It’s often said that millennials might get bored too quickly. They may not like routine work or an administrative or process-oriented job. That’s because most millennials are explorers and would like to explore before finding the true purpose in what they do.
Some of them may have the luxury of doing so, not having any big commitments before they begin to work. This gives them the flexibility to be an explorer. However, they still need a career strategy or else there is a high probability of getting lost in today’s global corporate jungle.
A survey of 2,000 millennials in the UK found that one in five has two or more jobs simultaneously, one in three millennials plan on changing industry within the next two years, 13% intend to change industries within the next year and 45% will be looking to move within three years.
With so much career shifting happening so quickly, how do you make sure your career moves are the right ones that will get you to where you want to go in the future?
Based on my personal interaction with many millennials, the majority of them would like to venture on startups. It’s a great idea. However, one of the key questions one needs to ask is, “Am I ready?”
Only a few startups succeed among thousands and those are the ones who have done careful planning, made themselves ready, have the right kind of support structure and resources.
No matter whether you’d like to work or own a startup, you need a clear strategy. Here are three simple steps to build and execute your career strategy.
It does take a while to understand yourself. Very few people are able to understand their full potential early on. This is one of the fundamental reason why millennials continue to search for a job which would be an extension of their true selves.
Exploration could be one way to find your passion. However, this path will slow you down. The most efficient way is not to drift from your career and use it to understand yourself. Firstly, do a personality test – disc and Myers-Briggs are good ones. It’s important to know your personality.
Secondly, be conscious. What’s the first thing that comes to you naturally, where you don’t have to push yourself? Try and capture this on paper. Which part of the job do you like the most and which part of the job does not enthuse you? Take your time, don’t complete this task in just one day. Take about a month or two. Your purpose is to find the pattern or theme. This way, you will be able to discover what your strengths are. What are you good at and what do you enjoy? What motivates you? What are your values? By sitting down and really working this through, you save yourself a lot of time and pain in the future.
Research your career options. This will give you the chance to look at sectors which are growing and are likely to offer long-term employment. Focus to match your strength to any role which will give you long-term prospects and meaningful work. Once you nail down a couple of roles which you believe will make the best use of your strength, delve into the further details. What are the skills required for those roles – both technical and soft skills? Again, the key is to have patience and not to rush the research. Remember the famous quote from Albert Einstein: “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.”
This is the most important and challenging part. Career strategy is thinking about a choice and choosing to stick with it. There is a famous quote from Ram Charan (renowned management consultant): “Execution is a specific set of behaviors and techniques that one needs to master in order to have a competitive advantage. It’s a discipline of its own.”
We understood ourselves, we did all the necessary research. Now, it’s time to plan and execute. Searching and finding your ‘dream’ job may take a long time. What until then? Normally, we seek answers to this question in terms of which job or role can best suit out strength and passion. Instead, we should reframe the question and ask what aspect of our current job can best suit our strength and passion.
Identify the areas where you can best use your strengths and passion. Be vocal about your interest to your management – that way, managers can able to help wherever possible. Focus on personal branding, and building skill sets. There is a famous saying that luck is equal to the combination of opportunity and preparedness.
When we see someone getting their dream job, we immediately think they are so lucky. It is actually because this person was prepared at the right time when the opportunity presented itself. Hence, if you are not prepared, the probability of this happening is zero.
In this formula, you have no control on ‘opportunity’. However, you have full control on ‘preparedness’. Have a goal with respect to improving personal branding, building skill sets and expanding network. All this needs to be specific, measurable, relevant and time bound. Regularly check on progress, ask for help to accelerate learning. Focus, discipline and execution are key here.
To summarize, don’t drift or keep changing jobs. Stay on longer. It may be painful initially (if it is not what you love to do) but you will accelerate your career in future if you apply this strategy.
Use the time and experience to understand yourself, discover your purpose. Research extensively, identify the roles and the skill sets needed to match your strength and passion. Lastly, lay out a clear plan to build your personal branding, gain key technical and soft skills and expand your network. Have a written goal and create a purpose for yourself which will help you to self-motivate and stay on track. All the very best!