Young Professional to Professional

At what age do you go from being a young professional to just a professional?

I've spent a lot of time defending my fellow Millennials, we have a lot to offer. But what I'm asking here isn't about generations, it's really just about age. Young professionals aren't taken seriously in the office, and often rightly so. I catch myself making assumptions about my twenty-something coworkers and I'm still one of them!

Let's face it, you've got a lot of growing up to do when you're first coming into the working world. So I may not be able to tell you the magic age where you're suddenly distinguished and taken seriously at work, but I can give you some tips to help you get there. Here are my top 3 pieces of advice for young professionals looking to be professionals:

1. You've got to dress professionally

I know. Your mom, your teachers, your boss and every other older person has told you to "dress for the job you want." Well I'm here to tell you they're right. You're not going to know all of the answers. You just don't have the experience, that's all there is to it. But there is a big difference between someone who doesn't know what they're talking about and looks like a bum and someone who doesn't know what they're talking about, but is dressed like they belong in the office.

So give your American Eagle outfits to your little sister and dress like someone who deserves some respect. Get a button down, some black slacks, a blazer. Impress someone when you walk into their office and they're going to take you seriously.

2. You've got to do your time

Entry-level jobs suck, I know. But you're not going to walk out of your college dorm room into a corner office and a six-figure paycheck. So do the grudge work and be really good at it.

You're going to want that promotion and you're going to think you deserve it long before anyone else thinks you do. Be patient, young one. If you're working hard, your time will come. And I'm here to tell you: you're a lot less qualified than you think you are. Sorry. Give it a few years and you'll know what I'm talking about.

3. Get a LinkedIn account

LinkedIn is going to be useful for you someday, keep it updated. Put a professional picture up there and as you accomplish big things at work (certifications, projects, learn new software), put it up there!

When you work with leaders on projects, connect with them on LinkedIn. It's not weird, I promise. It puts a name to your face and keeps them updated on the things you're accomplishing in your professional life.

Share an article, update your skills, endorse someone else's skills. Forget exchanging business cards, connect on LinkedIn! It's a great way to stay connected to people that are going to be important for your career and an easy way to keep track of your professional accomplishments.

What advice do you have for young professionals?


  1. Ooh linkedin would make me feel like a proper grown up! I agree dressing for the job is such a must! I actually love wearing office outfits

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Ellie! LinkedIn really is a great tool, you should create a profile and start making connections with the people you work with. You will need them one day!