Millennials are the largest living generation in the U.S., and they just so happen to dominate the workforce, too. While it’s a definitely a good thing that so many millennials are hungry for career success, it also means that it’s that much harder for them to get ahead of the pack in their careers. If you’re one of these 20- or 30-something professionals looking for some tips on getting ahead, here are a few to get you started.
Be a Winner at Working Hard
According to fellow millennial Nicole Smartt, who is the co-owner and vice president of Star Staffing and author of From Receptionist to Boss: Real-life Advice for Getting Ahead at Work, “One of the biggest things younger workers can do to get ahead is be an exemplary leader, take on extra tasks and ask what more [they] can do.” More specifically, Smartt recommends that millennials be winners at working hard and constantly “learn, grow, and improve.”
Although I don’t necessarily agree with Smartt when she tells millennials to “never clock out,” she does win me over with her advice that career success is all about who you know.
“Become an owner of your career through connections,” she says. “Find the right people/mentors who match your goals, attitude and energy level.”
Networking Your Way to Success
I can’t stress enough how important networking is for career success — in fact, some would argue that it’s more important than your resume. The business world is such a small, tight-knit community, so you can bet that if you screw someone over in the professional realm, it’ll come back to haunt you at the most inopportune time (e.g. that individual just so happens to be the interviewer for a job you’re dying to land). Moral of the story: Practice the Golden Rule and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Focus on Your Own Success
In her article for Forbes, Stephanie Denning, who writes about leadership from a millennial’s perspective, says, “Don’t be daunted by the people who have succeeded. …You have as much of a right to succeed as anybody else.” In other words, just because a certain strategy or technique proved successful for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to guarantee success for you.
Inspiration vs. Comparison
Also, keep in mind that there’s a big difference between gaining inspiration from others and comparing yourself to them. Comparisons usually involve a better than/lesser than or winner/loser type of outcomes, and that’s definitely not what success is about. Success is a shared and collaborative venture — you’re not supposed to go at it alone.
All In Good Timing
Lastly, far too many professionals psych themselves out if they’re not earning X-amount of dollars or have such-and-such title by the time they’re X-years-old. Keep in mind that success isn’t restricted by timelines, dollar amounts, or circumstances — it really boils down to whether or not you possess this one trait: unwavering confidence.
In the good times and the bad times of your career, confidence is what’s going to pull you through and keep you pushing towards your goal. A great deal of building confidence is knowing that you’re making meaningful connections throughout your career, constantly learning and expanding your knowledge, and doing your best day in and day out. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or not doing — just keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let anything or anyone get in your way.
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