Millennials On The Market
By Alexandra Gardell
Millennials could possibly be the first generation to be less financially well-off than their parents. This is a fear and a reality this generation, particularly those getting ready to graduate college, are facing and trying to find ways to deal with.
New York Times columnist Bob Herbert cites reports in a column titled “Here Come the Millennials,” describing the hardships facing this generation, who range in age from early teens to their early 20s, that include worsening job prospects, lower rates of health insurance coverage and higher levels of debt.
Elis Estrada-Simpson, 21, a model student and job applicant, aspires to become a broadcast journalist. She’s near the top of her senior class at Marymount Manhattan College, and is graduating this spring with a major in Communication Arts. She can rattle off a list of internships that she has completed: ABC’s The View and One Life to Live, VH1 Productions for MTV, Resource Magazine, and NBC Nightly News.
Elis Estrada-Simpson is taking the social networking skills she picked up in college and
applying them to her job search through sites designed to help students find placement
in today's shaky market.
Estrada-Simpson plans to attend the CUNY School of Journalism in 2011 to pursue her Master’s degree in Journalism. “Undergrads usually don’t go into grad school for journalism because they already have the training, but my school did not provide that curriculum, so I want to prepare myself for grad school,” she said. In the meantime, she’s looking to gain any experience or paying jobs that she can in the field.
Lindsey Pollak, author of “Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World” says students in the job search process under today’s economic conditions must “take action every single day.”
Millennials like Estrada-Simpson looking to land jobs now need to do more than the basics of finding listings online and firing off resumes. “In addition to the basics you need to show that you’re hardworking and eager. It’s what you do surrounding the bare minimum,” Pollak says in her book. That extra effort is what’s going to make the difference during these challenging times.
Below, Pollak offers an insight on how Millennials can brand themselves to compete and ultimately succeed in today’s trying job market.
Tips Tailored For Millennials
Everyone has heard horror stories of Millennials’ infamous helicopter parents, or parents who are always present, and sometimes become too involved in their child’s affairs. When it comes to the job hunt process, it’s easy for young people to want their hovering parents to back off. But Pollak suggests using their help and resources.
“The trick is to keep them in the background,” says Pollak. “Ask your parents to edit your resumes and cover letters and to practice mock interviews with you, but make them invisible to employers.”
A lot of people aren’t comfortable asking their parents for help, but if your mom or dad can introduce you to people who may be able to help you, then Pollak says to take their help. “Nobody can get you a job, but they can get you an opportunity. Let them make a phone call or send an email to make an introduction and then you can run with it. There’s no shame in that.”
Something that Pollak cannot stress enough is the importance of networking. She says to use the relationships you have with your parents, friends, your parent’s friends, professors, college alumni, college career centers, internships you’ve done. Have business cards printed with your contact information on them and carry them at all times because you never know when you will meet someone who can help.
“When you meet a recruiter at a job fair give them your card and have a conversation about a recent article you read to make yourself memorable. Send them an email that night with a well-written, targeted cover letter” says Pollak. Once you’ve made a connection, you need to follow up. “If someone at a networking event says they can help you, send them an email right away saying, ‘Thank you! Here is my resume.’”
Pollak reiterates that in this competitive environment you need to be extremely proactive, and you need to be doing more than what was acceptable in the past.
“Use all of your college skills of being on Facebook 24 hours a day and apply them in a professional environment,” Pollak says. She adds that LinkedIn is more comfortable and targeted than Monster.com or Recruiter.com. Pollak warns that sitting behind a computer is not going to get you a job, however, and reminds students of the importance of going the extra mile.
"Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do
Before You Join the Real World" offers practical job
Another must-do is to immerse yourself in your desired field to keep current on happenings and learn the vocabulary. Sign up for the email list for trade publications in your industry, and do your homework on companies you would like to work for. For example, Pollak blogs on http://www.pwc.tv/, the Big Four accounting firm PricewaterhouseCooper’s site developed to give career help to college graduates. So, if your dream company offers resources like this, make sure you take advantage of them.
And don‘t forget to clean up your Internet profiles. Potential employers, colleagues, and everyone else have the ability to search you online, so make sure that you present yourself in a way that you wish to be viewed. You don’t want those Saturday night frat party pictures to come back and haunt you while you’re looking to land your first job out of college.
Using Those Skills
Estrada-Simpson says she had a full-time job offer as a production assistant come from one of her internships, but she could not accept because she was still in school. “The timing wasn’t right,” she said. Now she’s registered for job search social networking sites like LinkedIn, MassMedia.com, and MonsterTrack hoping to connect to those who can assist her in jumpstarting her career. “I haven’t sent out emails and resumes to the people I’ve met through my internships, but I’m starting that soon, letting them know I’m graduating,” she says.
Estrada-Simpson is optimistic and driven, but knows she will have to persist and work hard to make her goal a reality. “The job market is more difficult right now, but in the industry I want to get into even in good markets it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. I’ve seen several well-qualified people not do well and it all boils down to timing, luck, and who you know. I’m hoping that my timing and the connections I’ve made will work out.”
New Grads: Use Your Assets
Although it can be intimidating to compete in the job market with seasoned professionals who may have been recently laid off or are returning to the job force, students do have some advantages. Pollak says that those advantages fresh-faced grads have include enthusiasm and the fact that they’re not jaded.
Pollak says students on the prowl for jobs need to be “smarter, faster, better.” She says that they need to use all of their assets including their relationships with family and friends, their school professors and career centers, professionals they have met through internships and networking opportunities, as well as their energy and eagerness to work. They’ve got to show potential employers that they are hungry to start their careers with their follow-up and networking.