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11 Tips for Job-seeking Millennials

Whatever guidance counselors and parents are telling Gen Y about their cover letters, resumes, and careers... it’s wrong.

Becky Graebner


October 9, 2013 - 12:00 pm
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This is how I feel.

One of my duties at my 9 to 5 job is to screen/hire interns and field applicants for job openings.  People have come and gone in the past few years and I have had thousands (literally, thousands) of job applications come through my email inbox.  I am required to read every single one.

It really isn’t as bad as it sounds—physically reading pages upon pages doesn’t make you completely blind—but I do tend to come out of my “application binges” feeling depressed. Why? The surface reason is that I hate having to go through 1,000 applications, knowing that 999 people are not going to get the job. The deeper reason is that reading ridiculous cover letters and resumes makes me feel very sad for my generation. If you really want to know how horrific the job market is, just read a stack of resumes.  I just had to slog through 15 applications—and my gut reaction to each one was to write each applicant a personalized critique on what they did wrong and why I eliminated them.

Here’s some advice for millennial job applicants:

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All Comments   (6)
All Comments   (6)
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Take heart you job seekers in kalifornia, come 2014, your future employer can no longer ask if you have ever been convicted of a felony.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I once saw a resume for a security guard position. The applicant went through all his schooling and training and also mentioned he had served 11 years in the US Army and worked as an MP. All good so far but he included his Military DD-214 form. As I glanced at the form I suggested the boss might want to find out why, after 11 years he was discharged with the rank of Private E-1 ! Even in the Infantry, cannon fodder get higher than that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These tips are just the basics; even submitting a perfect resume and cover letter with no spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors will still only get you a place in line with hundreds of other applicants. To really stand out, you have to go way beyond these fundamental rules.

Most HR applicant screeners don't really have a clue about what skills, and experience the hiring managers really want. They have just been given a list of buzz-words to look for. If at all possible, avoid the HR screener altogether, and submit your resume directly to the hiring manager. You'll have to do some research to find out who that is, but that will help you in the interview, if you should be lucky enough to get one.

At a minimum, you should have read the Quarterly report of any publicly held company. Also thoroughly read the website of the company you are interviewing with. You should know what their business is, what they deliver, any problems the company is currently having, their main competitors, how their differentiate themselves, and the company's short- and long-term goals.

I once got a job competing against several, more experienced applicants, because I was able to tell the hiring manager something his major competitor was doing that he didn't know about.

In interviewing with a hiring manager you need to be informed, knowledgeable, articulate, and enthusiastic. By researching the industry, or sector, and demonstrating your knowledge by relating your specific skills and experience to industry, or company-related issues, you will definitely stand out in the hiring manager's mind.

But by discussing these issues, you will open the possibility that the manager will ask you for your suggestions or opinions about the issues, so be ready to either answer or gracefully deflect these questions.

Good luck!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interviewing tips:
1. Do not say you want a job that involves "travel" unless applying to a transportation company like an airline. Travel is what you do with your own money on your vacation.
2. Do not say you have "communication skills". The author mentioned "listening" but I would include speaking, conflict resolution, coaching, networking, and all such terms that translate to: you majored in liberal arts and don't really know how to do anything but post on Facebook where you have a lot of Friends, and many Like you.
3. Don't ask about your scheduled hours. Your immediate boss will tell you when to be at work and how late you are expected to stay. You can ask how many hours per week the job is, but don't say "Is it okay if I come in, like, about 9:30? I'm out really late sometimes..."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Millennials Clump. Everywhere I see them, they are moving through life in clumps of 4 or 5 or 6 or more. I'm not sure if this means they are all team players to the nth degree, or if they simply can't afford to rent their own apartment or buy their own lunch. It's so annoying to see them clumped together for lunch with 2 or 3 little tables pushed together, and then they leave the little tables pushed together when they rise and depart ... in a clump.

So my note to Millennials is "get used to it". I have no intention of retiring so you can have my job. 65 is the new 39. :-) And I am singular, not clump-able.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
11. Good luck!
10 Good luck!
9 Good luck!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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