Millennial job seekers – despite how it may feel at times, employers really do want to hire you. They just need some reassurance because your resumes are a little skinny, even though you yourselves are full of awesomeness.
Many employers fall into the “2-5 year experience trap”. By looking only for candidates with 2-5 years of experience, they severely limit their pool of available candidates. We feel the pain of both hiring managers who can’t fill their openings and millennial job seekers with skinny resumes. Hiring managers can overlook a skinny resume, if you bulk up your personal brand on social media.
In order to build a personal brand, you must have a strong LinkedIn profile. You may not love LinkedIn, but a weak LinkedIn profile says “Nah, I’m not a professional”. Many millennials over share on Instagram and under share on LinkedIn.
- Start building your LinkedIn profile by choosing a strong headline outlining your ideal position. Choose an industry that most closely matches the field you plan to pursue. You can always change your profile later. Make sure you include your personal email address in your contact info so prospective employers can reach you easily. Once you have a draft of a profile, have a friend or career coach proofread it. One single typo can wreck yur first impression. Ruh-roh.
- Include a head shot. Not a photo that includes your dog, unless you’re a dog trainer; or a glass of wine, unless you’re a sommelier. If you plan on working in financial services or in another highly professional arena, suit up for the photo. If you’re in tech or marketing, you can be business casual. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a professional photo, but it needs to be clear and of good quality.
- Personalize the web address for your LinkedIn URL. Give LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements to friends and co-workers, and ask them to recommend you. To make it easier, give them a bullet list of the strengths you’d like to highlight, such as problem solving, leadership, or teamwork.
- In your profile, highlight internships, volunteer work, and school projects that relate to your chosen field. If you don’t have any of those, go find a nonprofit that needs your skills. If you have entry-level experience in an unrelated field, point out your key learning from that job. You may be completely over being a server, but you probably learned some good problem solving and customer service skills in your first job. Make that work for you.
- Reach out to connect with many people on LinkedIn. Include a brief comment such as “I’d be honored to have you in my network”. Include not only your peers, but more experienced people. Your parents’ business associates are generally happy to help. Alumni networks are awesome, since you have built-in credibility. Also, don’t underestimate your friends. Even though they may not be in a position to hire you, they are going to be job hunting too and will meet people who might hire or refer you. Feel free to connect with me: www.linkedin.com/in/leevikre.
- Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry. Ask and answer questions in those groups. Post content relevant to your field at least weekly, in groups and on multiple social media platforms. You can re-tweet or share existing content; it doesn’t have to be original, just smart. You can build a reputation as an up-and-coming expert.
- Google yourself and see what comes up; you can bet that your next boss will. Clean up your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Always holding a red cup? You’re building an image, even if in reality you don’t drink that much. Highly political or profane content could damage your credibility. Lock down your accounts so that your more personal or controversial posts are only seen by a limited audience.
- Follow companies you’re interested in LinkedIn and on all social media platforms. Even though LinkedIn is THE professional networking site, you’ll find great companies on many social platforms.
- One company you should definitely follow is BestCompaniesAZ. There, you’ll find specific information on award-winning companies and how to get hired by the best. These companies are growing and they want to hire millennials. BestCompaniesAZ can also help coach you as you launch our career. Check it out here.
About the Author
Lee Vikre – Hiring Jedi
A workplace culture maven, writer, and speaker, Lee Vikre has helped numerous companies develop “best company” cultures, gaining recognition at the local and national level. Lee has been called the Jedi Master of hiring because of her exceptional recruiting abilities and friendships with people who love Star Wars. Her favorite activities involve matching people with their dream jobs at award-winning best companies. Lee coaches CEOs but still hasn’t been able to train her three dogs not to bark during conference calls.