Scores of articles have been written recently about millennials, that generation of Americans born in the 1980s-1990s. Many of those pieces, such as the ones in the New York Times and NPR, focus on this group’s staggering student debt and high rate of unemployment despite their impressive academic achievements. It’s not a pretty picture. However, even in the worst economies, there are those who succeed.
You Have to Play the Cards You’re Dealt
None of us has any real control over economic conditions, especially when our country’s prosperity is tied to that of overseas nations and our government’s policies – good or bad. We do have command when it comes to our response and the action we take.
An interesting article on Mashable poses the provocative question – “Why Can’t Millennials Find Jobs?” After all, they’re highly educated and in many cases motivated – or plain scared because their student loans are due. Eventually, they want to settle down and have a family, buy a house, all the things most of us in this country have taken for granted. So, what’s holding them back?
It’s Not That They Feel Entitled
Pew Research conducted a study that concluded millennials aren’t focused solely on high-paying jobs. They want an appropriate work/life balance that includes happiness in their private lives. That’s not going to cut it on Wall Street or at a high-powered law firm where 100 hour work weeks are the norm.
Add to that their inexperience in the workforce. The Mashable article cited a survey of Adecco recruiters that concluded “66% of hiring managers do not believe college graduates are ready for the workforce. Rather than hiring new grads for entry-level positions, recruiters are looking to bring in people with experience.”
In a way, you can’t blame them. No one likes to train new hires. Still, that leaves millennials with the age-old question, “How do I get that needed experience?”
It’s All in How You Look at the Situation
(Photo Credit: USAD)
Are you the type of person whose glass is always half empty or do you see it as half full? For a millennial, the latter observation is the required one. If no one is hiring in your industry, unless it’s someone with years of experience, then you have to find another route. Consider these paths:
- Take an unpaid internship. Your bills will keep piling up, but at least you’ll be working in your selected industry. If you perform well during the internship, you may be asked to stay on in an entry-level position. At the very least, you have your foot in the door. It’s always easier to seek positions of increased responsibility – and pay – when you’re a part of the team, rather than on the outside hoping to get in.
- Volunteer. Research not-for-profit organizations and donate your time in an area that will help your career. For example, if you have an accounting degree, offer to work on the organization’s accounts payable/receivable. It’s real-world experience you can list on your resume. What’s more, you might become such a valuable asset, the organization may offer you a paid position.
- Freelance. Job boards are filled with contract positions. The pay isn’t the best. There are no benefits. But there is experience and exposure in your industry. It’s better than sitting around the house playing video games or watching reality shows.
- Submit resumes tailored to each job posting. Don’t write one document and submit it to hundreds of positions, hoping one will bite. That’s not going to happen in this economy. Hiring managers and recruiters are looking for the ideal candidate, the perfect fit. If you don’t prove to them in your resume that you’re their best choice, they probably won’t make the connection.
Once You Get an Interview
Know how to behave and to fit in with the culture of the company you’re targeting. The Mashable article listed the following points as being those that killed an applicant’s chances:
- Not making eye contact with the hiring manager. Not only will that make you seem too shy and unable to handle an office situation, it could make you seem untrustworthy.
- Fidgeting. The hiring manager may wonder if you’re a bundle of nerves or if you can’t wait to escape. Neither comes off well.
- Checking your cell phone for messages or texting. This is a no-brainer. The hiring manager’s time is valuable. If you make him or her wait while you conduct your own business, you’ll never work at that company.
- Showing up late. That’s rude and unprofessional. However, you shouldn’t arrive too early either. Ten minutes before your stated interview time is the norm.
Although unemployment for millennials remains over 10%, there are 90% of that group who are working. Perhaps it’s freelancing, volunteering or in an unpaid internship. Maybe not the best scenario, but they are making strides toward their career goals. In this economy, you can’t sit still and hope for the best. Time and hidden opportunities will pass you by.
The certified writers at ResumeEdge have helped tens of thousands of job seekers to reach their career goals. We specialize in 40+ industries in resume writing, resume editing, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and interview coaching through our JobInterviewEdge service.