What Gen Y brings to the table

September 16, 2010 1:08 pm

I am the youngest employee at AGP & Associates (not really a surprise, since I am only 22 and just starting my career) and am always trying to learn from my coworkers. From marketing strategy to the rules of writing, their skills certainly outrank my own.

But, over the past year, I’ve also learned that there’s a lot I can offer. As members of Gen Y, we bring many great things to the workplace.

Intuitive web skills. Once a coworker asked me how I figured something out on a website. Honestly, I’m not sure. It’s intuitive. We grew up using the web, therefore we have the advantage of being able to dig up information and figure out how web tools work – quickly, efficiently and with little instruction.

Social media understanding. I joined Facebook before I left for college, started my first professional blog in February 2008 and have been tweeting since September 2008. I don’t even want to know how many hours I’ve spent using social media. But, the time you have spent using social media has given you knowledge you are expected to have as a member of Gen Y.

Fresh perspective. I refer to it as “shaking things up.” As a new hire, you have the opportunity to question the traditional ways. I recently created a presentation for a conference I spoke at. Instead of following our branded template, I used fun pictures from Flickr and included very little copy on the slides. Don’t be afraid challenge the traditions and suggest new, different ways to do things in your job.

Peer understanding. If a client’s audience is in their 20′s, you’ll be able to offer valuable insight on the account. For example, we were recently brainstorming giveaways for college students for a project. I immediately nixed several ideas based on personal experience. Free t-shirts are never the right size, cheap canvas bags get tossed and ink pens are pretty generic (though useful). I thought students would like shot glasses, but that might promote the wrong idea…

What do you think we bring to the table as members of Gen Y?

6 Comments »

  1. Rachel,

    I have to say I haven’t met a ton of GenY members that have disappointed me. Yes, I know in general there is a belief that the generation wants it all and now. But, I love enthusiasm and that’s the most important thing.

    Everyone of your points shows great enthusiasm for doing the best for your company and clients. I think your fresh perspective point is a terrific one. As PR pros, we always need to be thinking of new ways to engage our clients and prospective ones.

    All in all, I think you are one of those folks in GenY that bring great things to the table. I’d be lucky to work with you.

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  3. Great post, Rachel! The New Pros section of the Phoenix PRSA had a discussion about this earlier in the year. We talked about Gen Y stereotypes, how to overcome them and how to best utilize our skills.

    I think a lot of people believe our generation was raised with a sense of entitlement. I’m inclined to believe that, while I’m sure this stereotype rings true in some cases, ours is a generation raised on the “you can be anything you want to be” diet. Because of that, I think we’re more likely to voice our opinions, negotiate for more flexible schedules and other things our parents didn’t do at our age.

    We also have the skills you listed above, which are shaping the future of PR. I think employers are realizing that Gen Y has a lot to offer.

    Cheers!

  4. Rachel,
    Good thoughts … & I’d dare say these are all the things i depend on you (along with our other GenY staffers) for at http://www.visionmidmichigan.com. The fresh thinking is my favorite, though !!

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  6. Hi Rachel,
    Loved the post! I think fresh perspective also expands to the realm of offering a newcomer’s perspective who doesn’t have in-depth knowledge about the client/company yet – perfect for brainstorming. Sometimes when trying to come up with new strategies and campaigns teams are too familiar with the client to step back to the basics like a newcomer can. Thanks for the great read!

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About

Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.