Millennials ask us frequently for advice on how to assess their future options. What should they consider in this globalized world? The options are limitless and we offer ten:
1. Passion: Look deep inside and discover what ignites your passion. The most important thing is to find something that you enjoy doing - and excel at that. Keep in mind that your first job and your salary may not equal satisfaction. It's a journey.
2. Life Learning: Attend complimentary panels, book festivals and webinars in your chosen field, whether or not you are employed in this industry. Feed your passion and brain, and stay current with the latest developments through LinkedIn groups.
3. Find a Mentor: Find a mentor who will spend time answering your questions about life, love, education, and career, how the world works and anything else that pops into your head. Don't look to your mentor for technology insight, but rather life lessons. Make time to visit with your mentor 2-3 times a month, even if just for coffee.
4. Network: Join your alumni association, local chamber, find a meet-up or a business group. More interested in the great outdoors? Join a kayak, rowing, cycling, traveling, ski, or hiking group. Weather challenged? Look into choir, cooking, or gym classes and book clubs. Network with those who share your interests.
5. Volunteer: If you don't have your dream job, then volunteer, or take an unpaid internship with an organization where you can gain skills. Avoid time gaps on your resume by doing something positive - even if it means it is an unpaid position. Who knows, you may receive an offer!
6. Don't Go Just to Go: If you are unemployed and aren't sure if you should go to graduate school - don't. Being unemployed without debt, is better than having $180k in student loan debt, an MBA or a JD, and still being unemployed.
7. Apply Early & Often, But Don’t Scattershot Sending your resume to every single job posting is an ineffective way to conduct a job search. Send your resume and cover letter to industries that seek your specific skill set. Search for organizations whose mission statements and actions reflect your beliefs and goals.
8. Be Memorable: Personalize your cover letter so it's unique to each application. Explain why you are uniquely poised for the position with the company you applying for. Make it unforgettable and memorable to you. Avoid merely reciting your knowledge, skills, and abilities.
9. Website: Build a personal website to showcase your skill set. Use the site to keep track of accomplishments, awards, writing, and publications. Remember your site should not replace your resume, but help enhance it. Include a blog, photograph of yourself, and links to your professional social media profiles. Be creative, yet appropriate. Potential employers surf social media.
10. Consider Enlisting: Opting to enlist in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy, can pay for your education while providing experience, travel and benefits. It’s an honorable option for those wanting to avoid student loan debt.
As a millennial, consider all of your options and envision a positive future. Find and feed your passion!
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS Austin’s We Are Austin, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, The New York Times, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015 and recipient of the British Airways International Trade, Investment & Expansion Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.