“Education is a step ladder to your ultimate career goals. And a career will allow you to better the world and most importantly the communities we come from" Kendrick Kenney
Kendrick Kenney is an educator with a background in educational media and intercollegiate sports broadcasting. He is currently the Program Coordinator of the Digital Media Production Program at the Community College of Baltimore County. Kendrick takes pride in doing community outreach, focusing on young people and media literacy. Kendrick is a graduate of Virginia State University where he majored in mass communications. He went on to earn a Masters degree in organizational communications at Bowie State University and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Liberty University.
A Millennials Guide to Professional Development
Why is it essential for you to stress the importance of professional development?
It is essential for me to stress professional development because often it’s the most important but often overlooked ingredient in achieving sustainable success. Many students do well academically during their educational matriculation but don’t master the soft skills they need to excel professionally. I preach three things that help young professionals get over the proverbial hump and stand out early in their career endeavors. Its all about mastering DAP. Dress, articulation, and paperwork. Clothing is language it’s how we communicate with each other before we even speak. It is important to start building a professional wardrobe early. Articulation or being able to communicate effectively is key. Also, an understanding solution based communications strategies that will allow you to excel in crisis management situations is pivotal. In today’s workplace articulation also extends to being able to write clear, concise emails as well. Lastly, paperwork means having an understanding of how to put together a solid resume and cover letter and how to maximize these documents so that you stand out to potential employers. In today’s competitive atmosphere a college degree does not guarantee employment, so it is critical for young professionals to understand and implement DAP.
There are many facets to professional development, what skill is generally the hardest for most students to grasp when it comes to preparing them for the workforce?
Professional development is very robust. However, I think the toughest for students to grasp is the paperwork aspect. Many students struggle with putting together a solid resume and cover letter. It is essential for students to get as much experience in their respective fields to put together a solid resume. It is important for them to understand that projects and volunteer experience while still, a student can help create a stronger resume and cover letter coming out of college. It is also important that students use buzzwords and concentrate on using these documents to tell potential employers a story about who the student is.
Is there a difference between professional growth and professional development? If, so how do they differ?
Yes, I would say there are some differences between professional growth and professional development. Professional growth comes in many shapes and sizes. Many of us learn through our experiences, so it’s the opportunities that allow us to reach the next level in our personal careers. Things that help expand your knowledge as you progress in your career. Traditional professional development consists typically of workshops and tools that allow you to excel in your corporate environment and team. Things that help you assimilate to company culture and things that make you a better professional team member and employee.
As more millennial's prepare for management positions, how can they display leadership, in 'non-leadership' roles?
It is important to take the initiative. It goes back to the “professional growth” and “leadership by experience.” So as a millennial looking to display leadership, you should be heading up committees taking on small projects. Any way that you can show initiative. On a smaller scale, the other way you can display leadership is by creating your own deadlines for tasks and assignments. It is always important to under promise and over deliver meaning have your own expectations and exceed the ones given to you. Management notices those things and will begin to give you more autonomy and responsibility.
71% of millennial's are disengaged at work. What advice do you have for individuals looking for a job, while on the job?
I think it’s extremely important to stay engaged on the job even while looking for another job. To achieve your dream job, you have to essentially purchase it. However, the currency used to purchase your next job is done with career capital. Career capital is actually the skills that we acquire on each job or each position we have before our next job. It’s the skills and knowledge we learn in order to sustain success in our next role. Also, you want to create a professional reputation that proceeds you, characteristics like reliable and hard worker are things that will begin to shape how you are perceived professionally.
Which professional development resources would you recommend to individuals regardless of their industry?
The first thing I recommend is for young professionals to go to at least one industry based conference a year. It will educate you on the nuances and innovations and your respective field and give you an opportunity to network with established professionals doing what you want to do. Next here is my book list that will provide you with insight on professional development from different perspectives.
- 7 Habits of the Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
- The Sell- Fredrik Eklund
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport
- Rise and Grind – Daymond John
- Purple Cow – Seth Godin