by: Kelsey Noland
Is age really just a number?
Unfortunately the answer is no. As a new pro, age can be both a pro and a con. You get the classic “You are great for this because you understand the millennial demographic” line, or the “You can bring a fresh new perspective to the table”, but it can be challenging when others opinions are held to a higher regard because of their age. Age doesn’t always mean more experienced though which leads me to my first tip of navigating the professional world as a new professional.
1. Actions speak louder than words.
You can’t lie about your age, but you can let your experience speak for yourself. When you are asked how long you have been at your job, start by talking about some of your projects. In most cases, that is what they are most interested in anyway. Save the graduation bragging for Sunday brunch with your grandma and focus on your professional success.
2. Control the conversation.
When I say control what I really mean is redirect. Answer their question by showcasing your experience then follow up with a question of your own. This way you are not setting yourself up to be questioned. Ask about their experience, how they got started, what other projects they are working on, your dog, the weather ... anything but your age.
3. Hold yourself to a higher standard.
It can be hard to put your professional foot forward when everyone is acting casual, but remember that you still have a lot to prove and sharing your hilarious college stories isn’t helping you do that.
4. Show your stuff
Not in the same way as those aforementioned hilarious college stories—by working hard and proving you know what you’re doing.