A lot of millennials tend to follow non-linear career paths. This means that rather than staying at one company, in one industry, and plodding up the corporate ladder, they work in positions that align with their skills. Some might consider it job hopping, but that isn’t necessarily the case. A survey of 18 to 34 year olds showed that 75% of the respondents surveyed feel that working in different industries through their career is a valid way to make a living.
Firms that research workplace dynamics have pointed to an emerging trend where workers are not willing to put up with ‘bad bosses’ and far below ideal conditions. Millennial workers, and not only them, are taking their talents and skills elsewhere, especially when there are so many choices and different industries hiring. Workers want more. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing the highest level of job openings since the year 2000 offers convincing evidence that job seekers now have the upper hand.
However, job mobility comes with some downsides. If you’re a millennial (or otherwise) who wants to follow a career which zigzags between different companies and industries, must prepare themselves for the consequences too. You may find that you don’t get access to the benefits reserved for long term employees like a significant 401(k) match. Will you have health insurance when you need it? All these things have to be taken into consideration. That said, there are ways for millennials and others to stay on top of their game.
Most millennials, actually 87% of them, value education and development opportunities within their jobs, according to a Gallup survey. If you’re over-educated and not using all of your qualifications, think of that as a secret weapon you possess, and not your downfall. In an ideal world, your job will offer training, skill and leadership development etc. Even if it doesn’t, you can take the initiative and learn about the industry you’re in, and stay up to date on trends. Maybe get an advanced degree or certification. Ultimately, the greater your mastery, the more easily transferrable your skills will be, notwithstanding the position you hold. More than that, you’ll stand out from among the crowd.
Become A Brand
Networking is pretty common these days, and you’re probably already networking on social media sites. But do you realize that your tweets, stories and videos can be valuable? Personal branding has shifted to encompass everything you do online, and you have to start thinking of yourself as a functioning brand, as well as an individual with talent, skills and unique advantages for potential employers. Make sure your stamp is across your social media platforms, post articles and blogs of interest on LinkedIn, answer questions on Quora and remember that today’s employers actively search social media websites before making job offers. Your brand could be the difference between you getting an offer and being turned down.
You may want to stay with the company you’re in because it’s thriving. And that’s great. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t constantly look for chances to reinvent yourself, and try something new with a different department. Ask your manager if you can enhance your role. The best companies understand that their people need to grow, perhaps even pivot, and they encourage that mindset.
These days, transferable skills are what a growing number of employers seem most excited about exploring, at least according to several career coaches and headhunters. Skill sets that prove to be relevant across a variety of job sectors. For example, team management and customer service create opportunities for people to be hired but also open new avenues for advancement within that company.
The modern career trajectory isn’t necessarily a climb to a destination, but much more a continuum. And millennials can take advantage of the new norm to discover different career paths and make their way to success in a non traditional, non-linear way.