Does your recent college grad think they are ready for a promotion a few months into their first job?

  • Promotion

  • Money

  • Faster

  • Quicker

  • Better

Millennials have high expectations of what they want to achieve as a new hire. Young adults who have been working for less than a year are often looking to the next job or opportunity shortly after the first one begins. A recent client was on the job for less than 3 months when he was already strategizing how to get promoted. It is great to have a strategy to advance your career but employers have expectations of proven results before offering a promotion.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 participants ages 18 to 23 by InsideOut Development, a workplace-coaching company, more than 75% of Gen Z members believe they should be promoted in their first year on the job.

Is this because parents or academia told grads they can achieve anything and grab the brass ring?

Maybe it is also the expectations of recent grads and their desire to have a sense of purpose in their work. And many are not finding it at the entry level.

A recent study by Bates College-Gallup states that “While four out of five college graduates say it is very important or extremely important to have a sense of purpose in their work, only about half as many have found it.”  The study examines the undergrad experiences that align with graduates finding purpose in work.

So how can a young adult get to the next level…quickly?

Here are 3 tips to help recent grads get to the next level of career success:

1. Focus on Accomplishments over Activity.

Is your millennial “busy” at work doing many different tasks? Being busy is fine but accomplishing goals that are mutually set with management is better. They should have a dialogue with their boss on mutual expectations and timelines ask questions such as:

    • What skills should I develop to make me a greater asset to the business?
    • What does it take to get promoted?
    • What is the typical time frame?

If the employee expectation is to get promoted in 6 months, they need to evaluate if that is aligned with corporate timelines. The best thing for a new employee is to track their results and show how they have positively impacted the business.

2. Find a Mentor.

One of the best ways for young adults to get promoted and understand the political climate to get a promotion is with a mentor. A mentor is someone who can give advice, answer questions, or direct on how to successfully navigate the business. Take note of peers or other leaders in the business who inspire or set a great example. Set up an informational interview with them to learn how they have achieved success in their position and forge a professional ongoing relationship with them.

3. Keep Learning.

Learning does not end after graduation. There are many opportunities to learn new skills in the workplace…whether directly related to your job or in another role. Proactive networking with peers and managers can expand a candidate’s insight on what type of career path is possible. Read industry publications, take online courses, listen to podcasts and Ted Talks. The best part…no homework.

A first job is an exciting time. Your grad should focus on learning new things, taking risks and pushing out of the comfort zone. Old school rules apply as well…show up on time, be curious and make the most of every opportunity. It may not be perfect but remember, a career is a marathon, not a sprint. Good luck!

If you would like to learn more about how Next Great Step helps college students and grads to land the job and excel in their career visit