The career guidance our parents gave us is rapidly becoming obsolete.

In high school, my dad used to say, “Go to college, get your degree, work for 4–5 years and then you can write your ticket”.

What I’ve found, however, is that it’s not that straightforward nor that mundane.

It’s not enough to simply nab a bachelor’s degree, work at X Company Inc. and expect for success to follow. Our career landscape is changing such that the entire story of who we are is wrapped up in what we do.

This change is the result of our influence. We are rapidly replacing Gen X and Baby Boomers as the primary drivers of culture, politics, and the economy.

In order to be well-rounded and marketable, we need to take charge of our story. We need to let go of the previous generation’s outdated career guidance (respectfully, Dad).

We must build our credentials in more spaces than simply our resume.

The stories we tell about ourselves can allow us to obtain a sustainable competitive life advantage. Here are three ways to make you stand out among your peers:

1. Transcend traditional education

We are the largest, most educated generational cohort in U.S. history, at 92 million, about 79% of which have a bachelor’s degree.

That size and high rate of the college education makes it more difficult for us to find skilled, high-paying jobs because the pool is so much larger for this group.

Over the last 20 years, Higher-Ed has seen a revolution in online learning and it is now easier than ever to obtain whatever degree you wish.

However, this shift has caused the competitive advantage in having a degree to all but vanish. The landscape is now flat which is why we need to transcend education to make it work for us.

The career guidance we’ve been receiving from past generations is outdated.

We’ve come to the realization that our education is not simply a diploma on our office walls; it is on the front page of Google in the form of thought leadership and value-added discourse.

We not only need to invest in our formal education but we also need to invest in our online presence

Sharing information about your field of expertise or shoring up a knowledge gap by engaging other experts via social means, allows you to continue your education past your degree and shows potential clients or businesses that may look for you online that you are immersed in and passionate about your field.

2. Maintain a work-life balance

According to the World Economic Forum, Millennials are far more likely than previous generations to be obsessive workaholics. The obsession, however, tells us that we’re passionate about our careers and we relentlessly drive to make ourselves better. This does, unfortunately, lead to much higher stress levels.

This stress, by and large, is mainly due to our unyielding focus on our careers. Our focus on continuous improvement and investing our hearts and minds into our jobs leaves little for developing what makes us interesting candidates.

We lose that part of our story that makes us unique and, thereby, valuable to potential employers who may help us achieve the career that fulfills us.

Bottom line: don’t feel guilty about unplugging for a few hours a day and engaging in a non-work activity. In fact, schedule time to do so. Not only does it become part of your story, but it pays dividends as an investment in creativity that makes you successful in your chosen field.

3. Take control of your financial story

As our generation was coming of age, we witnessed a stock market crash that bred distrust in our financial landscape, affecting our lifestyles drastically. Millennials are afraid to invest and are generally hesitant to engage in our financial futures.

And now, Millennials are the new parenting generation. New research suggests that most of our financial headspace is devoted to staying afloat. 42% of average Millennial families’ income goes just to childcare and housing, which leaves very little for planning for the future. This financial stress has the capacity to tell a story in a way we might not consider, reflected in a three-digit number — a credit score.

“Unfortunately, many Millennials may not take the time, have the knowledge or get the help needed to improve their credit,” says John Heath, Directing Attorney at Lexington Law.

“A low credit score may result in higher interest rates and borrowing costs. Millennials could potentially reduce their interest rates and borrowing costs by taking steps to raise their credit score”.

By learning more about the effects of a bad credit score, we can bring our finances back in line with a narrative that makes us stand out in a positive way. Furthermore, understanding the investment landscape can help us to feel more secure, and able to take worthwhile risks.


Our marketplace is substantially different than what our parents inherited. But the variety of opportunities presented to us is different as well.

Transcend the education paradigm. Invest in our online presence. Take time for activities that complete our story. Secure our financial future by taking control of our finances. All this can help us shape our stories to be more valuable to the marketplace.

Originally published at on June 12, 2017.

Originally published at