We all know about the term Glass Ceiling which refers to the unseen, yet unbreachable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements.
I think that today’s glass ceiling is very low. Today’s glass ceiling is the barrier that young people face in getting their first solid career position. I would say it is probably the hardest it has been for youth to get a job for decades.
Many young job seekers find their job prospects somewhat bleak. I have read that the unemployment rate among young people aged 16 to 24 is around 17% and I am sure that number is probably understated.
Unemployed youth is a global factor that has lead to unrest in many countries around the world. In Spain, the unemployment rate among young people is around 50%.
Recently, I spoke to the Student Bar Association at Whittier Law School. The biggest challenge that students were facing was encountering the full funnel of graduates from the last couple of years that have not landed and we competing for the same jobs. There is a large inventory of unhired lawyers.
A belief in future opportunity has always been vital for youth. It leads to optimism and a general sense of pending improvements in society. It must never be dampened. It is vital to both the growth of financial and social currency.
When I graduated, the job situation was also quite bleak as there were millions of Baby Boomers graduating at the same job and simply not enough jobs. I was lucky that in Canada at that time there were some safety nets and programs to help the transition and soon I found my first job in advertising. I think sometime it helps to be oblivious to doom and gloom news as a young person and forge your own trail.
So how do you break through today’s glass ceiling if you are looking for your first job?
Well first you have to start networking earlier in your life and learning how to capture the power of networking to get your first job and all the jobs you will land in the future. I have written about this before in my blog called Networking Tips for College Students and Young People that hate to network. It remains my best read blog ever.
I have also written a blog for young people called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places. When things change you have to change. The animals that emerged from the ice age were not the biggest and the strongest but the ones that adapted the quickest. Eight of the ten services I offer today in my suite of marketing services I didn’t do ten years ago. Reinvent constantly.
You also have to start on your job quest much earlier and Go Where You Want to Go. Sure it is an old song lyric but there is some truth to it. Today you need to go where you want to work. Develop a list of the five companies that you want to work for in the coming years and engage with them in the New Normal. Connect with their people on LinkedIn, post content on their Facebook page, Tweet their content. Make relevant and learned noise to create awareness about you. Don’t send them your resume. Write the head of the department where you want to work and tell them you want to work for them when your graduate and continue to communicate with them on an ongoing basis. Start this while you are a Junior. Yes a Junior.
I also believe that today’s well travelled and experienced job holders should help to mentor today’s young and emerging graduates. I think this is a great opportunity for people in transition. Young people can probably help you develop some skills particularly in the social media space. And young people can pick up some life skills that experience provides. For me that’s a powerful Each One Help One Promise.
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