Let’s face it. Today’s young workers have a bad reputation. In a recent survey, the majority of hiring managers said that millennials, today’s 20-somethings, are lazy, entitled and rude. But if you’re a younger worker looking to get ahead, you can use that stereotype to your advantage. Here’s how:
First: Be proactive. Career consultants say that most young workers wait for tasks to be assigned to them. This means self-starters tend to stand out from their entry–level peers and show leadership potential. And at the very least, experts recommend that you check in regularly with your manager to ask how you can improve your performance and help your team. That shows you’re focusing on the company at large, not just on yourself.
Younger workers can also stand out if they communicate in person. According to the book Getting from College to Career, today’s young workers rely so much on text messages and email that they don’t establish the personal connections that can help them get ahead. Millennials should make a point of using the phone to contact customers, and go out of their way to speak to coworkers face-to-face.
Finally: Take pride in your work. Aaron McDaniel wrote The Young Professional's Guide to the Working World. And he says that when 20-somethings don’t receive a lot of praise, a lot of them dial back on their efforts because they figure they’re not being appreciated, so why bother. But even if the higher-ups aren’t complimenting you right and left, they’re definitely watching what you do. And our expert says they’ll remember the entry-level worker who sweated the details on even the most routine tasks.