Four Essentials For Every Young, Black Professional

Presupposing a career path is chosen and there is some level of education in the selected field of endeavor, my ten years of Human Resource experience at all levels and daily interaction with young professionals has led me to four practical skillsets that if honed will elevate a young professional amongst his/her peers. However, given the ratio of blacks to non-blacks in management positions, these skillsets are essentials for African-Americans to reach beyond the corporate bias that can sometimes work against them. These four essentials must be honed at greater intensity and consistency for a fighting chance of corporate and entrepreneurial success.

First up is Communication. Writing and speaking a grammatically correct sentence conveys clarity of thought. Take for example the reality that over a quarter of the workday is spent on email. The more clear and concise your message, the more time you save for decisions to be made. This also creates an added bonus of becoming someone colleagues can rely on.

Next is Presentation. No, not a PowerPoint slideshow. This is about your bodily slideshow. The culmination of our clothes, demeanor, and voice pitch create a constant narrative that can alter the flow and feeling of the workplace. Magazine covers change style every week, but class never goes out of style. A well-groomed and dressed professional with a positive disposition will always stand out amongst his peers. Aim for a voice pitch that displays friendly assertiveness, and body language that shows openness, engagement and positive reinforcement. Presentation should be the physical display of your communication: a clear, concise message. Your presentation keeps you relevant even when you’ve left the room.

Third is Organization. Environment sometimes reflects its occupant. A clean workspace (including computer files) drastically improves efficiency by decreasing stress and increasing mental alertness, which is essential for differentiating yourself from the crowd. Sometimes the person hired/promoted is not the best, but the most efficient to getting the job done. Organization is also what makes efficiency consistent. A tidy workspace also delivers a clear, concise message of the professional that you are. An organized professional also has more reclaimed time to achieve more. More results on your yearly review should easily lead to more raises.

The last essential for every young black professional is Follow Through. Nothing delivers like a delivery! The simple act of following through on tasks builds trust and earns respect. These are traits of true leaders. True leaders can be depended upon to deliver on what they say. True leaders have personal integrity and you cannot communicate, present, nor organize your way out of this trait. Own your skills and the safe, timely delivery of your skills and you have a real chance of evolving your race to the most respected color in America which seems to be green.

4 Essentials For Every YBP


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