How millennials can make the job search work

millennials work bar networking
Don’t forget to step away from the computer when job-searching to attend events and network. / Digital Vision

The economy has robbed millennials of the traditional career path that was once promised to us all through our education system. Millennials are starting their careers later in life due to the recession and have to work much harder than previous generations to recover. In a new study published by my company and PayScale.com, we found that baby boomers are more likely to have always lived on their own after starting their career (95 to 60 percent) than Gen X (88.50 percent) or Gen Y (70 to 80 percent).

In addition, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce reports that millennial workers are now 30 years old before hitting a median wage of $42,000, which is up from 26 back in 1980. What this means is simply that millennials have to be accountable for their careers and be creative with their approach to job-searching. Here are my Top 5 tips for millennial job-seekers :

1. Do freelance projects while you’re between jobs so that you can be actively developing your skills and build a portfolio that will prove your worth to prospective employers. Employers are more risk-averse these days, so the more evidence you can show them that you do the job better than anyone else, the better off you’ll be.

2. Instead of submitting your résumé to a job board, conduct a people search on LinkedIn to see who works at that company. Touch base with them directly to learn more and explore your opportunities. People get jobs through people — not systems. Cut through the clutter by connecting with hiring managers directly.

3. Create your own website and do a targeted advertising campaign using Google AdWords or Facebook social ads so that your credentials and name appear to the people who can hire you. By doing this, your name and website will be right in front of the people that can hire you, and you’ll stand out.

4. Get away from the computer and go to industry networking events so that you can meet the right people and stand out in the crowd. The strongest relationships — those that lead to jobs — exist through in-person relationships.

5. Invest the time you spend job-searching into your own company so you can create your own income, gain experience and not have to worry about trying to break into a company. Being an entrepreneur will give you freedom, flexibility and ownership that most companies don’t.

— Dan Schawbel is a Gen Y Career expert, the founder of Millennial Branding and author of the New York Times best-selling book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success.


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