In this economy, recent college grads are not the only people hopelessly searching for work. Many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers with years of experience under their belts find themselves out of work with the recent recession. The unemployment rate is still miserably high at 8.3% and the number of college graduates returning home is higher than ever, at about 50%. It may seem like a good plan to just wait out the storm. Once the economy improves, we Millennials will be able to find the perfect job, right? Don’t be so sure. There are several things that have proven detrimental to our job search ranging from lack of experience to our (overly-generalized) generational mindset.
We apply to job after job and usually hear nothing back. What are we doing wrong? We’ve learned to send resumes, but what else should we be doing? Is that even the best option?
What to do
Grant Cordone advises that instead of sending resumes, like the 17 million other college grads, Millennials should “target 4-6 bosses and do whatever it takes to get in front of them.” Do not appeal to HR or a supervisor. Go straight to the boss, and sell yourself hard.
If you are able to get yourself in front of the CEO/President/Director, kudos to you. Cordone is right that this is the most likely action to get you results. However, this is easier said than done. More plausible options are to try and set yourself apart, make sure your resume is at its best, and follow up. Just take care not to harass the employer! Send one email, two tops in the following weeks after you have sent your resume. Make your email clear, concise, and memorable.
I dare you to disagree. Honesty time: when we were kids, how many of us wanted to be the President when we grew up? How about an astronaut, actor, singer, or writer? How many of us wanted—and still desperately and not-so-secretly want—to be rich and famous? Our parents told us we could be these things. As it turns out, we can’t. Not all of us anyway, but we continue wanting to make a difference. Millennials want to be recognized for our achievements. As fresh graduates with little to no experience, how can we contribute? Especially when we cannot find jobs? Well…the jobs are out there, Millennials. It’s this mentality of ours, this sense of entitlement that is making our hunt difficult.
What to do
Before Millennials can have a glamorous job, we need to pay our dues, just like our predecessors. No one becomes successful overnight. Take the job with the long hours and low salary. Work hard, prove that you deserve more, and you will get there with time.
If that promotion never comes, at least you will have gained some experience that can aid you in your next search. The problem is that we tend to give up too quickly. Millennials have been labeled as job hoppers. The average time spent in one job used to be about four years. Our average is closer to two. This isn’t really surprising considering our environment growing up. When we bought a new phone (or it was bought for us), we switched it out for a newer model as soon as possible. We bumped around from major to major in college, trying each on for size and bailing ship when it wasn’t quite right. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is no longer a question for children and teenagers. I’m still asking myself this question, along with many, many Millennials. Trying things on for size is second nature to us. If it doesn’t work, move on. Unfortunately, having multiple jobs in a few years gives the impression of instability and a lack of loyalty. Not every employer is willing to see this practice of ours as ambitious or strategic. They have been instructed to see numerous short-term jobs on a resume as flaky.
What to do
If you have already held a handful of jobs, there isn’t much to do about those. They are there for the world to see. If you suspect this is what’s keeping you from getting hired, don’t be afraid to mention it in your follow up. If they had already written you off, it can’t hurt, right? Say something along the lines of, “Throughout my career, I have gained considerable experience from every job, but I am looking for the perfect fit. I want to be in a company that has a remarkable culture where I can give my all to contribute and make it even better.” Never brush off your many jobs as youthful endeavors or blame your old bosses. Own up to them and give your experiences a positive spin. Make the employer see how your unique understanding of the field is helpful. In the future, be more cautious about job hopping. Hold on as long as possible and work with your boss. Tell him what you truly want. Perhaps he will work with you to improve your feelings about work. Millennial or not, if you are an asset to the business, he will want to keep you on his payroll.
Originally posted at Sendouts.