Entry-level jobs are hard to come by these days. Though I'm fortunate enough to still be in school, it is hard to watch May graduates sitting on their heels, patiently waiting for something to open up. No matter how hard they've worked or how talented they've become over the last four years, they cannot get a job when there is nothing to apply for.
It seems that some areas are better than others. Media agencies have certainly slowed down their hiring, but they are still listing entry-level openings online. Account-planning jobs are almost non-existent, and creative jobs are few and far between. Independent digital agencies seem to be faring the best, because they do not have to send their profits to a holding company, and clients are looking for metrics and analytics now more than ever. Of course, these agencies tend to have extremely high skill requirements for hiring new talent.
So what does this mean for those of us who still have time before the job search begins? We have to work harder. If we're lucky, the economy will continue to level out in the coming months, but come springtime the industry will certainly be running lean. Fewer employees will have to accomplish more with less (what else is new?) and be capable of contributing to the organization outside of their own "discipline." The economy has forced organizations to raise their hiring standards, because they can't afford to bring in team members who need a lot of polishing. They cannot spare the time it takes to train the rookies, so be prepared to come in and hit the ground running and do more than the job description asks.
I plan on taking the next few months to improve my digital fitness. It used to be that understanding digital was an asset in this business, but it's clearly not enough anymore. Agencies are desperate for people who can do digital and execute online campaigns. As it stands, I have a lot of work to do between now and May, and I know I'm not alone.
So I'm going to pose an open question to the readers who are in the industry: What do you need Millennials to learn before we apply for a job? What skills do you find significantly lacking in your new hires, or training you wish they'd had before coming to you?
Please comment below, so that we can get started.