Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Graduate School for Millennials

I was really inspired by this post on Seth Godin's blog. If you're not following Seth's blog, I would suggest trying it for a few weeks. This one is about things recent college grads can do to bolster their chances of getting hired in this tough employment market. Like a lot of Seth's ideas, they're pretty bold and in your face. He advises:

How about a post-graduate year doing some combination of the following (not just one, how about all):

1. Spend twenty hours a week running a project for a non-profit.
2. Teach yourself Java, HTML, Flash, PHP and SQL. Not a little, but mastery.

3. Volunteer to coach or assistant coach a kids sports team.
4. Start, run and grow an online community.
5. Give a speech a week to local organizations.
6. Write a regular newsletter or blog about an industry you care about.
7. Learn a foreign language fluently.
8. Write three detailed business plans for projects in the industry you care about.
9. Self-publish a book.
10. Run a marathon.

Beats law school.

If you wake up every morning at 6, give up TV and treat this list like a job, you'll have no trouble accomplishing everything on it. Everything! When you do, what happens to your job prospects?

I tried to imagine myself doing these things when I was 22 and fresh out of college. Heck, I tried to imagine myself even having the presence of mind to imagine doing these things when I was 22 and fresh out of college. Some of them were just not possible (did Java even exist in 1990?), and others would have been a whole lot more difficult than they are today (self-publishing a book, etc.). But I certainly could have done some of them and they undoubtedly would have made me more employable.

And that got me thinking about the people graduating from college today. Sure, they've got more tools at their disposal to do some of the things on Seth's list, but I also suspect that they have more presence of mind about promoting themselves and their brand than I did at their age. Am I crazy, or is this one of those things that makes me think the Millennials are going to run over the GenXers when the two groups start competing for the leadership positions vacated by Baby Boomers?


Anonymous said...

As an Xer, I'm not too worried about being "run over," for two reasons. First, I'm not sure I even buy the concept of personal branding and personal brand promotion anyway. Second, leadership requires a certain degree of vision and entrepreneurial spirit that I'm not sure the Millennials will have (at least until they mature a bit).

Anonymous said...

I would agree with Elizabeth's comment about being run over by Millenials for future leadership positions. While I do think there are some up and comers who will grab the brass ring and run with it (as in ANY generation), there's always the maturity factor. And from what I can tell, with all the reality TV kind of crap that we have now, maturity seems to be lost for the moment. It will take hard lessons for some, others are mature beyond their years--and it's the emotional maturity I'm talking about. When you're used to getting praised all the time and it doesn't happen, there's no pouting in "the real world"!

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