Careers

Former Google career coach to 20-somethings: Stop worrying about 'the perfect job'

The standard way of thinking goes something like this: Right out of college, young professionals should be set on a clearly-defined career path.

But that career model is wrong, and even potentially damaging, according to former Google career coach Jenny Blake, who has personally helped more than 1,000 people advance in their careers.

"Take the pressure off yourself to have the perfect job or even career path in your 20s," Blake tells CNBC. "Particularly in your 20s, just focus on the experience your job will get you."

Blake, who co-founded Google's mentorship program, says the career-ladder model, where professionals follow a set of consecutive steps, is less relevant to today's changing job market.

Research shows that millennial professionals change jobs about four times by the time they hit 32 for a variety of reasons, including low wages and less loyalty from both employers and workers. According to a recent Gallup poll, 60 percent of workers between the ages of 21 and 37 are open to leaving their job to pursue another one.

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How to actually think about your career

Instead, think of your career as a smartphone, the career expert says.

"Your education and upbringing is your out-of-the-box model," she says. "Now it's up to you to download different apps for skills, interests, experience and education that are going to help you start to build momentum in your career."

Even if you're working outside of the industry you'd like to be in, take note of what you like and what you don't like about your current role.

This will help you figure out what you want to do with your life, says Blake, author of "Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One."

 Jenny Blake, co-creator of Google’s Career Guru program and author of “Pivot”
Source: Mark Hanauer

Make note of the skills you may be learning, such as communication skills, problem solving skills or teamwork, all of which are soft skills employers are looking for right now. Add them to your resume so you can be more marketable for your next job.

"It's OK if you're trying a number of different things," Blake says. "You're understanding what you're best at, what you most enjoy."

"It's OK if you're trying a number of different things" -Jenny Blake, career expert and author

By figuring out what types of projects and work environments you like in your 20s, in addition to gaining skills, you'll be on your way to becoming an expert in a field in your 30s.

In other words, give yourself a break.

Check out Blake's other tricks for mapping out your career.