What it takes for Millennials to build a career they will love
by Kate Pavao, September 2013
Millennials are taking over the workplace. In fact, they already make up more than a third of workers. But it’s not an easy road to success for these twenty and thirty something workers, who are navigating without a linear career path, competing with a global workforce, and often have culture clashes with managers and team members from other generations. So how can they get ahead?
Dan Schawbel, 30, managing partner of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules of Careers Success says they have to leverage as many tools as they can — from mentors to social media tools.
“Opportunity is just not going to come to them,” he tells Profit. “What it’s really about is who is willing to work harder and go above and beyond a job description. If you’re not really pushing yourself to the limit, expanding and challenging yourself, then don’t expect to get to the next level because you won’t.”
Here, he shares more of his rules for the road.
Companies are hiring more for a cultural fit than other qualifications, like actually being able to do the work.
Profit: You address a lot of real fundamentals here — like advising Millennials not to check emails during meetings. Do they really need this kind of advice?
Schawbel: You have a lot of Millennials looking down at their iPad or phone instead of actually looking at people. It’s a huge issue, because based on a study with American Express, the number one way that managers want to be communicated with is through in person visits and meetings.
Profit: So, what kind of skills should Millennials really be polishing?
Schawbel: The soft skills. Companies are hiring more for a cultural fit than other qualifications, like actually being able to do the work. It’s much easier to find the people who can do the work and much harder to find people who will fit in and work with the other people who are part of the team already.
Forty percent of students feel like technology trumps their soft skills, but soft skills are the most important when you get hired and they just become more and more important as you continue to take management roles. The soft skills managers are most looking for are the ability to prioritize work, having a positive attitude and possessing teamwork skills.
Profit: How important are social networks now to getting a job?
Schawbel: Close to 100 percent of companies recruit using social networks now. If you want to be part of the global talent pool, you have to have your own website and have an online presence on the social networks. Managers are looking for you or people like you and every time you are not there, or your name doesn’t come up, you miss an opportunity.
Dan Schawbel is managing partner of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules of Careers Success.
Also, ten percent of Millennials miss job opportunities because of what they post online. If you are online and you are active, you have to constantly manage your reputation because no one else can do it for you.
Profit: You write that Millennials change jobs every two years. What can managers do to help keep their Millennial talent in place?
Schawbel: It costs most companies between 15 and 25,000 to replace each Millennial employee. And, according to HR professionals we surveyed, the number one reason these employees stay is the company is a good cultural fit. What it really comes down to is companies need to find the right people, and then leverage their strengths.