Move over ping-pong tables, step aside endless boxes of free pizza. If you're a 15- to 20-year-old member of Generation Z, you know that employers shouldn't confuse you with Millennials.
Born from 2000 onward, Gen Z is the first generation to have had technology at their fingertips since they were born, and as a result they're resourceful and independent. To that point, they're driven - 76% of Gen Z believes they own their careers and will catapult their own professional advancement, according to the Monster Multi-Generational Survey findings on Gen Z.
If this sounds like you, you could very well be an ambitious, symbolic-card-carrying member of the up-and-coming Gen Z workforce. You may still be a student (77% of Gen Z still is), but if you want reach your significant goals, it's important to start thinking about your first job now.
So, when it comes down to a job offer, here's how to look for the things that will matter for Gen Z's success, according to the Monster survey:
1. Health insurance (70% vs. 68% across generations). A strong benefits package packs a powerful punch when it comes to enticing job offers. After the financial crisis of '08 and all the recent uncertainty around Obamacare, it's more important than ever to think about these practical necessities. When comparing your first job offers, be sure to take a look at how much you'll be paying out of pocket for expenses like healthcare - these can offset a higher salary.
2. A competitive salary (63% vs. 59% across generations). Yes, while other generations value a salary, when it comes to the Benjamins, Gen Z makes this their second most valuable trait in competitive job offers. Gen Z knows how much they have to offer an employer, with 58% willing to work nights and weekends for higher pay. Demonstrate your work ethic during the interview and then don't be afraid to negotiate for your worth..
3. A boss I respect (61% vs. 60% across generations). Yes, this is similar to other generations, and the importance of deciphering it during the interview process is even across the board - as are the methods. It's likely you'll be interviewed more than once by your prospective boss, so take the opportunity to find out as much as possible. How do they treat the recruiter and others in the office? Are they a straight shooter or do you feel like they're not genuine? Remember: You're interviewing them as much as they're interviewing you. Even if you have a strong benefits package and salary, if you don't respect your boss, you're likely going to be miserable and want to get another job pronto.
4. Opportunities for professional development (47% v. 40% across generations). This is another benefit that many forget to ask about - especially for their first job - but it's critical if you want to have challenges and excitement on the job, which 39% of Gen Z qualifies as a motivator at work. Be sure to ask about training opportunities and education reimbursement. Ask potential members of your team what their experience has been like so far - have they had trainings? Been promoted? Make sure your employer will not only invest in you to fill the position today, but also in your future holding new roles and responsibilities. Win-win.
5. Maternity/paternity leave (33% vs. 25% across generations). While this topic continues to get buzz in the press as a variety of companies up their game, keep in mind that the US does not have a guaranteed paid maternity leave policy. Currently it's up to employers to offer them. Or not. And even though Gen Z is young now, you can't adequately plan for that aspirational future without also thinking about your potential family, and how your career will impact your lifestyle goals.