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When you were in high school and college, you knew the rules you needed to play by to win – get good grades, be good at everything to keep your grade point average up, conform and say yes to as much as possible. If you did these things, you were a star, you got the scholarship, everyone looked up to you.

Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach, says that’s literally the exact opposite of building your career. Here’s more from her:

When it’s time to build your career, you want to make up your own rules, live by your strengths, say NO fast and often when something isn’t in your skillset, and focus your energy on getting really good at one or two things. You don’t need to be the valedictorian and good at everything to make a lot of money.

Most of us just go searching for job postings. The problem is that you are then reading postings and seeing if you happen to fit versus knowing who you are and what you’re good at and networking to find your dream job. Also, 80% of roles are NEVER posted at all!

There are four steps you must take to design the career you want.

  1. Gather information on yourself FIRST. Make sure you can articulate:
    • Skills
    • Strengths
    • Values
    • Personality
    • Desires (this can be the hardest one!)

2. Investigate what’s out there based on the location you want to be in. You’ll also want to take into account two factors that are not talked about enough:

3. Network. Tell people everything you discovered in the first two steps. The more clarity you have and the more concrete you can be, the better results you’ll get when networking. You’ve got plenty of people you can connect with: 

4. This is the reward for doing it in this order. CHOICE. You get to choose:

We spend more than half of our waking hours at work. Our careers deeply impact our quality of life. It’s worth taking the time to design it the way that you want it!

For more career advice, visit Boccardo’s website.