Help Your Gen-Y Traits Stand Out Among Job Seekers

Posted June 24, 2014 by

The things that matter to today’s graduates when it comes to finding workplace happiness are a bit different than that of generations past. In fact, when comparing Gen-X (born during the mid 1960s through the late 1970s) to Gen-Y (born early 80s to early 2000s), there are a number of factors that make them very distinct kinds of employees.

While Generation X is known for its entrepreneurial nature, confidence, and self-motivation, Generation Y is more technologically savvy, can multitask with ease, and isn’t afraid to take risks. As a member of Gen-Y, you’ll want to learn how to play up those attributes to employers so that they are perceived as strengths. For instance, it’s typical for more recent graduates to prefer a workplace that provides staff members with a lot of feedback, has team-building exercises, and gives recognition for a job well done.

As such, try to emphasize your willingness to work with others, describe times when you’ve made contributions to team projects, and focus on ways in which you can add value to the company. This can help set you apart from older workers who sometimes feel disillusioned after years of working, and therefore can come across as lacking in energy and passion.

The good news is employers are recognizing the preferences and needs of their new hires, and are offering various benefits and perks to attract and retain top talent right out of college. For example, one benefit that appeals to many new graduates is the opportunity for advancement and ongoing training and education either at the office, or via tuition reimbursement toward an advanced degree.

Even for companies that can’t be as competitive with the salaries they can offer, by providing on-site training and coursework or showcasing a commitment to the work life balance, they can offer something that Generation Y really cares about.

What’s more is that by helping employees keep their skills relevant and build upon what they learned in college, it’s a good show of faith that an employer is invested in your future. Finding the right cultural fit, one that mirrors your commitment to the community and embraces your love of social media as well, can also be a good predictor of personal success.

Take a look at this infographic developed by Olivet Nazarene University’s Graduate School for a closer look at what motivates Gen X and Gen Y employees, and how employers are stepping up their game.

Dawn Papandrea is a Staten Island, NY-based writer specializing in education, careers, parenting, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in publications including Family Circle, Parents,,, and more. She has a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications from New York University. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

How to Retain Top Employees: Keep Gen X and Gen Y Happy in the Workplace
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