I recently had the opportunity to talk with and interview a leader and role model for women job seekers everywhere. Hannah Seligson is a young entrepreneur and author of the recent book “New Girl on the Job.” The book depicts stories and insight about women ‘survivin and thrivin’ in the workplace.
On her website it reads:
“Through interviews with some of the best and brightest businesswomen in the country, meticulous research, and one-on-one interviews with hundreds of young women starting out in their careers, New Girl on the Job provides you with all of the information you always wanted to know about workplace success but were afraid to ask.”
I was proud to get to ask her a few questions on Gen-Y in the workplace, the myspace and Facebook affect on the job search, Gen-Y entitlement and how young women are perceived in the workplace. I hope everyone enjoys and please venture over to Hannah’s website to pick up a copy of the book “New Girl on the Job.”
Greg: Hi Hannah,
What can these kids, coming fresh out of college do to help prepare them for the initial job hunt?
Hannah: The most successful job searchers are the ones that take the time to figure out exactly what they want and then communicate to the company or organization they are applying to why there is synergy. Job searching is not about just getting someone to hire you; it’s about making a match. And even if it takes a little longer that you’d like to find that match, it’s time well spent.
Greg: What do you think colleges can do better to prepare the students and graduates for their first years on the job?
Hannah: There are a number of things. First, I think every college should offer a mandatory course on salary negotiation. Second, I think they could offer more one-on-one guidance, but I realize that with thousands of students this is often not realistic. However, in the ideal world, colleges would guide students through this rite of passage by helping them match their skills, talents, and interest to a career path. To get that type of individualized attention and guidance that every college graduate needs, you’ll probably have to seek it out from an outside career counselor. Still, college career centers do have very valuable resources so mine them for everything they are worth!
Greg: Do you feel that it is harder for a young woman to move up the corporate ladder, than that of an equal male counterpart? Why/Why not?
Hannah: Unfortunately I think it is. Even though research found that in certain urban areas young women earn more than men, the national data shows that women one year out of college make 80 percent of what their male peers do. The interesting thing about this dynamic is that academically women are running laps around men. They have higher grades and graduate in larger numbers. But workplace success is based on an entirely different skill set, the core of which is self-promotion and building social capital. Men appear to have an edge on those skills, but hopefully that will change sooner rather than later.
Greg: Say you do settle for a decent paying job, but one that is not of your passion, what is the next step?
Hannah: The next step is to figure out what career path you want to forge. Use the less than satisfying job as a learning experience and then apply those lessons to a more targeted job search.
Greg: How do you see the whole Facebook/Myspace/Social Network profiles playing a part in the job search? Have you witnessed employers using ‘Google’ to perform background checks and the like?
Hannah: I think the cat is out of the bag on this one. Employers are absolutely using every technological tool available to them to do background checks on potential employees. So if you haven’t figured it out by now, take down anything on your Facebook/Myspace/Friendster profile that you wouldn’t want a parent to see.
Greg: What can companies do to build awareness about their company to attract the best available talent for their positions?
Hannah: To attract the best available Gen. Y talent, companies should get hip to the value this generation places on our time. We are happy to put in the hours, we just don’t want to put in the hours for the sake of it (i.e. face time). So companies should definitely be highlighting their work/life balance initiatives. Also, finding meaningful work is huge for this generation. So anything that speaks to that will build very positive brand awareness.
Greg: Is there an easy way to describe this entitlement thing that everyone thinks we have? Why do I want to run the company today and not pay my dues?
Hannah: I think the entitlement stereotype is a bit overstated. Employers should be elated that they have an enthusiastic workforce at their finger tips. I think, though, that employers can do a better job of helping new employees manage expectations by saying, “Look, I know you want to be a senior vice president next month, but it takes time. Let me tell you the steps you need to take to get there.” Gen. Ys should do their part and learn to appreciate the process a bit more.
Greg: What blogs are you currently reading?
Thanks one more time Hannah and I wish you only the best as you continue to write for and inspire not only women but job seekers in general from Gen-Y to Older Workers and everyone in between!
Once again please visit her site and pick up a copy of “New Girl on the Job.”