Think of your career as a portfolio of skills and experiences | Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80

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Anne-Marie Slaughter ‘80 is the President & CEO of New America, a think tank and civic enterprise.

Q. How would you advise millennials to think about their careers?

A. In this book I just published, “Unfinished Business,” I write about about thinking about your career as a portfolio of skills and experiences. This is so important for millennials today because they are going to have many different jobs and there is not one path at one corporation-there really isn’t. So what you have to do is look at who you want to be and look at all the skills and experiences that person has. So if you look at me you would say, I do a lot of public speaking (and by the way I was terrified of public speaking until my mid-thirties so it can be learned), I do writing, I’ve had management experience, I’ve had strategy experience, I’ve had fundraising experience, I’ve been in the public sector, I have been in the academic sector, I’ve been now in the civic sector. So you can make a matrix. Here are the skills down one side and here are the places you can get those skills. You might have a child and be working part time but be fundraising for a really important charity in your neighborhood, right? There are many ways to get those different skills but the point is to sort of figure it out that way and then just see what comes your way, because you’re not going to be able to plan it. We’re in the world of everything’s changing all the time and we have to be flexible and adaptable – we do, but we don’t have to be rudderless. You can think, I can take this job and I can learn how to write. I could take that job and I improve my public speaking, or I can learn how to write an op-ed, or learn how to put myself forward. So it’s a constant back-and-forth between the skills and experiences you know you need and what’s out there.

Find Ms. Slaughter’s full interview here:

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