Millennials want to succeed in their careers. Ninety-one percent of millennials aspire to be a leader, according to a recent WorkplaceTrends.com survey.
As the largest generation in the U.S.workforce now, even if leadership is a top priority, Generation Y still lacks one big thing: years of experience in the workplace that teach you how the corporate world runs.
While millennials are the best-educated cohort of young adults in American history, WorkplaceTrends.com found that 43 percent of Generation Y said their weakest leadership skill is having industry experience.
But that doesn’t have to hold you back on your climb to the top. Here are four secrets to career success you won’t learn in school.
Be emotionally intelligent
“There are no college classes on being emotionally intelligent,” said Scott Dobroski, associate director of corporate communications at Glassdoor, an online jobs marketplace.
Things like reading a room and recognizing someone else’s emotions are key to emotional intelligence. Lacking emotional intelligence can lead to awkward encounters or come off unprofessional. Make sure you are communicating clearly and in the most appropriate manner.
Experts suggest learn by observing. Watch interaction between your boss and co-workers and pick up cues from them. Listen for tone and watch body language. Over time as you continue to use these skills, your emotional intelligence will improve.
Be personable not personal
Too much information can be too much. It’s good to have a connection with your co-workers and take interest in them and their personal lives, but you don’t want to overdo it.
“There should be a clear distinction between personal and professional,” said Vicki Salemi, a careers expert at employment website Monster. “You can be friendly, but you wouldn’t want to hang out 24/7 where they know your entire life.”
Avoiding the hot button topics of religion, politics and sex is a given. Stories of drunken weekend escapades or even money conversations can make people uncomfortable. Sure these may sound like no-brainers … but you’d be surprised. Don’t talk about it if you don’t want to talk about it with your boss.
Learn to manage up
You need to know how to build a healthy relationship with your superiors. The exchange should be mutually beneficial.
Learn what your manager values both personally and professionally. Figure out what they are ultimately trying to accomplish and be aware and available to contribute in that. Find ways to make their jobs easier while at the same time being able to express your goals.
Keep track of your accomplishments and be able to share those accolades with your boss using specific examples to quantify your success. A year-end review is the perfect time for this.
“Take the bull by the horns and keep track of accolades and progress throughout the year,” Salemi said. “Toot your own horn because no one else will do it for you.”
It’s important to plan and keep track of your current role. Always have that goal in the back of your mind to make sure you’re setting yourself up for the next job you want.
It is your career and you have to manage it. Be specific about where you see yourself in the future and be able to communicate that.
If you can’t communicate your goals, then no one can help you get there to be in the leadership position you’re working toward.