Generation Z is now entering college, which means it's time to start preparing them for what they'll face in the job market. They were born into a world of smartphones and advanced technology, which has informed their perspective in a unique way, that introduces a lot of interesting considerations for career counselors.
How does Generation Z's perspective inform their career goals and how can career counselors help them meet those goals?
Desire to Make a Difference
The new white paper from i4cp includes a study that found that 93 percent of the 600-plus Gen Z members who were surveyed say a company's impact on society affects their decision to work there.
Career counselors should help these job seekers identify their set of values to help them match with future employers. Begin with a long list of values and start to remove those that don't resonate as well. Ultimately, the list should be reduced to five of the most important ones.
A more concrete way of thinking about this is to consider what standards they use to live by. For example, you may use personal health, family, and honesty as gauges to make life decisions from. These are your top values. Once young job seekers hone in on their top values, career decision-making becomes a lot easier.
They can use these values to guide their efforts toward initiating societal change. Encourage them to participate in volunteer work that aligns with those values. They can also be proactive in starting a program within their company or school. This involves selecting a charity, considering the level of involvement that others are willing to provide, and allocating the appropriate resources for initiating and maintaining the program with a group of peers.
This is a great way for Gen Zers to use their values to pursue making a difference they are proud of and show that commitment in their professional lives.
Strong Entrepreneurial Spirit
Universum's recent report found that 55 percent of the 50,000 young respondents born between 1996 and 2000 say they are interested in starting their own company. Counselors can be a guiding voice for them.
Developing a personal mission statement is a great first step for Generation Z to start their professional lives. Self-reflection is key here. First, they should write down some past successes and refer to their list of core values. Then, they can identify what they want to contribute to and list some short-term and long-term goals.
All these pieces will come together when they use them to write a concise mission statement. Remind them that these statements should be reevaluated and can be adjusted as time goes on.
Students can lead clubs in their schools that relate to their professional goals. If someone wants to found their own IT company, they can start a computer science club, which can help build their professional network and add to their resume appeal.
It's never too early to find personal mentors either. The worst advice is to tell them to ask a stranger. Job seekers should consider their immediate surroundings and start to build a relationship with that person who inspires them regularly, such as a university professor or a fellow member of a professional organization.
Gen Zers should also perform informational interviews during their search for a career they will love. Tell them to research their industry, find some leaders and powerful figures, and reach out. They should contact someone who holds their desired position, and ask questions to help them paint a picture of what the path for that specific career may look like.
Collaboration in a Small Setting
A recent report from The Creative Group and Enactus found that Generation Z prefers to work with a small group in an office setting that is conducive to collaboration. Seventy-four percent of the 770 Generation Z respondents prefer face-to-face interaction with colleagues.
This is promising because communication skills are highly desirable in the current job market. It's important to help them cultivate this. Provide them with some communication training that details the effects of body language and nonverbal cues, demonstrates the negatives of distraction and divided attention, presents tools for cultivating empathy, and teaches the basics of storytelling.
How are you preparing Generation Z for the future job market?
Val Matta is the vice president of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. Connect with Val and CareerShift on LinkedIn.