A Letter from a recent graduate to seasoned professionals.

“Never stop learning” – Learning doesn’t end with graduation, do your younger associates know that?

By: Abigail Walker, Resident Millennial

Recently, we spoke with a firm that was worried about its life span because most of the revenue was driven by its senior partners. This firm wants to ensure continuity of revenue and maintain the culture and values they’ve worked hard to build. They decided to take initiative and look for an associate training program. This will plant seeds for future revenue and secure the longevity of the firm.

When Mark comes across a young professional fresh out of school, he takes a hard look at his career and the lessons he has learned over the years. He asks questions like, “what is the point of decades of wisdom if not to benefit the next generation? What kind of legacy am I leaving? Who else can benefit from the trials and tribulations of my professional journey?”

My guess is that the new class of hires at your firm is triggering memories: the excitement of putting years of training to use, the nerves around dealing with your first few clients and delivering a job well done, and the increments of self-confidence that came with successes, big and small, over time.

Perhaps you could be that career-jumping spark for a young professional in your firm. Not only will you have impact on that person’s career, but you will ensure that the values that you and your colleagues cultivated over the years remain engrained in the firm’s culture for years to come.

Imagine if you had started embedding the Rainmaker’s Toolbox five, ten years earlier. What if you had started these habits from day one? What would your career look like today?

Mark always asks clients to be clear on what they are passionate about, and it’s an exercise that I have started to challenge my own peers with. This allows them to identify the kind of work they love to do and leads to a more fulfilling career. Asking this of your new associates is a form of paying it forward. They will seek more learning opportunities and hone a more refined network of like-minded and valuable individuals.

If you are at the partner or C-Suite level or have a hand in business development for the firm, there are things you can do to help your new associates propel their careers and in turn leave your own legacy:

  • Advise your young associates to actively maintain relationships with colleagues from school.
  • Distribute books that will contribute to your associates’ growth.  Rainmaking Made Simple and Relationships Are Everything are the perfect textbooks for associate training.
  • Make time to share your experience and how you achieved success with recent grads. Buy someone coffee, take them to lunch, or host a roundtable.
  • Offer training to your associates. Companies who invest early on in their talent are more likely to retain and benefit from new hires. If you need help on how to start with this, give us a call!
  • Encourage your new associates to sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow Maraia & Associates on social media. We are constantly curating thoughts, articles, business verticals, and trends for the professional who is striving to be an innovator in their industry.

As a professional graduate, the end of formal education is merely the beginning. They may no longer have a predefined curriculum at the ready but will continue to learn throughout the rest of their career. Being intentional about learning can take career development from “passive and good” to “purposeful and great.”

As a trusted advisor or mentor, here are some actionable tips you could pass along to your young professionals to help them start their path of intention in their career:

  • Take charge of your workload. Don’t wait for partners to hand you new business, drum it up yourself.
  • Create a plan for how you are going to stand out as a first-year associate with real, achievable metrics.
  • Take CLE and other industry credits seriously. Don’t just sign up for what’s convenient, sign up for things that genuinely interest you and will give you the most value.
  • Schedule time into your calendar to call your favorite colleagues from school. See how they’re adjusting to post-grad life, commiserate in the struggles of the real world, and celebrate personal victories, big and small.
  • Become accountability partners with your new colleagues when it comes to pursuing learning opportunities. Not only will you have the extra help, but it’s a great way to start a new relationship!
  • Make time to network internally.  Identify more senior level professionals at your firm, get to know who their ideal client is, and learn how they grew their practice.
  • Don’t shy away from asking for feedback.