So we asked our friends at Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
When was the last time you were truly impressed by a young professional? What did they do to set themselves apart?
Here are some of the best answers:
They Leveraged a Balance of Confidence and Humility
All professionals walk a fine line between confidence and humility, but as a young professional, this line can be paper thin. Different situations require a young professional to stand up and show confidence, while other situations require them to quickly admit they are learning and ask calculated questions. The best young professional I worked with balanced these styles with mastery.
– Jake Reisch, Eversound
They Always Followed Up
This person would never, ever let loose ends go. Even if it was just an offhand remark recommending a resource or promising an introduction, they always followed up diligently. It’s easy to let things slide when you’re constantly bombarded by distractions, or to go silent if more pressing matters are at hand. I was impressed by this person standing by their word if they promised something.
They Were Constantly Learning
I’m most impressed by people who constantly want to learn early in their career. The people who get in early and stay late, not because they want to give face time, but because they’re growing a skills based foundation for a great career. They have an innate curiosity, open mind, and aren’t afraid of taking on new challenges. A willingness to learn is the main character trait I look for in staff.
They Were Proactive
There is a huge stereotype floating around about millennials stating that they are lazy and reluctant to do their work. Although I do not believe this about this generation, it was refreshing to work with a young professional that was always driven to go above and beyond. They finished projects before they were due and always worked towards a new goal, which was inspiring even for myself!
They Valued Perspective
Perspective is easy to value in hindsight, but much harder to seek out and internalize ahead of time.
When I meet a young professional who values perspective and seeks to learn from informed advisors, that usually bodes well for the development of their abilities.
They Conducted Thorough Research
An applicant who applied for an internship with us was under-qualified, but got an interview because she mentioned she had spent several hours on our website and liked what she had learned. We interviewed her, and she blew us away with more research she discovered about us. Even though she wasn’t qualified, we gave her a summer internship opportunity because of her research abilities.
They Lived Up to Their Mistakes
It’s scary to be wrong and even scarier to fail. That’s why I truly admire and respect young professionals who are able to live up to their mistakes and admit when something went south.
We all make mistakes; it’s what we make of them that shapes our future.
They Went the Extra Mile and Didn’t Waste Time
We once hired a recent college grad for an executive assistant position. We would give him with a daily laundry list of things that needed to be implemented, resolved or disputed. He would finish the work with amazing efficiency within half the time a previous assistant would do it in. The best part, he’d ASK me for extra work after he was done too. If we didn’t need him, he would just clock out.
– Hesam Meshkat, Guzu
They Researched and Took Action
I have many young people who ask to speak with me for advice. I try to accommodate as many requests as possible, but some get lost in the shuffle. Recently someone stood out by researching me, discovering I started a scholarship fund for high schoolers in my father’s name, and making a donation to the scholarship before asking to connect. It was an awesome gesture and definitely got my attention!
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.