I spend a lot of time with Millennials. I knew many when they were teenagers. Some younger. I have used smart, paid interns for over a decade. My first intern now works at Oakley. Another intern that worked for me in the past recently got married. His new bride works for Oakley as well and reports to my first intern. Yes pretty crazy. I have written about some ideas in this area in a post called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs in All the Wrong Places.
I had a great time recently speaking to the students at CBU Graphic Design class on How to Rise Above the Crowd. My presentation was about how to transition learning into a career. My expertise comes from my experience as a person who has to create a job each and every day as a solopreneur in the New Normal.
Young people can certainly get a lot of advice these days on how to get a job. Most from people who live in the Old Normal and don’t walk the physical or digital sidewalks of the New Normal.
You can listen to politicians who largely live an entitled life and whose hearts don’t beat in the New Normal.
Your college professors will give you advice as well but if they have never worked in the business world and strictly have an academic background their advice will be largely theoretical. Like a nun advising you about birth control. I love you Sister Mary Agnes.
Your parents will give you lots of advice but there is a good chance that if they have been employed for more than ten years with the same company that they found their last job in a newspaper and not from a recruiter calling them because of their Linkedin profile.
You can get advice from your peer group but that will largely be peer wisdom. Better for a bar.
First, young people need to understand that your focus shouldn’t be about getting a job; it should be about creating your long term personal brand strategy in the working world of today. You see in the New Normal you will have at least 12 jobs at different companies but your brand will be yours forever. Twenty years from now there may be no employees only contract worker bees. You need to focus on developing a long term career strategy versus just a job at just a company.
You need to be a brand within a brand. Even if you work at Apple you need to have your own personal brand and your own unique identity and it needs to be coherent. Consistency is key in branding. Your brand says everything about you. Your brand includes the way you dress to your personal branding material to your on line social media strategy. Your social media thought leadership should amplify your brand.
Here are the mandatories for young people today and into the near future. You must have your own personal website. You must have your own personal business cards and carry them at all time in addition to the business card of your employer. You must rock on Linkedin because it is the social media channel of business. You must own the first page of Google. All ten postings with a presence that is consistent with your personal brand. All of the digital platforms that you use must be based on your name and not an alias. Do not tweet about tacos. Tweet about show how smart you are. Most important, develop a powerful personal network that others don’t have that reflects your brand and the resources you uniquely offer.
You can connect with Hank on Linkedin
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You can watch a video by Hank on Networking Tips for Young People.
You can also read some other blogs that may be able to help you.
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.
I have spoken on college campuses for many years now. The thought of networking was a foreign concept to students in the past. Oh, and I am not talking about being on Facebook. That is socializing, not really networking in a business sense.
I think when students thought of networking they thought “UGH, I rather stick a fork in my eye!”
I think attitudes are changing now because students see the impact of the recession in their households and know they need a lot of tools to successfully enter the job market.
So here are some of my networking tips for college students who hate to network.
First, hope is not a plan. When my kids were growing up I used to have a saying on my fridge. “Hope is Not a Plan.” I hope I get into that class, I hope I pass, I hope I graduate etc. You need a plan of action to achieve your academic goals and it is the same with networking. You should set a strategy for what you want to achieve and who you need to meet to get you there.
You need to intensively focus your activities on getting a job. That’s key today. You need to use all of the tools available to you. You don’t have much of a choice. That means attending events where there are lots of adults versus student networking groups. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I think being involved with PRSA student chapters is great but the jobs and internships are at the mainstream PRSA and IABC Chapters.
It is pretty basic but you need business cards. No ifs, ands, or buts. If you have any design or creative courses at your school, connect with those people and have them design your cards so they are unique and distinctive. Believe me gents, handing out business cards will make you look like much less of a… (I will let you fill in the blanks).
Register your own domain name by buying your name. You may move a lot but your personal URL will be your permanent address. It will help your SEO and the background checks that will be done in the future, will be yours forever. Find your favorite geek to build you a one page landing page. You will keep building it for the rest of your life and that’s what websites will become in the future.
Then, hit your parents up for a budget to attend networking events. The majority of events have student rates. I think your parents will be more receptive to funding you attending networking events than going to Vegas for the weekend.
You need to master Linkedin. You have no choice because that is what HR departments use. Use a business type photo on your profile. I can guarantee that you will look very impressive if you have a complete profile with lots of connections and recommendations. Get recommendations from your Profs, part time jobs, volunteer connections etc. Post updates daily, not about your favorite taco but about the networking events you are going to attend.
Another tip is don’t think of your parents friends as old people. Look at them as data bases, Linkedin with them. If they are in a field you are interested in, ask for a courtesy interview. Trust me, they will be eager to help. Most parents are instilled with secret wiring code that says you must help your friends and peers children. It is an unwritten rule. Leverage it.
Create the world you want to live in the future by forming it with your networking activity today. If you want to connect with people with lots of social currency then volunteer and attend fund raising events which are excellent networking events. A lot of people prior to the recession used to live in a world of “this is what I got.” We saw a lot of that in the last decade. It didn’t last and neither did its values. These are the times to live in a world of “this is how I can help.”
Let it define your networking strategy.
Remember it is up to you to reinvent the world to your vision and create the promise of change that all ages embrace.
Connect with Hank on Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook:
Watch a video on Why Young People Shouldn’t Try to Find a Job.