What Generation Y Needs To Know About Getting A Job

When growing up, the majority of the Gen Y population was told to dream big; that they could accomplish anything that they set their minds to. Fast forward two decades and these bright-eyed, big dreaming, technology-savvy individuals have been released from their respective universities all expecting to land the job they thought they could easily attain, only to find that it’s not that easy! Reality checks are often brutal, but when the dust and disappointment has lifted, how are you (Gen Y) going to get a job, let alone your dream job? Fret not, here’s what you need to know to secure a paid position in this tough job market.

Luckily for you, baby boomers are opting for retirement every day. In fact, Pew Research findings indicate that 10,000 of your potentially seasoned competition, will reach 65 years old every day during the next two decades. This means there’s a significant gap in the workforce that needs to be filled. Unfortunately, the economic circumstances have led to a vast candidate pool and to companies looking for innovative ways to do more with less. The best way to prepare for this highly competitive job market despite greenhorn status is to understand how the hiring process is changing and what companies are looking for.

Here is a fact: while 63% of Gen Y has a four year college education , having a degree is no longer the main qualifying component for candidacy in many progressive companies. It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to list a slew of needed skills and experience in lieu of the generic “bachelor’s degree” requirement. It comes to the age old question, of whether education or experience has more pull while on the job hunt. It’s this “chicken or the egg” mindset that has employers second guessing their once standard, yet subjective qualifications for incoming applicants and now opting for more objective, job-relevant standards.

Gen Y is an on-demand generation, working, thinking, and operating more rapidly than their predecessors. However this speed is often coupled with inaccuracies and latent unprofessionalism. Slow down. Applications should be about quality, not quantity. Companies are becoming more reliant on automated pre-employment assessments that can’t be fooled by sweet-talking or resumes filled with buzzwords.

Job seekers are better off taking the time to submit quality resumes and cover letters to jobs and organizations in which they truly see themselves excelling, as opposed to simply doling out dozens of sub-par applications to just any vacancy within a hundred miles. Generation Y has a huge advantage over their predecessors regarding information access. Job seekers should thoroughly research organizational culture as well as job qualifications and skills in order to better ensure that they’re applying for vacancies they’re truly interested in.

Likewise, they can network with industry professionals to boost knowledge in relevant areas and collaborate with other thought leaders. Companies are looking for real experience, even if it comes in the form of an internship or volunteer work. By connecting with other professionals in the space you wish to work, you may be led to such opportunities and have a reputable source to later vouch for you during the reference checking process. And believe me, you’ll want quality references who really know and respect you.

While the rivalry may appear to be fierce, you have a lot going for you. No longer do you have to rely on practical experience to learn things, as you can research things to a point of having a working knowledge, nor do you have to go to school to land a job, due to real-world experience on your side. You also have innate technology skills, accessible ways to capture “out of the box” thinking, and the ability to stand out in a good way. Good things (and jobs) come to those who are proactive.

About the Author: Greg Moran is the President and CEO of Chequed.com, an Employee Selection and Automated Reference Checking technology suite as well as a respected author on Human Capital Management with published works including Hire, Fire & The Walking Dead and Building the Talent Edge.

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