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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.

In our series Building Career Confidence, today Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach talks about growing in your current role.

What happens if you love your organization, you want to stay, but you’re feeling a little stale? How do you grow when a promotion isn’t an option?

Most of us want someone to believe in us, pay us as we grow and give us grace and patience in the meanwhile. Unfortunately, most of us have to GROW first, in our own time, using our own energy and having our own drive. Here are three ways you can grow on your own this fall.

Interview your heroes:

Find people who are doing your dream job (they don’t have to be in your organization) and interview them. Ask them what training they have, what books they are reading, what continuing education they have participated in. Follow in their footsteps in your own unique way.

Look for problems that you’d be interested in solving:

There are likely ways that you can add value and learn a new skill (and in the future, a raise) by showing what else you can bring to the table. If you can see a better way of doing something, if you have a new strategy that you think is more effective, – this is your chance to shine without the pressure of it being on your job description.

Take a course on creativity, emotional intelligence or persuasion:

LinkedIn Learning did research from their own users and found that these are some of the most highly rated soft skills that are in demand in 2020. 

For more from Lindsay, visit her website.

In our Building Career Confidence series, today Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach is talking about three communication skills to focus on when working from home. Here’s more from her:

Without that in-person touch, it truly is harder to build trust. There are specific communication skills that make a big difference in this season:

1. Listening. Take a extra few breaths (and minutes) to listen to our teammates and try to understand where they are coming from. Those few extra minutes show that you are supportive and you care. At the same time, meetings are not the time to dump our emotions all over our colleagues.

2. Self-Advocating. This is where true authenticity lies. Not in dumping all of our unprocessed stress, and not the other extreme of being closed off and cold towards our team. This is a chance to let people know what you need. We used to walk into the room and get a feel for how people were doing. We read body language and interpreted tone a lot more in person. So, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. It’s also very easy to be out of touch with how much you have on your plate, and how much your colleagues have on theirs. You may find yourself reminding your team when your plate is full.

3. Keep meetings short. We all know what it’s like to wander aimlessly on a zoom call. If you don’t know what’s on the agenda and what’s being asked of you during a meeting, it probably shouldn’t be happening. We need agendas and clear expectations right now to keep our attention.

For more from Boccardo, visit her website and Instagram.

Sometimes we think our next career step has to be drastic. We tend to think that one decision could change our whole life. Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach explains how to incrementally design your career as you go. 

1. Stoplight exercise:

We need to get clear about what we are unhappy about (specifically) so we can fix the right thing. 

Make a stop light list of everything you are doing right now:

Green: What you love doing that is part of your job description and you are good at it.

Yellow: What you are able to do, it’s a little outside your job description, and you’re not great at it, it drains you.

Red: It’s not part of your job description, it’s exhausting to do and you aren’t good at it naturally.

Your Manager likely doesn’t know how unhappy you are. They can’t read your mind and they don’t know how to make it better for you. Basically, they aren’t your fairy god mother. Once you get clear on what’s not working for you, a good manager will work with you to get clear on your responsibilities.

2. Shift your attitude

It’s a lot easier to look at our boss and our coworkers and think that THEY are the problem. But we are all creating the culture we have to live in. If you want to change career paths you’re going to want your boss on your side and you’ll want to be seen as a helpful contributor. Just shifting your attitude and relationships at work can make a huge difference with your satisfaction. 

  1. Tell your coworker something they are doing well
  2. Show gratitude
  3. Enter your meetings prepared with an agenda

3. Follow Your Curiosity

Instead of looking at job openings, look at career paths. What do you enjoy learning about? Who can you shadow that is doing something you find intriguing? It’s much harder to genuinely explore when you are out of work and in survivor mode. The best time to be curious is when you are still gainfully employed. One thing that works well is googling “A Day In The Life of a ____”. This will give you a concrete example of what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. I had a client who wanted to be an air traffic controller because they make good money, well, once he watched “A Day In The Life of an Air Traffic Controller”, he was no longer interested.

Overall, the best way we can prepare for the future is to keep growing. At any point, you should be able to articulate a few areas you are actively growing in. It’s easier to direct your career path incrementally if you are always growing, learning and adapting. 

For more from Lindsay, visit her website.