Working in a “bridge” position as a consultant between Baby Boomers and Millennials I’ve noticed skills that young professionals need to thrive in this economy.
Professionalism for Millennials comes down to meeting the demands of their senior counterparts. Here is what I believe are the top 3:
Speed Matters: When you receive a phone call or email respond quick. That means within 48 hours, but preferably 24. Follow up is essential and the ones who do it faster and better get the prize. Sadly, I’ve witnessed many missed opportunities that had nothing to do with talent or experience, instead lack of urgency. Move fast or you’ll get left behind.
Improve Your “Soft” Skills: In the age of technology, communication has eroded. Texting may be easier and more convenient, but it’s not professional. Want to know what impresses management? Public speaking ability. Now you need to be able to write a clean email, hold your own during a face to face conversation and command presence in an interview/ audience. It drastically increases your chances for a promotion and pay raise.
The Ability to Sell: It helps to sell a tangible product, but what you really need is the ability to sell yourself. If you are fortunate enough to have a corporate job with benefits now, start working on your “side hustle” because the new economy demands everyone is at least a part-time entrepreneur. When I look back on my college years, I wish I majored in business and started a sales job when I was a teenager. That’s a skill most college graduates don’t leave with, but can benefit you for the rest of your career.
I don’t claim to be the authority on career advancement or Millennials, but I’ve worked with enough as a career coach and recruiter to recognize what matters. In fact, the 3 skills I listed above aren’t exclusive to the young professional, they’re important to your career period. It’s helpful to know what you want, but understanding a need then solving it equates to long-term success.