Career Guide

How to Win the Job and Thrive in a Multigenerational Workplace

In the post-pandemic era, communicators have an opportunity to start fresh with their careers. The future job market features more remote job opportunities than ever before. In this new era, we can apply an entrepreneurial mindset when looking for our next communications jobs.

At the same time, “work from anywhere” and a four-day workweek are becoming part of the workplace lexicon. More people will earn their incomes by combining a full-time job with consulting, side hustles and freelance work.

We are amid a new era of innovation and transformation. Individuals can apply an entrepreneurial mindset and change the rules with respect to the path they take to secure their next job.

There are more ways than ever to become a well-informed job candidate and employee. Take control of your unique career journey, including your job search, and set your own rules. Change the rules and don’t even apply to the job, at least not initially.

Instead, take a proactive and innovative approach to the same destination and begin your job application process by first leveraging your network to identify the recruiter who is leading the job search or someone who knows the recruiter and bypass the thousands of applicants who are playing by the old rules and taking a reactive approach by simply just applying online for the position.

Develop your personal brand.

More than ever, your personal brand, including your brand narrative, will be more important in achieving job-search success. Employers and recruiters are conducting more extensive research to vet candidates which means you need to develop your personal brand in greater detail and articulate and amplify your brand narrative more extensively. Just like Google, Amazon and Nike, your brand needs a compelling storyline.

For your job search and your overall career, you are your own chief communication and marketing officer. In an intensely competitive job market, your story and how you promote it can help you win the position.

Target your job searches.

Today, traditional approaches are no longer going to get you where you want to go — the next job in your career. Be innovative and take a nontraditional proactive approach that is required now for job searches. Once you determine how far you want to commute from where you live (or if you want to work remotely), then conduct extensive research on every company in that region and identify and rank your top 20 targets.

As you conduct your research and gain insights, you will uncover leads and contacts you never knew you had in your network. After you develop your list, you now need to analyze and rank the 20 targets you have identified. Ranking these companies will help you prioritize so that you invest more time in prospecting your top-five targets.

This approach to seeking your next job will lead to more success than pushing the send button on an application and hoping you receive a response.

Know that all generations offer value.

Once you win the job, you need to recognize that there are an unprecedented five generations are collaborating in some workplaces today. They all provide value.

Baby boomers and members of Generation X spent decades in traditional workplaces prior to the pandemic disruptions that began in 2020. In some organizations, people in their 80s and 90s, members of the so-called “Silent Generation,” are still working. All senior members of a company’s staff bring experiences and insights that help inform business decisions and communications strategies.

Millennials, now between the ages of 27 and 42, are the largest generation in today’s workforce. As they take on more responsibility, millennials help bridge the gap between older and younger generations of workers. They report to older generations who are now in leadership positions, while also mentoring and managing the newest employees, those of Gen Z.

The youngest generation in the workplace, Gen Z’ers, or as I like to call them, “ZEOs,” are digital natives and early technology adopters. Now in their late teens and early 20s, they are becoming a generation of entrepreneurs.

For a July 10, 2023 article in Fast Company titled, “Managing Gen Z: Fast Company’s 142-Point Guide For Leaders,” I described Gen Z’s value to the workplace in this way:

“Gen Z’s entrepreneurial mindset is unprecedented. They have launched startups, side hustles, companies, and nonprofit charitable organizations as early as middle school by leveraging the digital and social media platforms and technology that has been readily available to them at a young age and which they eagerly adopt. They want to take that same entrepreneurial approach on the first day that they join a company as an employee.”

Gen Z is the youngest generation in the workplace, and they will deliver measurable business-building value that will usher in innovation and transformation as long as older generations empower them as ZEOs.

In today’s multigenerational workplace, recognizing generational value helps everyone to thrive. All generations can learn from one another and help deliver business results.

Mark Beal is an assistant professor of professional practice and communication at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information. He has authored four books on Generation Z and recently co-authored “Win The Job & Thrive In A Multigenerational Workplace,” with Frank Kovacs and Kadeer Porter.

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Mark Beal

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