For many millennials, especially those coming out of college, it can be hard to think about the trajectory you want your career to take. What kind of industry you want to work in, the career ladder you want to climb, where and when you want to work, how you start versus end your career. These are all questions that can be hard to answer but should be in the back of your mind, especially as the job market continues to evolve.
With that being said, here are five tips every millennial should know as they approach their career development.
Build your resume and brand
First things first, it’s important to keep your resume and brand updated. It’s important to keep your resume short and concise, yet detailed enough to get you noticed by employers that come across it. It should be vivid while simply serving as a preview of your experiences for you to elaborate on in an interview. Your resume is essentially your sales pitch. It should be both visually appealing and full of great content that reflects the career path you’re seeking. Make sure that you’re up-to-date with relevant jargon and terminology in the field you’re looking to break in to.
Likewise, with your professional brand, it’s important to establish this early in your career and continue to grow it as you move further on in your journey. Things like appearance, clothing, online presence, and behavior are just some of the aspects you should continually be tweaking in order to use to your advantage.
Guys: The time where workplace etiquette meant a clean-shaven face and business attire is gone. Today’s workplaces are much more receptive to self-expression. However, you should still look sharp and properly groomed. No matter your personal style, use shaving tools that master the art of precision to ensure that your facial hair is on point and well-maintained. It may seem irrelevant, but employers take note of your attention to detail, and if your look is complete down to the hair on your face, it won’t go unnoticed!
Girls: It is important to find a look that is a balance between professional yet personal. When done properly, you are able to make a statement about who you are and the type of employee you desire to be. Opt for a more subtle look that showcases your natural characteristics. Same goes for your hairstyle choice, don’t feel pressure to change yourself for an interview! Opt to wear a style that you feel is the most comfortable and natural. Clothing is important too, so be sure to pick each day’s outfit carefully. It’s important to remember these seemingly minuscule things make an impression on others around you and can say a lot about you carry yourself in the workplace.
A career is a marathon and not a sprint, and early in your career, it may be hard to keep that in mind. Your first job won’t be your last job, and some jobs won’t be your favorite but it’s important to learn and grow from every experience you come across. While it’s important to have a general idea of where you want your career to take you, it’s important to not skip over different opportunities. Every job will teach you something new, and can even help you develop your skills in a way you didn’t think possible.
It’s always nice to think of yourself (the candidate) as having a professional toolbox of skills and talents. You can never have too much knowledge, to stay ahead of the game, you should always be seeking ways to gain more industry experience. As you gain insight from working a variety of jobs, it’s important to identify and recognize what each position has taught you about yourself and how it can impact your next one. So when it comes to thinking about how you want to grow professionally, don’t think of each job in terms of timeline. Think about how it’s shaped you both professionally and personally. Each job has the capabilities of opening to you to new perspectives and even improving your personality, so being open-minded is always a great attribute to have early in your career.
Network as much as possible
As a millennial entering the job market or maneuvering your way through jobs early in your career, it’s essential to network along the way. Developing relationships with coworkers, employers, and other professionals are the greatest ways to aid in advancing your career. As you move from job to job, you should develop relationships with your boss and coworkers, but it doesn’t have to stop there.
Try extending your reach online and in-person through sites like LinkedIn or attending networking or career fairs. Especially after attending in-person networking events, many people forget to follow up with them online, which can help cement that bond which can lead to opportunity.
As a young person in the job market, this is the area that can make or break your career timeline. With many millennials finding themselves in the same position early in their career, networking is the way you can distinguish yourself from the rest and give yourself a serious advantage. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and connect with someone because it leads down a road you didn’t think was possible.
Take advantage of the work atmosphere
Take advantage of the work environments early in your career. Mingling with coworkers that have different backgrounds of expertise and experiences is a great way to gain perspective. One way to get involved with your work atmosphere is to seek out a mentor within your department or company that can help you grow both personally and professionally. Even if the mentor is someone you don’t work directly with, growing a genuine relationship with someone that you can go to about career advice, potential job offers, how to negotiate a raise, etc, it definitely will help you as you face these hard career experiences.
Making friends with your co-workers is always beneficial. Not only will it make being at work a better experience, but it can potentially lead to future job or life opportunities. Get to know your coworkers through lunches or happy hours, because you might just have more in common than you thought. Plus, millennials are always itching to make more friends so be sure to expand your horizons!
Don’t get discouraged
It’s easy to get discouraged as a new job seeker looking to enter the market, but it’s important to remain positive and keep yourself a priority as you navigate through potential careers. No one’s career path is linear and may encounter bumps along the way, but prioritizing your aspirations and desires is what will drive you to the results you’re looking for.
Ultimately, your loyalty in yourself and your ambition is what will carry you through different career experiences. Be your biggest fan, seek help from others who support you or that are going through the same thing, and let it guide you down a positive path that will improve you professionally and personally.