More than a million millennials are
entering the workplace each year, only to find that the rules for getting ahead
have changed. There is no linear career path anymore; now they are stuck with a
In today's workplace, there’s no single path to the top. You’ll encounter countless obstacles along the way, and you might just end up somewhere you thought you would never be. Careers are built on reputations, results from projects and the strength of your network.
Most millennials aren't prepared for the working world, so they find themselves confused and in desperate search of a roadmap. The reality is that a map isn't provided, your employer isn't responsible for your career and there's no job security anymore. With the rise of globalization, automation and competition (63% of millennials have a bachelor’s degree), the rules for workplace success have changed significantly. If you don't play by the rules, then it will be hard to get ahead in your career.
Here are three of the new rules
cited in my new book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success...
1. Your job description can't define you. You need to make a name for yourself by taking on additional responsibilities outside your current role. If you don't pursue more work, then you will be stuck in your job, without additional pay and become replaceable. Always search for new projects, try and collaborate with other departments and do as much training and development as humanely possible. You can't afford to do the bare minimum anymore because there's always someone else who will do more than that. After you've completed your main tasks, now it's time to leverage your talents to pursue other projects that you can add value to. Become known as an expert on a topic or skill and people will seek you out, which will make you a more desirable worker and better positioned for raises and promotions.
2. Your job is temporary. While older generations have a one company for life mindset, millennials job hop regularly. The average tenure for a millennial is only two years, which is considerably less than baby boomers, who stay seven years on average at a company before moving on. After two years, if there are no opportunities for you to move laterally or up the organizational chart, then it makes sense to pursue new opportunities. Due to economic instability and market demands, your company could be acquired, your department might be merged or you could get laid off on a moment's notice. You should have a backup plan, always be open to new opportunities and keep your LinkedIn profile updated with your current role, achievements and interests.
3. Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have. As you move from job to job and from company to company, the one thing you get to keep is your reputation. The projects that you're part of, how much people trust you, who you know and who knows you are all important as you develop your career. How people perceive you can be the deciding factor if you get a raise, a promotion or even your next job somewhere else. If you don't dress properly, aren't aware of your body language and aren't personable to your co-workers, you will be held back, even if you're a high performer. In today's world, your reputation has been digitized. What you post online is a representation of who you are and what you become known for. It's your responsibility to manage perceptions, gather feedback and ensure you're coming off how you want to.
By following these rules, you will be able to compete in the new economy and take control of your career. In 2025, millennials will become 75% of the global workforce, so it's critical that you focus on taking on new responsibilities, be open to new opportunities and constantly build your reputation. The future is bright because the future is you!
Dan Schawbel is a Gen Y career and workplace expert, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.