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Overcome Millennial Myths To Land Your First Job

young millennial

by Rose Ernst, national director of the G10 Associates program at Genesis10

Did you know that, as a member of the millennial generation (b. 1980-1997), you are now part of the largest generation in the workforce? By sheer number alone (55 million workers), you and your peers now exceed both Baby Boomers and Generation X in the US workplace. Which means that you are in a unique position to influence a major shift in the way we all work!

It’s not always easy, though, to land that first job in your career. Like generations before you, a few myths have some employers confused about millennials. While each generation has its own misconceptions about younger generations’ attitudes toward work, your generation may well be the best educated, most technologically savvy to enter the workforce.

My day-to-day work focuses on connecting corporate clients and millennial workers, so I’ve had the opportunity to collect insights from real-world employment situations and identify the top five myths millennials need to overcome in order to launch their career:

Myth #1: Millennials are the “Selfie” generation

Busted:

The typical Millennial worker is not “all about me.” They want to be associated with a company brand that represents positive social values.

Overcome with:

Detailing your volunteer experiences and extracurricular activities that reflect your values on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Be prepared to discuss how your experiences and pursuits beyond office life help shape your professional presence. Include a character reference from a representative from one group you support who can speak to your conduct and approach to situations similar to the job you are interviewing for.

Myth #2: Millennials are glued to their smartphones

Busted:

Millennials are Digital Natives – this comfort with automated tools gives them a natural ability to adopt new technology -systems software and tech skills – quickly.

Overcome with:

Listing the various digital media/software you are experienced with, including certifications, on your resume. Then share a few examples of how your embrace of digital tools helps you be more effective at your job. If you can share an example that helps your colleagues grow more comfortable with and embrace digital tools, even better! Remember, you grew up with it; they may not have.

Myth #3: Millennials aren’t loyal to a company

Busted:

Millennials don’t change jobs more than any other generation in today’s economy.

Overcome with:

Apply for positions you’re passionate about and show that you are looking for a career path, not just a job with a paycheck. Also, highlighting past experiences that have lasted longer than a year, even if the experience isn’t related to the job you’re seeking, will help underscore your longevity as an employee. When you’re asked to detail your working experiences from a previous shorter-tenure job, be ready with a neutral explanation of the short duration. This could cover anything from a contract position that wasn’t extended to having taken a job that was a filler while you searched for your career starter. Avoid the temptation to be critical of prior employers. Negative feedback about them can be a big red flag for recruiters and hiring managers.

Myth #4: Millennials Need Constant Reassurance and Direction

Busted:

Millennials are not looking for trophies, they are fueled by feedback, and regular evaluation and communication of how they are doing keeps them engaged.

Overcome with:

Examples from past work where feedback from a colleague or supervisor helped steer your work to qualities that exceeded expectations. Point out how mentoring relationships have helped you grow your professional skills to your employer’s benefit. Ask questions about reporting relationships and feedback structures in place to better understand what to expect in terms of evaluations and feedback.

Myth #5: Millennials Bring Disruptive Change

Busted:

Millennials are The New Intra-Preneurs, challenging traditional work models, but contrary to portrayal, most Millennials are respectful to senior staff and supervisors and comply with company policies. They will question things and suggest improvements, but it wont be in a disrupting or distasteful manner.

Overcome with:

Examples of changes you helped bring to light and/or implement in previous jobs, as well as listing requirements you read in the job description that intrigued you enough to submit your resume in the first place. Help the recruiter see how your desire to be part of building something new as a skill the company can leverage to its own benefit. If you have training or experience in any kind of continuous improvement methods, definitely highlight those.

Knocking down myths is nothing new – it’s something each generation of professionals has had to overcome. While you may not encounter every single one of these misconceptions when you interview, preparing for and addressing them proactively will show your potential employer that you are more than ready to take the next step on your career path.

 

Rose Ernst

Rose Ernst brings more than 20 years of consulting services experience to her role as national director of the G10 Associates program atGenesis10, focusing on the selection, training and placement of millennial workers. Rose is an advocate and advisor to companies seeking next-generation workforce planning, implementation and ongoing support. Rose also co-authored the book, “Hiring Millennials: The Generation That Changes Everything”.

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