Okay, let’s get real. Confession time: I might be a Resume.com Career Center expert, but I’m still a millennial, just like you.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re pretty fed up with our generation being called entitled and lazy. I’ve always been impressed by the innovation, creativity, and perseverance that I’ve seen in millennials. I’m sure you feel the same way.
That’s not to say that millennials aren’t different from other generations, or that we don’t face obstacles, though. Young people are faced with a lot of challenges, from the economy to the housing market. The job market is especially hard on people our age.
We’re the largest generation in US history. There are approximately 92 million millennials compared to 61 million generation X-ers and 77 million baby boomers in the US alone. With retirement age getting later and later, we’re left with very little room for young and inexperienced people to enter the job market.
Not to mention that our federal mean student debt has almost doubled in the last 10 years, from around $10,000 in 2003 to over $20,000 in 2013. I’m not even exaggerating. We really can’t afford to be unemployed with stats like that.
However, it’s not all bad news. We grew up in the digital age. We’re smart, technologically savvy, and ready to face the world. We just need to play off of the strengths that being a millennial has given us to learn how to find a job, instead of focusing on all the negative press.
Here are 25 job hunting tactics that you can use as a millennial to get hired now.
Play to Your Millennial Strengths
1. Be Selective (and Use Google Sheets)
Millennials are known for being selective (also known as being extremely picky, according to my mother) when it comes to our attitudes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Selective thinking is a huge advantage when you’re looking for work.
When you’re first starting out, it can be super easy to go out and apply for every job posting you see that sounds remotely doable. However, sending out hundreds of half-assed job applications will only set you up for rejection.
Getting demoralized is a legit concern when you’re job hunting, so stay picky. Only apply for jobs that really match your qualifications, education requirements, and skills. It’ll increase your chances at hearing back from a hiring manager who’s genuinely excited to talk to you.
Because you’re being selective with which jobs you apply for, it’s a lot easier to keep track of the jobs you’re applying for, too. Tracking your job hunt progress is a lot easier to do when you’re only applying for jobs you think you’d be perfect at, instead of every job posting under the sun.
- Jobs you’re interested in
- Resumes you’ve customized
- Cover letters you’ve customized
- Finished job applications you’ve sent off
- Dates to follow up with hiring managers
- Job interview dates
Of course, you can personalize your spreadsheet however you’d like (colors, bullet points, emojis, cartoon characters, etc.!). Just make sure that you’re not spending more time decorating your spreadsheet than actually applying for jobs!
Staying on top of which jobs you’ve applied for using a spreadsheet is also a satisfying way you can track your progress. By being able to check off what you’ve accomplished, you can appreciate every job hunting victory, whether or not you actually hear back from hiring managers that day.
You can read more on tracking progress and planning your goals in job hunting tactic #8 and #10!
But did you know your social media savvy could actually get you a job?
It’s true! Young people like us are starting to use social media for more than just dank memes and cat pictures.
Using social media for job hunting simply makes sense. We have hundreds of contacts who actually want to help us out that we can reach out to in seconds. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of your massive network by letting them know that you’re looking for a job?
I know lots of people who seek out contacts and jobs through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social accounts. I’ve gotten several leads on jobs through other people’s posts about upcoming jobs and hiring companies, too.
Advertising your hireability on your social media networks can lead to real life payoffs (like finding an amazing job that you can’t stop talking about), as long as you do it smart.
The real trick with using your social media to get hired is to take the time to clean your social media accounts up first, before you start reaching out to your followers for help to find a new gig.
Go through all of your online profiles with a fine-toothed comb, and then delete anything that you wouldn’t want your future employers seeing. When you’re done, ask a friend or mentor to look through everything. A second pair of eyes never hurt when it comes to job hunting!
Questionable content includes posts like:
- Videos, pictures, or references to partying, drinking, or substance use
- Videos, pictures, or references of nudity, inappropriate things, or R-rated decisions
- Complaints or negative commentary about work, school, or volunteer experiences
- Controversial topics like politics or religion that you feel might impact your future career
When you’re confident that your social media accounts are ready for your future employers to see, share that you’re looking for your next job opportunity online to your friends and followers.
Here are a few example posts that you could share on Facebook:
Hey, everyone! Does anyone know of any companies hiring entry level sales reps? I’m looking for a great job starting immediately. I have two years of experience in sales and am fresh, eager, and ready to work hard! PM me if you have any leads. Thanks so much!
