By Sheena McKinney, Executive Assistant to President Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing

I recently had the honor of speaking on a panel with top Seattle Executive Assistants during Seattle Start Up Week.  I was introduced as having 30+ years of experience.  It made me sound so old!  Fortunately I wholeheartedly embrace my age and my gray hair so I was able to take it in stride.  Having a lot of years under my belt, with the salt & pepper hair to prove it doesn’t automatically equate to being a seasoned professional, but I’d like to think I am.

Rhonda at theHumanResource defines a seasoned professional as:

An individual that has achieved knowledge and expertise in his or her chosen profession through education, job-related hands on experience and or mentoring, all of which was gained by consistently putting in the time and effort necessary to perfect their craft.

According to Douglas E. Kiracofe, Founder at Galen Michaels & Associates (a professional résumé Writer) there’s actually a lot more to it.

The major differences between a professional and a seasoned professional are tenure on the job and level of experience. A seasoned professional is trusted and admired by his or her peers and is often looked to as a mentor for those new in the field. A seasoned professional knows what to do in any given situation and provides guidance to others based on his or her knowledge and skills.

A seasoned professional is complimented by a steady progression of challenging assignments and a balanced escalation in responsibility. Along with possessing distinctive qualifications, the seasoned professional is able to:

  • Identify the characteristics and needs of others at each level of their career development.
  • Monitor and diagnose the performance, competence, and commitment of others to determine their need for direction and support.
  • Provide opportunities for open communication and information sharing.
  • Resolve conflicts.
  • Build strategic relationships that strengthen performance and achieve company goals.

A seasoned professional is not always a manager and doesn’t need to be. Leadership and influence, demonstrated in every capacity, are traits that exemplify a seasoned professional.  As with professionals, key personal qualities that define a seasoned professional are honor, reputation, and trustworthiness. Trustworthiness comes from an assurance of reliability. Reputation is not only a signal to your customers, but also a commitment mechanism that keeps you on top of your game!

There are two keys to seasoned professional success:

  1. Always take time to think and analyze before acting, and
  2. Use your competencies and expertise to exploit opportunities to innovate, that is, to develop new methods and processes for you and your organization to become more efficient.

If know Heinz Marketing and our blog, you know we occasionally sprinkle in some good food tips for good measure.  Everything from nachos, to Matt’s legendary bacon, to holiday cocktails to cooking meat apps and recipe planners.

We recently celebrated our 10-Year anniversary and took the time to do a cooking class for fun.  There was definitely heat in the kitchen.  Check out Matt’s flambé.

This reminds me…

As we often do when we want to get (or in my case, replace) a trusty tool, I recently researched the best woks, read the reviews, and added one to my Amazon wish list.  And voila’ ! I got it for my birthday. Some of the Amazon reviewers complained food was sticking, but others reiterated the importance of taking the time to season it correctly.  I put it off until I had the time to do it right.  I had to first wash off the protective coating and then repeat a med-high heat and oil rubbing process for 10 minutes, all while moving the wok around…. I did this five times and had to do the same after the first couple of uses.  Good thing I knew this going in!  My husband did not at all enjoy the smoke and loud fan noise, but the process was necessary and worth the end result.

What can we learn from this as professionals (and humans)?

  • Seek input from others with related experience
  • Know what you’re getting into
  • Follow instructions
  • Take the necessary time to do the work
  • Remove the protective finish (food for thought!)
  • Keep moving
  • Embrace (or at least endure) both the heat and the stink
  • Repeat until you have durability and resiliency
  • Focus on the end result – a seasoned vessel

If, employment-wise you’re in open season, looking for employment, or feel more like you’re more out of season due to your “mature” age, take heart.  I am not alone in my view (biased as I am at 52) that the salt and pepper you bring to the table is welcome flavor and a huge benefit to employers.  Here are 10 reasons to hire a seasoned professional and the benefits of hiring experienced talent. And finally, check out these tips for seasoned professionals: How to reinvent yourself for a second career

By the way, we are looking to spice things up at Heinz Marketing and are looking for an Engagement Manager and a Business Development Manager.   If you, or someone you know can take the heat in the kitchen, apply here.