Millennials are a powerful demographic force – an 80 million strong posse of 20-33 year-olds that dwarfs even the Baby Boom generation. But they’re also just starting out in the workplace, and their cultural quirks (such as a fondness for texting and an aversion to phone calls) haven’t yet permeated corporate life. In his new book Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, my fellow Forbes author Dan Schawbel suggests a variety of strategies to help Generation Y succeed and thrive professionally. Here are three of his best tips.
Hone Your Soft Skills. In a study he conducted with American Express, Schawbel discovered that “the top thing managers want [in their employees] is the ability to prioritize, a positive attitude, and teamwork – and what connects those things is soft skills.” Unfortunately, he says, many millennials haven’t honed those abilities. “We spend so much time looking down at our phones, we aren’t developing true interpersonal relationships.” That’s a particular handicap, given that 60% of managers in Schawbel’s study report that they prefer face-to-face communication.
Become an “Intrapreneur.” Even if you work inside a corporation, Schawbel urges millennials to become “consultants within their company” or “intrapreneurs.” The goal, he says, is to “be somebody who sees opportunities where others don’t, and expand your job. You can do research, make a presentation, and say, ‘here’s the opportunity and how we can take advantage of it.’ If you get your manager’s support, it may turn into something huge for you and you can manage a new project.”