Over the last twenty years, employees have taken more ownership of their career path, while still accepting some advice and guidance from their employer.
In the old days, career paths were already set for most employees. There was usually a defined progression within the organization, starting with the role for which they were hired initially. Time frames were set, goals were established and employees were almost deliberately moved along the path their employer had chosen for them.
Today, employees may face multiple paths to choose from, including paths that may move an employee laterally within the company rather than up the corporate ladder. Employers provide more options in order to enhance recruiting efforts and encourage employee retention.
Such choices allow today’s workforce to design their own career path, in conjunction with their personal life and the values and objectives that matter most to them. Millennials are not content to simply move forward in their career based on how long they have been in their current position or even due to meeting some pre-determined milestone. They seek control of their own destiny, and most of all, the opportunity to choose.
In order to maximize the choices before them, and to make the most out of each opportunity, millennials need to master the following five (5) skills:
There is no way to predict the future or what will be the “next big thing” in regards to skills in high demand. Still, employees should have some idea of where things are trending and make sure they acquire some skills which can transfer from one role to another, either through experience or training.
As a career progresses, employees should take routine checkpoints to verify they are on the path they intended to be. Are they where they thought they would be at this time? Employees should decide what they want and when they want it. Employees can balance their career moves along with what they want in their personal life. Today’s employees can have it all, if they plan it well.
Many skills which are in high demand today are not acquired through formal education or training. Acquiring new skills often requires self-study and taking the initiative to work with someone who is already skilled in a particular area of expertise. Degrees and formal education are great but in-demand skills can provide employees with multiple opportunities.
Today, everyone is connected through a series of personal and professional networks. Passive connectivity, however, is not enough. Employees must stay active within their networks, voicing ideas, engaging others and demonstrating interest in relevant information.
Employees must decide on where they want their career to go and then stick with it. An individual’s chosen career path is unique to them because it reflects their individual values and complements their personal life choices. The only way to achieve their goals and maintain that balance is to see it through.
Employers and HR professionals can offer the benefit of their experience and expertise to assist employees in making good choices when it comes to their career path. Too many choices can get confusing and overwhelming for some. An objective approach with the help and encouragement of an employer can help in making the right choice.