Archive for May, 2010

May
27

A Gen Yer’s Take on Entitlement

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Guest Post by Alex Shippee, 2010 Marist College graduate

As I prepared to graduate this spring, I heard my fair share about how my generation, Generation Y, has a dangerous sense of entitlement. This may be true for some, but I’ve known a lot of exceptions that make me question this wisdom.

When I left Marist College this past week I said ‘goodbye’ to a lot of remarkable friends. Some are attending graduate schools in Madrid or Florence, teaching English in China, or working for Top Five accounting firms. They have more creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication than I can imagine in any one place. So where does this notion of entitlement come from?

It comes from the rest of us. Those of us who can’t point to something we’ve done or a skill that we excel at to justify a high sense of self. Feeling entitled makes it difficult to build something we can feel legitimately proud of so we often simply procrastinate or slack off.

We not only think that we are innately qualified and prepared for whatever comes our way but, more than that, we are owed it. We deserve attendance at a great school, the best opportunities, and the job of our dreams because, quite simply, it’s our right for showing up and being ourselves.

This couldn’t be a more incorrect assumption.

In this weird state of traction, nobody would like to hire us, nor could we handle the position if we got it. But it’s not an indelible character trait that cannot be reversed. What we need is the challenge to our talent and to our drive to prove that we can apply ourselves and achieve something.

Finding professional employment is certainly a tough process but, ultimately, a necessary and rewarding one. Sending out resumes, researching employers, using social media like Twitter and LinkedIn, building relationships and networking, facing rejection and getting back up…that will help break any sense of entitlement we may have.

In the end, as long as employers remain discerning, this will produce applicants willing to work hard for a position they truly want. Employers, likewise, will see the benefit of hiring those that overcame difficult odds and bypassed their careless competitors.

And the harder we have to work to get something the more likely we’ll want to keep it. We’ll have built a foundation that will last. If some members of Generation Y still feel entitled then they won’t for much longer. The current job market is our proving ground to catch up to our already exceptional classmates.

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In the next few weeks, we’ll be talking some more about ways that you can use social media to find and land a job.  But first, I thought it would be helpful to get some insights into how the PR industry is using social media as a recruitment tool.  My colleague Lauren Begley wrote a post for the PepperDigital blog with some guidelines for hiring managers to use social media as a recruiting platform.  Take a look at what she has to say, and keep these points in mind when engaging in social media communications:

As Twitter has quadrupled in size and Facebook now rivals the population of the world’s third largest country, social media has forever changed our personal and professional communication practices. While it is often thought of as a tool for a PR or communications department within a corporation, there are other uses that divisions like human resources can exercise.

Recruitment, for example, offers a great opportunity for an HR team to delve into the social media space. Just as a job applicant develops a cover letter and resume touting their best qualities, HR managers can build a strong social media platform to showcase the company’s corporate culture in order to attract top talent. At Peppercom, for example, our intern coordinator Alicia Wells manages a blog all about entry level positions in public relations. This platform provides those outside of our company with a look into our corporate culture and professional values, as well as useful information for the job hunting process. If you too are in this position, here are a few best practices to consider.

1) Listen: In today’s current job climate, prospective employees are turning to the Web to identify job opportunities and highlight their qualifications. Before you launch a social media campaign, it is important to survey the conversations already taking place so you can find the social media tools that are most resonating with the top candidates. To do this, determine the kind of information they are seeking about your corporate culture and job functions. Take notice, specifically, of where they are communications online. By identifying these patterns, you’ll be able to create a social media campaign that will appeal to the type of candidates for which you are looking.

2) Start the Conversation: Once you have a handle on the social media platforms the top talent is comfortable using, you will be able to recognize the means by which you should engage your audience. For example, if participants within your field are active on Twitter, you might consider launching a corporate account to disseminate job information and answer questions in real-time.

3) Let Your Stars Shine: Whether a company provides a platform for its employees or not, most are regularly using digital communication channels on a regular basis. Identify those employees who are already social media savvy and bring them in to help shape the corporate presence online. Providing current employees with the opportunity to become the online voice of your company, will enable authenticity to shine through and offer potential job applicants a glimpse into employee life at your company.

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