Everyone has an opinion on millennials.
Either way, this is our time to be building our careers, so job advice for millennials is everywhere.
I took two years after college to work, and then attended law school, so this is my second time looking for a grown-up, career-oriented job. Here are three things I wish I had understood the first time I looked for a job right out of college.
1) It’s ok to take time to figure out what you want.
People told me this all the time, but I didn’t get it. I thought I had to take the first respectable-sounding office job I could find, even if I wasn’t truly interested in it, or my career would suffer. Stressing about this is one of my biggest regrets.
Plenty of people with amazing careers take a year or two to travel, or to work, for instance, at a restaurant while they intern or volunteer in a field they feel passionate about, and figure out if they can turn it into a career.
2) Networking is important.
This is another one I heard all the time (still do!), but didn’t really understand.
To me, networking sounded like going to a boring, organized event in an uncomfortable business suit, talking to people I didn’t know about my career goals, and handing out business cards. Of course, this type of networking exists, and some people are very good at it, but that’s not what I mean.
I’m talking about the importance of seeking out alumni, family friends, professors, etc., who work in fields that interest you, and contacting them for advice on how they got to where they are, and how to grow in their fields.
These types of contacts, which can be found through LinkedIn groups, college alumni groups, or sometimes just by asking friends and family members, can alert you to career opportunities, give you invaluable advice on how to succeed in your chosen job field, and can sometimes turn into mentors or long-term advisors and friends.
3) Go big or go home.
This is more of a philosophy than a concrete piece of advice, but it’s one that has improved my success, happiness, and achievement of goals: Start with the biggest goal and work your way down, rather than starting with something small and working up.
In other words, don’t fear the big vision, even if it seems crazy or impractical. That big vision can be achievable by taking small steps to move closer to it. You have to be practical about the steps you take to achieve your biggest goals, but that doesn’t mean you have to shrink your goal.
Your vision may change as you move toward it, but don’t be afraid to let it be big (and maybe a little crazy and impractical). This cheesy quote actually sums it up quite nicely:
Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll still land among the stars.
Dream on, millennials!
— Hannah Shtein, Intern, Curren Media Group