Millennials get a bad rap—get a bunch of our parents together and they’ll likely lament the time we waste on Facebook or question if we ever communicate face-to-face anymore. But in reality, being a millennial has a ton of perks—especially when it comes to the skills you need post-graduation. We talked to collegiettes and Sarah Reifer, an assistant director and career counselor at the Johns Hopkins University Career Center, about why it’s great to be a millennial and how to market your skills in the workplace!
1. We get technology
We Facebook, tweet, text, you name it—and we’ve been doing so basically since we knew how to use a computer! We’re the first generation to barely know a life without texting or iPods or iPads. “The millennial generation is more plugged in and interconnected than any generation before them,” Reifer says. “Being on a computer is a function of almost any job, and this is something this generation has grown up with.”
Lucky for us, this particular trait is likely something you already have—but that doesn’t mean it’s implied when you’re out on the job hunt. Reifer recommends demonstrating through your resume or cover letter how you’ve used technology, whether for class, an internship or a student club. For example, if you run the Facebook page for your sorority or if you use HTML to program your school newspaper’s website, definitely list these skills on your resume.
2. We understand marketing
Whether you’re a business major or not, if you have a Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr account, you are doing a form of marketing: for yourself! By carefully choosing cover photos and sharing tweets that will get you more followers, you’re creating a brand for yourself. “Marketing is a second nature [for this generation],” Reifer says. “They’re very mindful of public image and perception.”
This is a skill that should come across in your resume, cover letter and all of your public social media sites! Reifer says to list the social media sites you use on your LinkedIn profile or resume, especially if you’re interested in fields like marketing, communications and journalism, where having a strong Twitter following and a polished website are crucial. And if you’re not going into a field like marketing, knowing your personal brand is helpful simply in applying for jobs, Reifer says. When you sit down for an interview or write a cover letter, you’re marketing yourself!
3. You’re results-driven
One of the biggest insults slammed at the millennials? We only want instant gratification. However, Reifer says that millennials are actually “results-driven.”
So what does that mean? We’re efficient and we’re always focused on what’s next. “It’s an entrepreneurial spirit,” Reifer says. “You can show this if you’re a founding member of a club or an organization. Things like this show leadership, perseverance, work ethic and the concept of bringing an idea full circle.”
Allison, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, agrees. “We have this unrealistic expectation of getting results quickly, but I think it’s also a source of motivation too,” she says.
4. We’re super well-rounded
Blame it on the Internet: because we have grown up in a world dominated by the incredible World Wide Web, our interests are as diverse as ever. With the Internet at our fingertips, we have access to a ton of information that our parents never had, which allows us to pursue passions and take up interests we might not have known existed without it.
“This makes for really multifaceted individuals,” Reifer says. “These students become great contributors to the workforce. Here’s an example: perhaps a student is majoring in a subject and they are involved in a totally different extracurricular activity that shows teamwork and leadership. It shows diversity of interests both academically and socially.”
5. You’re informed about the world around you
Growing up with cable television, dozens of news sites and more blogs than you can count has its advantages. “We live in a time where media is so accessible,” Reifer says. “We’re plugged into the national level and the global level. [Millennials are] informed individuals and informed citizens. This makes a great contributor to any office space.”
Laura, a student at Florida International University, agrees. “We have all the information we need at our fingertips thanks to our smartphones and Google,” Laura says. “It is easier to communicate—in regards to that, news spreads much faster and we are more aware of events going on around the world.” Of course, our parents have access to the Internet as well—but our generation is using it more than any other demographic.
6. We’re respectful of different cultures and groups of people
As a whole, our generation is one of the most diverse in history, says Reifer. “[Millennials] have a heightened level of social and civic awareness,” she says. Through the Internet especially, we’re exposed to so many different ways of thinking, so even if you grew up or go to school in a homogenous town, you’re likely more informed about other viewpoints.
“Growing up in a time where people have more rights than they did when my parents were growing up has made me think more critically about other people and the struggles they experience, even if those struggles may not be similar to mine,” says Anna, a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University. “Since moving to Baltimore for college, I've been exposed to an incredibly diverse, rich population that has allowed me to expand my worldview past what I learned in my small, 99-percent-Caucasian town.”
How will this help? According to Reifer, our generation will be working in a very diverse workforce, and embracing diversity is key to furthering social progress as well as learning about different views that you may have never even thought about!
So the next time your parents make a snide remark about our generation, show them this list. Turns out we millennials are actually going to be really in demand!