The job market is overwhelmingly tough right now. People of all ages: college-age students, recent graduates, adults without college degrees, adults with college degrees, professionals being laid off, and younger professionals not being able to break into the job market no matter how hard they try...it's just tough. With a work world rapidly changing due to the meshing of many generations - the Baby Boomers, GenX, GenY and GenMe (Millennials) - companies are changing the way they expect their employees to work because they have to. Companies need to attract and keep talent in order to have happily and efficiently functioning workplaces that will sustain themselves.
Millennials (GenMe) want to have more flexible work environments. It's not that they are more laissez-faire towards work, it's just that they value balanced lives more than the generations preceding them. They want to exercise in the middle of the afternoon, they value developing relationships, cultivating hobbies, and downtime. Oh, and they want to save the world. No big deal. They're also OK meshing their professional and personal lives, meaning they'll respond to work emails from home and to personal emails from work. The lines are being blurred whether the Baby Boomers like it or not.
So, what does this mean for millennials on the job market now? I put together some tips and strategies to help you get off the ground and running:
- Reflect. A lot of people think they have reflected and figured themselves out. But, have you? It's hard work figuring yourself out. Think introspectively about your strengths, weaknesses, interests and passions. What do you love to do? What do you hate to do? Don't even think about jobs yet. Just think about yourself personally.
- Personality and career assessments: StrengthsQuest and this mini Myers Briggs assessment can be helpful in getting you started on the reflection train.
- Daily journaling can also work wonders. Write three pages a day when you wake up and keep doing it. It gets your thoughts out on paper and out of your head providing clarity over time. The Artists' Way is where I got this idea. I just started my pages so I will report back soon on how it's going.
- Write it down. Once you have reflected on yourself, write down what you discovered -- in a Google doc, in an Excel spreadsheet, on a piece of paper. Writing it down makes it real and, when written, it can turn into an action item that reminds you and pushes you to act!
- Strategize. Think about the companies and the people in your network (mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle, cousin, friend) who work at companies or have jobs that seem interesting to you. The beauty in this is that each of these people have their own interwoven network of people that they can then connect you to. The number of connections you can make are endless.
- Update your online presence. This means: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, any blogs you write. Google yourself to see what pops up. Do you like what you see? All clear? Good. Moving on...
- Do the research. Research jobs and companies by visiting their websites and don't be afraid to email HR and recruiting managers to ask questions. (That's their job and they expect to hear from you). Heck, send a note to one of them and attach your resume expressing your interest in their company even though it looks like they have no open positions at the moment. You never know where that one email and one form of open communication with a new source will lead you. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there so you've got to try to grab the opportunities when you can.
- Act. The time has come to reach out to people early and often. If you are a freshman in college, it's never too early to begin developing relationships with folks working in fields that you think you may be interested in. You DON'T need to have it all figured out before reaching out to them. You'll find people love to help and they love to talk about themselves even more. They are in fact flattered that you even reached out to them to talk about them! The same can be applied to the senior in college graduating soon, a recent alum, or someone seeking a career change. It is always a good time for you to get started reaching out to people via email, LinkedIn, and through your friend-family network.
So, get to work Mod Girls.