A recent Daily Beast feature paints a very sour picture for the Millennial generation. Dubbed "Generation Screwed" by many, newbies to the job force are having a difficult time entering the working world in a capacity in which they thought they were almost guaranteed if they played their cards right. The result? A 12 percent unemployment rate for those aged 18 to 29, nearly 50 percent above the national average.
While it can be particularly discouraging for Millennials to face rejection when they are constantly reminded of a roller coaster economy and a bleak job market, it doesn't mean they need to stop learning, trying, and innovating. Often times, when a group is painted as a generation who is destined for failure, we eventually find those who steer through the criticism and counter it to become something stellar. However, this can only happen if "Generation Screwed" refuses to accept what they've been handed. Here's how to turn it around:
Do more with less
It's no surprise that organizations are trying to do more with less. From smaller teams to cut paychecks, it's important for Millennials to understand that they need to mirror this attitude when it comes to the job search.
For instance, in the past, you may have been able to get away with one or two standout skills. Now, it's in your best interest to have transferable skills, which make you more attractive to more employers. For example, if you're in marketing, ensure you that you know more than content creation, you should enhance your technical skills with Photoshop, master email campaigns, even HTML. Even though you're one person, if you can do the work of a group, it can save the organization money and make you the standout candidate.
Always track what you do well
You're only as good as your last gig, right? With that in mind, job seekers need to track their previous career wins so employers are aware of their full potential. Do this while employed by sharing work with co-workers on the team such achievements and accomplishments, as well as getting feedback from your teammates can show your impact to the organization. Then, when you're searching for new opportunities, use those endorsements, completed goals, work samples, and reports to show an employer why you are worthy of the position. After all, it's about what you can do for them. Giving them concrete evidence puts you on the path to a conversation, an interview, and hopefully a job.
Find partners and create relationships
Did you know that 80 percent of jobs are landed through networking? That means you're losing out on the majority of opportunities if you're not out there finding partners and creating relationships, which can eventually be the key to landing employment. For most young professionals, this starts inside your organization. Beyond current connections, or if you're unemployed, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter chats, and Quora questions can help you make connections in your area of expertise. You can also use MeetUp for lots of free professional groups in your region. You don't have to wait for tradeshows and conferences -- the necessary tools are all right in front of you.
In addition, these partners and relationships can also turn into business prospects. Ultimately, if many people can't find opportunities, they create their own (that's what 24 percent of Gen Y has decided, anyway). Everyone knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone... make sure you give yourself the opportunity to connect with that "someone."
Don't sabotage yourself
The fact is, if something isn't working, you need to change it. There are jobs out there, but your strategy to land one may not be as cut and dry as it was in the past. Additionally, if you're already employed but looking for a new job, consider if you could instead be retained in your current position if a promotion or directional shift were possible.
In the end, it's up to you. Evaluate what's not working and adjust your tactics. Participate in online groups and meetups to help you get to the next level. The best way to start is by posting a question. Additionally, use the plethora of job search tools available to you for free. Above all, do not sabotage yourself. You're the captain of your ship and you're in charge of your own job search. It's rocky, but it's possible. So, start steering yourself in the right direction. You'll find that this generation may not be so screwed after all.
What do you think? Are Millennials really the screwed generation? What else can they do to change their job search?
Follow Morgan Norman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WorkSimple