Hi, guys! I just graduated and I’m looking for my dream job! Do you know of anyone hiring entry level employees for full-time work in Los Angeles? PM me if you know anything. Thanks!
Make sure you sound positive and eager, and be specific about what you’re looking for in terms of experience level, location, hours, and industry. Your friends will be happy to help you out any way they can!
3. Trick Out Your LinkedIn Profile
Your LinkedIn profile is a huge opportunity for job seekers to catch the attention of hiring managers and recruiters. This platform is free, easy to use, and people are actively searching on it to find and hire people like you. If you’re not using it, you’re missing out.
Simply having a LinkedIn profile isn’t enough, though. You have to really trick out your online presence on this platform.
The resume you created using the easy resume builder is a huge help. Just copy and paste the sections of your online resume into the LinkedIn profile editor, link to your previous employers and volunteer experiences, upload a professional headshot, and then you’re done!
For more job hunting tips on how to use LinkedIn, check out the job hunting resource, “How to Use LinkedIn to Get the Job of Your Dreams“.
4. Figure Out Your Personal Brand
Now that you’ve cleaned up your social media accounts and updated your LinkedIn profile, it’s time to really figure out your personal brand as a young, employable person.
Your personal brand is who you are online. That is, it’s the cumulative “you” made up of all your social media posts, websites, portfolios, and anything else that employers can see when they look you up on the big wide web.
Creating an online brand can sound intimidating, but the good thing is that if you’re online, you already have one. The real challenge is being confident that your personal brand is professional enough that it’ll impress employers and get you hired.
Having a clear vision and strategy is key to making sure that your online image is hireable. This easy guide to personal branding will walk you through the steps to crafting a personal brand that works for you and your career goals.
Here are a few more job hunting resources that will help you create and maintain a professional image online:
- The simple guide to personal branding
- Creating your personal brand using social media
- How to create a professional image online
5. Blog Your Brains Out
Millennials get accused of being self-absorbed by other people, which is really unfortunate in a lot of ways. I think that it’s much better to think of millennials as interested in self-exploration and self-discovery instead of just assuming that we’re shallow.
Regardless of how you think of it, there’s no denying that our generation is the generation of selfies and selfie sticks. Why not use that to our advantage by working on ourselves (and working on getting a job) with blogging?
Blogging can be an amazing way to get to know who you are as a person. Writing is a proven tool that helps you explore what you value and what your passions are. Just make sure that when you’re writing, you’re displaying your most hireable characteristics, too!
Here are some great articles on how to get a job with blogging:
6. Think Outside The Box
We’re in the prime of our lives as millennials. We’re young, creative, and full of youthful exuberance, while still being old enough to be taken seriously by hiring managers. Now’s the perfect time for us to think outside of the box when it comes to job hunting.
You always hear about people getting job leads by doing crazy things, like hiding their resume in a box of donuts. What’s stopping you from trying something creative to get a chance to talk to your dream employer? Wouldn’t it be worth looking a little silly to get your dream job?
Take a few minutes out of every week to sit down and brainstorm some creative ways you could get a sought-after “in” during your job hunt. Even if you never follow through with your ideas, encouraging innovative thinking will help you stay inspired and excited.
Just a quick warning: your job hunting methods represent who you are as an employee. Make sure that you present yourself as professional and employable, no matter what your idea is. Being creative is great, but it could backfire, too. Check with a few trusted friends and mentors before you take any big risks with your job hunt!
Getting Into The Job Hunt Mindset
7. It’s Okay To Be A Little Thirsty
We’re often thought to be a little too cool for school as millennials, but playing hard to get with your job hunt could really hurt your chances of getting a great job. It pays off to be a little thirsty (AKA eager) when it comes to getting a position you really want.
If you think a job posting is perfect for you, then let that employer know. Take the time to tailor your resume summary and cover letter to the job posting to really show how excited you are about the opportunity. If you feel strongly about your application, follow up with a personalized email two weeks later to show how passionate you are about the job.
However, it’s important to know that there’s a fine line of desperation that shouldn’t be crossed when you’re searching for your next job. Don’t pester hiring managers and recruiters so much that you become someone to be avoided, instead of admired.
