Career Advice for the Class of 2015

class graduatingThe future is bright with the promise of new technology, innovation, and creativity. But none of that would be possible without a pipeline full of new prospects.

Five to ten years from now, all of today’s great young talent will be the driving power behind the workforce. So how should they get there?

Today, we’re going to discuss career advice for those who are just gearing up to start their careers: the class of 2015. Take a look below:

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3 Reasons Why You Need to Work On Your Company Culture

facing a crowded room in a plaid shirt

Take a look around an HR blog or website and you are bound to find the words “company culture” popping up again and again.

For many, company culture can be somewhat of a mystery. It’s something that every company has, but just because you have it doesn’t mean it’s benefiting you in all the right ways.

Some leaders don’t know what needs to be done to get their company culture in the right place, or whether they need to actually put much effort into it at all, since for many, company cultures seems like a byproduct of just being a company at all.

However, as we’ve brought up many times on this blog, company culture plays an integral role in the success of your company. To help give you a better idea of why company culture is so important, we thought we’d break down why you need to pay special attention to your company culture, and how to go about doing so.

For today, we’ll start with why. Take a look below:

  • It’s a top recruiting tool. When a job candidate takes a look at your company, chances are, they are looking into your company culture. What we’re referring to are the things that you value, why you value them, and how you go about attaining/upholding those goals and values.

    For many candidates these days (especially the Milliennial generation), relating to the values of the company is one of the biggest factors when it comes to choosing where they apply. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you do your best to narrow down your company culture and highlight what makes you stand out as a company.

  • It helps solidify your team. Not only is having a great company culture important for recruiting, it is also an important aspect of solidifying your team/company as a whole. When you hire like-minded people who value what you value, then hopefully they will band together in order to obtain the goals that you set up for your company. When employees believe in what you do, they should be more likely to succeed—and a big part of that is having a crystal clear company culture that can help guide them towards those goals.
  • It helps put everyone on the same page. Adding to our point above, a crystal clear company culture is great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what the company is striving for. The hope is that you won’t have to worry about any stragglers because you’ve already made it clear what you expect out of them, and what they should expect out of you.

On Thursday, we’ll get into how you can vamp up your company culture to ensure success. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: Infusionsoft via photopin cc

Millennials: How to Prepare Yourself for Your Future Career (Part II)

taking notes

When it comes to hiring people in the current generation, one of the biggest concerns among employers is that Millennials are not adequately prepared to enter the workforce due to a lack of proper work ethic, experience, and certain essential skills.

On top of that, some Millennials–around 60% of those surveyed, according to a recent study conducted by Bentley University–have also reported that they don’t feel comfortable taking a professional career, and personally blame themselves.

Last Friday, we discussed some of the ways that Millennials can prepare themselves for their future career. To round off our discussion, here are a few more tips:

  • Invest in your soft skills. You may be infinitely qualified when it comes to the technical side of the position, but that won’t necessarily guarantee that you are ready for the job. Investing in your soft skills–which refers to a person’s attitude, communication skills, ability to work with others, critical thinking skills, and work ethic–is an extremely important part of getting yourself ready for your career and ensuring that you are a well-rounded candidate and employee. Not only that—making sure you have a great balance between your technical skills and soft skills can help make you stand out amongst others vying for the position.
  • Take advantage of internships. Internships are a great way to make an ‘in’ with the company you possibly want to work for. Not only will it help you gain the necessary the experience that you would need for the job, but it’s also a great way to test out a field without taking on a full-time job after graduation. And, if you decide to not go out for the position, at least you gain some experience in the professional world and are building your resume–a definite win-win for you.
  • Show off your values and skills. Millennials are quite different from their older counterparts, but that shouldn’t be negative thing. Take the time to show employers how your values and skills can actually help contribute to their company’s success. Whether that means your great technology and social media skills, or that you believe authenticity is an important part of a professional career, take the time to translate your skills into real business value.

What do you think about our list? Have anything to add? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: itupictures via photopin cc

Millennials: How to Prepare Yourself for Your Future Career (Part I)

millennial typing on a computer

Throughout this week, we’ve talked a lot about the Millennial generation.

As we mentioned, Millennials are entering the workforce at an increasing rate and there is a concern that they won’t be as prepared for their first job as some of them would like to believe.

But rather than give up on this new generation, we believe that employers should be taking the initiative to help get them ready for their jobs and future careers. They are, after all, going to make up a pretty big chunk of the workforce in the coming years.

In order for things to work, Millennials need to take the initiative on steps that will help them build their future career into a success. To help them do that, we are going to give them some great tips on how they can prepare themselves for a successful future career. Take a look below for our first two:

  • Find a potential employer whose values match your own. If you happen to be a Millennial who places authenticity high up on their list of things you look for in a job–as most Millennials do–then take the initiative to ensure that you are finding the right company for you. While it might be great to land a gig at some very well-known company, if their mission and values don’t speak to you, then chances are you won’t want to contribute as much as you would for another company.
  • Find out what it means to be prepared. Likewise, take the time to scope out the company’s definition of preparedness. As we mentioned in previous posts, there is a large gap between most Millennials and business decision-makers when it comes to defining what it means to be prepared. Knowing what to expect before you apply will help you better meet their demands once you’re hired. And if you find that there is a huge disconnect between what you believe and what an employer believes, then you should really think about whether or not you want to work for them.

