In Their First Job Search, Millennials Need to Create Opportunities to Demonstrate Their Value

Articles about the challenges Millennials face in their first job search out of college always cite a similar anecdote: a Millennial with a valuable degree scours job boards and sends out “hundreds” of CVs and resumes only to get few, if any, responses from potential employers.

And it always strikes me as so odd that a generation that is all about innovation and efficiency would use such an antiquated method of conducting a job search and then be disappointed by the results.

It is like complaining that no matter how many times you try to connect to the internet, your dial-up connection is slow.

Of course it’s slow, it’s dial-up!

Millennials need to understand that we are in an age where everyone and their mother is a “master-ninja-lord-of-growth-hacking-specialist.” And anyone can say whatever they want on LinkedIn and in their Twitter bio. And, by God, they do.

The reality is that in today’s job market, no one cares about what you say you can do. Employers care about what you have demonstrated you can do.

You are a “master” salesperson? What have you sold?

You are a “growth hacker?” What have you grown?

You are a “talented” graphic designer? Where is your portfolio of work?

If you don’t have concrete examples to point to when answering these types of questions, you are already behind.

The common rebuttal, of course, is to say “how can I demonstrate my value if no one will hire me?”

In 1985, this may have been a valid argument. In 2017, however, it doesn’t carry much weight. Twitter is free. LinkedIn is free. YouTube is free. WordPress is free. Website domains cost about as much as a cup of coffee. 3D printers, high quality cameras, and high-end software are all relatively inexpensive.

The tools to show off any skill set are all readily available and the barriers of entry for almost every industry have been removed. There is no reason for Millennials to wait for someone to give them an opportunity to demonstrate their value.

But Millennials need to actually invest the time to do their “thing” and show it to the world.

That means if you are a writer, you need to write. If you are in sales, you need to sell. If you are a trader, you need to trade.

The people who get swooped up for “dream jobs” already do this. They didn’t just get lucky. They put themselves out there, invested the time, practiced their craft, and gained visibility in their industry.

And to make that first job search out of college a successful one, that is exactly the type of effort and drive that is required.


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Aaron Horwath Written by:

Since graduating from the University of Portland in 2014, I have worked abroad. Currently, I live and work in Da Nang, Vietnam as the Head of Global Training at an international technology company. Through my blog, I share my experiences of working abroad to give others a glimpse into international life and help them decide if working internationally is right for them.