Youth Skills Day – Are Millennials Finding Meaningful Careers?

We met with Mia Johnston, our summer intern, to discuss Youth Skills Day and the reality of finding meaningful work in today’s market.

Mia is a graduate of Dalhousie’s Business Management program with a major in Leadership & Organizations, and is currently in a postgraduate Fundraising Management program at Humber College.

Mia, what was your experience upon graduation?
I left the east coast after school because I knew there was more opportunity for me in business in Toronto. I knew I really wanted to be in marketing specifically, so I worked with a recruiting agency to find an entry-level role as a communications coordinator for a boutique agency downtown. I found that using a recruiter made the process a little easier, but I still found there was lots of competition.

Do you find that this is the typical experience?
It’s no surprise, but I feel that everyone is experiencing more challenges finding work these days. Globalization and technology have changed the ways in which we are connected and I’m seeing more and more people with massive networks, which can be a challenge when you’re younger. My network upon graduation really only consisted of my friends from school and my parents’ friends.

With automated hiring systems that are more impersonal, having a network is more valuable than ever because you need someone who is able to vouch for your skills and abilities.

Do you feel your education has prepared you for today’s job market?
I think my current postgraduate certificate is preparing me for the direction that I want to go. The certificate is very niche and I think being more specialized in the industry is what’s hopefully going to make me stand out.

As for my undergrad, I feel like that was just a mandatory first step in the process.

What kind of advice are you hearing from older generations about finding employment and do you think it applies to the modern job market?
I think a big one is about handing out resumes in person. It’s not like that anymore, you need to have a connection before pitching yourself as a potential candidate for a job. It all comes back to that network.

I also think older generations have this idea of getting your foot in the door and working your way up regardless of what the job is, but now I really believe millennials are looking for careers with intention and purpose.

Speaking of network, do you have any tips for how to build a network?
I think it’s about building positive relationships with everyone you meet, regardless of whether or not you think they can help you directly. Anyone and everyone is a valuable member of your network in some way or another.

Also, offer value first, networking is a two-way street. If you think of what skills or help you have to offer instead of always taking, you’re going to have a lot more success.

Thanks Mia!

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