Advice for Young Career Seekers
I was recently interviewed for a newsletter for the guidance and inspiration of youth. I love helping young people find their niche. When I was young I had several professionals who helped me refine my goals, and I believe very strongly that it’s important to pay it forward. So I wanted to share the questions and answers from that interview. I'd love it if you would share this with young people in your life who you think would benefit.
What is your job title?
Author/Speaker/Consultant in the area of Interpersonal and Organizational Communication
Experience, training, or college needed? Master’s Degree (or higher) in Interpersonal/Intercultural/Organizational Communication
In 2-3 sentences, what do you do at work on an average day (example of task or duty)?
I help organizations and elite performers develop strong communication and leadership by emphasizing scientifically based insights and ultra-practical tools. I focus on four primary areas: leadership/communication training, leadership/communication keynotes, executive coaching, and organizational consulting. Day to day I could be: writing, speaking, recording a podcast, delivering training, engaging in sales and marketing activities, developing materials, coaching one-on-one, or just laughing and having fun!
What do you like best about your job?
When I get an email with kind words and appreciation, it makes me very proud to know that I have helped someone to reach their goals—for sure, that is the best part of my job!
The emails that I get are from people who have attended one of my programs or read/listened to one of my books (Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview) or listened to my podcast (The Public Speaker). In the email they often tell me they got a raise, received a promotion, overcame their fear of speaking, repaired a relationship, landed a job, or convinced someone of their big idea. That makes me feel great! It makes me feel like I’ve got the best job in the world.
What advice would you give to young people regarding ...
Choosing a job or a college major?
Choose something you enjoy and don’t worry so much about making the “right” decision. Research suggests that most people change careers at least five times during their lifetime. Think of your major as a foundation that you will continue to build on as you develop your expertise over time. No choice is the wrong choice because no matter what you choose, your studies in your major will help to mold the professional you will become. For example, I studied computer science as an undergraduate and now I am a communication professional. Did I “waste” my time doing programming? Absolutely not! It gave me a strong analytical foundation and a unique perspective that only enhances my work.
How to prepare for the workforce?
No matter what profession you choose, your communication skills and enthusiasm for learning are what will set you apart from your peers. You can always learn technical skills on the job (in fact, most technical skills will be out of date in a few years, anyway) so use your education to learn how to learn and learning how to think critically.
Also, spend as much time as you can learning how to be a clear, concise, compelling communicator, both in oral and written form. As you progress in your career, you’ll find communication becomes the most important skill for your success, so start early! Of course, I’d love it if you listened to my podcast and read my books because they would help you immensely, but I’d also suggest joining Toastmasters, reading as many books as possible (in all genres), and listening to storytelling podcasts.
This is Lisa B. Marshall changing organizations, changing lives, and changing the world through better communication. If you’d like to learn more about leadership, influence, and communication, I invite you to read my bestselling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk. As always, your success is my business.