Many of today’s graduating students are Millennials who, while often thought to be the best-educated generation, are also often perceived to be “unfit” for the traditional job market because of their desire to enter the workforce at a professional level commensurate with their education and to maintain professional lives that harmonize with their personal and family lives.
Recent data demonstrate that millennials’ perceived psychological profile distinguishes them in the job market—and usually not in a good way. Time magazine describes them as the “Me, me, me” generation —narcissistic, fame-obsessed, convinced of their own greatness, critical of the establishment, and technologically addicted. Forbes refers to millennials’ overconfidence, high expectations, inward focus, misplaced education, and low attention to building their credit scores. These perceptions sharply contradict the expectations of employers who want to acquire ambitious talent they can rely on to be attentive in gaining an understanding of their organizational complexity, interested in the opinions of others, and willing and able to contribute to their employer’s goals.
While millennials may disagree with the negative connotations attached to their generation by the likes of Time and Forbes, many agree theirs is different from the preceding generations that many organizations are still shaped by and for. Millennials describe themselves as multi-taskers, connected and tech-savvy, and interested in rapid learning and rapid career development with the kind of job flexibility that will support a balanced work and private life. Many are wary that some traditional industries lack diversity both in their workforces and in the tasks they expect workers to perform. Their interest lies more in working among other multi-dimensional problem-solvers than in being constrained by old-fashioned management regimes.
If you feel that such a description relates to you, you can try to change the game. While you are still a student, or if you are alumni, you have a tremendous opportunity to do a capstone project, an internship project, or participate in the Consulting Case Writing Competition as a platform for career crafting. Following the BE-EDGE method, you can craft YOUR space, choose YOUR company, and shape YOUR space in the market.