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New generation of American workers seek to combine personal and professional interests

Sep. 20, 2013
 
Getty Images/Creatas RF

As college students graduate and begin the job search, their career decisions won’t be driven by the same factors that drove their parents’ decisions. While baby boomers tended to focus on the vertical climb to find job happiness, today’s graduates and professionals want meaningful and challenging work that satisfies them personally.

Despite the turbulent economy, 68 percent of working Americans would be willing to take a salary cut to work in a job that allowed them to apply their personal interests to the workplace, a recent survey released by Philips North America found. Almost one quarter of workers would take a pay cut of 25 percent or more.

“Today’s professionals expect more from their careers than just a paycheck,” says Tanveer Naseer, a leadership coach who helps companies guide organizational growth and development. “They’re looking for challenge, impact and an employer who is committed to helping them achieve their goals.”

This new set of demands from employees is driving change in corporations throughout America. Philips, for example, which employs 116,000 people globally, is looking for more ways to help its employees apply their personal interests and ideas to their work.

“We’ve found that employees want a company that supports and rewards what matters to them personally,” says Dana Stocks, Philips North America Chief Human Resources Officer. “Recognizing our employees are people with real passions leads to better product innovation, ultimately improving people’s lives and the communities they live in.”

So how do graduates or professionals entering the job market find employers and roles that are a good fit and will deliver job satisfaction? Here are a few tips:

• Look for a job that allows you to leverage personal interests in your work. Most Americans, regardless of their career stage, believe that applying personal interests in a career would make them happier.

Naseer says people often find jobs that play to their strengths, but employees’ strengths may not align with their interests. This disconnect can result in employees feeling overworked and underutilized as they’re building skills for which they have no passion.

• Use your resume as a tool to reflect yourself as a person, not just a potential employee. Social resumes provide the opportunity for job seekers to express themselves beyond educational credentials and a laundry list of responsibilities they’ve taken on in the workplace.

Your employer isn’t hiring the resume; they are hiring you as a person. Use your resume to help them feel connected to you as a person. Include assets such as video interviews on relevant topics, thought leadership presentations, or links to blogs and social media sites that you maintain.

• Know yourself first, and submit your application second. Many job seekers apply to too many jobs without truly understanding their qualification levels or fit for each. Take the time to understand yourself, your story, the intersection of your personal and professional passions, and formulate a short list of jobs that align.

By focusing on the quality versus the quantity of your applications, you have a better chance of making the “right” career choice vs. the “right now” career choice.

When job seekers find the right roles that allow them to pursue their individual aspirations within the context of their professional careers, it’s a win for the individual and the organization.

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