A recent Jobfully blog highlighted some of the differences between older and younger workers in today’s workforce. The blog cautioned older job seekers from jumping to conclusions about the new generation. But younger job seekers have a lot to learn too. This blog is a response from one Gen-Yer on what we can do to work well in a multi-generational workforce, and how we can use our different work approach to get most out of our job search.
Don’t let your lack of years hold you back. Show your skills.
Regardless of your age, when you discuss your professional accomplishments, relevance is key. It can be intimidating to start a career amongst more seasoned workers. During your job search, instead of worrying about how many years of experience you may or may not have, highlight your achievements and show how you are a match for the job.
Technology can give you an advantage. Real life connection matters.
While older workers may scoff at the younger generation for our seemingly excessive use of texting, Twitter, and iPads, there is no denying that technology is playing an increasingly important role in the professional world. Being technologically literate can be a marketable skill, and to many of us younger workers, tech savvy comes naturally. There is, however, a time when you should put away your iPhone; in-person connection, though more time-consuming than texting, can leave a longer-lasting impression. Be sure to connect with people face-to-face during your job search.
Networking is a powerful tool. What image are you selling?
My parents tease me for having 700 friends on Facebook, but I’ve met most of Facebook friends in person at least once. It’s normal for GenY-ers to follow up even the most casual connections with an “add” on Facebook. Although we might not interact further with many of these contacts, this sort of openness to networking can be a great tool for job search. Just be aware of the message your online presence is sending. You don’t have to censor yourself completely on Facebook, but be wary of posting anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see – and know what your privacy settings are. Consider using LinkedIn as your primary professional online profile.
Follow the dress code.
I love wearing jeans to work. They’re comfortable and affordable. But if everyone else is wearing slacks, jeans might not be appropriate. What you wear to work does matter, and you want to be taken seriously. In your job search, research the companies and find out what the norm is. Even if it’s Casual Friday every day, try being less casual for the interview.
Don’t judge them. Get to know them.
We don’t want older workers to assume that we are incompetent or under-qualified because of our age. We want to be judged on the results we bring to the company. The same should apply to younger generation’s view of older workers. So don’t assume that an older worker’s experience is irrelevant and out-of-date. You can still learn from their accomplishments. In your job search, an older mentor could also help you identify career goals and find a job that’s a good match for you.