This is an email I got from a Millennial client this week:

Dear J.T.,

I recently graduated from college. I did an internship my senior year tied to my major and realized I don't want to be in the field. It's been four months, and I'm still trying to find a new career path and first job. I'm having a lot of trouble and am stressed. My biggest fear is I'll be overqualified for the work and be unhappy.

My response was:

The last thing you should worry about is being overqualified. In fact, your goal should be to find a job where you are ridiculously overqualified.

Qualifications Without Third-Party Validation Aren't of Value

Millennials are the most educated generation to ever enter the work force. However, a college degree doesn't provide proof of skill. Learning how to do something and doing it skillfully are two very different things. Employers know that. It's why they put you in entry-level jobs where you feel overqualified. They want to see you exceed expectations so you can earn their trust and respect. This is how you fast-track your career and move on to work that leverages your strengths and lets you continue to grow. Think of yourself as a business of one. The more testimonials your business has, the better your reputation, and the more in demand you'll be.

The Real (and Legitimate) Millennial Fear Is Being Bored

What's really scaring this Millennial is the fear of being stuck in a mind-numbing job all day long. In fact, this is why so many Millennials are struggling to find career paths they can get excited about. They want the job to be interesting and hold their attention at all times. There isn't a single job in the world like that. I love my work, but there are still days when it's boring. I just have the advantage of 15 years of work under my belt to know that it's OK not to love your job every day. Millennials just haven't learned that yet.

Still, nobody likes to be bored and unsatisfied in their job all day. What's the solution? Tap into the Talent Trifecta.

Recipe for Early Career Success: Young, Overqualified, and Underestimated

Smart Millennials are turning the situation around and using it to their competitive advantage. For example, at CareerHMO, Millennials use their Talent Trifecta to map out a plan to land a great job. The Talent Trifecta is as follows:

1) Young--Millennials have no bad habits, are affordable, are passionate about launching their careers, and love being coached. Marketing the upside to youth is a job-search power play.

2) Overqualified--Millennials have lots of skills and knowledge, are tech-savvy, and are dying to put their talents to creative use. When they openly offer to use their qualifications to tackle the dirty work, they gain instant appreciation (and respect!) from employers. Enthusiasm for the less attractive work gets you hired.

3) Underestimated--Millennials have a shaky reputation at the moment. Especially with Baby Boomer managers. Smart Millennial job seekers know they can disrupt the stereo-type, blow minds, and get management's attention if they can proactively strive to exceed expectations. Surprising and delighting are secret weapons to fast-tracking a promotion.

Millennials that leverage their Talent Trifecta successfully turn their first career moves into opportunities to catapult their professional reputations, helping them minimize the amount of time they spend doing boring work.

Smartest Reason to Leverage the Talent Trifecta

The book The Age Curve explains the talent shortage employers will experience in the next decade. With the more than 70 million Baby Boomers retiring at an increasing rate and only 50 million Gen-Xers to replace them, companies are looking for talented Millennials to fast-track to larger roles. Those that stand out early in their careers will get the shoulder tap. Leveraging the Talent Trifecta is the solution. Meanwhile, studies show that those Millennials who don't embrace their Talent Trifecta could find themselves getting passed over for promotion. Or, even worse, getting fired.

My advice to Millennials: You have superpowers. Figure out how to use them and get help if needed--just don't wait too long. Every day you do, your peers surpass you.

Published on: Sep 30, 2015
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