Hello, I’m here to represent the millennials – maybe you’ve seen our Snapchats? Whether you’re a millennial who’s just about to graduate college, or you’re a seasoned manager with young employees on your team, there are a few things you should know about how young talent can adapt to the modern workforce.
Here are the top eight things no one tells a new college graduate about the working world.
1. There’s a new language to learn
If you thought taking Spanish or French class was challenging, you’re in for a surprise: Your language-learning days are not over yet. You need to get familiar with the ever-changing business lingo. From figuring out how to make your emails sound more formal, to learning acronyms like SMB, SME, and ERP, there’s a whole new set of communication rules you need to tackle.
2. Be a thought leader (in 140 characters or less)
Whether you are focusing on social media marketing or simply communicating with colleagues, the shorter, the better. Trying your best to keep everything short and sweet means more people are likely to read and respond to your messages.
3. Your managers know everything you’re up to
I have always been fortunate to work under strong female managers, and I knew from day one with each of them that I didn’t want to gamble to see whether I could get away with anything. If you aren’t your manager’s first intern or employee, he or she has an accurate idea of how long any task will take you and will have no hesitation about sending you an instant message to check if you’re online.
4. “Digital” is a big deal
Digital transformation. Digital economy. Going digital. The word “digital” has been a buzzword for over two years now. What does it mean for an early talent? It means that being a digital native (aka, a millennial) is in high demand in the working world now. Knowing the basics of social media, cloud, and mobile can make you a real asset for a company.
5. You need to do a social media clean sweep
Refer to #4 above. Everyone is embracing digital these days. While employees used to separate their work worlds and digital worlds, they are now connecting them with social media. More and more co-workers are becoming friends on social channels. As a new employee, it’s key to remember that you want to make sure the person you present online matches your professional persona.
6. The 9-to-5 gig no longer exists, but work-life balance does
In theory, your working day should only be eight hours long. But you’ll find meetings scheduled for 7 a.m. and emails flying around at 10 p.m., and sometimes you’ll spend your Sunday working on presentation slides. The good news is that work-life balance is alive and well. If you need to schedule a mid-morning appointment or feel like going for a run at lunch, that is absolutely acceptable.
7. Blogging is not what it used to be
According to WordPress, more than 2.13 million new blog posts are published on its site every day (that’s 24 posts every second). Safe to safe, blogging has evolved. In the past, blogging got a reputation for being the equivalent of an online diary. Modern blogging, however, has been proven to increase a business’s web traffic and position a brand as an industry leader.
8. There’s no set of directions to follow
School assignments provide clear directions that you can follow to get a good grade. In the real world, the directions aren’t laid out as clearly. So, what’s an ambitious young employee to do? When in doubt, do your best and be open to feedback.
The transition from college to the modern workforce can be challenging. Your working life will be different from your life as a student in many ways. So, be prepared to adapt. As long as you keep an open mind and embrace new challenges that come your way, you can thrive as a millennial employee.
To keep the world’s workforce skilled and relevant in the face of massive change, our current systems of learning need to skip a grade or two. See Taking Learning Back to School.