Like the Baby Boomers before us, the Millennials are fast becoming a major force in the workplace. As we move onto career paths from school and internships, there are new challenges to the status quo. But how do we negotiate those—and more importantly, how do we help define what we want the workforce to be as we move forward?
1. Build Your Brand Like It’s Your Job.
More than ever, social media is a factor in hiring. Keeping a close eye on what you put out there on Instagram, Vine, Twitter, etc. is an essential way to manage your professional image. Share content relevant to your field, and monitor who’s reposting and engaging you on that content. And for the goofy/personal stuff? Set up a private account that’s just for you and your social crew, and make sure it’s entirely separate from your “Janie Smith, Marketer Extraordinaire” profile.
2. Think Outside the 9-to-5 Box.
One of the defining moments for the Millennial generation of workers was the economy crash of 2008. Younger workers were often lost in the shuffle as jobs were cut all over the place. But that wasn’t necessarily doom—it was a wake-up call that maybe the standard 9-to-5 job isn’t the only way to go. Many people can make their career work as freelancers, part-time workers while pursuing other opportunities, teleworkers, and other nontraditional employees. Being flexible may be the best option for you.
Also, don’t hesitate to use non-paid experience as a selling point on your resume. If you picked up stellar office communications during your internship, say so. If you developed rockstar time management skills during your volunteer gig, list it.
3. Play the Long Game.
Plan ahead. Retirement may be a long time away, but there’s an awful lot that can happen in the meantime. Be smart about financial planning, but also about whether you’ll want to have a family at some point, or start your own business. The earlier you get started factoring long-term goals in to your plans, the easier it will be to actually set them in motion when the time comes.
4. Think About More Than Money.
A high-paying job in your chosen field is The Dream… who doesn’t want that? But there may come a time when you need to consider whether other factors are just as important as the salary figure. Flexible work arrangements, vacation time, and the ability to travel may end up being just as golden to you as a slightly higher paycheck. Definitely take your priorities into consideration during any hiring and negotiation process.
As Millennials face a unique moment in their career paths, you should see it as a chance to take hold of the process and find ways to develop it (and yourself) into the professional world you’d like to see.