On Monday, we’ll talk some more about what Millennials can do to better prepare for their future careers. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts or questions by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

photo credit: francisco_osorio via photopin cc

3 Tips on How to Prepare Millennials for the Workplace

walking in the forest with a mentor

Lately, we’ve had Millennials on our mind.

It only makes sense. Millennials are now entering the workforce at an increasing rate, meaning that employers need to take the initiative to ensure that they’re prepared to handle this generation with all of their values, wants/needs, and disadvantages/advantages.

Yesterday, we talked about the concern that Millennials aren’t quite as prepared to enter the workforce as they’d like to believe. This, of course, is a real concern that employers should take seriously.

To help you tackle the problem head on, yesterday, we promised to outline a few tips on how to make your Millennial hires a success. Without further adieu, here are three tips on how to prepare Millennials for the workplace. Take a look below:

  • Manage their expectations. From the start, Millennials have been told by their parents that they can pretty much do whatever they put their minds to. As such, they’ve become pretty big dreamers and have notoriously fallen prey to the “sense of entitlement” stereotype.

    Fortunately, employers can easily handle this problem by managing their Millennial employees’ expectations. The key is to be up-front, and make sure they know exactly what they’re getting themselves into before they commit to the job. Outlining what you expect out of them and what they’ll gain from their experience at your company will help to prevent any dissatisfaction they could other have from having too high of expectations from their job. 

  • Rethink your core requirements. You’re now dealing with an entirely different generation. As such, it’s important that you rethink your core requirements in order to better match the values and skills of this generation. One of the biggest roadblocks that the Millennial generation runs into is their lack of experience in the professional field. Where they lack that quality, they make up for it in their drive, creativity, and desire to commit themselves to a company they truly believe in, so take that into consideration as you look at their credentials.
  • Be devoted to their training and mentoring. As we said, Millennials lack the job experience of the older counterparts, but make up for it in a variety of other qualities and characteristics. One desire that you can tap into is their desire to be mentored. Take advantages of this and shape this generation into the successful professionals you want them to be–in the end, you’ll be glad you did. 

What do you think about Millennials entering the workforce? Do we need to help prepare them for the workplace or should they already come prepared? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

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Are Millennials Prepared for the Workplace?

Millennials playing foosball

“So, just how prepared are they to jump-start their professional careers?”

It’s a question that comes up a lot when we talk about the Millennial generation.

And rightfully so: as it stands, Millennials are considered to be extremely underprepared according to a study put out last year by Bentley University, which attempted to measure the preparedness of the Millennial generation as they make their way into their professional careers.

According to the study, 62% of all respondents–comprised of business decision-makers, corporate recruiters, parents of Millennials, and even high school and college students from the Millennial generation–believed that this group of individuals lacks the proper skills and characteristics essential to success in a workplace environment or their professional career.

What It Means to Be Prepared

According to the study, one of the major problems regarding preparedness could be the result of the striking differences between how companies and the Millennials define being prepared. The study found that 23% of business decision-makers and 18% of corporate recruiters defined preparedness mainly by an individual’s work ethic, compared to that of 7% of high school students and 9% of college students from the Millennial generation.

Conversely, 19% of the high school students and 15% of the college students surveyed defined preparedness as adaptability, having a good attitude, being respectful, and maturity, compared to just 4% of business decision-makers and 7% of corporate recruiters who believed the same.

Overall, however, one thing most respondents (about 77%) agreed on was that a college degree does plays an essential role in career preparedness.

Who’s to Blame?

In regards to who should shoulder the blame for this lack of preparedness, responses fell all across the board.

  • 51% of business decision-makers gave the business community a “C” or lower when it came to preparing Millennials for their job, and about 43% of corporate recruiters agreed.
  • On the other hand, 35% of business leaders blamed recent college graduates they’ve hired, given them a “C” or lower in preparedness.

Interestingly enough, the majority (about 60%) of those surveyed from the Millennial generation held themselves accountable for their lack of preparedness, with only 42% blaming colleges or universities, 31% their professors, and 13% businesses.

The Takeaway

While the numbers are discouraging, we think that the last thing employers should do is give up on the Millennial generation.  Sure, Millennials do seem (according to this survey) to lack the preparedness of their older counterparts, but at least a majority of them have a keen sense of self-awareness that they themselves are to blame.

Millennials are also well-known for their desire to succeed and push themselves beyond the mold, which is definitely an admirable quality to have, especially in the workplace.

Millennials aren’t going away anytime soon, so before you decide to throw in the towel on this generation, we think you should really give them a good chance to prove themselves, as well as take initiative to help them. Tomorrow, we’ll help you do just that, when we go further into a few tips on how you can help prepare them for success.

Photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images via Business Insider

3 Tips on How to Attract Millennials

chicago bean

Graduation month has come, and that means there will be plenty of Millennials getting ready to enter the workforce once they’ve received their diplomas.

For employers, now is a great time to take advantage of the flood of top talent that will be out there in the job market.

However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Millennials can be a tough crowd to please, sometimes making it extremely frustrating for the older generations who typically have the job of hiring them.

As difficult as they may seem at first glance, Millennials are extremely hard-working and will become the future leaders of most companies. As such, it is important that you do your best to attract them as effectively and efficiently as possible.

To show you how to do that, we thought we would give you three tips on how to attract Millennials and find the top talent you need. Take a look below:

  • Be flexible. Millenials place a high value on work-life balance. As such, it is important that you do your best to make sure your company offers some flexibility on the schedule. This can either be done through a work from home program, or through some kind of vacation benefits, a few extended lunch breaks, or even allowing them to choose how and when they get their work done. Just make sure you do this all within reason in order to make sure you maximize the work.
  • Be tech-savvy. It is the age of technology and Millennials are at the forefront when it comes to all of the new programs, electronics, and apps floating around. If you want to catch the eye of this new generation, try your best to be up to date on all of the various things coming out in the tech world. There are plenty of ways to do this. The easiest way is to make sure you are up to date on all of your social media sites. Another thing to consider is allowing people to bring their own devices to work. Whether it is a laptop or mobile phone, giving them the freedom to at least use them for work can help attract the Millennial crowd.
  • Be authentic. Millennials crave authenticity. As such, it’s important to make sure that your company has something truly genuine to offer to this group. Figuring out your core values and how the Millennial generation can benefit from them in their personal and professional life is an extremely important part of getting them interested in what you have to offer, so make sure you figure out what is that makes you so great.

Have anything to add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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Recruiting Millennials: Overcoming Stereotypes

There’s been a lot of buzz lately concerning the rising number of Millennials in the job market–and how employers can go about recruiting millennials.

As this next generation makes its way onto the scene, it brings with it a new set of values, aspirations and expectations. Previous generations, however, are not exactly thrilled by their younger counterparts, pegging the Millennial generation as “entitled, self-obsessed and unprepared for the realities of adult life,” and their alleged poor work ethic and laziness are said to be the cause of much frustration among managers and co-workers.

But let’s face it: the presence of Millennials in the workplace isn’t going away anytime soon—eventually they will make up a large percentage of the workforce (about 36% by 2014 and 46% by 2020)—and these generational stereotypes often don’t reflect the talent and potential that Millennials posses.

Below, we’ve compiled a couple of stereotypes about Millennials that are thrown around the workplace, and how you as an employer can overcome these stereotypes and start recruiting Millennials:

The Stereotype: Millennials Are Technology-Obsessed

When being interviewed, 64% of Millennials ask about social media policies and about 24% say it would be a key factor in accepting a job offer, so it probably goes without saying that a majority of Millennials place a high value on social media and technology.

The Solution

This isn’t necessarily a negative stereotype, or one that you really need to overcome–since you may not want to change your policies on the use of social media in the workplace. However, when it comes to recruiting, you should take advantage of this tech-obsessed generation by increasing your online presence through the use of social media and other online tools.

The Stereotype: Millennials Have High Expectations or Lack Company Loyalty

Millennials are said to have too high of expectations when it comes to finding a career that allows them to live up to their personal aspirations. Being raised with idea that “self-esteem is the key to success” has led them to believe that they can do anything they put their minds to. Here are a few facts about millennials that are related to this stereotype:

  • About 84% of Millennials place a higher value on making a positive difference in the world over professional recognition.
  • The Center for Women and Business at Bentley University reports that “less than two percent identify a colleague at work or an employer or supervisor as the person who encourages them to pursue their professional aspirations.”
  • About 24% of Millennials are dissatisfied with their current job (compared to the 14% of Generation X employees and 18% of Baby Boomers), leading to another stereotype: that Millennials lack company loyalty.
  • On average, Boomers hold their jobs for about 7 years; Generation X: 5 Years; as for Millennials? Only about 2.3 years.

Some of these qualities–especially how long Millennials hold their jobs–can be frustrating, especially when you consider the costs of hiring an employee. And while there may be some truth to this stereotype, there are ways to overcome this.

The Solution

As we mentioned, there is some truth to the stereotype about Millennials having a sense of entitlement. But with the job market being as volatile as it has been these past few years, it’s also true that finding meaningful employment has been much harder for some in this generation than in generations past.

A good way to ensure that any Millennials you hire ‘get over’ this sense of entitlement? For one, ensure that an employee is the right cultural fit. Finding the right person will lessen the chance of a dissatisfied employee and save you the headache of starting the hiring process all over again. Though it’s sometimes hard to overcome high expectations, taking the time to hire the right person will greatly increase the chance of mutual satisfaction for you and your employees.

Millennials aren’t going away anytime soon, and by overcoming these stereotypes early on in the recruiting process, you can secure the top talent that’s right for you. To learn more about how AIM Careerlink can provide you with the right tools for finding the best talent around, get in touch with us through our website or on Twitter.