Remember, eager is good, but annoying is bad. Don’t contact hiring managers or recruiters more often than every two weeks, and if they specifically ask you to not call, then don’t.
8. Embrace Your Type-A Qualities
A job hunt is the perfect time to tap into your Type A personality traits. While most people are a combination of stereotypical Type A and Type B personality traits, curating Type A qualities can be surprisingly valuable when you’re looking for work.
Type A personalities are well-known for being a little uptight, super organized, goal-oriented and competitive. On the other hand, Type B personalities are thought to be more relaxed, a little disorganized, and emotionally driven.
While neither Type A or Type B personalities are necessarily good or bad, encouraging Type A behaviour can be really great when you’re doing tasks that you don’t find super stimulating (like crafting your twentieth cover letter or rewriting your resume for the fortieth time).
Type A personalities thrive off of being organized, goal setting, making lists, and productivity. Here’s a few ways you can curate your Type A qualities:
- Make a To-Do list to track of all your job hunting tasks so you don’t forget anything
- Keep a calendar of job hunting tasks you need to complete every day or every week (more on this in job hunting tactic #10)
- Make a checklist that tracks your accomplishments that you can check off daily
If you feel a little uncertain or intimidated, don’t worry. You’re already off to a great start with job hunting tactic #1, where you started tracking your progress on a Google Spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
9. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Millennials aren’t lazy, we’re just efficient. If your job hunt isn’t moving as fast as you’d like, you might find better results from increasing your productivity, instead of just doing more of the exact same thing.
Increase your productivity by reading “7 Job Hunt Habits That Will Make You Insanely Productive” and start using these fast tips to boost how productive you are right away:
- Turn off notifications on your cell phone and computer
- Turn your cell phone on “silent” mode while you’re working
- Designate a space that you reserve for job hunting only
- Declutter your designated work area
- Make sure your job hunting goals are attainable
10. Stay Motivated With Goals
Defining clear, attainable goals goes a long way during the daily grind of a job hunt. After all, searching for a new position is a lot harder than it seems. Looking for work is like a full-time job in terms of the time and commitment that it takes!
Having goals will help you stay on task during the challenges of job hunting. You can organize your goal setting in whatever way you’d like, from keeping it on a cloud document to decorating a planner with stickers and doodles.
However, if you need some inspiration on how to start goal setting, here’s how I start:
- Print out or purchase an inexpensive daily planner to schedule your goals
- Write down one to two realistic goals for each job hunting day
- Write down one to two realistic goals for each job hunting week
- Check off your daily and weekly tasks as you accomplish them!
If you choose to create a job hunting planner like me, it’s also a great place to put all your To-Do lists and checklists from job hunting tactic #1 and #8.
Being able to accomplish your daily and weekly goals will motivate and inspire you to keep going, even if your job hunt takes longer than you expected.
11. Take Care Of Yourself
Job hunting can be way harder than you might expect, so make sure you put aside enough time to take care of yourself. Maintaining good physical and mental health will help you keep up all your hard work over the long haul.
- Exercise for 30 minutes, ideally in the morning
- Drink eight glasses of water every day
- Sleep enough for your body every night
- Stretch during your five minute breaks after every hour and a half of work
- Take time to relax after a productive day
12. Treat Yo’self
There’s no denying that job hunting is tough stuff, so make sure you’re putting aside a little time from every day you work hard to reward yourself. Parks and Recreation said it best: treat yo’self!
Rewarding yourself regularly is crucial to staying motivated and inspired during a long job hunt.
Treating yourself well doesn’t have to be expensive. There are lots of ways you can reward yourself for being a dedicated job seeker without breaking the bank.
Try rewarding yourself with some of these easy, affordable ideas:
- Going for short walks outside while listening to music
- Meeting up with a friend for a coffee break
- Cooking a delicious dinner with a friend or partner
- Taking a hot bath with epsom salts and candles
- Reading a good book in a park or at the beach
- Watching a fun movie with a friend or partner
However, it’s crucial that you don’t spend too much of your budget or valuable working hours rewarding yourself. Try to limit yourself to 30 minutes to two hours of “me time” for every full day of effort you put into your job hunt. Don’t spend more time treating yourself than job hunting!
