I’m Ready To Be An Adult Now

29 06 2013

job-huntI recently read an article where the  US Bureau of Labor Statistics cited that one out of every two Millennials—age 18 to 32–is either unemployed or under-employed equating to approximately 80 million people (there are actually more Millennials than Baby Boomers).  After spending the past 3 weeks interviewing some young folks for a couple of job openings within my department (all of which relate to marketing and brand management), I can honestly say that there are multiple reasons why junior is living in your basement at age 25.

The recurring theme was a lack of preparation, an incomplete understanding of what the job entailed, and the inability to think creatively on short notice when asked basic marketing questions.   But the biggest shocker of all was the lack of personal investment in themselves.  Only a couple read books, were on Linkedin or had the desire to read on-line content relevant to marketing, social media, self-help or success.  Where did we drop the ball with young people?  Why haven’t more established professionals and/or teachers taken these youngsters aside and explained to them about the real world where it isn’t always who you know and you can’t have the expectation that you’ll be able to ride someone else’s coattails and score a job.

There was even one candidate that said they were ready to be an adult now and if they were chosen for this job they would go the extra mile to invest in themselves and stay on top of the ever changing world of marketing or any field for that matter.

Here is what I look for in a candidate during a job interview:

  • Appearance
  • Verbal presentation skills
  • College education – I am more concerned that you have a degree than specifically what the degree is in.  Show me you can keep commitments, stay the long haul and not be a quitter by neglecting to finish your degree.
  • Have you done your homework on my company and the job you are interviewing for?  Did you find an inside coach to help you?  Have you thoroughly combed our website, made yourself familiar with the brand or product and thought of ways we could benefit from having you on board?
  • Have you tried to do research on me or the individual interviewing you?
  • Can you think on your feet with tough questions?  Go ahead, I encourage you to Google tough marketing interview questions and get comfortable answering the uncomfortable.
  • Do you invest in your self?  Meaning do you read books that will help you grow in the field you want to work in?  Do you study successful people?  What about Car University?  All of this is at your fingertips on the internet, just waiting for you to consume it.
  • Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and how are you using each platform?
  • Do you send a hand-written thank you note after the interview?

Here is my advice while you are job hunting:

  • Start establishing  a powerful personal brand independent of your work experience. Pursue your own aspirations and learn how to define them and market them to the corporate world.
  • Take advantage of being a digital native and learn as much as you can with the tools at the tip of your fingertips.
  • Rethink your social media presence.  If you come to work for me, social proof is critical    Ditch the party photos and all the liquor brands you LIKE and avoid the drunken tweets. Turn your public social media presence into a showcase of your personal brand and portal of interests and skills. Connect the dots for me and demonstrate how I can’t possibly live without you on my team.
  • Be unusual and memorable.
  • Show you have a big and growing network that comes with you when you get hired.

And, whether you’ve graduated from college or never went at all, never stop learning. The Web is filled with tons of information and on-line courses.

At the end of the day, I’m looking for moldable, adaptable, resilient people who can be mentored for current positions as well as jobs that don’t exist yet.  That same person who might have made my drink at Starbucks this morning or cleared my dirty dishes at dinner last night.

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