An Open Career Letter to Gen Z From Gen Y

26 08 2014

We’ve all heard about Generation Y or the Millennial generation, but what do you know about Gen Z? They’re a lot more different than you’d think. This week, we have a guest blogger who’d like to speak directly to them. Be sure to check out the links in the article – there are some fantastic resources regarding Gen Z research.

Without further adieu…

An Open Career Letter to Gen Z from Gen Y

Dear Gen Z,

Although we are all a part of the “Millennial cohort,” we are inevitably going to make our own and unique imprints on the world. While us Gen Y’ers have Mark Zuckerberg and Pete Cashmore, you have Adora Svitak and Logan Laplante. At approximately 90 million strong, we stand to bring needed change, whether desired or not by our predecessor generations.

Having been witness to some of the most catastrophic events in history, including 9/11, The Great Recession, the War On Terrorism and more school shootings than I care to mention, you have developed coping mechanisms and a resourcefulness that will undoubtedly play a large role in your mark on our world and in our workforce. However, there are a few things you should really consider as you make your way into the “real world.”

It’s getting better, but it’s still competitive out here. You have to work really hard to land that dream job. Whether it’s working for yourself, one of the big tech companies, or a small business, you have to prove yourself just like everyone else has.

With four in five of you believing you’re more driven than your peers, and having early pressure from your parents to start getting professional experience, I’d say you’re well on your way to being able to land that dream job sooner than later.

Be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses. You grew up in a digital world, and this is a huge strength that will bring you a lot of leverage in the workforce. However, although you can multi-task better than any other generation, increasing rates of ADHD diagnosis tells us that it wouldn’t hurt to slow down every once in awhile and take a step away from your devices.

It’s not your fault — you’ve always had things delivered at lightning speed, but you will be in situations where you have to slow down and truly understand what’s happening. You must cultivate these situational awareness skills to become a truly well-rounded professional.

Keep realistic expectations, but continue to dream big. A New York-based research firm, Sparks & Honey, asked high school and college students what they wanted to do when they graduated. It turns out that 61 percent of high school students said they want to be entrepreneurs rather than employees and 76 percent wish their hobby would turn into a full-time job.

You’ve grown up in an evolving education system with classroom diversity and you don’t see color, race or ethnicity like older generations do. You also grew up with more people in your household, which gave you the chance to learn humility and sharing at an early age. As you begin to enter the workforce, set your expectations at a realistic level and remember the humility and collaborative spirit you’ve cultivated throughout your life, but never quit dreaming big.

Don’t underestimate the lasting impact you will have on the workforce. You grew up knowing the innovative and fun work environments of Facebook and Google, and will enter the workforce expecting that in your job. Generations before you fought for a healthier work-life balance, so now you have begun to tackle something else — 60 percent of you want to work for a company that stands for something bigger than itself and can truly make an impact. These expectations you are coming in with will most certainly change the way companies and the overall workforce functions.

You are an interesting and exciting generation, and one that I look forward to working with in the coming years. I believe we’ll learn a lot from each other and am excited to see you become the leaders you are innately meant to be. Just remember to step away from your devices every once in a while — you will still be able to change the world without them.


Michael and the rest of the “Y” generation

****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Michael Dennis!!****

About the author: Michael Dennis is the CEO and founder of FindHire, an innovative job search community and hiring network. Connect with Michael and the FindHire team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


LinkedIn: Let’s Get Personal

11 08 2014

make all connections meme

Every week, I receive (and send) connection requests through LinkedIn. What continues to surprise me is the fact that the large majority of those who wish to connect fail to personalize the message. Now, let me explain first that I’m not too caught up with this since there are so many new smartphone and tablet apps that simply don’t let the user provide any personalization, thus the “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” standard messaging.

If you could hit the “easy” button and fire away simple connection requests without personalization, would you do it? Some say yes, but what are your results? Why are you really connecting?

Here’s the better question: What if you took 20 seconds to craft a quick note to provide the person you’re reaching out to with a frame of reference?

Put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving the connection request. For all intents and purposes, let’s just say they’re a recruiter for the most awesome company in the world and you want to work for them. You meet the recruiter at an event, perhaps a career fair. You exchange information and later go to LinkedIn to do a little research.

That little blue “connect” button is calling your name. Heck, LinkedIn even does most of the work for you. Instead of sending the boilerplate “I’d like to connect” blah-blah, you choose to stand out. Your connection request goes something like this:

Hi Kirk,

It was nice to meet you at the career fair today in San Francisco. Cool that you’re also a Cal grad! I’ve already applied online as directed to your awesome company. In the meantime, I’d like to connect with you here on LinkedIn. Let’s keep in touch!

Joe Smith

Now, if you were a recruiter and received tons of the basic boilerplate connection requests, wouldn’t this stand out to you?? It’s that simple.

What inspired me to write this post? These three great connection requests I received this week:

photo 1


photo 2

photo 3

Did I connect? You bet. Thanks for the added thought in your request!

Here are some other really great posts on LinkedIn:

Is Your LinkedIn Profile Awesome? by Career Sherpa

If You’re Not Linked In, You May Be Left Out

College Students: Are You Linked In? by Emily Bennington

Want to connect? You know what you have to do… 🙂