Are you one of the many Millennials who was born between 1982 and 2000? If so, you’ve caused much consternation among academics and employers who struggle to figure out what you want in a career. However, the chances are that you know what you want!

Whether your emphasis is on flex-time and doing good or you want a steady paycheck with plenty of mentoring, you probably have a vision for your career. But just as with every generation before you, getting what you want takes more than a vision. It takes effort and hard work. To help you launch or advance your career as a Millennial, we offer 17 tips below. 

17 Career Guidance Tips

1. Set Goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there? Set career goals, and be willing to dream big if that’s what you want to do. Your career makes up a large part of your adult life. Think of it as an investment and set your goals accordingly.

2. Do a Self-assessment

Next, perform a self-assessment. What are your skills and abilities? Be honest with yourself. Where do you lack the skills or knowledge necessary for your career goals? Do you need additional training? Look at your goals and start determining what steps you need to take to accomplish them.

3. Network, Network, Network

Regardless of where you are in your career today and your goals for tomorrow, networking is necessary. Networking is about building relationships with people, but it’s also about building a reputation. Be genuine and sincere, and focus on meeting people and making connections—not on advancing your agenda. When you’re at an event, think about how you can help others, not yourself. Finally, treat everyone you meet as someone important. Everyone has a role to play, even if they are a janitor or clerk.

And the time to start networking is now before you have a specific need. If you hate networking (or suspect you will), check out some of these networking tips. Also, keep in mind that you can network online as well via groups on LinkedIn or user or association groups.

4. Seek Out a Mentor

Successful people can aid you enormously with career advancement by acting as your mentor. As such, they can take you under their wing and share with you their experience and lessons. However, remember that they are doing this on out of their goodwill, so respect their time and express your gratitude for the lessons they share.

To find a mentor, see tip #3 about networking. Also, ask friends and family, or inquire through professional organizations.

5. Consider an Internship

Internships let you explore a potential career before you commit to it. But they can also give you skills and training that can help you land a real job. An internship lets you get a foot in the door in your industry, and some offer college credit. To find an internship, turn to your network, ask your mentor, and look for postings for internships through your college or sites like LinkedIn.

6. Shadow a Professional

If you’re at the stage where you’re not even sure which career path to follow, shadowing someone in the field can give you an inside look at a choice you’re considering. You’ll need to tap into your network to find someone to shadow, or you can seek out a professional you admire and contact them directly to make the request. If you do shadow someone, respect their time, and express your gratitude.

7. Volunteer

Volunteering helps you gain valuable experience in a low-pressure setting, plus it gives your résumé a boost. Besides, you might get a credible referral or even a connection that leads to a paid position. You can volunteer with an association in your field, or find a volunteer position that uses your skills and prepares you for a specific job role. For example, a local animal shelter might need IT help, or a local nonprofit could need someone to help with their marketing.

8. Do Online Training

Online training can give you a boost as far as career advancement goes because you can be very specific in the practice you get. If you’ve followed tip #1 and set goals, then did tip #2 to determine the skills you lack to achieve your goals, you’ll probably know which training to pursue. Another option is to review job postings on sites like Glassdoor to see the skills required for a job you’re interested in. Then turn to a training provider like Simplilearn to find the courses that will teach you those skills. Training through a provider like Simplilearn is very hands-on so that you will get practical skills, and the certification you can earn will add credibility to your résumé.

9. Polish Your Résumé

Once you’ve determined your goals and how to get there, you’ve built a network, and you’ve gained some experience, you’ll want to turn your focus to your résumé. Managers are often overwhelmed with résumés when looking to hire. Often, they merely glance at them before making a quick decision about whom to interview. Your résumé needs to make an immediate impact, so include the details relevant to the job you’re applying for but leave out the rest if it’s irrelevant.

Use a modern format that is clean and easy to read. Keep it to one page. For professional and prevalent resume templates, you can use Venngage, which can help you make an instant impression on your to-be employer. Lastly, make sure it is error-free. You can also ask someone else to proofread it, just to be doubly sure.

10. Make Your Resume Stand Out

In some professions, it’s now acceptable to have a visual résumé. Once your résumé is well-written, focused, and error-free, consider taking a visual approach to the layout.  ​​​​

11. Put Your Resume Online

You don’t have to be a rock star to have your webpage. You can create an online version of your résumé plus a lot more with a personal webpage. That lets you showcase more than you can in a one-page resume, plus gives potential employers or connections an easy way to learn more about you. See ideas for personal webpages here.

12. Create a Professional LinkedIn Profile

A LinkedIn profile can be like an online résumé, and it’s a necessity in this day and age. Make sure your profile is focused on the career you’re pursuing, well-written and error-free. Follow the advice for creating a professional profile, and then become an active LinkedIn user. Start building your network by connecting with people (personalizing your message each time!) and by joining relevant LinkedIn groups.

13. Clean up Your Facebook Page

While we’re on the topic of your online presence, let’s talk about cleaning up your Facebook page to a potential connection or employer only sees what you’d like them to see. Delete or make private photos or posts that may be inappropriate. Also, consider adjusting your Facebook privacy settings to keep content visible only to certain friends.

14. Hire a Career Coach

If you’re struggling either to determine your path or to gain traction on that path, it might be time to invest in a career coach. A career coach can advise you, give you direction, and help with planning.

15. Be Grateful 

As you work your way through these tips and come into contact with people, be grateful. An attitude of gratitude can go a long way in building a good reputation and making people want to help you. 

16. Learn How to Take Criticism

Everyone makes mistakes. At some point on this journey, you will too, and you will when you land that job you’re after as well. Knowing how to accept and learn from criticism is a valuable skill. If someone points out a mistake you made, analyze why and how the error happened. Put steps into place to keep it from happening again. Say something along the lines of, “Thanks for catching that!” to the person who caught your mistake. And don’t get defensive.

17. Never Stop Learning

Finally, keep on learning, even after you land that first job, and achieve that primary goal. There is always room to improve and always something to learn. Once you’re in the career field you want, keep challenging yourself to learn that next skill, earn that next certification. You’ll demonstrate to your employer that you’re proactive, ambitious, and capable. Or, if that job isn’t working out, you’ll position yourself for the next one. As we like to say at Simplilearn, get certified, get ahead! Millennials now make up the most significant part of the workforce in the U.S., which might be why those academics and employers are so confused: There are just so many of you! But you don’t have to be confused. It is within your power to choose your career path, set your goals, and take steps to help you realize your dream job. 

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