Build Your Dream Career: A Gen Z Career Development Guide

Build Your Dream Career: A Gen Z Career Development Guide
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 14 October, 2022

Move over, Millennials. Gen Z has arrived.

More Gen Z individuals (or Zoomers) are coming of age and joining the workforce — they are now officially the new kids on the block.

While for the past years, companies have long tried to study how to understand Millennial workers and have transformed the workplace accordingly, they will have to adapt once more. While Millennials and Gen Z share similarities, it would be simplistic to think they’re duplicates. As more and more Zoomers join the workforce each year, this outspoken group is quickly stepping out of the shadow of Millennials.

Are you a Gen Zer looking to build and develop your career? Don’t stress — we have a career development guide for you to succeed in the workplace and reach your goals.

Who is Gen Z? What sets Gen Z apart in the workplace?

Pew Research Center identifies Gen Z as having been born between 1997 onwards. With the oldest Gen Z at 25 years old, many members of this generation are still starting their professional journeys. You can quickly identify Gen Z workers from their older Millennial counterparts based on their distinct traits and behaviours.

Millennials grew up with both offline and online experiences. They were "digital pioneers" — they came of age during the development of the Internet, mobile phones, social media, and other modern digital technologies.

Gen Z, however, was born with all of these readily available. Most Gen Z members do not recognise a time before the internet and social media. The oldest Gen Zers were 10 years old when Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007. Many from this generation accessed media, such as shows, through online streaming instead of broadcast programming. By the time they reached their teens, WiFi and smartphones were considered necessities. All this tech moulded them into becoming the “always-on” generation.

While both Gen Z and Millennials are heavily immersed in the ways of digital experiences, certain traits set both generations apart. According to a study by McKinsey, Gen Zers have four core behaviours:

  • They value individual expression.
  • They can mobilise for causes they believe in.
  • They believe in dialogue to solve conflicts.
  • They make decisions analytically and pragmatically.

Many Gen Z workers began or spent their early careers virtually during the pandemic — these disruptions to the traditional workplace have shaped their expectations at work early on.

According to a study by Deloitte, Gen Z workers also value financial security and health benefits more highly than Millennials, who place more premium on impactful experiences. That said, both enjoy finding a higher purpose at work and having the freedom to design their goals and aspirations — with Gen Z workers especially preferring to hyper-personalise their work experiences.

With most of their career experiences happening remotely amid the pandemic, Gen Z deprioritised teamwork and social skills as areas of development, as opposed to Millennials who ranked these the highest. Gen Z emphasised critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They also highlight their ability to learn independently — again, thanks to all the information they can easily access.

Aside from being independent, Gen Z employees are seen as highly competitive and terrific at multitasking. They prefer setting their hours and aren't too shy to delegate tasks even to their superiors or bosses.

Are you about to embark on your career journey? Here’s how you, a Gen Z employee, can navigate the workplace and build your dream career.

Make an Effort on the First Day of Work

The first day at work can be a nerve-wracking experience. After all, starting your first job is officially the beginning of a new life and adulthood. If you think finding a job is hard, well, the hard work is only about to begin.

The first day at work is crucial in making an unforgettable first impression. However, try not to overthink it! While anxiety can accompany every new experience, channel your nerves into excitement instead.

Start by reaching out to your colleagues. Are you afraid you may not know your way around? Ask where human resources are or where people usually like to head to for lunch. While these may seem mundane, these are opportunities to strike up a conversation with your officemates.

While you don’t have to force a close friendship with your colleagues, building rapport with them is essential in maintaining smooth working ties.

Learn How to Be a Team Player

We know that most Gen Z employees prefer to work alone and independently. Yet in many cases and industries, you will be collaborating in a team. Working within a group is a crucial skill that will get you across different working environments. Being a team player is a necessary soft skill to develop your knack for cooperation. It creates harmonious working relationships with co-workers and helps you to develop your perspective.

Seek Mentorship Opportunities

Having the right mentor can help you navigate your way through the workplace. A mentor should be able to help you in your personal and career development and be ready to answer any questions you have. It is also beneficial long-term if you are looking ahead to advance in your career. A mentor can give you valuable advice on envisioning your next professional steps. They can also help you identify clearer opportunities for your growth and impart lessons such as learning to assert yourself, finding your voice, and learning how to take charge at work.

Find a Purpose and Get Involved

One way to maximise career opportunities and identify with the company is by finding a purpose and getting involved. It can be in the form of volunteering for your agency's corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. If your employer does not have one yet or does not have a fully developed programme yet, take the initiative to begin it or talk to your human resources (HR) department about adopting a cause.

It can be a cause close to you, the company’s values, or both. Perhaps you can connect your company to a well-known advocacy group. Alternatively, you can pitch this to your colleagues and see whether they can identify with your proposed cause.

Upskill And Build Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are capabilities that are not confined to one type of job and are typically those you adopt or pick up from your personal or extra-curricular activities. These transferable skills can include organisational skills, networking or socialising, or leadership qualities. Upskilling can make you a versatile employee and equip you to take on challenges that can help you advance in your career.

Create a Consistent Schedule

While we understand that you like working independently, it is important to meet expectations when it comes to your job. Your schedule must be able to ensure maximum productivity on your end while being able to balance it and set boundaries. Working from home can tend to prolong working hours. Instead of working long hours, make it a point to be productive within a shorter time while setting a clear cut-off time.

Your dream career is yours for the taking, Gen Z.#SEEKBetterand find a job you love so you can advance with ease. For more expert tips on beginning your career journey, visit the Career Resources page for more. Don’t forget to download the JobStreet app on App Store and Google Play.

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