3 Tips for Millennials Just Starting Their Careers
I realize the title of this post sounds a bit stale as if I’m writing for a major business magazine, but I’m a marketing major, and this stuff sells. Jokes aside, if you’re a millennial just starting your career, then, odds are, you’re struggling with the ominous feeling that you made the wrong career choice. The good news is if you did make a bad career choice, you’re young enough to try something else; whether or not you have the enterprise to make that change is up to you. Luckily, us millennials are so damn internet-savvy that there are always opportunities.
You’re probably wondering what gives me the right to administer advice on such a topic when I too am fresh in my work-life. To that I admit I’m still a millennial at the start of his career, so it’s too soon to say whether or not these ideas work in the long run, but I feel I’m doing what it is I really want to be doing with my life and not many people can say that. Further, these suggestions are meant for all millennials, not just the ones playing with fire in the freelance world like myself.
Here are my three tips for millennials just starting their careers.
1. Send at least three “wildcard” emails a week
The most interesting things to happen to me career-wise have been the result of a “there’s no way I’ll hear back from this person, but I’m going to message them regardless” email. Whether it be for my blog, artistic endeavors or work, sending an honest email usually gets an honest reply. Here’s an example, when I started the “Books & Tea” series on my blog, I wasn’t expecting much of a response. To be honest, I felt like a neophyte embarrassing himself in the tea community, but that didn’t stop me from emailing people who care and know about tea. From influential bloggers to the companies making the tea, I was able to build relationships and get my blog in front of more eyes.
As a disclaimer, I should note that you won’t hear back from everyone. Some people are too busy and swamped with such emails that they don’t have time to respond to them all – especially if that person is your state representative. It’s best not to get too self-conscious about a no-reply and move on. Moreover, if you’re sending three a week, you’ll lose track of them, which will make it even more of a surprise when they do respond.
So get out there – and by out there I mean inside on your computer – and find your next sales lead, mentor, collaborator, etc. One final note, make sure you edit your emails. Just because you’re tense and nervous to be sending the message, doesn’t mean you have to spell their name wrong.
Now I know I said this article is targeted at freelancers and non-freelancers alike, but I still think every millennial should have at least one skill they freelance. Even if you’re stuck at a corporate job for eight hours, it only takes a few minutes to create an e-lance account or post an ad on craigslist. If someone walked up to you and said you weren’t skilled enough to freelance anything, you’d be offended and possibly violent, so don’t say that to yourself. I guarantee you have something you can do better than others, and I’m almost positive that something involves the internet, and those others involve baby-boomers.
Freelancing is an excellent way to grow more independent, earn a supplemental income, and build your name recognition. Doesn’t that sound lovely? I should mention that if you have a full-time job, it’s not the best idea to work on your freelancing gigs while on the clock. If you have the time to binge watch Celebrity Wife Swap when you get home on a Thursday, then you have time to work on your freelancing gigs.
3. Read every chance you get
I don’t care how many hours you work or how many trips to the gym you must take in a week; there’s always time to read. Here’s a trick that has me reading frequently, put a book in every room in your pad so you can’t use the excuse of not wanting to get up to walk to your bookshelf. Books are cheap. A quick search on Amazon or a trip to your local bookstore (If you have one, you’re blessed and should be there every week), is all it takes to get your CrossFit-calloused hands, slightly wet from gripping a “Kale-ribbean Breeze ” smoothie from Jamba Juice, on a book.
You’ll be pleasantly astonished to discover you’re interested in more than just clean eating and Game of Thrones. Here’s another trick, go to the fifty-cent rack and buy a book based on its cover, not its content. Doing so may seem a bit sacrilegious, but it’s a productive path to discovery. For instance, I’m now very much into aquatic, Sci-Fi from the 70s.
Let’s Stick Together
It’s an old cliche, but we are in this together. I feel millennials were raised on this idea that once we get into the real world, we’ll all be vying for each other’s positions, and only the ones with the savviest resumes will thrive. Well, now that I’m in the proverbial real world, I find I move forward towards my aspirations at the fastest pace when collaborating. That being said, I hope you found at least one aspect of this article helpful as you start your career.
Please share with me your tips, and, if applicable, reach out to me with any ideas for collaboration.