FACTS ABOUT MILLENNIALS IN THE WORKFORCE
The Millennial generation has slowly been invading the workforce and will continue to do so over the next 10 years. In fact, by 2025, Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce. If you’re part of this up-and-coming generation, there are two things you should know:
- A lot of your fellow Millennials have roughly the same educational levels and soft skills, so it’s essential for you to find a way to stand out above the rest.
- There are already plenty of misconceptions about your generation in the workplace. Take a look at the following examples to see what you’re up against and how to overcome it and advance your career.
Employers and Social Media
STEREOTYPE: Millennials are unprofessional on social media
Research conducted by Career Builder shows 37 percent of employers are screening candidates via their social media profiles. Your social life is now public and your employer can find out almost anything about you with a simple Internet search. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your social media platforms represent the best part of you. So, how do you rise above the stereotype and have a social persona that’s still unique and fun, but also polished and professional? Beyond the obvious – avoid inappropriate photos and comments – make sure you never tweet or post negatively about your employer, your boss or your colleagues. While you’re at it, you should include “clients” in that list, too. In the accounting industry, there will come a time when you interact with your clients. If your social media profiles don’t exude professionalism, your clients might not trust your advice.
STEREOTYPE: Millennials can’t take criticism
Most Millennials grew up in high-touch environments – at home and in school. They want to be recognized for a job well done, and they crave frequent reassurance. This has often led to the assumption that Millennials can’t take criticism, but there are things you can do to discredit this belief. When your boss or mentor criticizes your work, remember they are doing this to help you get better. Don’t assume that, when they give you advice, it is because they feel negatively towards you. I promise, they did not wake up that morning thinking they wanted to upset you.
Apply this advice where you see fit, but also know how and when to stand up for yourself. There’s a fine line between being able to take constructive criticism and being treated poorly. If you feel mistreated, make a list of specific issues. Can these be handled on your own, or do you need support from someone higher up? If you need to escalate an issue, do it in person, not via email. Have a professional, respectful conversation about your concerns and feelings and, when its finished, be sure to document any action items and decisions. Showing the ability to stand up for yourself – in a courteous manner – can earn you the respect of your boss and your colleagues, and help your career.
STEREOTYPE: Millennials are self-centered
It’s often implied that Millennials often think only of themselves and, when it comes to the workforce, they typically put themselves first. Look, while on one hand, it’s true that no one will look out for your best interests like you will, it is also important – especially as a member of an accounting team – to know when to put your team’s or your clients’ needs ahead of your own. When you start to see beyond your own needs and get a good look at the big picture, you’re taking the first step in developing a vital skill for accounting professionals. In the accounting industry, it’s really easy to get buried in the minute details. But a good accounting professional can take a step back, look at the overall trends in aggregate, glean a more comprehensive analysis and evaluate all possible solutions. This is a helpful tactic when it comes to complex IRS investigations, tax code confusion and complicated audit processes.
STEREOTYPE: Millennials are job hoppers
This stereotype plays off the previous one – that Millennials are self-centered and can be disloyal when they think the grass is greener at another company. There’s a pretty simple way to overcome this – give your job and your employer a chance. Stay for at least a year. Remember, your employer is taking a chance on someone with little to no real work experience so show them a little loyalty in return. Get involved with other aspects of the company that are outside of your job description – show a commitment to your team and your company as a whole. Also, get to know your clients and help them feel like you are dedicated to improving their businesses and their lives. The more they trust you, the better you can perform – and the sooner you can debunk that myth. However, if, after a year, you see there is no potential for growth, then you can start looking at your options and move on. Staying at least a year will also arm you with more career experience that can play well for you when interviewing for a new job.
A WORD ABOUT LEAVING A JOB GRACEFULLY:
If you’ve given your job ample time and it’s just not working out, that’s OK. Just remember how you leave that job, not why you left it, says a lot to your future employer. Businesses in the same industry talk, especially in the accounting industry. Make sure to give reasonable notice. Two to three weeks notice is customary and allows your current employer enough time to make sure everything is taken care of. Make sure you talk with your boss before ever discussing your departure with your colleagues or clients. Also, continue to give 100 percent dedication to your job. The worst thing you can do in your last few weeks of employment is slack off. Wrap up as many projects as possible and make sure all of your files are organized and easily found. This shows your professionalism and continued loyalty to your employer and your clients.
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