The career advice generation alpha and young adults need to hear

Social media can make everything look easy.  When a friend or connection posts that they landed their dream job or career, it may appear as if it magically fell in their lap. In reality, there’s a story behind those achievements. The route to a new job is seldom a straight line, and when you dig

Social media can make everything look easy. 

When a friend or connection posts that they landed their dream job or career, it may appear as if it magically fell in their lap. In reality, there’s a story behind those achievements. The route to a new job is seldom a straight line, and when you dig a little deeper, you’ll see the setbacks, pivots, and lessons learned that ultimately led to that success. 

In partnership with the International Girls Academy, an organization focused on empowering girls to become global change agents through education and mentorship, a group of technology professionals at Intuit shared their stories along with advice on career development.

Here are some key takeaways for anyone thinking about a career in tech and other industries.

Deciding on a career path 

The more professionals you talk to, the more you’ll see that career paths are full of changes, pivots, breaks, and surprises. If you are looking for a fulfilling career, that will change at different points in your life based on your needs and priorities. The good news is, no matter where you’ve been, there’s a way to get to where you want to be.

If you want to know what it’s like to work in a specific field—marketing, tech, or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) —seek out an informational interview with someone who’s already doing that job. You can also ask to shadow someone at work so you can see what their day is like. That person might also be willing to mentor you.

Celeste Easter, a talent acquisition leader at Intuit, says she “fell into” recruiting in part because of her love of talking to and interacting with people. “There’s no clear roadmap,” she says. By taking time to identify the talents and soft skills that make you unique, you can explore new careers that value those same things. Even once you’re out in the workforce, pivoting from one career to another is very common, especially if a company has established internal growth and learning opportunities.

At different points in her life, Nicolette Grannum wanted to be a veterinarian, teacher, and archeologist. So how did she become a mechanical engineer and later a software engineer at Intuit? She joined the Apprenticeship Pathways Program, a paid seven-month software development apprenticeship designed to recruit underrepresented groups in tech. By keeping her options open and identifying what learning styles were most effective for her, Nicolette is a great example of how one can pivot successfully in your studies and career.

Finding a fit within a company

Finding a job that’s a good fit is important, but finding a company that’s a good fit may be even more paramount. Review a company’s principles and mission and compare them against your own ethics to see if your values align.

In choosing a job, Mos’ Okediji, head of global marketing development at Intuit, recommends focusing on what kind of projects you’ll get to do. It’s important to know what the company stands for—because that’s what you’ll be working for every day. The longer you work, the more you’ll see that who you work for makes a huge difference. 

You can help flesh that out by asking detailed questions in an interview and researching potential employers. Don’t rely on well-written cultural descriptions on someone’s website. Ask the interviewer to provide examples of their values in action, their retention rates, how they see an individual in this role being successful, and more. As an employee, you bring something special to an organization and you should feel that is reciprocated with your employer. 

Developing leadership skills to be a stronger candidate

Leadership skills can come from many different places. You can develop them by becoming an expert in a specific field, by following your interests across diverse career roles, and even in your activities outside the workplace.

Intuit’s Kyle Johnson, senior support product analyst at Mailchimp, says that leadership skills can be developed in your community, sports, church, and family—even speaking up against discrimination.

“If you can put on paper examples where you showed empathy, compassion, listening; where you amplified someone, where you spoke up, where you rallied folks and kept them engaged; those are all leadership skills that can translate really well onto your resume,” she says. 

Britney Peart, DEI coordinator at Intuit, became a leader in DEI by growing a knowledge base around the subject from an early age. In addition to minoring in African-American and diaspora studies, she looked for free programs that enhanced her leadership, public speaking, and other skills.

“Take advantage of being a part of courses that really discuss race, and equities, and social movements,” she advises. 

Navigating mistakes in the corporate world

During this visit with the International Girls Academy members, each panelist stressed that mistakes are a part of life and can be precious learning experiences. More important than the mistake itself is how you respond to it. 

Peart advised anyone to embrace that struggle and reach out for help. “It’s OK to make mistakes, you’re not going to die over it, especially when you’re 15, 16, 18 years old, that’s the time in which you’re supposed to make mistakes.” The value of mistakes comes from learning from them and doing better the next time. That can be reaching out to a manager earlier in the process and asking for support, or improving your time management skills. 

Never feel ashamed or like you have to suffer in silence. It happens, but when you’re willing to examine the process and take feedback, you’ll gain a valuable lesson in your tool belt. Above all, don’t be afraid to fail and don’t give up. 

Making job readiness a priority in your life

Intuit’s education programming helps students develop job-ready, durable skills through entrepreneurship and personal finance education. Programs like this and organizations like the International Girls Academy are here to give young people the confidence they need to create the futures they want.

Decide what matters to you and what kind of future you want and then chase it!

Intuit

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