12 Step Career Advice for Millennials.

February 18, 2020



                  12 Step Career Advice for Millennials.

Steve Sell 05/02/2020

12 step career advice for millennials, if you are a millennial, in your 20s or 30s, born between 1981 and 1996

chances are you are about to make decisions that will affect what you do and have an influence on your future career.

Being the father of 2 young adults that fall into this category and as an employer, this is relevant advice and shared with experience.

Some of my best employees have been millennials. In contrast some of the worst have been millennials.

Here are some tips on how to improve your job and life prospects.

Honesty is the Best Policy.

  1. Be honest: With yourself and with others. Have integrity. Look at what you enjoy, and at what you are currently doing.

Ask yourself can I bring enthusiasm and passion to my current workplace. What are my real capabilities compared to what is stated in my resume?

Am I prepared to put in the extra work, “go that extra mile” without the expectation of immediate reward or recognition?

Believe in Yourself.

  1. Do you believe in what you do? Some people want to build business’s and to  make thoughts and a vision come alive, you may see an existing business and help it change and embrace new technology and/or values, or you may want to be good at what you do within the security of an existing company. Do you want to work in a community service role? You need to decide.

Education is Important.

  1. Education: Decide whether you need further education, you have more flexibility in your 20s than later in life. Now is the time to figure out whether you need another degree or certification to master a subject.  Decide if this will help you toward your career goals?  Does it add value to my personal brand?

Give Back.

  1. Community service. Get involved with your community. This is a great way to meet people and contribute to society.  Doing volunteer work enables you to meet and work with people in a collaborative way. You not only meet new people; you get to engage with your community and see things from a different perspective. This is a great way to learn new skills as there is often a large range of age and experience on offer.  It is also a great way to learn leadership skills, project management, and fundraising.

Make Goals and Plans.

  1. Goals and plans. Design and implement a personal development plan. Having a personal development plan is a must have, for any ambitious professional. Detail your immediate plan, your 1,2, and three-year plan, list how you intend to meet your goals and any specific strategies that will help you.  Take into consideration that career paths are very rarely a linear pathway.                 There are often diversions and job opportunities that you may not have considered. Keep an open mind.


  1. People and Training. Embrace training, conferences, networking events, and community service projects, these events enable you to meet people and to develop   the skills you need to advance to a higher level.


  1. Whatever role you have, building a network is essential.  Use LinkedIn, send an e-mail, pick up the phone, send a letter, very old school but often appreciated more than an email. The impact of a “snail mail” letter should not be underestimated.

You never know where your next opportunity will come from, very often they come from someone you know.                                           Ask people you meet for new contacts so that your network continues to widen. Build networking into your daily or weekly list of to-dos so that it becomes a natural part of you.

Grow Your Information Sources.

  1. Broaden Your Knowledge: Read, watch TV, listen to Podcasts, develop a curiosity and a love of learning, this enables you to engage with people at all levels in an intelligent and informed fashion, this is a trait that defines people and separates workers from leaders.

What topics interest you? Cut out unhealthy distractions. Listen to audiobooks during your commute, read blogs at lunchtime, subscribe to newspapers and periodicals, and watch documentaries and TED talks related to your career.

Follow Up.

  1. Follow up: on subjects, information and people. Return phone calls and emails.  After a job interview follow up with a polite email or phone thanking the interviewer for their time.                                                                                                                                  A search on the internet can lead you to experts in your field.  Never have we had so much information available to us. Use it to learn, be informed, research, expand your horizons and see where it takes you!

          Find a Mentor.

  1. A Mentor: Find a mentor. A mentor is someone that can provide guidance, motivation, give emotional support and even act as a role model. A mentor may help you by sharing life and career experiences, exploring career options, setting goals, developing contacts and having someone you can turn to for advice.  Find a person that you can bounce ideas off, seek advice and even vent.

Your mentor could be from a business, educational or any other connection that you have. Ask if you can reach out on a regular basis.

When you choose a person and ask them to be your mentor it is a compliment to that person and a recognition of how you respect their advice and experience.

Often people are honoured to be asked.

  1. Personal Board.

Build your own personal board. This may sound a bit strange at this age but having a panel or board that you can use as sounding board will open networking, advice and other opportunities.

Life can be a lot easier when you have others to guide and help you, often they have had shared experiences and it’s reassuring knowing that you’re not alone.

You can find your own board through work, college/university, community service projects, associations you belong to or a school alumni network. Anywhere you meet like-minded people.

They may not be in the same age group or profession as yourself, this adds to the depth and breadth of experience. They can all help as you grow professionally and personally.

                                                                                                                                                                                           Build Your Brand.

  1. Personal Brand

Build your own personal brand. This is where your honesty, integrity and authenticity define what you stand for and how you are perceived by others.

You need to be confident enough to tell people who you are and what you’re good at. Don’t expect others to do it for you.  Be confident not arrogant.

Know how to articulate what you do and who you are. Be consistent with your behaviour and beliefs even in this age (2020) young people are surprisingly judgemental of inappropriate behaviour, actions and morals.

Review your résumé, is it a true reflection of you? Do not tell lies or overhype your qualifications or achievements. Everything should be checkable and verifiable.

Develop your personal pitch so that you can tell people quickly what you do and what you’re looking to do. Examples of what you have achieved can be shared as part of this pitch.


12 Step Career Advice for Millennials

Strive to exceed expectations: Over deliver, do things without being asked, do more than you were asked, when you exceed your own expectations you will exceed others’.

Focus your energy on delivering the best you can do, no matter what the task.                                                                                            Instead of thinking about how you can get ahead, aim to deliver an awesome outcome every time.

Be proactive, offer to do extra work.

There are no better employees than those who raise their hands to take on more work.

Ask yourself, am I prepared to put in the extra work, “go that extra mile” without the expectation of immediate reward or recognition?


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