Anyone over the age of 40 can seem like a dinosaur to a person under 30. So advice coming from these aging lips, no matter how sage, is met with impatient eye rolling, raised eye brows and mouthing “whatever” to what would be considered very sound career and job search tips.
Here are 6 career tips you don’t want to hear but you would be wise to listen to!
1. Set goals
It seems improbable to anyone under the age of 30 to start thinking longer term. But it is not only important it is vital. If you don’t know where you are headed then every direction is potentially right. Drifting around is fun and developing a portfolio career can be helpful, but having a longer term vision is important too. Read: 5 Tips for Gen Y women. The importance of goals
2. Create a strong CV
You might be under 30 but you still have achievements and success stories to share. Crafting a powerful resume which conveys who you are, while being true to yourself is still possible. No it’s really not bragging
Keep an up to date resume on your phone so you can send it off within seconds of being asked for it.
Leverage every situation you find yourself in to develop skills in line with your goals. Today there are many online opportunities that are completely free or low-cost.
3. Establish a professional online presence
Anyone in this generation has been raised on a diet of devices and social media platforms. You have hundreds of “friends” and everyone “likes” you. Now is the time to convert that social network into professional contacts. They might be your buddy at the moment but as your friends develop professional networks, you will profit from being connected to them. Your friends will not think this is uncool or for “suits”.
Set up a LinkedIn profile and transfer your connections to that platform. Remember this is not Facebook or Instagram and requires a professional approach.
Delete the night out pics. Yes really! Employers do identify candidates and research them on social media. Many candidates are cut because of dubious images and content. If you are reluctant to delete those cute photos with your college sweetheart or a night on the town picture with your BFFs, then make sure your privacy settings are at the highest level. However there are no guarantees that those pics taken to capture a fun moment won’t resurface when least welcome. Be careful about who tags you too. You might have cleaned up your act but if your friends are not as vigilant there could be another problem.
Also audit your content for what seem like obvious references to topics that might alienate recruiters. Drug taking comes top of the list with 83% of recruiters saying doing so is a strong turn off. Some companies do drug tests. Sexual posts, are also ill-advised with 70% of recruiters saying that it creates a negative impression. 66% take a dim view of profanity and 44% saw posts about alcohol as concerning.
4. Network professionally
Start going out and meeting people and converting those online connections into real life ones. Be strategic about who you develop – perhaps contacts of your parents or older friends can be leveraged. This is not considered a breach of trust or offensive but a key part to career development. Dinosaurs tend to have useful connections.
5. Monitor your communication style
There are massive differences in communication styles between one generation and another. You may need to set up a professional sounding email account and check it regularly. Many employers and recruiters won’t contact you via What’s App and Facebook messaging , although some will.
Prepare a succinct introduction about yourself, making sure that it is not populated with “like” and especially up-speak where each statement sounds like a question. Your recruiter is not your friend.
Don’t be afraid of the phone. As in the voice call! Start to use it as a way of communicating effectively and always listen to your voice mails.
6. Create a professional image
Not all companies are like Google and most will require some level of professional dress especially at the interview stage. Invest in some inexpensive business items and don’t be fooled by the appearance of women already working in those organisations – they already have jobs. Read: How to be on trend with a professional dress code and How to add dash without cash to your work wardrobe