Gen Z, job tips

Tips To Help Black Gen Z Grads Score Jobs In Changing Business Landscape    

Practical experiences, including internships and freelance work, could help boost Gen Z's job prospects.

Words like “incompetent,” “political,” and “demanding” have been used to describe recent college graduates. As such, many business leaders have fears about hiring Gen Z graduates.

However, as Gen Zers finish college and enter the workforce, graduates may do better not to focus as much on such views. Instead, experts advise they center on preparing for jobs and careers.

In fact, a report from the Economic Policy Institute offers that the job market for young college graduates from 2024 is perhaps stronger now than before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another analysis showed about 83% of employers expect boosting or maintaining hiring of 2024  graduates.

The bullish projections come as a survey of 1,268 business leaders were asked by higher education website if they have more worries about the most recent generation of graduates.

According to the survey, 64% of business leaders overall have concerns about hiring recent college grads. Of the 49 Black business leaders polled, 6 in 10 report they have become more concerned in the past five years. Intelligence founded that Gen Z recent grads have “a worse work ethic, are more political, and have fewer practical skills.”

Some 40% of the Black leaders are more worried about hiring recent grads because of the pandemic and pro-Palestine protests. Additionally, 22% of them are less likely to hire a recent  college graduate who took part in pro-Palestine protests.

“There’s always been plenty of debate about hiring new grads due to broad assumptions around lacking soft skills, entitlement, and overall job readiness,” said Huy Nguyen, Intelligent’s chief education and career development advisor. “In recent months, there seems to be a heightened concern about Gen Z becoming far more politically active and vocal with their beliefs in all aspects of their lives including the workplace.”

But perhaps businesses should not move to fast on making hazy assumptions about Gen Z.

“Recent grads need to directly prepare to address misguided stereotypes about their qualifications and mindset through developing their personal brand and demonstrating their experience,” Nguyen says. “Some ways to do this include building a professional LinkedIn profile, resume, and cover letter, highlighting relatable experiences from internships, freelance work, or personal projects.”

He told BLACK ENTERPRISE that while the survey results highlight some concerning biases and broad generational stereotypes that new grads may face, there are several things that Gen Z can do to overcome some of these assumptions and stand out in the job market.

With the business environment rapidly changing with technological advancements, Nguyen says Gen Zers should become knowledgeable in critical areas like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation. He says dexterity in those technologies can help job candidates gain an advantage in the hiring process over job seekers without those abilities.

He shared many Black Gen Z grads are already well-equipped with AI savvy and knowledge, something that could help gain favor with potential employers

“I’d encourage Black American Gen Z graduates to recognize that biases exist, but not to become paralyzed by them and focus on developing an adaptable mindset, becoming lifelong learners, and having the confidence to overcome any current or future challenges that might arise in their career journeys.”

Further, Nguyen stressed there are many opportunities for Gen Z grads to gain practical experience, including bootcamps, freelance or gig work, as well as developing their own projects and showcasing their skills online.

“Experience is more than what you write on your resume and today,” Nguyen says. “There are opportunities to demonstrate you have that proficiency and experience even before you land that first job.”

Check out more details from the survey here.

RELATED CONTENT: 5 Pieces of Money Advice For Young Adults About To Face The Real World