Career Advice for Millennial Women

I recently met with a student that I’m mentoring and decided it was time to have “the talk”. The talk about real career advice, and the things millennial women can face in the workforce. Getting the job can be hard, doing the job can be harder. But, there are a lot of tools that you can use to navigate the ups and downs.

Here are my tips for getting that job and finding success and happiness once you’re there.

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Image via @Luna.Wrote

1. Do Your Research: Before you step foot into an interview, know the company inside and out. Find the interviewer on linked in. Try to find info on salary ranges. Have smart questions to ask about the strategy of the company and what would make you successful there. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

2. ALWAYS Negotiate: If you get an offer, it’s hard not to be excited and not want to screw it up, but now is the time to ask for more. If you have done your research, you should know the salary range for a job and if the offer is fair or not. Now is your one chance to increase your pay, and you are leaving money on the table if you don’t ask for more. Don’t be absurd with your counter, but make a counter. Say that based on your research, cost of living, skillset, etc, that you were looking for closer to X. The worst thing that can happen is that they’re firm in their offer and say no. Oh well.

For some people (like me) this is the most uncomfortable thing in the entire world. But, it is one conversation that can make a huge difference in your pay, and those types of opportunities are hard to come by once you are in a job.

3. Be Genuine: Your personality is an asset, and so many opportunities come from interests and connections that might not be your exact job or career field. Don’t feel like you have to be a perfect robot in an interview or in your job.

I’m a designer, but running marathons is also a big part of who I am, and I draw on all of my experiences in the day to day life. You’ll seem a lot more genuine if you put your authentic self forward. And if a company doesn’t like that, you probably don’t want to work there anyways.

4. Work Hard: Your reputation is really important and people remember if you work hard and act in a respectful manner. Be the person that always has their work done. Go above and beyond. Help other people. Take on an extra project.

If someone asks another person about you, you always want it to be a positive, glowing response. You never know when a connection can lead to a huge opportunity.

5. Find Mentors: Throughout my career, I have built relationships with all sorts of people– from internship bosses who helped me craft my first resume, to directors in different areas of my company who helped me work on my personal brand, you can learn so much from other people and it’s really important to build and foster those relationships. I’ve also found that so many people are willing to help out if you just ask in a genuine way. That means utilizing them as a developmental coach, not just to meet once and expect them to get you a job.

6. Stand Up For Yourself: This is something that is really hard for people early in a career. You don’t want to burn a bridge, but you also should not be treated in a disrespectful manner. There is a difference between being expected to work hard, put in extra hours, not getting endless recognition, etc. and truly being treated in a disrespectful or inappropriate manner. Know the difference, and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. You’ll probably get pushback, but you are more valuable than to have to deal with that sort of stuff. Don’t accept less.

7. Don’t Make Your Job Your Life: It’s important to work hard and give 100% at work, but you also don’t have to give 100% of your life to a job. As someone who has gone through being laid off, I realized that nothing I did could have prevented that, and it’s so important to have an identity and life outside of your job. I also think it makes you a much better employee if you’re not expecting a job to fulfill all your life’s dreams. Don’t be someone who lives to work– its not worth it.

8. Identify What You Really Want: I was recently at a crossroads in my career and was completely lost as to what I wanted to do next– we’re talking do I go to medical school or start walking dogs kind of crisis. A mentor helped me identify what really motivated me in a job. It wasn’t about what job I wanted, but what I wanted in a job. There can be a big difference in what you think you want to do, and what you actually enjoy about work.

For me, I like to always be learning and mastering something, so I moved to a job I knew nothing about and have been so much happier with the opportunity! It was something I never would have picked for myself, and I’m so happy that I was open to the new experience.

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