As the Pomp and Circumstance of college commencement ceremonies begins to fade, the advice of keynote speakers for graduates to “follow your dreams” and “reach for the stars” is swiftly being replaced by a more pressing reality: the challenge of landing that first job.
While getting a foot in the door is never easy, college graduates may find a silver lining in their search amid the current employment landscape.
Just as importantly, employers should consider seizing the opportunity to invest in the future of their organizations.
In the Capital Region, a shortage of qualified employees is the primary factor holding back growth at many companies.
Indeed, the quarterly Linium Hiring Index reveals that employers consistently identify a skills gap, especially in the high-tech sector, as the biggest impediment to filling positions.
Considering that graduates have been educated and trained on the latest, most innovative business and technology processes, platforms and systems, this may give them an edge as they pursue relevant career paths.
Further, as the job market grows increasingly competitive, the talent selection process is fast becoming a two-way street.
Employers no longer hold all the cards.
Just as candidates must demonstrate why they should be hired, companies need to provide compelling reasons to work at their organization.
And more than ever, the factors that distinguish one workplace from another – the chance to do interesting work, to advance initiatives that employees believe in, and to achieve work-life balance, among others – are the things that are most attractive to millennials.
Still, the bottom line is, well, the bottom line: employers need to hire candidates who can make a difference in their organizations.
Perhaps now more than ever, college graduates are uniquely poised to do just that.
Start by considering how tech-savvy they are. The world they’ve grown up in doesn’t consider technology an added value, but a necessity.
They’re not only comfortable using technology, they demand it.
What organization would not benefit by having employees who embrace that concept, and can put it to use to serve the needs of clients and customers?
Next, think of graduates’ views of the world. Having never lived without the internet and 24-7 cable news, they’re particularly tuned in to the world around them, from issues in their own communities to national politics to the global economy, and so on.
This leaves them well positioned to help an organization understand the pulse of the public. Combine that with the ease with which they use social media, and you have the ability to establish a powerful connection with customers and stakeholders through direct and proactive communication.
Most impressively, millenials are not driven simply by a paycheck, health benefits, and a 401K contribution.
They care about the work they do. They want to do work that matters, and to actively contribute to the success of an organization.
Employers that can harness this passion and dedication will find individuals who are committed to the cause, willing to work hard, and thrilled to be part of a cohesive team.
This is an exciting time in the lives of our newest college graduates.
Forward-thinking companies that realize they have much to offer, and are willing to invest in their growth and development, will take a decisive step on the road to a brighter future, both for graduates and their employers.
Miriam Dushane is managing director of Upstate New York Linium Recruiting. She has nearly 20 years of experience in human resources, specializing in recruitment, employee relations, and training and development.