Gen Z asks a Career Coach...

03/02/2020

We’re no longer living in a Millennial World, as this decade is likely to see Gen Z take place in up to 30% of the workforce. With competitive job markets and employee wellbeing high on the agenda for these young job seekers, what are the key concerns for their future employment? for National Careers Week,  Gen-Zer Joe Hildreth (17) gives his take on what’s to come and asks Renovo’s Head of Career Coach Emma Louise O’Brien some key questions.

“Gen Z have been told for years that getting a job is highly competitive and the worry that we’ll be out-qualified by older, more experienced people results in a lot of stress; around 1 in 6 UK teenagers already suffer from job-related anxiety in the UK. From a school-leaver’s point of view, this can result in a huge lack of motivation to actually go out and get a job.

CV for Gen Z

We’re told by teachers that our CV is supposed to make us look as good as possible, but we sometimes wonder if we’re actually good enough. Does this mean it will be difficult to live up to expectations in the workplace, too? Assuming the daunting interviews go well, we’re faced with the task of doing what is expected. How are these skills learnt? What guidance is there? We worry that we will just conform to what everyone else is doing and just hope that we’re doing the right thing, afraid to get in the way, feeling lost.

Gen Z work experience

One possible way to get ahead is to get a job alongside A Levels or College. This leads to concerns about the number of hours to put in and whether it’ll affect schoolwork. Linking back to meeting expectations, asking for less hours so that we can cram in time to get homework done for the next day may make us worry about whether we may be taking advantage of an employer’s decision. This difficulty in knowing how to balance work and qualifications is the reason a lot of Gen Zers would prefer to wait it out until after education.

Into the real world

The difference between a student lifestyle and that of an employee at a company out in the real world is a difficult thought too. For example, when we are late for school in the morning we receive a detention, however being late to work can result in further reaching consequences. Getting into a new routine is daunting amongst some of my friends - It can be hard to control a teenage body clock after its been set! Also, the consequences of having below average results can cloud any ambition for achieving particular goals. A lot of what school tells us about our goals and how to achieve them causes panic and worry, for it seems that if we fail to uphold these, we fail at everything.”

With these worries in mind, my key questions for Emma Louise are:

What should and shouldn’t I put on my CV as a school leaver/graduate?

Don’t be put off by the fact you might not have much work experience.  Include a ‘skills’ section in your CV which you can use to shine a light on your transferable skills. Consider projects or assignments you have completed as a team. You may have organised an event which required project management or attention to detail. Don’t just restrict your skills gained in education, this section can also include skills acquired outside of work.   These can include things such as Learning skills, which can mean you challenged yourself by trying a new language or subject, or Communication or Leadership which you utilised perhaps in a club or society.

If you are struggling to identify what skills you may have, take a look at Barclays Life Skills. https://barclayslifeskills.com/ There are a number of organisations offering work experience, so if this is something you wish to explore further, have a look at https://www.studentladder.co.uk/work-experience/  The Princes Trust offer a ‘Get Into’ scheme https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/ working with leading employers offering ‘On the job experience’

Most importantly, always tailor your CV to the job description, matching the specification where you can and add a cover letter so you can show your enthusiasm and let the recruiter know who you are and why you’re right for the job.

Are job interviews particularly long and intense?

There are many different types of interview. Trends are changing in the modern job market, with many employers using Video and Skype interviews, although traditional desk-based interviews are still the norm. Some employers will include several different rounds of interview in their search for the right candidate. These can last from a 15-minute conversation to an assessment day where you will be asked to participate in a range of tasks. The most important advice is that you find out what type of interview you are having ahead of time in order to prepare effectively. Most interviewers will put you at ease so they can see the best version of you at the interview.

Where you may have little work-related experience, be prepared to answer questions about hobbies and outside interests. There has been an increase in ‘Strengths based interviews’ where employers want to understand more about what you enjoy and what you are good at which may measure job suitability. https://www.jobmi.com/home is a free to use online assessment which will help you to understand more about your strengths and preferences.

Will I be expected to take on large responsibility after starting?

It’s very unlikely that an employer would give any new starter huge responsibility from their first day – it’s not in their best interest! Appreciate that this is the learning stage of your new job and as you settle in you learn exactly what the organisation is trying to accomplish. Your focus should be on understanding as much as possible about the organisation and their objectives. Set your own goals of what you want to achieve and by when. You may want to take on additional responsibilities after your probationary period.

Will I be making friends or is it entirely professional?

When you enter the workplace, you may be working with people from all walks of life, ages and genders, so it might feel strange at first. Most organisations these days pay close attention to their company culture, which should help you early on to gauge if it’s right environment for you to succeed, personally and professionally. Remember your new colleagues may be happy to have a joke, but it’s always best to err on the side of professionalism until you’re more settled in your new role.

Renovo is the UK’s leading specialist provider of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email info@renovo.uk.com

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