Today I’m super excited to launch a new series on my blog that brings in thoughts and opinions directly from Generation Z. How do I pull that off? I happen to have a GenZ son at the University of Michigan who is going through an internship selection and interview process and I thought we could all learn a great deal about GenZ by listening hearing from them directly!
My son, Cameron Sackett, is an Advertising and Marketing major at U of M, looking for his first real-world experience. Here is his take on how you find that first internship:
Every incoming college student has a plan on how their college experience is going to go. I definitely did. I’m not even halfway done with college and it has gone NOTHING like I expected, but one thing I always knew that I needed was internships.
These coveted “jobs” for college students at cool companies like Nike or Google are a main topic of conversation on any college campus. I wanted to have one of these amazing intern experiences that you hear about all the time, but I quickly learned they are impossible to get.
All of these jobs require an “in”; you need to know someone that knows someone that can get your foot in the door. Reluctantly I had to face the truth, I had no “in” except for my father. The last thing any college student wants to do is turn to their parents to ask for help for anything, let alone getting a job. I have a great relationship with my parents and I love my dad, but I wanted to do this on my own!
I want to be able to say “I got this job and I did it myself”, but I need to play the game and that’s not how the game is played anymore. Luckily, my dad was already aware of this and had posted on his LinkedIn account for internships for my older brother and I. Little did I know this post would blow up and tens of thousands of people would have viewed it! (Honestly, I’m still surprised that many people care about what my Dad has to say).
Now I’m in contact with multiple different companies who are offering me great opportunities that will really further my education in a way I can’t do in a classroom. I now can see the benefit in using my “in”, my Dad, because it’s all about networking. Everyone nowadays is always telling you to network, to make connections with everyone you meet because you never know what they might be able to provide for you. Sometimes, the connections and networking we should be doing are close to us, like our parents.
I never thought that I would want to do anything similar to my Dad’s line of work (still don’t to be honest), but when your dad is a micro-celebrity in the HR world, you should take advantage of that! My biggest takeaway from this experience is to not be ashamed of using your connections because once you get your foot in the door, that’s when you can start to make a name for yourself. I’m still hoping for that amazing internship experience, but I have accepted the reality that to get that experience, I need to use the connections I have.
HR and TA Pros – have a question you would like to ask directly to a GenZ? Ask us in the comments and I’ll have Cameron respond in an upcoming blog post right here on the project. Have some feedback for Cameron? Again, please share in the comments and/or connect with him on LinkedIn.
Besides being a Dad with a network, I thought the best way to get my son some ‘real-world’ experience would be to put himself out there as a writer! Let him know what you think and let us hear what you would like to learn about the next big generation entering our workforce!
I love the Cameron is a 2nd Generation blogger! That’s kind of fun to ponder and seems much more fulfilling that 2nd generation cordwainer 😉
I do have a couple of Gen Z questions for Cameron:
1. From y0ur perspective what skills are going to be most important for you to have entering the workforce?
2. How do you want to communicate with recruiters when it’s time to find a job?
3. What are some things about a company that are important you?
I love these! Cam don’t answer! We’ll use these for future posts! (Listen to me, I’m your Dad!) 😉
What a great reminder Cameron. I think it can be easy to feel like we should make it on our own and prove it to ourselves and others…which on one hand is commendable, will cause you to stretch…but on the other hand, I think it’s cool to see what can happen when we network and ask for help…it shows vulnerability which I think people can relate to and want to help! Best of luck as you dig into these potential internships!
You’re awesome! Thanks for joining the conversation.
I understand the frustration coming from the anonymous comment…I was one of those college students who couldn’t go to their parents for an “in”. It was hard, and many times defeating, to see my friends get amazing internships at friends of parents’ companies (even out of state! how could they afford to stay somewhere other than home for the summer?!) It took me a combo of grit + hard work + luck to earn the roles I’ve worked in.
The game HAS changed.
This is where those less fortunate need our help. There is a wonderful non-profit “Year Up” that I volunteer with as a mentor. The program assists in-need young adults secure a professional internship to get valuable business experience and then helps guide them into either a full-time job or continued education; whichever path they choose to go.
If you are passionate about closing the Opportunity Gap, I encourage you to go to Year Up’s website and check out ways to get involved!
Thanks for your comments and actually standing behind them. Also, thanks for sharing “Year Up”! For those who want to support this effort, you can check them out at https://www.yearup.org/!
I have people reach out to me almost daily for help and it’s something I do regularly in sharing my network with them.
Kind of disappointed he didn’t stick to trying to get something on his own. I understand when nothing else works- lean on family, but what about an inner city, kid with no family, for that matter any kid with no ‘in’? Maybe he could try and make up for it by ‘adopting’ 2 kids with no ‘in’ and hook them up with his microcelebrity dad’s contacts to get an internship.
Why did you choose to go “Anonymous” and not give a real name and real email?
I’m just a dad trying to help my son, so I’m wondering why you decide to throw shade on this. Let’s say I adopt two kids with no in and next year they start writing on this blog, are you going to be back with the same lines? Yeah, you would, because that’s what trolls do.
Get real. We all have something. It might not be a network, but all of us have an edge and if you don’t see that you’re just playing the victim.
Cameron – great post. You can sub in for your dad on here any day. When my daughter first graduated university she was mortified that I wanted to use my network to help her. I still get people asking me to this day if she’s interested in a gig, even though she found a great job on her own 250 miles from me to be safe 🙂 Your dad’s a great guy, and it’s obvious how much he cares about his boys. You’ll learn many more lessons from him along the way, but to be sure, you’ll be teaching him more in no time.
“Honestly, I’m still surprised that many people care about what my Dad has to say”. Well, you can’t blame him for that opinion!
That’s the most honest feedback ever, and mostly true! I still wonder myself…
I. Love. This.
A few nuggets: “…that’s not how the game is played anymore.” The reality is, it’s always been about who you know. Seems like we all have to learn this lesson over and over and over…
“The last thing any college student wants to do is turn to their parents to ask for help for anything.” Exactly what I hear, too. Technology should be solving this for all of us, right? Honestly, this is where our next technology breakthrough has to be in hiring because so far I’ve seen improvement at the edges, but not a transformative experience.
And then, of course, “micro-celebrity.” He couldn’t help but give you the least amount of credit possible. My kids would’ve done EXACTLY the same thing! 🙂
Great to hear from you. Network strength and your ability to use that network strength efficiently is definitely a skill set most people should develop!