Lizzy for blog

By Liz Mosher ’10, CES Peer Advisor

The Career Fair is coming up soon. Understanding Gen-Y stereotypes can help you prepare!

For the past year, I have been hearing more and more about what is expected of Gen-Y in the workplace. After hearing all the stereotypes of our generation (Gen-Y/Millennials), I decided to look into them so I could better understand how they might affect my job search.

After all, if you know a potential employer’s concerns and needs, then you have an opportunity to address them head on and emphasize your strengths. Plus, if there is anything I’ve learned about social networking and interviewing, it’s that you can pull out amazing traits from nearly all of your experiences and co-curricular activities in order to build a solid resume despite having spent little time in the workforce…you just have to know what strengths to capitalize on and what stereotypes to avoid.

In case you don’t already know, here’s what the world is saying about Gen-Y: we have a sense of entitlement, we’re needy, we’re self-centered and flighty, we’re oblivious to time, and we have no work ethic. But guess what? They said strangely similar things about the Baby Boomers!

Instead of feeling discouraged, this just means that it is more crucial than ever to really listen to the needs of our future employers. If we know what employers want, we can highlight our relevant strengths…like our interest in learning, and our willingness to adapt to change. According to Dr. Phil Gardner, the expert on the job market for college students, adaptability and flexibility will be key elements employers will be seeking. Focus on the positive–help employers recognize your ability to work efficiently with diverse groups of people and your readiness to take on tasks without detailed instructions or constant reassurance. As for the negative stereotypes, turn them into positives or take initiative to disprove them–take advantage of the chance to stand out and awe the employers with your amazing strengths.

This is our time to shine. We just have to make sure our strengths are strongly articulated through our resumes and interviews. Employers need us, and Gen-Y has what it takes!

FYI: Plugged In by Tamara Erickson is a great resource if you want to learn more…Check it out in the CES Career Resource Library or follow the link to find it online.

© 2010 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound
Photo: Kris Hay