What should millennials – lawyers included, obviously – expect in 2017? the fact is the mixed messages coming from employers can be distressing to job seekers who are told that robots will soon be handling more complex legal work and that there is still demand for those with key skills.
Forbes contributor Caroline Beaton, who writes on psychology for millenials, asked 100 HR and recruiter experts and employers what the year held and in particular what the ‘soft skills’ were that would remain in demand.
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She identified four, being:
1. Attention – that is having the ability to focus which as Georgetown computer science professor Cal Newport said, was the “new IQ”.
Time management is part of the skill-set required.
While most millennials will be in assistant roles throughout and for several years after college, they can develop and showcase attention skills by pursuing side projects. Even if the project is small in scale, demonstrating that “you can own initiatives from beginning to end,” as Dole put it, can prepare millennials for larger-scale, company-sponsored projects.
2. Beyond College. A college education may be key for lawyers, but for others, the time has come where it no longer rules supreme it would appear.
Millennials, educators and companies are beginning to see higher education as an inefficient, inadequate and expensive option for some career paths. While universities prepare students well for academia, memorizing, position writing and the sciences, Badger Maps CEO Steve Benson believes that “our education system has effectively failed them in terms of preparing them for careers in business.”
3. Agility and Flexibility. The two keys that are not the ideals for many millenials who find it difficult to understand what to do when things don’t quite go according to plan.
To adapt to the rapidly-changing demands of modern work, millennials need agility. In a phrase, agility is the ability to overcome. Beth Perkins, Talent Acquisition Manger at Delphic Digital, has noticed that millennials often “expect things to go their way” and, if they don’t, “move on rather than sticking it out and finding a solution.” Indeed, of all skills that millennial job candidates tend to lack, Stephen Twomey, Founder MasterMind DBS, says that inability to overcome setbacks is “the number one issue.”
4. Humility. It’s not a trait common to most millennials, but humility and having the ability to moderate ambitions to cope with what they expect to achieve is part of the key to success in 2017.
Not taking yourself too seriously, admitting when you don’t know stuff and asking for help when you need it are some of the most advanced skills of all. In the digital age, it’s never been so easy to inflate your successes and white-lie your way to and through a job.
David Wachsman of Wachsman PR emailed me about an entry-level applicant botching an interview. When asked what her ideal salary would be, she responded, crossing her arms and leaning back in her chair, “Well, what can you do for me?”
Check out the soft skills for success in 2017 and work them into your legal career for greater achievement in a changing work environment.