There was a time when obtaining a college degree almost guaranteed you a job after graduation. Unfortunately, that no longer seems to be the case. Hundreds of thousands of college graduates enter the “real world” each year and many of them struggle to find a job in their field, no less a job at all.
Many college graduates find that entry-level positions require work experience – experience which they can’t get if no one will give them a job. Add to that the challenge of being labeled a “millennial,” and finding steady employment after graduation is like finding a diamond in the rough.
So, how do you break through the millennial stereotype to land your first job? Keep reading to learn what the top millennial stereotypes are and how to overcome them to get a job.
This TEDx Talk by Keevin O'Rourke discusses How to Make Millennials Want to Work for You.
What Are the Most Common Stereotypes About Millenials?
First and foremost, it needs to be established exactly what a millennial is. There is some confusion regarding which ages fall into the millennial category, but most researchers agree that millennials are the generation born between 1980 and 1996. People born during this generation have been assigned all kinds of labels including lazy and entitled. The more these labels are used, the more they perpetuate the stereotype – a stereotype that may or may not have any foundation in truth. Here are some of the most common stereotypes (and myths) assigned to the millennial generation:
- They are the “me generation,” only concerned about themselves.
- Millennials are not loyal to their employers.
- The millennial generation has a poor work ethic, they don’t know how to work.
- As children, millennials were subjected to bad parenting strategies.
- Millennials are lazy.
- The millennial generation feels entitled to certain things.
These are just a few of the stereotypes that have been assigned to the millennial generation and the more people ascribe to them, the more they become set in stone. Keep reading to learn how to overcome these stereotypes to land your first job after graduating from college.
In this video, Simon Sinek discusses Millennials in the Workplace.
Overcoming Stereotypes to Get Your First Job
Applying for your first job can be nerve-wracking and frustrating. More often than not, your resume is going to end up in a huge pile of applications and it may or may not ever see the light of day. Even more frustrating than that is the fact that many employers choose the right person for the job over the right skills for the job. But how do you convince a potential employer that you are the “right person” if they won’t even give you a chance? It’s really just a numbers game – the more applications you submit, the more likely you are to eventually get an interview.
Once you finally get that interview, how do you present yourself in the best light? As a millennial job seeker, you’ll find that you are already at a disadvantage with many employers. In addition to having a list of skills and experience that applicants must have in order to qualify for the job, many employers also have a list of things a potential applicant should NOT have. On this list, you’ll find many of the millennial stereotypes mentioned in the last section: entitled, lazy, and disloyal. So, how do you overcome these stereotypes?
First and foremost, learn to be flexible. Many employers assume that millennials are overconfident or egotistical – that they have a poor work ethic and don’t know how to work as part of a team. If you can show a potential employer that you aren’t afraid to do hard work and that you’re willing to pay your dues, you can break through that stereotype. Understand that you might not land your dream job right out of college and look at your first job, no matter what it is, as an opportunity to gain work experience and to grow toward your dream career.
In addition to being flexible, be true to your word and to yourself. You don’t have to bend and break yourself to fit the mold Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers want you to fit, but you should be aware of those stereotypes and do your best to overcome them. In interviews, be confident but polite – listen as much as you talk and try not to be egotistical. When you write emails, be humble and pleasant. Make conversation at networking events and work gatherings instead of burying your nose in your phone. Above all, be the best version of yourself you can possibly be!
Breaking Millenial Stereotypes in the Work Place
Though carrying the weight of millennial stereotypes might make it a little more of a challenge for you to land a job after graduation, there are also ways you can make these stereotypes work for you in the workplace. For example, if your boss assumes that you’re a lazy millennial with no work ethic, show him just how hard you are capable of working! If you do your job and do it well, you can impress your boss and help him to let go of that stereotype. It doesn’t matter what generation you were born into, hard work pays off – if you want to land your dream job one day, you need to work for it!
Not only can you break through the millennial stereotype by working hard, but you can also put your unique millennial strengths to work for you! Millennials are socially conscious, passionate, and philanthropic. They are an extremely diverse generation and they have a lot to offer an employer if they use their strengths in the workplace to their advantage. Go the extra mile, and not just to impress your boss – to make yourself an asset to the company and someone to be considered when it comes time for raises and promotions. You can’t assume that doing the bare minimum is going to be enough for you to keep your job, much less rise through the ranks.
This video discusses breaking millennial stereotypes in the workplace.
Millennials also catch a lot of flak for their addiction to technology but, again, this is a unique skill that you can use to your advantage. Someone from the millennial generation enters the workplace already having a great deal of knowledge about how to use technology, both for their own personal enjoyment and for work. Employers can learn a lot from millennials about how to expand their business and how to branch out using social media. If you have a particular skill in this area, impress your boss by making suggestions or coming up with a proposal. This is a great way to make yourself valuable!
When you graduate college, you want to believe that you’ll enter the “real world” adequately prepared and able to land a job you love. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t quite that kind and you may not get everything you want (or expect) right away. Plus, you may have certain millennial stereotypes working against you. Rather than letting those stereotypes drag you down, however, you should break free from them, going above and beyond to prove yourself to your employer and to take a step toward your dream job.
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