By: Ashley Downing
The PIQUE on March 7th brought together more than 300 young professionals from across the Upstate region and common theme to the day was GET INVOLVED!
That’s all well and good but… how?
The Upstate is full of opportunities for young professionals to get engaged now to use their talents to make a difference in their community and in our region – we just have to find them. Whether you want to volunteer, enter into local government, focus on economic development, or the arts, the opportunity to make an impact is yours for the taking. Chances are, what you are looking for is already out there, it may just take some homework and a willingness to step out.
Interested in boosting your career? Below are just a few ways to get started…
• Find out if your community already has a young professionals group. It’s an easy way to get plugged in to yps and professional opportunities in your area.
• Get your name out there and attend business networking events, it’s KEY. Make a point to meet the business leaders in your area, they won’t bite! They can also help mentor, guide, and give recommendations to help you in your career.
• Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the news. Both in your area and surrounding areas. Sign up for newsletters from reputable outlets and actually read them! It’s amazing what you’ll learn.
• Be willing to invest in yourself. Read books and articles, take courses that will provide you more information or qualifications, go to lunch with one of those leaders you connected with and pick their brain.
Want to give back? Some tips to get you thinking…
• Figure out how much time you have to dedicate to getting involved. This will vary and there is no set amount that you should aim for, it’s up to you.
• Find your passion. Sometimes this is easier said than done but think about it; what you are interested in? What did you love to do as a kid/teen/student? Start there, then branch out. If you know your passion, seek out individuals and organizations that support that. Guaranteed, nonprofits will always welcome your interest and readiness to help out.
• Where do you want to give back? In your direct community or maybe a neighboring city?
• How do you want to serve? What about mentoring or working within a group, children or adults, animals, natural resources, etc. – how can your unique set of skills be best used?
The above is by no means a comprehensive list on how to get engaged, just a few things that I’ve picked up along the way. To get your wheels turning. Know that it is possible, people are generally nice and easy to talk to, and you have the wherewithal to do something that matters; for your career and/or your community.
Ashley is the Communications Manager for Ten at the Top and an Upstate native.