The 5 Qualities I – and Most Millennials – Look for in a Company

There are currently more than 80 million millennials in the U.S. workforce – I am one of them. I graduated college at the height of the Great Recession, where jobs in my field (communications and marketing) were hard to come by. Like many millennials, I moved home to live with my parents and worked as many part-time jobs as I could to combat underemployment. It took time and persistence, but I’m now in a fulfilling career with a great company.

My experience mirrored that of many millennials, and it gave me the clarity to identify what I hoped to find in a fulltime job. I had certain expectations for a workplace. I knew that over the course of a lifetime, I’d see my co-workers more than family and friends, so I looked for opportunities that were a good fit beyond the job description. With this in mind, here are the five qualities I think are important to look for in a job:

1. A dedication to trust and transparency.
To me, these go hand in hand. I want the company I’m working for to trust that they hired a good employee and my boss to be confident in the work I’m doing. I want my co-workers to know they can trust me to be a team player and jump in where needed. But, I also want a company that is transparent. I have friends that have worked for companies for five years and never seen their CEOs. I am fortunate to work for a company with a very present leadership team and a great presence amongst our consumers.

2. A sense of camaraderie.
Assuming a life expectancy of 78 years, the average American will spend 10.3 years of their life working. Can you imagine sharing 10 years of your life with people you don’t like? With this kind of time commitment expected for work, it is important to find a workplace that prioritizes creating camaraderie through a common sense of purpose. If you don’t get along with your team, chances are you won’t stay very long.

3. A healthy culture.
A big factor in choosing the company I wanted to work for was culture. I wanted to be part of a company that gave back to the community and had a supportive team environment. Incorporating a “fun factor” into the company’s culture is a great bonus, too (and one that millennials love!). From something simple like the occasional donut day to more elaborate internal department competitions, experiencing a little bit of fun in the workplace has helped me feel more engaged in my work in a big way.

4. The opportunity to tackle challenges.
I’ve always liked a challenge. I’m not one for monotony, especially when it comes to work. If you’re not being challenged in your work, boredom sets in. I believe that challenge helps you evolve in what you’re doing. There is always a higher bar you can reach.

5. A passion for innovation.
Working for a company that stays up-to-date with technology and incorporates innovative systems has always been important to me. I love knowing the latest and greatest thing that is coming out and how it can help me succeed in the work that I’m doing. When a company adapts to the ever-evolving technology space, it shows it’s not afraid of change and wants to keep up with the pace.

As the largest generation in the American workforce, millennials are challenging the status quo at work and shaping the way companies interact with their employees. As a millennial, I quickly learned to identify what I wanted out of work and how these qualities would impact my overall work experience. When you can identify these expectations for yourself and find the company that will meet them, you can pave the way for longevity within you career.

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Erin Nolan

Erin is a St. Louis native with a background in communications and marketing. She loves being part of GenNext, United Way’s young professional volunteer group. She is an avid sports fan and enjoys trying new restaurants in the area. Connect with her on Twitter, @erinnolan_.