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Millennials, First Jobs and Pop-Culture, Oh My!

Everyone has an opinion about what you should be looking for, what you should be asking companies who interview you and what resume format looks best. The truth is, those things are largely subjective; personal preferences. What works for one person may not for another.

Maggie McCallie

Talent Acquisition
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Maggie and I work in our Talent Acquisition group. A lot of what I do centers around social media and marketing so it seemed only natural that I be the one to bore entertain you in this forum. I figured I should start off by talking about something timely – graduating college seniors. Now, you should know that I am a Generation Xer which basically means that I think that I can relate to you crazy Millennials but that you really know the truth – that I am hopelessly lame and have no idea what it means to be you.

That said, I do understand that there are many of you out there who are in the job market and your collective heads may be spinning with all of the advice being thrown your way. Sure, I have the typical advice as well – be yourself, tell the truth on your resume, your parents were right about everything – but I won’t unleash it on you as I know you’ve heard all of that before. I don’t want to add to the perplexity of this time in your life so I would rather take time and focus on why you may want to consider Shaw as the place to launch your career. And to prove to you how easily I can relate to you, I will try my best to pepper in some pop-culture references that will keep your attention. Fair? Okay, let’s go.

Everyone has an opinion about what you should be looking for, what you should be asking companies who interview you and what resume format looks best. The truth is, those things are largely subjective; personal preferences. What works for one person may not for another. Like when Kim Kardashian posts pictures on social media. Sure, she looks great in those revealing outfits but when I try to do it, I cause people to block me or delete their Instagram accounts altogether (#SneakyPopCultureReference). So how, then, do you begin to navigate this job search that has so much riding on it? Well, for starters, you take stock of what your must-haves are for a job; what YOU have to have in order to feel rewarded in your job. You need to assess the cultures of the various organizations with whom you meet and see which environment is the best fit for you while offering you an exciting and rewarding career. (*Note: This sounds an awful lot like advice, but remember I told you earlier I wouldn’t give you any so it’s technically not.)

You’re here on our web page, so I assume you have a least a fleeting interest in our company. So, I thought we’d break it down for you – give you some insight into what it means to be an associate early in your career at Shaw Industries. Then you’ll fall in love with us, we’ll fall in love with you and you will go on to a long and lucrative career with us. Done and done. Okay, it’s not quite that easy. But we can dream…

So, back to reality. Earlier this year, Shaw was recognized as one of Symplicity’s Best Places To Work For Recent Grads. Since I understand Millennials so well, I know you probably won’t click on that link so I’ll give you some thoughts I have about why we were among those recognized.

First of all, Shaw has a couple of trainee programs that have been designed specifically to help give people who may be experiencing their first real job (outside of intern or co-op experience) the tools and direction to set them up with success. These programs – The Sales Training Program and Operations Management Training (OMT) Program – have been around for a while and have a proven record of success. In fact, our CEO, Vance Bell, got his start as a Sales Trainee. It’s like how Beyoncé got her training with Destiny’s Child. It was a great experience for her and now she’s graduated on to pretty much ruling the planet (#NotSoSubtlePopCultureReference).

The training programs themselves are exactly that: training. Shaw’s culture is one that values growth and development no matter where you are in your career. But these two programs are specifically designed to provide you with the tools and resources right off the bat to set you on a path to be successful. Transitioning from college to the workforce is certainly a learning experience. How great that when you come to Shaw, we recognize that and put you in situations to use your education and talents on projects, get you in front of leadership throughout the organization, and educate you in company and industry history and practices. You want to move up quickly? These training programs get your name out there and showcase what you have to offer to people in upper management.

Additionally, both of these programs help to demystify the world of a large manufacturing organization (Shaw has over 22,000 associates). Think about it: you are leaving the security of your college or university where you have a built-in community of friends from classes and/or social organizations to then jump over to a company where you may not know a soul. The Sales Training and OMT programs are built from dozens of students from other colleges and universities who are in the exact same place in their lives as you. They are new to the company and possibly the area. They are likely not well-versed in the flooring industry. (We get it, not everyone is born dreaming that one day they could grow up to work for a floor covering provider!) They are wanting to prove themselves. And they are also wanting to have people to relate to both at work as well as in their community after work. They want to know that they have other people who will hunt for Pokémon Go creatures (#PanderingPopCultureReference) with them at the end of the day. The beauty of our programs is that they allow for that camaraderie. So you join our program knowing that there will be others like you readily available.

Millennials often report that variety is a critical factor in their level of job satisfaction. Again, these programs are set up to give our new hires a group to belong to. But what may not be obvious is the amount and variation of projects and assignments people get to take on during the program. Many times, our trainees get experience in different divisions within the company. This helps give you get a well-rounded exposure to the different jobs, departments, and career paths we offer. The more exposure you have, the more people you meet and the more varied your work day becomes. And Shaw is very big on working in the community. Kind of like my shoulder pads and bangs were big in the 80’s. (Wait!!! Disregard that!!! My age is slipping out!!!  #PopCultureReferenceFAIL) We are very involved with several United Way agencies so you can always find our associates volunteering their time together. Our recent college grads like the variety in their work day and enjoy opportunities for fellowship in the community and outside of work.

What the job search ultimately boils down to though after a job offer, though, is where you feel you can get the best opportunity in the best environment. People look at all kinds of things when they assess a company’s culture. That culture should be palpable when you go on-site for an interview. I remember clearly my own experience driving the 45 minutes it takes from my house to the building where I work. As I drove, I kept telling myself, “Ugh, this is too far. I’m not doing this every day.” I’ll never forget my drive home when my thoughts changed to, “You know, this isn’t too bad. This commute can help me prepare for and wind down from my day. I want to do this!” The reason for the change in my interest in making that drive five days a week was the culture I experienced in my interview.

Attempting to describe the culture of a company with 22,000+ associates is very difficult. Overall, I think it could be described as fast-paced, innovative, collaborative, fun, friendly and inclusive. But obviously, everyone experiences it differently. You will experience it as a 20-something whereas I experience it as a… well, that doesn’t matter. If I had to give you advice – which, of course I won’t – I’d say to pay attention to how you feel during your interviews and whether or not you could see yourself working along with or across from the people with whom you are meeting. If you’ve met our recruiters, I’m confident you found them to be friendly and open. You felt enough of something to find your way here. Pay attention to that. That’s a vital piece of information we’ve given you as you try to fit all of the puzzle pieces of your job search together.  

So there you go – a snapshot of life at Shaw for the recent college grad. Makes you want to drop everything you’re doing and rush over to our job listings and apply, huh? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. You can view job listings and apply now. Whatever your major, location, or career goals, I wish you well in this exciting time in your life. I know it is nerve-wracking and it’s hard to not know where you’ll land. Just remember that you are interviewing a company every bit as much as they are interviewing you. Take your time and allow the process to work itself through and the pieces to fall where they will. (Good thing I’m not giving you any advice, huh?) Happy job hunting!