It has been a few years since I have written about the 97ers, now commonly known as GenZ – but I believe the year of the 97er is specific because they broke the ground for all coming after them in the digital revolution. You can read my ancient posts here and watch my old TedX talk here.
In those posts I talked about how life would change fundamentally as we had all imagined once they were sitting in positions of power, of State – but I missed the interim, probably many of the interims, when they started hiring you at the grand old age of 25.
I work in technology and as you know there have been mass layoffs in the last year or so for many in the tech sector. As a result I have been asked more often than is normal to help people find a role, or to pass on news of their availability to my network and recruiters. In the old days this was an easy thing to do, but not so any more. The world has changed and I only really discovered how during a happenstance conversation with a brilliant (and similarly aged) lady to myself (*cough am 51*). She has been in recruitment for 20+ years and was bewailing how recruitment has totally changed now that ‘all hiring decisions start with analysis by a 20 something year old with no knowledge of how to read our CVs’. She went on to explain further that Covid had meant that LinkedIn had become the huge powerhouse it had always dreamed of and decades long relationships no longer mattered.
It was a conversation that sat with me as my daughter, a 97er, is also in recruitment for senior and executive roles; until that point I had simply been supportive of her career and her growth and not for one minute thought of the implications of the role she held. Once again she became my inspiration and since then she has done a roaring (free) trade in advising my recently released mates in how to make their CVs and LinkedIn profiles make sense to someone her age.
This led me back to 97ers.
It is really important and helpful to understand those GenZers in your life, particularly if they were born a year of two either side of 1997. They really have had an incredible learning journey, born into a digital world with little or no ‘adults in the room’ of their digiverse, moving from platform to platform as the grownups joined and ruined it, making the rules up as they went, seeing the crises before we did and doing their best to protect those younger than themselves. Not only that but the real life change that was happening politically, geographically and awareness of the importance of mental health. It’s a LOT. (I defo recommend reading my previous posts on this if this makes little or no sense to you).
But now these resilient creatures are charged with recruiting you, their values and standards are different, they judge your skills differently and when hiring you for roles, they need to understand what you do. Not in the old world, in this world.
The language has changed. The values have changed. The criteria is changing.
Right now they are the barrier between you and the job you want, it is wise to understand more about this generation and to understand how you show up. Of course behind them sit those same people making the final decisions for who gets the role they have designed and you will relax into a world that perhaps feels more familiar, but that will not last.
Forget freaking out about how Generative AI is going to change the world, (just get learning and familiarise yourself, but the world’s best (and worst) people are fully focused on that), take a look at the 25 ish year olds in your life and imagine how they will fundamentally change the world.
I would recommend getting a 97er, or GenZ person, to review your LinkedIn profile and your CV!
… and yes I do realise I need to go get a substack for this if I am going to continue writing about them …