13. Put Off Procrastination
During a job hunt, you’re your own boss. No one is holding you accountable for your actions. It’s up to you to stay motivated and productive during your job hunt – which is a lot harder than you might think at first.
Procrastinating causes stress and anxiety. This negative habit makes doing job hunting tasks difficult to start or complete. Procrastination stands in the way of a happy, productive job hunt!
Here are a few general tips to prevent you from procrastinating:
- Focus on getting things finished, instead of worrying about perfecting them
- Stay positive, because thinking negatively is a root cause of procrastination
- Don’t forget to reward yourself for accomplishing your goals (job hunting tactic #12)
If there’s a specific task that you’re dreading, you can try these six steps to help you stop procrastinating finishing something:
- Sit down and eliminate distractions
- Determine which task you’re dreading the most
- Set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes
- Work on that task for 15 minutes straight
- After 15 minutes, you might just want to keep working on that task!
If you find that you’re tired of the task you’re working on after 15 minutes, go ahead and stop. You can still feel good about working hard for an uninterrupted amount of time. All you need to do is repeat those five steps until the hardest task is finished!
Job Hunting Platforms & Tools
Craigslist is a tried and true (and free!) job hunting tool for job seekers online. As a job site, it’s super intuitive and easy to use because of its super simple layout.
To start looking for work, all you need to do is go to your local Craigslist by Googling, “[your city] Craigslist”, and then look up job keywords in the search bar under “Jobs”. If you get stuck, try searching for job titles, temporary or full-time employment, or industries you’d like to work within.
Here’s a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of using Craigslist for your job search:
|Craigslist Benefits||Craigslist Drawbacks|
|Many jobs posted to Craigslist aren’t posted anywhere else||Doesn’t offer many features or advanced search tools|
|Many small businesses posting jobs||Few large corporations posting jobs|
|Quick replies and hiring processes||Easy to miss jobs that are right for you|
|Often informal hiring processes that makes it easy to pass through the application process||If you really care about a job opportunity, the employer might not take you very seriously|
I recommend using Craigslist as a secondary job hunting platform. Search your local Craigslist for your most important keywords (job titles, industries) twice a week, but use a job board with more advanced features as your primary job hunting tool.
There are lots of options out there for job boards, but one of the best has to be Resume.com’s free online job board. This job hunting tool is straightforward and easy to use, especially since your resume is ready to share on our online resume creator.
All you need to do is type in your job title or keyword and your location to start. When you find a job that fits your skills and qualifications, it’s simple to apply. All you need to do is click, “Apply Now”, and then send the employer your resume and cover letter.
Bonus Feature: You can also create customized alerts that notify you when jobs you might be interested in are posted on the job board. Notifications go straight to your email inbox so you’ll be the first to know about new and exciting job opportunities!
16. Recruitment Agencies
Recruitment agencies connect qualified job seekers with hiring employers. They’re like the matchmakers of the job hunting industry.
Recruitment agencies are a contentious topic among job seekers and employers. Some job hunters and employers refuse to work with recruitment agencies, and some job hunters and employers work exclusively with them.
Deciding whether you want to work with a recruitment agency to get a job can be a tough decision for a lot of job seekers. Make sure you know all the facts before you commit to working with an agency, especially if it sounds like a “too good to be true” situation.
Here’s a brief look at the benefits and drawbacks of working with a recruitment agency:
|Recruitment Agency Benefits||Recruitment Agency Drawbacks|
|You have someone to ask for help and advice||You could find a job by yourself|
|Meet the right connections quickly||You might have to sign a binding contract|
|Some jobs are only available via agencies||Recruiters might charge you fees|
|Your salary is already negotiated||Agencies can further complicate your job hunt|
17. Family, Friends, and Followers
You should always let your family, friends, and social media followers know that you’re looking for a new work opportunity if you’re serious about your job hunt.
If you have a big family, try sending out a short email to your relatives letting them know what kind of job you’re looking for and a short list of your qualifications and experience.
On the other hand, if you have a small, close family, why not call them and catch up, and then mention that you’re looking for a job?
Don’t forget to also let your friends and followers know you’re looking for a new job by tapping into your social media networks (job hunting tactic #2). You never know what results you’ll get!
It can be hard to ask for help, especially when it comes to your mentors. Whether it’s an informal mentor like a baseball coach or a formal business mentor, you want them to respect you, so asking for assistance during a job hunt can be difficult.
