A Gen Zer Navigating the Job Market
Being young and a recent graduate, I have come to two conclusions. One experience is far more valuable than education and two the pandemic screwed us. I was one of the unlucky ones who spent their most integral college years online. And the worst part is that internships were in short supply as many businesses were closed. This put many of us in a predicament where we had an education but no experience. It took me five months after graduation to find a job and when I did, it was pure luck.
In my short time working for that start-up company, I wore many hats and gained experience in various areas of business; product and program development and management, sales, invoicing, recruiting, and content creation. The biggest asset I brought to the team was my extensive creativity and ability to think of solutions quickly. I quickly learned that this is a valuable skill to have.
I would argue many people in my generation are unique problem solvers. We have had to find ways to navigate weird spaces our entire lives and the pandemic really showed the adaptability of many of generation z. Because many of us were already accustomed to the internet, moving online was not particularly challenging for most of us. Learning online, however, presented a different set of challenges itself.
Many universities adopted asynchronous classes, which gave students a lot of freedom and wiggle room, but lacked the interactive piece that the classroom brings. Also, the distractions at home can be overbearing for those of us struggling with anxiety and anxiety-related disorders.
Post-college I applied for hundreds of positions and landed only a handful of interviews where I was told the same thing, “We think you’re great, however, we are looking for someone with more experience.” And I was stuck with this problem that I had no idea how to fix. How do I gain experience, when no one is willing to give me a chance to gain the experience?
It took me months to accept the answer that I had known from the start; Create your own opportunities. My family had been encouraging me to start my own business but I had imposter-syndrome. How could I start a business with very little experience? And the answer was simple; let your work speak for you and take feedback.
I had to ask myself. Well, what are my strengths? Writing is one, but what else? Content. That’s it! I love to make content: video, music, and literature.
My background is in artistry and performance gives me a leg up and I utilized those skills to start my very own creative brand. If I couldn’t find the opportunity that allows my strengths to shine, I would make it! Working for a start-up taught me the value of wearing different hats and increasing one’s skill set. Now, running a brand myself, I am gaining the experience I need to be successful, while being my own boss. If this ain’t #blackexcellence, then I don’t know what is.