For The Unguided Twenty-Something Year Old: The Professional Playbook (Author Interview)

What inspired you to write "For The Unguided Twenty-Something Year Old: The Professional Playbook"?

I was inspired to write this book because there are so many young adults, from late adolescence to mid-twenties, who do not have the resources to assist them with preparing for their first job. Most young adults are not thinking about preparing early for their career and by the time they begin, they have no idea where to start. This guide walks them through how to leverage social media for opportunities, what to do with their gap years, and how to utilize transferrable skills to create a business or transition to a career industry.


The title suggests the book is tailored for the 'unguided'. Can you elaborate on what you mean by that and who exactly you consider to be part of this group?

The unguided are individuals who are not privileged to attend higher education or have the resources, money, or people, to assist them on a path of self-sufficiency. I consider individuals who were raised in the foster care system, raised by single parents, or a part of underserved communities to be a part of this group.


You touch upon the significance of understanding transferable skills. Can you explain why these are crucial for young adults entering the workforce?

Transferrable skills are important because each one of us is multifaceted and has different gifts, talents, and interests. I believe that if one understands how a skill can serve them in multiple ways, they can make better-informed decisions on whether going to college is for them or preparing for the workforce through a trade, etc. There will come a time when one feels that a job no longer holds their interest, and they may desire to transition into another field. Instead of having to spend more money on another degree or certificate, perhaps some of the skills that were gained by their employment will contribute to a successful transition into the desired field. Transferrable skills are strategies to success if one knows how to apply them properly.


How does your guide differentiate itself from other professional advice books targeting the same age group?

My guide differentiates itself because it is an ultimate “how-to” with interactive work pages that prompt the reader to apply what they’ve learned instantly. Instead of providing difficult jargon to digest, the reader can comprehend and apply what they’ve learned, which will prompt them to monitor and see results in their professional development. The workbook pages guide the reader and give step-by-step instructions, which do not leave the reader guessing or feeling incapable.


What are some common fears or misconceptions that twenty-somethings have about the professional world, and how does your book address them?

Common fears or misconceptions are that they don’t know how to hold a professional conversation, so in the book, I provide email and phone scripts that they can use. They don’t know how to show up professionally online, the book provides ways to set up email and how to clean up their social media. Some don’t know what they are good at or want to do. In the book, there is a list of career quizzes they can take. Also, a list of common industries and certificates or training that makes one more marketable.


You mention the importance of professional etiquette. Can you give us a glimpse into some key elements of this, and why it's so essential?

The key elements of professional etiquette are showing good communication skills, leaving an impression, challenging one to be punctual, and showing that one can be reliable. These are essential because it prepare one to leverage good relationships through networking. Also, it shows that they can be a great asset to a company. It teaches one how to behave in a professional setting and the difference between formal and informal settings.


Many young adults face the challenge of choosing between pursuing higher education or diving straight into the workforce. Does your guide offer any advice on making this crucial decision?

Yes! In fact, this guide was written with both types of people in mind. It provides the ultimate advice on how to utilize campus resources to aid on their path to success. Also, it guides the individual who graduates high school and who may take a gap year, to learn how to leverage that time by investing in personal and professional development. For both, it teaches how to utilize volunteering and internships to gain skills that can be transferrable.


From your research and experience, what's the most overlooked aspect of preparing for one's first job?

The most overlooked aspect of preparing for one’s first job is not being aware of their purpose. Some follow in the traditional footsteps of family members and do not truly go after their heart’s desires. Having an inkling of how they envision their life is often overlooked. Many are taught to go into STEM because that’s where the most success and money lies.


For those who might be reading your book while already having started their professional journey but still feel lost, what would you say is the most valuable lesson for them?

The most valuable lesson for them would be to use their current experience and determine ways they can transfer it into their “dream job” or start a new stream of income. Also, to use this guide to help tweak how they show up in professional settings and can level up their online presence professionally.


Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to all twenty-somethings feeling overwhelmed by the professional world, what would it be?

One piece of advice is to take risks! It may be the only time in your life that you will be able to try anything while you don’t have many responsibilities – such as a spouse and family. Don’t be afraid to do something different as you are navigating your path to success. Be okay with the fact that it may look different than what your family had in mind for you – it must be what you have in mind for yourself.