How to Use Being a Millennial to Your Advantage
When you’re applying to jobs, acknowledging your millennial status can often be a source of embarrassment or anxiety. After all, the term ‘millennial’ is associated with some pretty negative terms. Millennials are frequently characterized as entitled, lazy, naïve or obnoxious. Not exactly how you want to come across.
These are unhelpful stereotypes, and they’re not necessarily true. But unfortunately they’ve come to hang over an entire generation. So how can you turn those negative connotations into positive attributes that will benefit you?
Here are 5 ways you can use being a millennial to your advantage:
Millennials are Tech Savvy
Millennials are by far the most technologically capable generation. In fact, a study published by Ernst & Young shows that 78% of employers agree that millennials are the most adept at using technology in a corporate environment. This is something every workplace needs.
It’s become a cliché to say that millennials are obsessed with social media, but they are, by and large, more experienced online. The vast majority of jobs in today’s market entail working with computers, and millennials are widely considered ‘digital natives’. Not only that, but your experience of social media is in some ways an experience of marketing, or self-promotion.
If you’re a millennial, you’ll naturally be more cut out for work in a modern environment, and you can use this to your advantage.
Millennials are Results Driven
Millennials can be unfairly characterised as being impatient, having short attention spans or expecting immediate gratification.
To an extent, the fast pace of the semi-digital world you grow up in as a millennial does make you predisposed to life at high speeds. But what this really amounts to is a desire for results.
Employers look for applicants who get things done, don’t take no for an answer, and garner results. In this sense, an expectation for high levels of rewards is a huge bonus. If an employer thinks of you as someone who will increase pace and efficiency, that’s a great asset.
Millennials are Well Informed
Growing up with the Internet at the tip of your fingers makes millennials well rounded, multifaceted and well informed. The ‘wikipedia brain’ presents a kind of nebulous, encyclopedic, de-compartmentalised way of thinking. Millennials have access to so much information that they are often more engaged and open-minded as a result, with highly developed interests in a range of subjects.
This makes you adaptable to new environments, which is another key advantage in the workplace. The tendency for specialization that’s characteristic of older generations can often lead them down a professional cul-de-sac. Emphasize your adaptability.
Millennials are Good Communicators
Increasingly, effective communication is achieved through digital media. Millennials are used to communicating through emails, text messages or social media. It’s second nature to them. Most likely, you know how to express yourself effectively online, where older generations may be inhibited or ineffectual.
Highlight your capacity for effective communication. It’s a great skill.
Millennials have Enthusiasm
According to the study by Ernst & Young, 68% of employers believe millennials to be enthusiastic. This is an excellent trait. Of course millennials will often be less experienced than their older counterparts, but remember, inexperience is always a feature of the youth generation. One could argue that a lot of the negative stereotypes that are heaped onto millennials are actually just facets of being young, and it’s important to remember that youth is no disadvantage. Your enthusiasm is a virtue, and it will set you apart from the jadedness and cynicism of elder generations.
If you’re a millennial, you’re not expected to be highly skilled in a particular industry. There’s also likely a bias against you that says you won’t be hardworking, or a team player. So you have two options; work hard to dispel these myths, or ignore the stereotypes and highlight your strengths. Either works, but it might be an idea to tailor your approach to the industry you’re interested in.
If you’re applying for jobs where you’re mainly going up against other millennials, then highlighting your tech-savviness and enthusiasm won’t set you apart. In those cases (for example, perhaps you’re applying to be a junior social media strategist) take steps to convince your prospective employer of the attributes you possess that are atypical of millennials. Show them you are a team player and you are hardworking.
Alternatively, if you’re going up against candidates who are mainly from an older generation, highlight the advantages that being a millennial will confer on you. Use these 5 attributes as a start, and see what other advantages you can find. It could make you more employable.