How Millennials Can Plan Now for a Successful Job Future

Kim Mays

Millennials outnumber even the baby boomers in numbers (83 million to just over 75 million), and soon, this age group will overtake boomers as the dominant workforce generation. So of course, making the right career choices will be integral to their trip up the corporate ladder.

However, much of the current information and advice available doesn’t speak to this generation. It seems their background, education, knowledge of technology and even attitudes about the workplace are quite different than those of earlier generations.

To help generation Y develop the skills needed to become a leader in the workplace, author Nigel Dessau wrote the book “Become a 21st Century Executive: Breaking Away from the Pack.” In his book, Dessau enforces the themes of transparency, honesty and integrity along with career planning, evaluating talent and identifying factors important to being a leader.

In our IT Downloads area, you will find an excerpt offering the first two book chapters, “Planning a Career,” and “Judging Talent and Opportunity.” The chapters break down critical information that the next generation of workers needs to set out upon a well-planned and earned career. Each offers sections with questions to consider and ends with “Next Steps” to help the readers plot out their career plans.

In “Planning a Career,” Dessau explains why a career plan is important—at least in his opinion. But he makes great points:

No matter what your ultimate career goal is or how definitive that goal may be, it is worth taking the time to create a plan to achieve it. Without a plan, you will find it difficult to know if you are going in the right direction or staying on course. Without a timeline, even if you need to expand or contract it at different points, you will not have a realistic chance to achieve your objectives.

He provides questions that the reader should ask internally to decide where they want to end up in their career and how soon they want to get there. His “Next Steps” explains what the reader should do to begin moving toward those goals.

In the next chapter, “Judging Talent and Opportunity,” Dessau talks about the difficulties of middle management in evaluating the talent in others and in themselves. He offers his own self-created model for talent judgment to help those who lack direction or understanding in this arena. According to Dessau, when considering moving into a new role (or moving someone else into that role), one should seriously consider what you will learn and gain from the experience:

Until the last few years, career advice led people to develop content that focused too much on processes rather than adding value to a team and a company. When someone hires you, he or she is hiring your cumulative knowledge and talents. Therefore, when you evaluate career decisions and opportunities, focus on what level and type of content these opportunities allow you to develop.

This book and these excerpted chapters provide valuable information for both younger workers who are just beginning to plan their careers and managers that will be coaching them and helping them develop skills. It gives a great overview on how planning can help a worker achieve higher goals and gives tips on reaching each one.

Kim Mays has been editing and writing about IT since 1999. She currently tackles the topics of small to midsize business technology and introducing new tools for IT. Follow Kim on Google+ or Twitter.

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