I have spoken with CEO’s from top companies throughout the world, and they all have the same qualities in mind when looking to employ millennials. Unfortunately, it’s not grades, test scores, or the college you attended that gets you the job. I say unfortunately because these are the holy grail myths kids have been striving for since kindergarten. The following four qualities are what most inspires a hire.
- People skills: CEO’s get quickly turned off by college grads who have an amazing resume but can’t look them in the eye and carry on a conversation, a frequent occurrence these days. They want to hire people who have good social skills, including the ability to advocate for themselves, speak coherently, articulate ideas effectively, resolve differences, and relate to diverse people. So, put down your phones as you walk through campus or as you ride the train to work and start meeting new people. Get over any fears or awkwardness that holds you back socially.
- Engagement: Your prospective employer wants to see if you have been passionate about something and became fully engaged in pursuing it. It could have been playing in a band, building your own website, traveling to interesting places, especially on your own dime, or creating a NFP service project about a cause you felt passionate about.
- Self-motivated: CEO’s also want people who can take initiative and make things happen vs. employees who require their hand held and constant direction from a supervisor. Bosses look for people who can motivate themselves instead of needing continual acknowledgement.
- Interesting stories: They aren’t looking for cookie cutter robots with 4.0 GPAs. Business owners love to hire people who have remarkable stories of overcoming obstacles, travel to exotic places on gap years, or unique work experiences. Many entrepreneurs weren’t great students and took unconventional routes on their path to success, so they love to connect with kindred spirits.
If you don’t believe me, ask business owners you know about what they look for when hiring young employees. I guarantee the four points above will fit the profile of who they hire.
Look for Dr. Jordan’s new book for young adults and their parents entitled:
Letters From My Grandfather: Timeless Wisdom For a Life Worth Living