The first members of Generation Z — defined as those born between 1996 and 2010 — are graduating from college and beginning to enter the workforce. But sliding right into the working world certainty won’t be a walk in the park. As the job market becomes increasingly more competitive, this tech savvy generation is going to need to amp up their game if they want to stand out.
We spoke with Anastasia Kuznetsova of the digital agency Ready Set Rocket for some tips that will help this new group of employees secure the job of their dreams:
Don’t be a one trick pony
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Staying within the realms of your comfort zone might be easier than venturing into new projects, but the reality is, it won’t get you ahead in the working world. In fact, the best way for applicants to expand their career opportunities is by demonstrating versatility on both their resume and during the interview phase. If you’re applying to a job as a website designer, “you want to make sure that your curated selection of work shows your breadth as a designer and demonstrates your ability to adapt your design style across a number of clients and aesthetics,” says Kuznetsova. In other words: The more skills, the better. “A candidate that just does app design is much less intriguing than someone who also has experience with interface design and dabbles in photography and motion graphics,” she explains.
Showcase personal projects and interests
What you do on the job is one thing, but what’s even more enticing to potential employers is what you chose to do during your free time. “They want to know that you’re passionate, and personal work often shows off your capabilities since you aren’t working under deadlines,” says Kuznetsova. So if you’ve got some creative projects you’ve been dabbling in on the side, show them off. “Maybe you have a passion for food photography and have an Instagram devoted entirely to that side project,” she explains. Anything that goes beyond your day-to-day roles — whether it’s a blog, an app you’ve been working on, or a folder of sketches — will help you stand out from the crowd.
Know how to sell your work
“When you’re in school, nobody tells you how important it is to be able to present your work,” says Kuznetsova. But once you enter the working world, it becomes crucial. Applicants should be prepared to present and sell their accomplishments. So how can they do it strategically? By first discussing the objective for the project, says Kuznetsova. The next step: Speak to the process. In other words: “What did you do first, and how did you go about solving the challenge?” Once they’ve walked through those initial steps, candidates should reveal the solution they came up with and spend time going through the specific creative decisions they made. At the end of the day, employers want to be able to see your thinking method and envision how you can replicate the same process at their company.