As the economic recovery continues its uphill climb, many millennials are bearing the burden. Statistics from various reports average around 18% unemployment for 16-24 year olds and 10% for 25-29 year olds. That’s a harsh reality for the recent college grad who scraped to pay bills in school while dreaming of a million-dollar job after graduation.
I don’t have the solution to the employment crisis but I can share common mistakes some millennial job seekers make when trying to break into the working world.
Observation 1: Proofreading is not a thing of the past
Surely you should proofread your resume, right? Well, apparently not everyone thinks so. I recently received a resume for a Proofreading position at the agency that had several spelling errors. Uh, no thanks. I dismiss candidates with mistake-riddled resumes as not being serious about the position.
The same goes for emails with attached cover letters and resumes. Emails referencing attached documents are fine (although I prefer the text of the cover letter copied into the email). Just don’t use slang, misspellings, or ramble. Keep in mind that this information represents you and your work.
Observation 2: Treat all tools with respect
Tools to aid your job search are endless: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, etc. It’s a great idea for a candidate to reference a blog or Twitter feed to show his or her writing skills but remember to treat those spaces with the same planning and preparation you would in a job interview. Those outlets are a representation of you – if your Facebook or Twitter feeds feature scantily clad or drunken pics and captions with foul language, that’s how you’ll be perceived.
And you might want to ditch that email@example.com email account and goofy voice mail message while you’re at it. Answer every phone call as if it is the final stage of an interview. Always carry yourself just as you would in a job interview, even if you think no one is watching.
Observation 3: Job seeking is your job, not mine
I’m dumbfounded at the number of emails and voice mails I get each week that follow this exact pattern:
“Hi, this is Sam Smith. I’m a recent college graduate looking for a position with your agency. Can you call me and tell me if you have a job open? Call me at 123-4567.”
Such messages show a lack of initiative. Follow our blog, check our website – do some homework. I love candidates who make an effort to tailor their resume to a specific job position and tell us how their skills will benefit the agency.
Observation 4: Congratulations, you’ve got an interview – don’t blow it
Please avoid these interview faux pas:
- Ladies, if you wear a skirt or dress, test it while sitting down – make sure it’s not too short. And test your top while you’re at it, too.
- Don’t chew gum.
- Don’t answer calls or text while you’re interviewing.
- Don’t tell me you want to work for our company because our website is cool – tell me something about specific work we’ve done for a client. Do your homework.
Most importantly, ask questions. I’ll remember your interview better than the 15 others I conducted that day if you’re engaging.
Some of these tips may seem obvious, but job seekers continue to be plagued by them. Competition is fierce, even for entry-level positions. I can’t solve the economic problems overnight (or ever) but I can try to help you avoid being your own worst obstacle.
Melissa Wheeler is Human Resources Director at Luckie & Company. You can contact her by email.
Photo credit: GangPlank HQ via Flickr