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Five ways millennial women define career success

Here’s how millennial women are defining career success.

The story of The Millennial and how she approaches her career is everywhere. A recent New York Times article explained that millennial women are looking for balance in their lives, and expect their career and family priorities to shift over time. More often than not, millennial women are planning for this shift, adopting a ‘give and take’ approach to their careers and shaking up what it means to achieve career success. Whether they’re starting businesses, traveling across the world or simply challenging convention, millennial women are fearless in their quest for professional and personal happiness.

Here’s how millennial women are defining career success.

Controlling their path:

Millennial women are associating career success with their ability to plan for and control professional outcomes. By choosing what they want to work on and when, millennials are opting for true fulfillment. By planning for potential career breaks or travel opportunities, women are controlling their career and guiding it as they desire. The increase in millennials doing freelance work on the side illustrates this new sense of career control – and it enables women to do what they want, when they want.

Bucking tradition:

By not following in the path of their parents, millennials are changing what it means to be professionally successful. Unless she’s involved in a family business, it’s highly unlikely that a millennial echoes the career that her mother or father pursued. A study from the Center for Women and Business at Bentley University noted millennials’ individual ambitions as a primary career driver: “Millennials seem to be motivated by personal values and aspirations and less by career advancement.”


Continuing professional development is a common theme among millennial women. I observe my own friends and colleagues attending conferences, signing up for training courses and becoming members of support or learning groups. In order to ‘upskill’ you need to always be on the lookout for the next opportunity or helpful course that can transform your way of working. I regularly attend conferences and workshops to broaden my mind, meet new people and learn new skills to offer my clients.


Millennial women are using connections to their advantage. Networking is vital for every professional, but particularly for women who struggle with confidence or haven’t realized their professional value. Beyond building confidence, networking leads to mentors, sponsors and even business opportunities. I regularly attend networking events and always set goals in advance and think of what I’d like to get out of the experience. Many millennials are also using networking as a way of finding influence and guidance outside of their day job, particularly if they are looking to start a business or move into another career.

Seeing the world:

Millennials are embracing travel as a way to broaden their perspectives and define their professional path. Financial planner Kate Holmes revealed that millennials are adept at saving money, and are often using these funds to travel the world now and not when they’re in their 70s. I’ve been fortunate to travel, and nothing has expanded my mindset and increased my work opportunities more than travel. Since a bulk of my work is conducted outside of where I currently live, ‘thinking globally’ has transformed my life. Millennial women are incorporating travel into their lives more and more – and it’s paying off as they navigate their careers.

Laura Dunn specializes in content creation, social media and bespoke PR, and works with brands, organizations and individuals in both the USA and the UK. Laura started blogging in 2008, creating her blog Political Style. Laura writes for The Huffington Post, Fortune and many other publications. You can follow Laura on Twitter here: @lauraemilyd.