According to Richard Fry, senior researcher of the Pew Research Center, in the first quarter of 2015, Millennials (at 53.5 million) edged past Generation Xers (at 52.7 million) to become the largest segment of the labor force. PEW Research defines Millennials as being born between 1981 and 1997and Generation Xers being born between 1965 and 1980. Furthermore, the Millennials, at an age of transition between college to the working world and having a disproportionately large share of immigrants, are slated to grow even further in the near future.
However, along with the energy and tech skills that they bring to the table, it has been noted by recruiters and others that they need to improve some of their approaches and methods in the job search process that are not consistent with professional behavior. This behavior in the job search is largely based on incorrect assumptions. In a fundamental way, they need to look at the situation from the prospective employer’s point of view which is to hire the best, most qualified applicants they can. This article covers smart approaches that the Millennials can take, and pitfalls to avoid, in the pre-interview application process, during the interview, and post-interview.
Attitude to Employment
Starting at the top, you need to realize certain things about the job market, being employed, and what companies are looking for. You should:
· always exhibit courtesy in your words and actions and treat the employer, prospective employer, and the process with respect. As stated above, look at the process from the prospective employer’s vantage point.
· realize the importance of creating present and future value for yourself.
· understand that you are competing not just with other Millennials, but also with other generations including Generation Xers Baby Boomers who are staying longer in the labor market.
· know that employers are hiring people to solve problems—you will not succeed if you create more problems than you were hired to solve. In an article “Steer clear of millennial mistakes at your first job” by Joseph Gallivan, “the bottom line for any new employee — millennial or otherwise — is that everything that they do at work should be designed to increase the revenues of their employer, reduce the expenses of their employer, or some combination of the two.”
· understand that employers expect you to be reliable and to do the work correctly.
· look to stay in a job for two to three years instead of hopping around as frequent job changes will not help your career. The extra year gives you the ability of consistent execution in the performance of the job.
To help illustrate the point of investing time in a project, author Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is to practice it the correct way for a total of around 10,000 hours. Gladwell brings up the Beatles, who gave 1,200 concerts in Hamburg between 1960 and their worldwide success in 1964, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who, starting at age 13, programmed on a computer for over 10,000 hours to develop his expertise. It turns out that 10,000 hours equate to roughly five years of work which is more than the three years mentioned above. However, you can see the point that even two years invested in a company will enhance your skills and expertise four times over a six months stay before changing organizations.
Before the Interview
There are many ways an applicant can create both a good and bad impression prior to the job interview. According to Alexandra Stephens, author of “10 Mistakes Millennials Make in the Job Search (and how to avoid them)”, “the job interview is your first opportunity to show a potential employer what you’re made of, so read the instructions carefully.” It is commonplace for companies to request a resume and cover letter. However, at other times, you may be asked to furnish answers to questions, complete a project, or deal with another screening mechanism. Make sure you understand these applications requirements completely because you do not want to be eliminated in the first round by performing poorly on them. If you are seeking an entry level position, keep your resume to one page. Use spell check, a grammar checker, or another proofing mechanism to eliminate costly errors and typos.
The following are important tips when it comes to writing strong saleable resumes:
· Presentation – Your resume is a marketing document and as such, it’s overall visual appearance is critical. Choose a standard font such as Times New Roman, Ariel, and Helvetica. Use horizontal lines to separate sections and choose a conservative paper color such as white, ivory, or light gray.
· Format – Don’t have format be your primary consideration in doing your resume but use shorter paragraphs with bullets, don’t overdo bold and italic type, keep font size 10-point and above, leave plenty of “white space”, and use a high-quality printer. Bullets should be used for accomplishments and successes.
· Spelling, Grammar, and Syntax – Write in the third person and use language that is appropriate for the position. Proofread your resume more than once or twice!
· Content – Under Experience, list specific results, rankings, numbers, and percentages.
· Focus – Employ a summary (which describes what you know) rather than an objective. Make sure this summary statement is on both the resume and the cover letter.
· Selling – Since you are selling yourself with the resume, make sure the words, format, qualifications, and presentation are professionally packaged.
Employ traditional channels such as cover letter and resume, which can be in Microsoft Word, Microsoft RTF or Adobe PDF. Microsoft Word, a word processor1, and Microsoft RTF (Rich Text Format), a proprietary document file format with published specification2, were both developed by the Microsoft Corporation. They are designed for cross-platform document interchange with Microsoft products. PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated3. PDF documents capture all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else.
Do not text to communicate with an employer unless the hiring manager or company designee have stated that it is an appropriate channel of communication.
It can’t be emphasized enough that you need to do your research! Do your examination on the company, your role, and the industry ahead of time. Do not ask a question if the answer can be found on the “About page” of the company’s website. Beyond the company website, you can locate information on social media accounts and Google alerts. You can even request the names of the interviewers and look them up on LinkedIn. Glassdoor is another resource you can use to look up salary reports, company reviews, and even interview reviews and questions. Find out as much about the company as you can in advance.
Many people, including Millennials, need to be aware that employers can research you too by what you post on social media. If you write something tasteless or leave negative reviews of previous employers, this can be easily noticed and be a deal breaker in your case. You may need to adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts to guard against that happening.
You also need to understand that your email address and voicemail address are a part of your professional identity.
1 Wikipedia; retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Word
2 Wikipedia; retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Text-Format
3 WhatIs.com; retrieved from: whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Portable-Document-Format-PDF
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Originally Published on LinkedIn