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How Older Professionals Can Help

By Erin H. Brown

Older professionals, especially those still employed, can play a role in helping this younger generation keep a footing in the job market despite the ongoing and uncertain impact of the pandemic. This could include members of the PDC community. Seasoned workers can help boost the skills – and the spirits – of younger workers.

Students quoted in the main part of this story have these suggestions for helping this year’s college or high school graduates:

Molly Colburn: I think older professionals can support students by recognizing that what is vital to our professional development is EXPOSURE. This may come from internships or jobs, but in times when those things may not be possible, any exposure to a certain field is much appreciated and necessary. [Seasoned professionals could h]old a free webinar, do an Instagram Live, and interview a professional with an impressive resumé in a specific field, or create a two-week virtual crash course for younger professionals. There is much room for creativity, and with it students can get the sense of growth and experience we deserve and crave in such a pivotal time in our professional/career exploration and development.

Christina Hanford: Older professionals can offer help to younger people and students during this time by offering any job they [have available]. I know personally I would accept an unpaid internship in my desired field during this time just to have some work to do and keep busy, but more importantly to gain experience. Also, talking to students about how they have been handling this challenging situation, and what they have learned from this [is important].

Henry Nguyen: We, young students and professionals, would really appreciate older professionals being more accommodating and understanding toward us by creating more online events or by being more accessible to us. I would suggest creating more social media outlets and putting more effort toward making these opportunities known to us.

Maggie Cunha: I would love it if older adults reached out to me directly and asked if there was anything they could do to help. Expressing sympathy is nice, but right now it would be more helpful to be connected with people who can expand my network or give me advice. Even if there’s nothing you can personally do, asking shows that you understand that this situation is independent of us and our professional readiness. I’d love to do practice interviews or have my resumé critiqued by people who have experience with the job hunt!

Madeline Curley: I was recently promoted after finishing a two-year training program. Now is the best time for me to become more visible to industry professionals and build my own independent identity – but with COVID-19, this will look very different. I had an honest conversation with my manager recently about what he and others within the company could do to help me as I take this next step in my job. I was open about my anxiety and the fear of falling “behind” because I won’t be physically visible to industry professionals at meetings and conferences for the foreseeable future. I think both young professionals and more seasoned professionals are being confronted with the challenge of finding creative ways to initiate conversations and maintain relationships. It’s encouraging to have a manager and team members who recognize this and put in the extra effort to help younger colleagues.

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