Recently I interviewed a number of candidates for career positions that has come up in the company I head. These are junior positions so I mostly met young graduates and a few who have been in the workforce for one to three years. I must say that i was a tad disappointed with what I saw and learn from the potentials.
The millennials are an interesting generation. They are some times called open-minded, liberal, self-expressive, upbeat, and overtly passionate. They are connected, tech-savvy and multi-tasking too much for comfort. But the trait which hit me most during the recent interview sessions is that the young candidates tend to expect instant gratification and recognition.
Many are fresh from school without work experience, but they expect to be landing a job that will instantly put them in the business forefront. Their demands on compensation does not commensurate their work experience nor ability to deliver what is necessary to be at that pay grade. I do believe in rewarding performance but we do have to be able to first start and prove our worth.
So what do I look for when i speak to a candidate or potential business partner? Recently I compile a list of skills set that I think would be important for any millennials or anyone who wants to survive in this new world. The world as we know it has changed and is still changing. To survive is easy. But to excel I believe you will have to work on the following skills set.
1. Leading and Collaboration
Leadership is key. Always take initiative to lead when opportunity arises. Afterwards be ready to learn from the experience. It takes time to be a good leader. It may come naturally to some, but leadership ability needs to be developed and honed through time. A leader is not a leader if there are no followers. Therefore leadership must always couple with the ability to collaborate with others as well. You must also be able to follow and work with the team as well. Your goal is to be a person of influence.
2. Critical Thinking and Problem solving
Critical thinking is the ability to use logic and reasoning to find solutions for problems. This comes with asking the right questions in order to analyse and evaluate options to arrive at good decisions and implementations. Productive thinking is hard. Many won’t bother. This is where you will have the opportunity to outshine others.
3. Selling and Entrepreneurship
Like it or not selling is a very important skill in life. When you attend a job interview, you are basically selling yourself to the employer to hire you. When you are out on a date, you are selling yourself as a potential partner. Learn to sell well early and it will reward you handsomely in life. Entrepreneurship is this context is about taking ownership. Approach any task or challenge as if it depends on you.
4. Agility and Adaptability
The digital age requires you to be constantly learning and adapting to the changing environment. What you studied in school may already be partially outdated by the time you graduate. So read and keep up regularly on business trends and developments. Your education does not end with school. Real learning only starts after you have entered the business world. Keep an open mind. Adopt and adapt when necessary to stay ahead.
5. Oral and Written Communication
There is no point being smart if you are unable to communicate and express yourself well. Good communication is critical in your workplace, relationships and across many areas in your life. So be very good in at least one language, both oral and written. Strive to master two languages if you can, it will be a hell of a competitive edge. A good command of a second language will open up a new world. I am currently learning mandarin. Not easy. But imagine what i can get my hands on (literatures, wisdoms, business ideas, history and culture) the moment I get a handle of mandarin.
6. Accessing and Analysing Information
There is an information overload nowadays. So much is available at our fingertips that we that it for granted. There is no need know everything. But knowing how and where to get right information is more important. Be resourceful. But having so much information is useless unless we can make sense with it. Learn to analyse the information and make it applicable knowledge.
7. Curiosity and Imagination
Stay curious and ready to pick up new skills and knowledge. Life is full of twists and turns and there is just no knowing what you will encounter in your career path. There will always be alternative opportunities for you explore which may lead you to your destiny. At the same time there may be distractions and detours that will throw you off course. Come what may, your part is to embrace change and work it to your advantage.
I wish I have been mature enough younger to understand the importance of these skills. It would have helped me a lot if someone had knocked my head and tell me to live and grow these skill sets. I would have definitely be a better person, better achiever then i am today.
Well, no matter where we are at age or career, it is always never too late to learn. I am still learning and working to hone these skills.
Now go, aspire for more!