Congratulations, Gen Z. Your first class of cohorts graduated from college this Spring, and that means your generation will start making its mark in the professional world in a big way. Here’s some advice, collected from millennials, on how to succeed in business:
The first year is the hardest
First year professionals often ask how long it takes to adjust to their new place in the world. The answer is it is takes a year, or more. It’s the steepest learning curve of your life, but along the way, you’ll learn more than you dreamed possible, get support from many people, and build your confidence and capabilities. Keep climbing.
Learning to be professionals
As the newest group to the workforce, you’re learning how to be professionals – how to behave, speak, dress, and manage up, down and across. You’re entering a world where career paths are changing faster than ever; it’s no longer a ladder but a web. To succeed, you’ll need to be willing to speak up about what you want and need. Be willing to work hard, and don’t be afraid to direct your own future.
Learning to engage with clients
It’s a big leap for anyone to move from the classroom to the corporate environment, but you’ll be focused on developing professionalism, trustworthiness, and relationships. Learn to write great emails, attend as many face-to-face meetings as you can, and pay attention to how people interact. Be the notetaker. Write good follow-up emails and thank-you notes.
Learning to manage your time
There’s a lot to do and not enough time to do it. Your ability to multi-task will serve you well as a foundation for learning to manage your time. Know expectations and priorities, and focus on them.
Developing a skill set
You’re entering the workforce with a fierce independence and desire to succeed. What you learn will define and give direction to your career path. Take opportunities to manage projects and make mistakes. You’ll learn quickly if you remain receptive to constructive criticism.
Learning to speak a new language
You’ll be learning the language of the business. To quote John le Carré, who wrote in the guardian about why we should learn German,
“The decision to learn a foreign language is to me an act of friendship. It is indeed a holding out of the hand. It’s not just a route to negotiation. It’s also to get to know you better, to draw closer to you and your culture, your social manners and your way of thinking.”
And don’t hesitate to introduce your organization to new language, viewpoints, and solutions.
Welcome to the workforce. We’re here to support and mentor.