The five biggest career mistakes that millennials can make

Young professionals
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

11 September 2017

Millennial employees are a growing demographic within the workforce, but the job market is quite possibly more competitive than ever -  banking on the appeal of 'new talent' may not be enough. What career missteps should you be avoiding?

1. Expecting too much too soon

Younger employees can have a habit of setting a deadline on career progression. This is partly due to the emergence of publicity around young business people who have had unprecedented success early in their careers, particularly in the technology and digital sectors, and partly because of the divergent trend away from a 'job for life' mentality. Changing reasonably frequently between jobs and companies is a more acceptable practice in today's market than in previous times.

It's important to remember that most promotions and accolades require time to build up experience, skills, and respect within an organisation. Career progression isn't just marked by your job title - consider how you are developing professionally and avoid associating a lack of 'official' movement up the ladder with failure.

2. Undervaluing your skills

Millennials' skills and knowledge are, generally, the most up to date in their respective industries. Newly qualified CAs, for example, have been trained to the latest regulatory and legislative standards and are well-prepared for the ramifications of industry disruptors like Making Tax Digital.

However, for many coming into entry-level positions or working under 'junior' job titles, that isn't always acknowledged. Be confident about why you are a valuable asset and make sure others know it too.

3. Assuming stereotypes don't apply

People will make assumptions about you because of your age. This is a fact of life. Millennials, in particular, seem to get a rough deal from their typical portrayal in mainstream media and that attitude can translate to the workplace.

The Huffington Post offered this example from career advisor Erin Berkery-Rovner: "If you’re an intern or entry-level employee taking notes on a tablet in a meeting, and someone from the office doesn’t know you, he can assume that you’re goofing off, emailing friends, or doing something not work related."

Be aware of how you may be perceived by colleagues and make an effort dissuade negative assumptions.

4. Relying on talent alone

You may be highly qualified and impressively up to date with the latest trends in business but you will find it extremely difficult to build a successful career on technical acumen alone. Networking and other soft skills are essential, and continuing to develop as a professional throughout your career is tremendously important.

Some aspects of working to impress those around you may seem outdated or unnecessary for the digital age but good communication practices will always be required for career progression.

5. Taking too much advice

At the end of the day, your career is your own and no other generation has been in the exact same boat as you now find yourself. Well-meaning advice from different sides can push you in the wrong direction or cause you to overthink decisions about your future.

Keep your priorities in check and find a way to achieve your goals that works for you.


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