However, remember that mentors are there to help you grow and learn. There’s no need to hesitate when you’re letting them know that you’re looking for a new job opportunity.
Mentors are an amazing source of connections, so go ahead and let them know what kind of job you want and in what industry. Who knows, they might know someone who can help you score your dream job at your dream company!
Networking is a great way to get out there and meet people who might be able to help you during your job hunt. There are many ways to network, but the most popular option is to find and attend networking events held locally in your city.
There are several ways that job seekers can find out about networking events, including:
- Googling the keywords, “[your city] networking event”
- Looking for networking events in city-specific news websites and newspapers
- Searching for networking events on your local Craigslist site
- Searching for networking events on Meetup.com
Though networking might not immediately result in getting a job, connecting with the right people might lead to new opportunities, contacts, or if you’re really lucky, an invitation to apply for a job posting that hasn’t even been published yet.
If you’re new to networking, starting to talk to new people in an unfamiliar setting can be a little intimidating. Luckily, there’s lot of advice out there on how to get started with networking.
Here are a few quick tips that will help you network confidently at your next networking event:
- Be prepared with breath mints, pen, notebook, and business cards (if you have them)
- Dress appropriately for the occasion – and if you’re in doubt, err on the side of caution
- Grab a prop, such as a drink or a brochure, to keep your hands busy if you get nervous
- Bring a friend or mentor with you to get extra social support
And if you’re an introvert or a little shy, make sure you read, “4 Ways to Get Excited About Networking for Introverts” in the Careers Center today.
20. Career Fairs
If you’re lucky enough to be looking for a job while a career fair or hiring fair is being thrown, make sure to attend. These rare events don’t happen very often, but they’re exactly where you want to be if you’re looking for work. Before you go to a career fair, make sure you’re relaxed and properly prepared. Don’t forget to bring breath mints, copies of your resume, a notepad and pen, and your business cards (if you have them).
The most important thing about attending a career fair is to stay confident and calm. Here are a few more tips that will help you succeed while attending these types of events:
- Remember to RSVP to attend the fair ahead of time
- Do your research about the employers that will have booths at the event
- Dress appropriately (if in doubt, dress more professionally than less professionally)
- Consider bringing your online or hard copy of your portfolio
- Rehearse your pitch on why an employer should hire you
- Be prepared to be interviewed on the spot
Troubleshooting & FAQs
21. How to Stay Motivated (If You Keep Hitting Dead Ends)
Staying motivated is a legitimate problem when you’re job hunting, but remaining 100% keen in the face of rejection is even harder.
If you’re hitting a lot of dead ends, not getting any callbacks, or just generally feeling frustrated, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to get your motivation back on track.
Try these rejuvenating methods to re-motivate yourself:
- Get some sage advice from your mentors, friends, or family
- Try meditation classes or a meditation mobile app
- Don’t forget about self-care (job hunting tactic #11)
- Don’t forget to reward yourself regularly (job hunting tactic #12)
Remember, job hunting can take a long time. Be patient. Your dream job could be just around the corner!
22. What To Do If No One Calls You Back
If no one is calling or emailing you back, the most important thing to know is that it isn’t a reflection of who you are as a person.
Sometimes it takes a long time to hear back from hiring managers. Heck, most of the time they never email or call you back at all, but that’s okay.
Rejection is the unspoken part of the job hunting process. Developing a tough outer skin is key to not feeling hurt during this difficult phase.
Remember, these hiring managers don’t know you – it’s not personal!
23. I Actually Got An Interview… What The Heck Do I Do Now?
Congratulations! Getting an interview with a hiring manager is a fantastic accomplishment.
However, having an impending job interview can leave job seekers feeling pretty nervous, especially if you haven’t had many job interviews before.
Luckily, there’s nothing to worry about. Job interviews aren’t as bad as you might think. If you prepare for your job interview properly, nothing can stand in your way!
Here are a few useful articles that will help you prep for your next job interview:
- 9 Job Interview Red Flags That Scare Any Hiring Manager
- The Best Way to Answer the “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?” Interview Question
- 5 Tips to Prepare Yourself for a Difficult Interview
First thing’s first: you need a resume that can get your job hunt rolling. Get started with Resume.com’s free resume creator today to create the foundation for your job search now!