and insight.

5. Live your dream
Never stop dreaming and take  risks. Don’t live by conventions and don’t let yourself hold back. You only have  one life and in the grand scheme of things it is pretty short. When I was  approaching thirty I quit a very well paid job to start my own business, from  scratch. Everybody said I was mad and shouldn’t do it. But I did and had an  incredible journey as an Entrepreneur for almost 10 years that has positively  impacted my entire life. This is something I would never want to miss.

6. Act responsibly
You always get back what you  have given. Be mindful of others, respect different perspectives, think of the  consequences of your doings on other people’s lives and families. Act and be  responsible.

7. Be positive
Always think positively and never  take no as an answer. Be happy, smile and laugh a lot. Nobody wants to deal with  a grim person.

8. Build on your foundation
I am a firm believer that  family and friends are the basis of everything in life. They are your  foundation. Never neglect your family or friends because of work. Keep it  balanced. I am the happiest person on earth for having a wonderful wife who has  supported and helped me along the way and who has made sure I never lose sight  of reality and what is important. She is the True North in my life. Without her  I would not be here today.

9. Learn languages
Learning other languages is extremely  gratifying and useful. It gives you the capability to communicate with other  people in their language and to demonstrate that you are really interested in  them, their country, culture and lifestyle. And it enriches your personality  because when you speak another language you also start thinking and behaving  differently.  You adopt other habits and you balance your own perspective  and life style with those of others.  It almost doesn’t matter what  languages you learn, although it makes sense to focus on those more widely  spoken. And if you have kids, make sure they learn another language as early as  possible, even before going to kinder garden.

10. Travel and live abroad
The point on languages and  this one are related.  Look for opportunities to travel as early and as  much as you can outside of your home country. And try to get a job abroad. It  almost doesn’t matter where but you will find yourself becoming a different  person, more balanced and mature and with a broader perspective of business and  life. It is probably the most impactful and fascinating experience you can make,  both from a personal and professional perspective.

Author: Marcus  Starke is the National Vice President of North America Marketing at SAP.  He has worked in many countries across the globe with  background in software, CPG, management consulting and agency network  management.

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2 Comments

  • Kurt says:

    I loved everyone of your tips! Especially to Travel abroad and work. I lived 10 years in the UK and Hong Kong and learned so much about how to communicate with people, ALL PEOPLE! You do not have to know the language but it is so much fun learning WHEN you are living it! Keep up the good work!! Regards, Kurt Coyle

  • Iris Calderon says:

    I greatly enjoyed this article, it helped me to remember why I have taken the path of looking forward to become an international person and embrace my own dream. Thank you for translate all your experience into words.

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