Me too! Natalie Sisson is the Suitcase Entrepreneur and she helps entrepreneurs like me “Create freedom in Business” and we just recently had a chat about Millennials and creating your legacy.
She asked me about my life and how I got to where I am now. I shared some of the tips and tricks I used to move myself up the ladder and get noticed in early on in my career.
Here they are:
#1 Take the job that people don’t want and turn it into something people could not have expected it to be.
Not all jobs are glamorous in the beginning. I started my career teaching part-time at a school where full-time positions were highly coveted. The only way I could get full-time hours was to “coordinate special programs” something most full-time instructors warned me against. They were quick to tell me the work wasn’t worth the money and I would be taken advantage of by the organization. Well I’m not one to shy away from hard work, and well, I just needed the money. I didn’t know if I could actual “coordinate a special program” but I was certainly willing to give it shot. Once I got my first program under my belt, I was confident that this was not only something I was good at, but something I could use to separate myself from others. Over the next 5 years, I earned a full-time position, recruited and trained others to coordinate special programs, created new processes and policies to standardize the position, and spoke at international conferences about our best practices.
#2 Find your niche
If you and your colleagues are equally qualified, how can you separate yourself from the crowd to advance in your career?
Find your niche, specialize in a skill that brings added value to your organization and makes you the “go to” person any time the specialization is required. Maybe it is something your organization currently outsources or has learned to go without, or maybe it’s a job that doesn’t have a traditional title because it just didn’t exist a few years ago. Last month I met a young woman whose expertise is in promoting and educating others on the commercial space industry. A job I am most certain her high school or college counselor never told her about.
Be innovative, take risks, and make yourself an invaluable resource.
#3 Be a Mentor and Find a Mentor
Mentoring is a great opportunity to share your experiences and expertise and to learn from others. Whether you are the mentor or mentee, there is a mutual reciprocity in mentoring relationships that can lead to real transformational learning. Mentoring is also a great way to network and make connections. And mentoring relationships don’t have to be super formal, you can shape them to fit into your life and availability.
Don’t worry about age or experience, the beauty of mentoring is the diversity of experiences and relationships we each have to share. Everyone has something to teach and to learn so be a mentor and find a mentor for yourself.
#4 Do a job you have passion for (or at least be passionate about what you are doing until you find or create your dream job)
I’m sure you have heard it a million times “find your passion”! But tailoring a career that aligns with your passion is easier said then done. I talk with Millennials all the time who are struggling to identify their true passion and convert it into a career.
So what should you do in the meantime while doing a job you know isn’t your career?
You show up everyday and find something in your work to be passionate about. Maybe it’s the people or the paycheck, maybe it’s the clients or the rare opportunities you get to challenge yourself. Whatever it is, don’t waste your time there with a crappy attitude, make the best of it and share your enthusiasm with others. You never know what opportunities lay in wait.
(And apply tips #1-3)