The Rise of Millennials & the Power of Personal Branding

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You’ve probably heard of the Baby Boomer generation. Well, welcome to the new tech-savvy, driven and diverse Millennial generation. Often referred to as Generation Y, this term typically refers to those who were born between 1982-1995. Millennials are in tuned with technology and social media. The platforms have created an avenue for individuals to build personal portfolios using social media platforms.

Along with this new movement comes a new philosophy that has become increasingly important in the job sphere. To put into perspective: many millennials prioritized “meaningful work” over high pay and 1 in 3 young people said “social media freedom” is a higher priority than salary.

Here are some perks and pitfalls of being a digital native.

Access

You’ve got the whole world in your hands, quite literally if you are reading this from your laptop. Because of the wide nature of the web, you have access to things and opportunities no one else has ever had. Instead of sending in an application through the mail or email, you now have direct and even personal access to your employee by simply searching for them online through multiple platforms. Millennials have opportunities their parents never even dreamed of. For example, 30 years ago, telecommuting was unknown.

Creativity

Where your parents would read the newspaper for specials and deals at your nearby Macy’s, you can access applications on your phone to find nearby deals in real-time. Have a problem? An idea? You can solve everyday problems by fusing your creativity and talent in generating real solutions and even inventing new products and brands. Because of this, start-up companies and resourceful outlets are thriving in the tech-driven world we currently live in.

Competition

Millennials need to be aware of future challenges. Since the web has expanded, so has your competition. You have to realize that everyone is creating his or her own personal brand in the same pool and everything has become overwhelmingly competitive. You have to make sure you keep your eye on your goals. More importantly, know your market and competitors. If you aren’t perceptive within your environment, this could decrease your chances of getting the dream job or opportunity you want.

Use Discretion

One of the most important caveats would be monitoring your words or actions with your personal brand and what you want it to represent. Since people now have access to your daily activities on Facebook or even whom you retweet on Twitter, it has become infinitely more imperative that you guard your personal brand. In other words, managing yourself well and being careful of the content you post and support; it could come back to haunt you one day.

Take Initiative

Make sure you are taking initiative in the workplace or online. Look for opportunities and research, research, research. If you enjoy writing, find a publication and write an article everyday. Find journalists who you admire, follow them on Twitter, and be engaging by replying to tweets from them.

Make sure you download all the new apps to stay on top of information to utilize all of your resources. There is no excuse for being lazy; you have opportunities and channels that could get you a job in just one lead on LinkedIn. If you can’t find a job outside your home, search the web; now more than ever, people are able to find full-time jobs online and have more time and flexibility to pursue more than just one interest.

Be Respectful

There has always been some disconnect between generations. You may have experienced people giving you perplexed looks when you ask for their Twitter handles. At the end of the day, you have to remember that not everyone grew up in the same age of technology.

Be tactful when working with your peers and your boss.  For example, reference a strategy from the “older days” to your Gen X or Baby Boomer boss when introducing an innovative product. Demonstrate how it was a great foundation, but recommend ways the strategy can be improved.

About the Author Logan Harper is a digital strategist for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s MPA@UNC: online mpa degree and MBA@UNC: online mba degree. In addition to higher education, he is also passionate about travel, cooking, and international politics. Follow him on Twitter @harperlogan.