Our CEO David Kenny recently joined other global corporate leaders on an Alliance for YOUth panel at the World Economic Forum to discuss employment and career readiness. David also highlighted findings from a study we conducted, which surveyed more than 2,500 young people in 27 countries to better understand the challenges young people face in joining the workforce.
As he prepared for the panel, David asked our own Nielsen associates to share their thoughts about what it takes to thrive professionally and the skills that young people should focus on developing. Here’s what our associates had to say.
Try to have a fun and happy attitude. It’s not something that is always in your control, but it can be contagious and make for a better work life. If you combine that with excelling at your job, then people will seek you out.
–Luis, Product Owner, Chicago, U.S.
Infuse creativity in everything you do. Be it a high-value deliverable or the simplest of tasks, find the best possible way to complete it. It will not only make even mundane tasks enjoyable, but you will be known for your reliable high-quality work.
–Charmi, Lead Data Scientist, Baroda, India
Learn how to write well. It’s becoming incredibly valuable because few people can do it anymore. It helps you reason, argue and strategize.
–Jennifer, VP Internal Communications, Chicago, U.S.
Master storytelling and public speaking. You can have the best ideas in the world, but you won’t be given the resources to explore them unless you can convince leadership to be as excited about the ideas as you are.
–Carolyn, Digital Marketing Director, London, U.K.
Understand the various attributes of communication. There is the method by which you communicate—phone, text, social media, in person, etc.—but also just as important is how your message is perceived by the recipient.
–Madeline, Operations & Technology Emerging Leader Associate, Tampa, U.S.
Careers today are not linear. Focus on gaining skills that can be transferred and built upon. Many of the jobs of the future don’t even exist yet! As important as technical skills are, we will always need people who can communicate effectively and work well with others.
–Christine, Director HR Strategic Initiatives, Schaumburg, U.S.
Actively listen. It’s easy to speak and give your opinion, but it takes discipline to listen. Commit what you hear to memory, so that you can retrieve the information when you need it.
–Erin, Associate Client Director, Chicago, U.S.
Always listen to what others are saying. You will learn from hearing different perspectives, which will make you more open to receiving feedback and improving yourself. It will also help you connect with others and build long-term relationships.
–Divesh, Senior Manager CRS Product, Sharjah, U.A.E.
Humility looks good on everybody. Either we conquer our pride or it conquers us. We can’t learn much if we are too proud to ask for help, so defer to someone who knows more than you do.
–Christina, Director Lean Management, Tampa, U.S.
Find a mentor who will be honest with you about your weaknesses. Listen to them.
–Terri, Membership Representative, U.S.
Don’t focus all your attention on technology… focus on people. Even in a digital world, it takes people skills to enable positive change.
–Eileen, Strategic Change Management Leader, Tampa, U.S.
Build relationships. Instead of eating lunch at your desk every day, make it a goal to have lunch (or coffee) with a different co-worker at least once each week. Relationships will be a main driver of workplace satisfaction, so investing in them at an early stage will pay off throughout your entire career.
–Molly, Business Development Director, Chicago, U.S.
Be patient with yourself, take the time that is needed to learn, and once you master something, find moments to share that knowledge with others. Ask for feedback and be curious. Whenever possible, work with people outside your area of expertise—you will learn new things for sure.
–Deny, Talent Engagement Leader, Mexico City, Mexico
Be curious! Curiosity finds passion.
–Pallavi, VP Finance, Cincinnati, U.S.
Develop a specialty and become known as a go-to person for a particular type of work. Seek out opportunities to continually use and grow your skill set. Don’t wait for someone to ask you to take on bigger projects and responsibilities—you have to actively pursue them!
–Dan, VP Global Communications, New York City, U.S.
If you’re always keen to learn something new, you will discover paths you didn’t know of. Be humble, and as you grow in rank and stature, remember that there is still so much to learn. Also remember that life is a circle, so when there is a chance to give back, make sure you do.
–Sara, Senior Manager Communications, Cairo, Egypt
Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” and ask for help. You’ll find things and processes that you don’t know at every step, and it’s easy to get demotivated when you see others who seem to know everything. Be open to learning. Everyone starts from the ground up.
–Magdalena, Client Service Executive, Bucharest, Romania
Ask as many questions as you need to be sure of something. Never be afraid to ask, “Why do we do things like this and not like that?” Always be open to change and accept new ideas.
–Rodrigo, Project Consultant, Mexico City, Mexico
Be adaptable. Plan, but be open when the change comes (not if). The journey is not a straight line, so being flexible, open minded and versatile will prove invaluable. Hone your ability to shoe-shift—that is, put yourself in others’ shoes—it’s a skill of extraordinary power!
–Guillermina, Digital Quality Leader, Tampa, U.S.
Logical thinking and common sense—never take these out of your syllabus.
–Anand, Panel Manager, Baroda, India
Work smart AND hard. Fail as many times as possible, and learn from each of those failures.
–Jose, Call Center Leader, San Antonio, U.S.
Develop and maintain an entrepreneurial mindset. Treat every job as if it is preparing you to be the CEO of that company or another, possibly your own. By developing a personal brand that includes being self-motivated and hardworking, you will be more equipped to spot opportunities that will help you achieve your goals.
–Ameyon, Program Manager, Tampa, U.S.
Sometimes the opportunity for experience is far from home. You have to go away to come back.
–Anais, Associate Client Manager, Tampa, U.S.
There’s no one thing that makes you successful. It’s about the myriad of little things that you do day in and day out. Make a habit out of those things. Being consistent will lead others to rely on you, help you build your personal brand, and also give you the confidence to ride the inevitable bumps that emerge over the course of a career. Play the long game and remember that the journey is more important than the destination!
–Jonathon, SVP Data Science, Tampa, U.S.