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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Not like all the others


In 1999, there was technological uncertainty in the business world as the new millennia approached. Now there is uncertainty in the business world as Millennials take over the labor force.  A Pew Research Center 2015 study found that Millennials made up 34% of the American workforce, surpassing GenXers, while baby boomers are declining at 29%. Unlike the old days where the new generation works for the old, now it is quite possible that the youngest is hiring the oldest. As the older generation of workers declines the more likely scenario is Millennials hiring Millennials. So as the job market becomes tighter with applicants of the same generation, how does one stand out?

No matter who’s hiring whom, resumes start to look similar-same types of schools, training, skills, etc. A very high percentage of companies have an online application process. Resumes are almost certainly filtered for keywords relating to job functions and duties. Step one in the application process makes it difficult to distinguish oneself. An applicant has to have a strong resume that specifically meets the requirements of the individual job posting.  If an applicant is lucky enough to land an interview it may be advantageous to use their own generation’s weaknesses to differentiate themselves from the masses.

All generations have personality traits that can be viewed as weaknesses in the workplace. Baby boomers are viewed as self centered, result focused, driven workaholics, who fight change. GenXers are seen as cynical and impatient, dislike inflexible work schedules, and have portable resumes. Millennials don’t care for mentally unchallenging tasks, need supervision and structure, and have high expectations for themselves.

As Millennials flood the workplace experts are documenting what would be considered negative stereotypes. Specifically:
  • Up talking-sounds indecisive/unconfident/immature
  • Speaking in abbreviations
  •  Focus issues caused by constantly changing electronic stimuli and lack of willingness, multitasking  Lack of social interaction skills, how to talk/deal with people; personal meetings
  • Aversion to using the telephone
  •  ‘Not caring’ persona
  • Entitlement
If you are a Millennial that possesses more traditional work place qualities, highlight those skills as opposition to negative stereotypes. Just because you don’t fit the stereotypical mold for your generation shouldn’t be seen as weaknesses. Turn your abilities and personality traits into positives. Know how others view your generation negatively and present yourself as not like all the others. Generational weaknesses can be used as your strengths.

As Millennials take over the higher-level management jobs the negatives will become positives. A Millennial based company may want Millennial qualities in it’s employees. Of course, as in any presentation, you have to know your audience. Learn the values the company finds important for it’s employees. Learn the mean age of the company’s workforce and its leaders. An interviewee may have to adjust their presentation per interview.
See our blog archive for other posts relating to interviews:

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