Real World Tip for Gen Y: When in Doubt, Over-Communicate

It’s safe to say that Gen Y’s are comfortable with communication. The first generation to be constantly communicating is also the one to favor the quickest possible methods—often, by their own admission, to the detriment of the English language.

Except when it comes to the constant contact that really counts: communication to help their career development, and establish them in the workforce.

When it comes to work style, Gen Y’s like to keep it streamlined. They place a call or text—and assume someone will get back to them. From the job application process on, they send an email—and assume someone will get back to them. They are not used to confirming and reconfirming; the youthful assumption is that being consistently in touch need not be overdone.

But it’s very different in the work world (aka the real world). In a work environment, confirming is a way of life. Getting back to people, pleasantly but persistently, is the key to making sure the important things get done. And it takes some getting used to for those entering the workforce.

Failure to over-communicate may result in failing to secure an interview. Your boss may think you’re disorganized or disinterested. Failure may also preclude you from opportunities because you didn’t raise your hand fast enough.

My advice is that you can never get back to your superiors fast enough, or often enough. When you think you’ve followed up enough, do it one more time. Trust me, you’ll make a good impression.

And making a good impression is 90% of what an internship is all about.

About the Author: Allison Cheston is a New York City-based career advisor that works with mid-career executives, young adults in high school and college, and recent graduates to help them understand how their strengths and interests fit in the world of work. Allison is author of the upcoming In The Driver’s Seat: Work-Life Navigational Skills for Young Adults, the first book to combine the perspectives of both a ‘Boomer’ and hundreds of Gen Y college grads aged 23 to 30.

An entrepreneur with cross-cultural expertise, Allison holds a BA from the University of Michigan and both an MA in International Education and a Certificate in Adult Career Planning from New York University.

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