Last week, I moderated a think tank for Dell in New York City. The topic of the think tank was Gen Y in the "real world" (get the connection with my book? Welcome to the Real World). I sat around a table for several hours with great students, entrepreneurs, and employers and held an open dialogue about all sorts of things related to Gen Y at work. One of the really interesting topics, was about employers expectations for Gen Y at work. I encouraged everyone to put on their "employer hats" and think about our dream scenario. In that scenario, what skills do entry-level hires possess? If we could create a dream list for what skills young people have in 2014 to land an internship or job....what would those be?
You know I'm obsessed with lists, so of course, I created one based on the discussion. Here we go:
1. Restraint on Social Media. We (the employers of 2014) want to hire young people who understand how to exercise restraint on social media. They understand what is appropriate and what isn't appropriate and know that the "world" doesn't need to know every thought they have.
2. Understand and Show Interest In Analytics. The numbers always tell the story. With so much emphasis being pushed behind social media - the metric many employers use to measure their efforts is through analytics. Working with a platform like Google Analytics is a great way to start educating yourself on the data.
3. Strong Writing/Proof-writing Skills. Even if your job has nothing to do with writing, I promise it will involve writing of some sort. Perfect your writing/editing skills. This will help with any job and be of value to any future employer.
4. Photoshop/Photography. Like writing, almost every career involves images or graphics of some sort these days. Instagram and Pinterest have made it even more important to be able to create visually appealing images - regardless of industry. If you don't know photoshop, check it out.
5. Flexibility/Adaptability. We want to know that you are flexible - that you can work with different people, use different types of technology, and will have an open mind when it comes to trying out new processes/systems/software/and apps. We want you to be resourceful and make sure the job gets done regardless of the circumstances.
6. Understand the Power of Your Personal Brand. It's important that you know that your personal and professional brand are one solid brand that make you - YOU. That personal brand is sacred and should be treated very gently.
7. Communicate Professionally. In today's working culture, we are communicating in every way possible (text, email, Skype, phone call, group texting app, etc). We want to know that however you communicate with us - you will be able to do so in a professional and somewhat formal manner.
8. Know the Value of Mentorship. We want young people who seek out mentors and advice and feedback.
9. Follow Up. It's imperative to understand follow up. If you don't follow up - you often won't get the results you are looking for. Has it been two days since you've sent a scheduling email? Time to follow up.
10. Internship Experience. We want to hire students who have held a professional internship position at a company they are interested in working for. This shows they take their career seriously and they have professional experience.