12 professional habits Nigerian youths should have

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Whether you are on the path you’ve always dreamed of professionally or are still finding your way towards it, these 12 good practices will pay in dividends down the line.

1. Maintain a digital professional address book: Doing this makes it super easy to find contact information when you need it (so you don’t have to go searching through old emails). The relationships you build during your career can be even more valuable than your title itself, so it’s essential to stay in touch. Get in the habit of adding business card information to your address book every time you receive one.

2. Build out your LinkedIn profile: Treat your LinkedIn profile like a summary of your greatest hits. However, reserve some more recent projects for the interview to present an element of surprise. As you make new contacts throughout your career, add them on LinkedIn.

3. Update your resume every six months: Whether you’re looking for a new job or not, it’s important to keep your resume updated with new experience, skills, and projects. Details become blurry over time, and you don’t want to forget an important facet of a project when you finally sit down for your next review or apply for a new position.

4. Maintain relationships with old colleagues: when you move on to new opportunities. A simple “Just wanted to say hi and see what’s new” every six months or so to people you’ve developed a rapport with is all it takes. You never know how someone may be valuable to you later in your career!

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5. Working in a creative field like design or writing? Establish a cohesive and vibrant online presence. Create a portfolio website where you can show off your work, and allow your personality and expertise to shine bright from behind a computer screen.

6. Always send a thank-you or follow-up email after a meeting with or a gesture from a business contact:Gratefulness and manners will always be remembered.

7. Know your worth: By this time, you may have had a few jobs, taken on some projects, and conversed with others in your field, assess your skill set and become familiar with the space so you can become confident in your value the next time you’re due for a raise or a job offer.

8. Seek mentorship from those you admire: Ask questions, and listen carefully. Know someone on the path you might see yourself walking 10 to 20 years down the road? Do whatever you can do to learn from and emulate them.

9. Learn how to network while still expressing your genuine personality: You shouldn’t have to feel like a shell of your real self in professional environments. Depending on your industry and work environment, the line may differ; know where it is, and tread it carefully.

10. Always show up 10 minutes early: Think of this as more of a life lesson than anything. Punctuality is among the most important of professional habits to adopt. It’s an honest indicator of your organizational skills and overall reliability.

11. Respond to emails within 24 hours and sooner: If you are busy, a simple confirmation of receipt will go a long way. Heading out on vacation? Don’t forget to set an out-of-office response telling people when you’ll be back in touch.

12. Have a work-appropriate clothing choice: We all know that clothes can be an important form of nonverbal communication, so do your best to avoid those side-eye glances.

by Praise Olowe

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