I am that recent college graduate with semi-messy hair who has worn a tie as many times as there are Harry Potter movies that exist. I am that chef whose famous (and only) cuisine is an egg sandwich with ketchup. I am that cartographer who is an expert at navigating any road to any part of the country – with the strict condition that his cell phone’s GPS does the navigating for him. You get the picture: I am that liberal-arts-recent-graduate-millennial you make 80’s movies references to, who responds with a puzzled look and a pause before guessing “The Goonies?” for every answer.
And I’m not the only one. Many of us millennials really are fresh adults that still carry college-like tendencies. While not all of the stereotypes are valid (I actually do know some millennials that can cook), others are true. Growing up we were handed gold stars and trophies simply for participation. We were told we could be whoever and achieve whatever we wanted. And yeah, it’s definitely had an impact on how we work. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t budge – in fact, we’re more than capable of providing what our Boomer and Gen-X leaders expect from us, and that’s not just our egos talking.
I know – you’re skeptical. But while my fellow freshmen in the real world may have unfairly gained a “bratty” reputation, I’m asking you, our Gen X and Baby Boomer predecessors, to embrace our generation. Got questions? We’ve got answers.
“Why should we embrace you?”
Just ask your HR department: by 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers in the world will be Millennials, so like it or not, we’re taking over your organization at some point. Don’t worry though, like I previously mentioned, we’re actually a pretty good group to work with. As long as the employer does what they can to accommodate the millennial desire to have a sense of purpose – and to dress more casually than business people did in the 90’s – many millennials will get to work. I wish I could say “all”, but every generation has their Dales and Brennans.
“But you guys are so wishy-washy and inexperienced.”
Yes, many of us come out of college with a broad background, far from experts in one specific subject. However, this broad education is a positive thing for many careers because it allows employers to nurture the wide range of knowledge we do have and mold it to fit today’s multi-tasked positions. This professor I once had, who was also the CEO of his own successful agency, told me that he actually preferred to hire students who did not major in marketing for his marketing positions. He felt the textbook-marketing education made students too narrow-minded and preferred instead to take marketing-interested students who had more diverse backgrounds (sorry Sabrina and Rachel).
“Okay, well, how are you going to help my company right now?”
We’re innately digital ninjas, and chances are we’re more in tune with what’s cool and trending than you. Let’s talk specifically about social media for a second. Did you know 95% of adults aged 18-34 follow a brand on social networks? I’m going to assume a large portion of your target market falls in that age range. I can throw many more statistics at you, but let’s just say most companies know they need a social presence in order to provide a face to their brand, attract talent, and be taken seriously by consumers these days. Thankfully, you have people like us, who come pre-programmed with “social” skills* that companies require to survive in the 21st century. And we’ve learned how to shift the focus of our social posts from things like #davematthewsband and #majorleaguesoccer to the more work-relevant #hcm #payroll and #onboarding (…mostly, anyway).
Now, I’m not saying we’re all social media and digital experts. But we’ve been playing in this league since the “dial-up your internet so you can alter your Top 8 friends on MySpace” days.
Ready to move your business into the future? Hire a recent grad.
*By “social” skills, I am sadly not referring to one’s ability to personally connect and engage in natural conversation with fellow human beings. While that type of “social” skill is very important in many, many ways, to work and life in general, what I am referring to is social media. Ironic, isn’t it, that having “social” skills in this day and age can mean sitting alone, staring at a computer screen, physically speaking to no one, but being savvy at helping companies make virtual connections?
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