Although the title is said tongue in cheek, designed to get a smile out of you, the topic is very serious for all involved. In about a month, the job market will be flooded with newly minted or credentialed college graduates. As every graduation extolls they have all the rights and privileges that come with said degree, what most of them really have is a pile of debt and considerable doubts about what their future holds. They are not the only ones with a lump in their throat; business owners are also concerned about what this new group will bring to the workforce and their organizations. As someone that has worked with college students over the last 10 to 15 years and is the co-owner of a business, I have seen this dynamic change considerably over that time. As I sit here pondering the impact these new graduates will have, I thought why not offer up a few suggestions to both sides of the equation, applicants along with their perspective supervisors/employers.
For those seeking employment:
- Do your research: Learn about the company, what they do and what they make or produce. Look at how they operate and the way their employees feel about them. Also, be sure to research what kind of a reputation they have in the community. If philanthropy or a global perspective is important to you – make sure it is important to them.
- Set up a LinkedIn profile: This is a great tool for business as well as a fantastic way for people to find you. It allows you to research any connections you may have at companies you’re interested in. If you already have a profile, make sure it is up to date with a current picture and your latest resume.
- Clean up your social media: Employers are looking at what you post and photos you are tagged in. If there are unflattering or stupid things on your site, or your friends’ sites that connect to you, take them down before you send your first resume!
- Practice interviewing: Find people either on or off campus that you can do some practice interviewing with. Practicing interview skills and elevator pitches are skills that never go out of style. Like and Um are not commas, practice NOT using them.
- Manage your expectations: Your professors, friends, parents, and others may have convinced you that you are bound for greatness (you may very well be, who am I to argue) but this is your first job out of college, so it is likely to be entry level. There may be some menial tasks expected of you – understand that it’s all part of being a team. Look at it as growth opportunity, not a demeaning experience.
- You may be bored at times: Welcome to the real world. Fill that time by reading about either your organization or staying current in your industry.
- Parental guidance: Bringing your parents into an interview or having them call a perspective employer on your behalf is never a good idea.
- Don’t get discouraged: Often you are competing with a large pool for the same position.
For those seeking to hire:
- Bridging the Generation Gap: If you are a Baby Boomer or in the generations closer to Boomers than Millennials, the game has changed. These generations have a different set of values, goals, and objectives than your generation did or does.
- Core beliefs: They believe in life-work balance NOT work-life balance.
- Don’t paint them with a broad brush: Assuming they are all self-centered, unmotivated, or lazy individuals is not giving them the credit for what they have accomplished or will accomplish.
- Don’t underestimate: Many of them are far brighter than we ever were and have worked harder to just get through college than we ever did.
- The new normal: They will challenge the norm, which is not a bad thing. Be open to what they can bring to the organization.
- Team building: They want their opinions heard, they will bring new perspective and want to be taken seriously.
- Things are changing: We need to embrace those changes and open our minds to today’s different generations. Remember, they are not only your perspective employees, they are also your new client base.
- Research: Learn about these candidates as you expect them to learn about your organization.
- Enjoy the ride, it can be fun: They have the skill set to make your company or organization significantly better, let them!
It doesn’t matter which side of the desk you sit on during this process things are changing. When I got out of college, all I wanted was a job with a paycheck. I never even considered what my place in a company would be, if I would be listened to, or the impact I would have on the organization. The new graduates today want all these things and more. Although in some ways, older generations might feel them immature and unmotivated, but they are far more advanced than we were in the way they think about their place in the workforce. I just wanted to pay my bills. They want a seat at the table. Let the games being.