How Gen Y Can Put Their Best Foot Forward…

27 Aug 2014 | Naomi Marshall

Generation Y has received a lot of flak regarding their work ethic in recent years. Those born between 1981 and 1994 are commonly defined as lazy and arrogant. In fact, put “Gen Y Are…” into Google and the first answer is “lazy” followed by “idiots”!

Born during a time of consistent technological development, much of what previous generations had to spend days and weeks trying to achieve, Gen Y can now obtain with a simple click of the button! As a result, some Gen Y’ers can be programmed for instant gratification and often have unrealistic expectations of their career paths and the speed with which they will progress through the company ranks. As you can imagine, these are not always ideal traits to be associated with when entering into a professional industry.

So as part of this generation, how do you put your best foot forward in the recruitment process and shake off these assumptions?

Focus on the skills and strengths you have BECAUSE you are Gen Y! You have been using technology since you could talk and you know how to make things happen with the click of a button! You bring a skillset that some of the other generations don’t have.

Here is the Sprint Wish List for what skills young people should have in 2014 to land the internship or job they are applying for:

1. Restraint on Social Media: Employers want to hire young people who understand how to exercise restraint on social media. Recruiters and employers will search for your name on Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc. It is important to understand what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate and make sure you have the correct privacy settings!! Bear in mind – no matter what your privacy settings, your profile image is always public (HINT – Replace the late night, boozy photo from last Saturday night in that sexy, skimpy number with a smiley selfie or group shot with your friends taken at the start of last Saturday night, etc.)

2. Strong Writing/Proof-writing Skills: Please don’t think everything can be left to auto correct or spell check. Even if your job has nothing to do with writing, I promise you it will involve writing of some sort. Did someone say email?! Perfect your writing/editing skills. This will help with any job and be of value to any future employer. (NB: Please no text message jargon in email correspondence or on your resume. Be professional)

3. Photoshop Skills / IT Savvy: Having these skills can be a valuable asset to your organisation and employer as they can come to you rather than outsourcing a small task. It is also your chance to stand up and shine with your broad skillset you can offer outside of the standard job scope of your role.

4. Flexibility/Adaptability: Employers and work colleagues want an employee/co-worker who is flexible and can adapt to change. Be it working with different people, using different types of technology, or having an open mind when it comes to trying out new processes/systems/software/and apps. Be resourceful and make sure the job gets done regardless of the circumstances! A willingness to adapt to challenges and be flexible with your job and tasks reinforces to your employer that you are an asset and can grow within the organisation.

5. Know the Value of Mentorship: It is so important for Gen Y to seek out mentors, advice and feedback from experienced professionals. There is nothing more powerful than being an active listener and learning from someone who has already been down that road. In addition, in the increasingly competitive postgraduate job market your mentors network becomes your network. A mentor is often a great way to get a foot in the door in what can be an otherwise challenging market.

6. Experience: Paid or unpaid! Employers want to hire candidates who have held a professional internship or work experience in position at a company that is a similar calibre to their organisation. Local, relevant experience is considered GOLD in this market and ensures you are standing out from the crowd!

So if you are part of Gen Y, or even on the cusp and worry about the stereotypes that could make job searching more challenging. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward and demonstrating that BECAUSE you are Gen Y, with these skills, you are the better candidate!

At Sprint, we are always on the hunt for exceptional candidates – of all generations, if you are looking for your next opportunity, contact us at

Share this post:

We want to hear from you!