You can attend the conferences, study really hard, get good grades in school, and even interview all of the successful people you know doing your passion. But I learned from a very interesting conversation with media executive Cathy Hughes that it's not just as simple as, It's not what you know, but who you know. I asked the very stereotypical, "Any advice for someone who inspires to be in your position?" Her answer: "I don't know — how does anyone?" I was obviously floored. Either sensing my surprise or just to sprinkle on some context, she mentioned that it is important to carve out your own journey, and that will look different based on how the world is changing.
Her words spoke to a larger truth that many successful people have already experienced: sometimes it's about rewriting the rules. Arguably, millennials are doing plenty of that! Generation Y is challenging company culture, testing the bounds of professionalism, and continuing to assert that a company's purpose is just as important as the pay. We are also being quite honest about the word "success" and the road to get there.
When this Reddit user posed a question asking for responses from millennials who have successful careers, the responses were a testament to how millennials are revisiting traditional models of success and creating new definitions.
One hundred and fourty-six comments later, and there were more than a few pearls of wisdom on how to land your dream job:
1. Sometimes your success is all about a little luck.
If you've ever called a successful person "lucky," this confirms what you already know. Sometimes it's that lucky shot in the dark submitting that application you never thought you'd hear back about.
2. Never underestimate the right opportunity.
Other than being the genius you know you are, it's also about putting yourself out there. This user took nothing for granted to diversify their resume.
3. There is some truth to clichés you've heard before.
Better yet, your abilities may not get you as far without the right connections. As previously noted, a little luck in the connections department can get your foot in the door.
4. Timing is sometimes what it takes to put a smart person ahead.
Not feeling like you have control over your future is absolutely terrifying. But some Redditors attribute their success to the forces in the universe aligning perfectly on its own, or timing.
5. Sometimes it is about working harder.
But hey, if you're determined to stick to your work hard mantra, it can still get you there. The lesson here: there isn't just one path to the life or the job you want. Maybe that grunt work at your dream company will turn into something more!
6. Passion is the fuel you need to make dreams happen.
Why do something you hate, when you can do something you love? The millennial answer: Don't.
7. It matters how you dust yourself off after a setback.
And if at first you don't succeed...
8. Believe that truly knowing your craft is valuable.
You might nab that rare opportunity, but be sure you can hold on to those receipts. Your boss is going to ask for them sooner or later.
9. Your potential can be just as valuable as the skills you bring to the table.
Your future employer not only wants to feel like you can do the work, but the fact that you can grow with the brand is even more worth the investment.
10. You don't have to stick to the script to be successful.
Going to college doesn't always guarantee your success! Don't feel like you have to follow in other's footsteps to reach your destination.
11. Your sparkling personality can be your biggest ally.
Yes, that "a pleasure to work with line" might just help you get your foot in the door.
12. Know your worth and be prepared to stand on that.
One thing that people don't say quite often is that you can say no. Entering a new job or fresh out of college, the thought process is to take on everything. But how can you truly share the quality of your work if you're stressed out about everything?
13. There is no one way to be successful.
Sometimes it's combination of everything.
Although you might be wishing there were a few more art history majors or creatives in this thread, there are plenty of examples of why you shouldn't give up on your craft. The idea that success is defined by you and doesn't have a set formula is the exciting part.