11 Generation Z Characteristics to Highlight
The members of Generation Z are starting to enter the workforce in larger numbers as they graduate from high school and college. They bring with them new ideas and methods for getting work done for their employers. If you’re a member of Generation Z, knowing how to appropriately highlight your skills and attributes, particularly those associated with your generation, can benefit your job search. In this article, we explain what Generation Z is, describe 11 characteristics common to Generation Z and offer tips for optimizing your Generation Z characteristics during your job search.
What is Generation Z?
Generation Z is a grouping of people born between 1995 and 2010. This generation, as in previous generations before them, like the millennials, Generation X and the baby boomers, tend to share some foundational characteristics related to the social, economic and political climates present during their formative childhood years. A few of the hallmark events that impacted this group are:
- The growth of online social networking
- The Great Recession
- Consistent access to the internet
- Climate change
- The war on terror
- Generation Z is entering the workforce in larger and larger numbers as the youngest of the generation finishes high school and college.
Characteristics of Generation Z
While every member of Generation Z is a unique individual with their own personality, values and beliefs, many people in Generation Z share a number of similar traits like these:
Focused on financial health
Having come of age during the Great Recession and some seeing their parents and loved ones struggle financially, many members of Generation Z are determined to establish a healthy financial foundation for themselves. Unlike the millennial generation who is often characterized as seeking vocation and professional fulfillment over financial health, Generation Z is ready to work in any position that brings them security, even if it’s not their dream job.
Interested in entrepreneurship
Many members of Generation Z are interested in starting their own businesses and companies. Like financial stability, this characteristic relates to the Great Recession. Members of Generation Z saw so many people lose their jobs at stable companies with little warning. Because of this, members of Generation Z see more safety in being their own boss than relying on someone else to employ them. Many are also highly creative and dedicated problem solvers, which makes them ideal entrepreneurs.
Reliant on technology
Perhaps one of the most salient characteristics of Generation Z is their reliance on technology. Unlike their predecessors, the millennials, who can remember a time before the internet, Generation Z was born into a world full of personal computers and mobile devices. They’re heavily devoted to their devices and use them consistently for personal and professional interactions throughout the day.
Determined to win
Generation Z is well known for their competitive spirit. Perhaps because of their consistent access to knowledge, they want to know the right answer and to share it immediately. They’re hyper-focused on being the best in their group and earning recognition for their accomplishments. Additionally, they want to win and receive recognition for that win in quick succession—their technologically driven upbringing with quick access to information means they often seek instant gratification.
Engaged in change
Most members of Generation Z are very flexible and adaptable. They’re used to living in a world full of constant change, particularly online. This translates into highly resilient, change seeking individuals interested in not only reacting to changes in their environment but instigating change when they see a better method for performing a task or completing an assignment.
Generation Z is likely the most diverse generation to date. Besides just being a distinct group of people, Generation Z is exposed to an abundance of diversity thanks to their access to technology. They can easily interact with people of other races, genders and backgrounds online and share ideas and beliefs. Because diversity is so normal for them, they encourage and welcome it in their personal and professional circles.
In most cases, members of Generation Z prefer independent work to teamwork. This aligns well with their competitive, entrepreneurial drive—they want to achieve success on their own. In the workplace, many members of Generation Z look for jobs that allow them substantial autonomy and self-direction rather than working directly with others on shared projects.
Expresses their opinions
Having grown up in a digital world in which sharing opinions and engaging in discourse is common, members of Generation Z are eager to share their ideas and opinions with others. They want to participate in important conversations, both personally and professionally, and expect others to take their considerations seriously regardless of the Generation Z member’s age or experience.
Looks for security
Many members of Generation Z experienced tumultuous childhoods in terms of stability and financial security. Because of this, many are keen to establish security in their lives as early and quickly as possible. They want jobs and relationships they can rely on and seek out security in other ways, too. Many members of Generation Z prefer a more traditional and stable work experience to that of the gig economy or other less structured job options for the inherent security.
Skilled at multitasking
Most members of Generation Z are used to splitting their time between a variety of tasks because of their hyper-connectivity to their mobile devices. This can be both a benefit and deterrent in the working world, as some employers might expect a consistent focus on a single task rather than moving from one project to another throughout the day.
Seeks human interaction
Despite their reliance on and love of technology, many members of Generation Z are driven by in-person, human interaction. They enjoy texting and video chatting, but they’re more likely to engage in face-to-face conversation than their millennial counterparts and often actively seek it out.
Tips for highlighting your Generation Z characteristics
If you’re part of Generation Z, review this list of tips to see how to best highlight your generational characteristics during your job search to demonstrate your professional qualifications for the working world:
- State your skills: One of the best ways to highlight your unique generational skills is to state them explicitly. Create a skills section on your resume and speak directly to your abilities during your interview.
- Highlight your tech-savvy: Generation Z is the most technologically savvy generation yet. Show hiring managers your capabilities by explaining how your expertise could help the company increase its value.
- Share your ideas: Create a portfolio of your skills or a website that highlights your abilities to share with hiring managers.
- Consider the medium: Know the best way to share your skills depending on the situation. For example, consider bringing a portfolio of work to a job interview rather than expecting the hiring manager to look at your website afterwards.
- Know your audience: Consider who you’re sending your resume to or with whom you’re interviewing. Gear your application documents or interview preparation for them specificall.