The Changing Face of the Career Landscape: What It Means For You
The millennial generation has come under a lot of fire for the way we approach our working lives, with whispers that we lack work ethic and have a sense of entitlement.
In reality, career paths have changed drastically since our parents stepped onto the ladder, and we need to change with it.
Harnessing the change can make the difference between a job that just pays bills and finding our calling. Here’s how to make the modern career landscape work for you:
Balance work around life
While our parents may have been slogging away at their 9 to 5, complaining about their desk job and counting down the days to retirement, we are less chained to the typical working schedule.
Do you want to be able to change your hours to better suit your life? Flexi-time or options to work from home mean you don’t have to book time off to be able to do other things in the traditional working hours.
Do you want a workplace that’s enjoyable and puts staff welfare first? There are a tonne of offices that are catering to their silly side to help employees actually enjoy their time at work. Take the Captain of Moonshots, just one of Google’s reinvented job titles, or the funhouse Peer1 Hosting offices complete with a slide. Work doesn’t have to be a drag and we have a lot more power to ask for changes that can really suit us.
If you’re looking for a new role, it’s worth researching what the company does for its staff and what benefits you get in return for your hard work. A job doesn’t just have to pay the bills; it can be much more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Switch up companies or roles
The willingness to hop between different roles and from company to company has thrown the jobs market wide open for us.
If, at your current company, the scope for progression isn’t as wide as you originally thought, the benefits aren’t making your commute worthwhile, or the hours aren’t working with your lifestyle anymore, it’s not neccessarily beneficial to stay at the same place. There are a wealth of different ways to get the skills needed to make up another job spec that don’t necessarily mean going back to university.
Online education, night classes, free courses, and volunteering are more accessible than ever and are all great ways of trying out a new field without needing to commit the time, energy, or money into retraining before you’re sure.
If you’re thinking of changing jobs, keep your mind open and look for what you want to do as well as what you already have experience in. Researching entry requirements for a role will give you a strong idea of what you need to do to get there, too.
Build up skills and experience
Degrees are a less impressive trophy than they used to be, now being more of an expected qualification. It’s what’s done outside education that makes the difference.
We need to show experience to stand out, and it’s getting more and more difficult to do so. There’s a lot more expectation to build up a CV doing free work like internships, which can be difficult to balance with the rising cost of living.
This is where time and resources can really be optimised. In creative industries, experience can be garnered outside of office hours, usually from home. Got a few days of holiday left? Use them to do some shadowing or go on a course. Spend some free time volunteering with a company to get a better idea of how they work.
It doesn’t need to be too long, but little bits of extra experience can really give you an edge in an application.
Creativity has become a key aspect of the way we approach jobs. We need creativity to show how good we are, because it’s our uniqueness that’ll make the all-important difference between us and another candidate.
Ever heard of Adam Pacitti? He hired a billboard and created a viral internet campaign to get a job, and it worked! There’s a host of similar stories of young people thinking outside of the standard application form to get themselves seen.
Admittedly, they aren’t all feasible, but something as small as a hand-written cover letter can be the reason your name is remembered and called into interview.
Define your own job title
Workplaces have become much more flexible. We can carve out our own path and create the roles we want to fill, rather than trying to best fit the requirements. Jobs are more fluid and will morph as companies adapt to the ever-changing environment.
We are garnering a reputation as the most entrepreneurial generation, as well. With crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, in addition to the reach of social media, it’s much more possible to start a business and get support from home without needing to rely on proposals and bank loans.
Thus, if you can’t find a role to suit you, try to create it. Whether it’s discussing your responsibilities with an employer or branching out on your own, you can have a lot more say in what you do.
The way we play out a lifelong career is going to be vastly different from our parents. The map will probably be more windy and chaotic, but we might just end up happier for it too.