No professional trajectory is the same. We differ in backgrounds, experiences, and aspirations. Yet, we can all agree that reaching that rewarding sense of success can be difficult at first glance. Where do I start? How do I get where I want to be? Those are some of the questions we might’ve asked ourselves at some point. But fear not! Along the way, we can encounter bits and pieces of great ― and beyond helpful! ― advice that can make the journey towards our professional goals a lot more enjoyable and fulfilling. Here at Saylor Academy, we turned to our team to share top-notch career advice that we hope gives you a better insight into effective professional development.

Jump into part two of our team’s thoughts below:

Zack McKinnon – Data Engineer: “Don’t get attached to a single idea of success. You won’t have everything figured out straight out of school, so be open to changing what a good career means to you based on new life experiences.”

Addie Khanu – Education Project Manager, Instructional Technologist: “Decide on the lifestyle you want to live and the personal, meaningful work that will support it. Realize that it’s not all about the money, so live and work on your own terms.”

Bea – Marketing Assistant: “Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and network, refine your resume, research the companies you are applying for, take every opportunity to learn, and stay up to date on trends in your field.”

Shaun Hemphill – Student Services Associate: “The advice I would give young professionals is to always remain open to learning, and looking for conferences in your workplace as a way to always continue developing your skill sets.”

Janine Walton – Education Project Manager: “Learn the art of networking. Attend conferences and events in your field and establish professional relationships.

Build a website portfolio and add as you gain new skills and experience. This will set you apart from your competition.

Create a backwards layout or reverse engineer your career goal. Understand what skills, technology, education, duties, and responsibilities are required and apply for jobs that will help you gain that experience now.”

Stephanie Felice – Student and Library Services Associate: “Make the most of every opportunity and look for transferable skills. No matter your current position, you are always learning something that can be valuable in the future. Spend some time understanding what that is and how to articulate its importance.

And a second one:

Always talk to your supervisor about what interests you professionally. They may partner with you to create projects that advance both your current organization and your career progression.”

Kate Phillips – Education Project Coordinator:  “As someone who is still a young professional myself, I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice yet. But, I would say ‘As a young professional myself, the best advice I have gotten is to remain curious and open to new opportunities.”

William Federer – Special Projects Coordinator: “Gain as much experience as you can in your focus area, and document these experiences well; with specific details and keywords in your CV, which should be considered a living document. On Linkedin, a reflection of your CV. Next, be ready to talk about how these past experiences make you the perfect candidate for future opportunities! Too often in life, we move so fast in our work, we fail to reflect on what we really did. Learn to connect the dots of your experiences to the job description and sell yourself as the perfect candidate- which you just might be!”

Nadia McDowell – Education Project Coordinator: “Try not to succumb to any internal or external pressure to ‘have it all figured it out’ because does anybody, really? Instead, give yourself time to learn from different experiences and all those around you.”

Sofia Chilquillo – Marketing Assistant: “It’s valid to feel lost at times. More often than not, we learn as we go, and the lessons life imparts help us discern what we like -where we want to go- from what we don’t. Along the way, you’ll meet key people and gain experiences that are beyond valuable for your future. But that takes time, so don’t feel as if you’re in a 10k marathon trying to win first place (on your first try)! Success takes time and effort! Work hard, set smart goals, and find your own unique path.”

Want to learn more about the people behind Saylor Academy and our mission to provide free education to all? Check out our other employee interviews here and learn more about our mission here! You can find all information on our courses here.