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Monday, November 11, 2013

The Millennial's guide for finding a job

Job seekers benefit from self-marketing campaigns
Weak ties or soft leads are used to find jobs
In May 2013, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Do Millennials Stand a Chance in the Real World?” The article chronicled some dismal statistics for young people ages 20-24, including that 17% of them were unemployed after the 2011 recession. With statistics such as these, giving in to despair or resigning yourself to a lifelong career as a Starbucks barista may seem like the only two viable options. Here are a few helpful things to do instead:

Focus your search

My initial post-college job search sometimes resembled a sprinkler: I constantly shot out resumes in all directions, regardless of how qualified I was for the job or how much I actually wanted it.
As time progressed, I realized that it was far more effective to focus my time, energy, and attention on applying for specific jobs that I was truly qualified for and interested in instead of whatever happened to come along.

Use your weak ties

According to Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade, one of the best ways for 20-somethings to find jobs is through using “weak ties,” people you are connected to but do not know well. She found that a majority of applicants find jobs through casual acquaintances, neighbors, or friends of friends.
Jay recommends making a list of all the people you know who are connected to the field you want to work in, and reaching out to them. Through knowing how to network effectively, you may be able to get a job.

Get your foot in the door

Do everything you can to get your foot in the door at companies you want to work for, even if it’s just a low-level position. Put your best foot forward through working hard and making yourself a valuable asset to the company.
Don’t be afraid to contact companies you’re interested in to see if they have openings, even if there aren’t any posted online. You can also ask for an informational interview in order to learn more about the company.

Do your research

Think about the type of companies you want to work for, and find out what they are looking for in future employees. Use LinkedIn as a tool to see the types of degrees and skills that employees at those companies possess. You can also see whether you have any connections to the companies you are interested in working for. Also, stay informed about what’s going on in your desired industry. Keep up on industry terms. Familiarize yourself with the major players in the business world.

Don’t get stuck

Applying for jobs can be a long, exhausting, and discouraging process. At times, you may feel tempted to simply resign yourself to a lifelong barista career. But don’t despair. Although the economy has made it difficult for recent graduates to find good jobs, it’s still possible. Even if you’re working at a pay-the-bills job right now, keep working toward your desired end goal.

About the author: Rebekah B. is a 20-something writer and speaker.

Image license: Lumaxart, CC BY-SA 2.0