Can you simultaneously reach out to potential clients via email, blogs, and multiple social networking websites all within a few clicks of a button? When your boss asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, how long does it take you to Google the correct response? Can you process tons of material quickly or do you find yourself suffering from information overload? If you are not born between 1981 and 2000, which would classify you as Generation Y, you might have trouble with some or all of these things.

If you want to be a competitor in today’s workforce, knowledge of technology and the ability to access and process information is becoming increasingly important. If you want to become successful in your field, having Gen Y skill sets can increase your chances of staying in high demand and advancing your career. With the Canadian job market still suffering the effects of a global recession, older workers have to become knowledgeable with Gen Y competencies.

Adwoa Buahene is a managing partner and co-founder of n-gen People Performance. As a “generational expert,” she provides organizations with solutions for managing generational differences in the workplace. Adwoa suggests three competencies which are frequently associated with Gen Y’ers, and which should be adopted by all workers.

Communication Skills

Gen Y’s ability to use technology and social media enables them to communicate and collaborate with other employees and customers in more innovative ways. They have the exceptional ability to effectively use software programs and quickly understand new technologies to help them communicate more efficiently. They communicate using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Live Messenger, Google Chat and don’t mind creating a more personable experience with clients, by organizing a face-to-face meeting over Skype.


Gen Y’s tend to be “out-of-the-box” thinkers. Buahene states, “They have grown up in a society where they were made to believe that they could become or do anything they wanted. Their ideas were not stomped out of them from an early age, instead their ideas were fostered. They were given the opportunity to expand on their ideas.” Don’t be surprised to find a 20 something entrepreneur living in their mom’s basement, so they can perfect their newly invented mobile phone application that may make them millions.


Gen Y’s are accustomed to constant change and consider change an improvement. Buahene states, “They grew up in a world of technology, in which the latest version is better. Who really wants the Xbox when you can get the Xbox 360? Why buy the iPhone 3 when the iPhone 4 comes out next month?” Change is always better. Among older generations change can be scary and is often regarded as something to dread. “Why fix it, if it isn’t broken?”

Whether you’re an older worker looking for new job or a younger employee who is trying to get that promotion, we can all learn from Generation Y. Expand on your communication methods, learn to contribute to the development of new company ideas, and start embracing change. If you don’t start thinking like them, you might lose your job to them.


Ozzie Saunds is the founder/owner of and the InspiredMinds Group. Have a question about your resume? Email him at