As a Student Affairs professional, I work with millennial students (those born between 1981 – 1997) every day. While not strictly outlined in my position description, much of my work focuses on professional development coaching for these young students. Oftentimes, these students want to hide the fact that they are millennials. This doesn’t come as a surprise given the words often used to describe our generation—lazy, wasteful and self-centered, to name just a few.
While some of these characteristics are true for some millennials, they are also equally true for some Gen X’s, some Baby Boomers and some Traditionalists. However, they are not all encompassing of the Millennial Generation. Our generation is also innovative, adaptable and the most educated generation in Western history. Subsequently, I encourage millennials to embrace their ages, their mind-sets and their unique contributions when marketing themselves to potential employers.
HOW TO MARKET YOURSELF AS A MILLENNIAL
Call out the fact that you are a millennial from the start. While many employers will be able to tell your age based on your year’s of experience and the year you graduated college, don’t hide the fact that you are a millennial! Instead, consider going a step further and specifically calling out the fact that you are a millennial. In your resume’s Career Summary, you may even consider including the word “millennial.”
- Examples: “Passionate millennial with experience…” or “Dependable millennial with knowledge of…”
Highlight your education.
As noted before, the Millennial Generation is the most educated generation in Western history. Make sure to highlight your education on your resume, on your LinkedIn profile and when networking. Many of the young students I work with claim that they will graduate college with no “professional” work experience; this just isn’t true. Getting a degree IS work experience—four (or five or six) years of full-time work experience! The key is how you market it. Consider listing your relevant coursework and subsequent course projects on your resume.
- Example: “Relevant Coursework: Business Marketing, Finance in the 21st Century, Advanced Accounting”
- Example: “Highlighted Project: Created a business plan for Google that explored how to increase online traffic through non-conventional marketing methods (billboards, direct mailing, etc.).”
Show off your skills as a hustler.
Did you create a side hustle while in college? Are you a paid blogger for BuzzFeed? Given the skyrocketing student loans that many of us millennials face ($105K and counting for me…), rarely are millennials working a single job through college. We often have to get our hustle on to survive. When reviewing resumes and LinkedIn profiles, I love seeing passion and innovation demonstrated through interesting side gigs. Plus, this shows great work ethic and creativity to potential employers.
- Example: “Sought after Airbnb host with 250+ clients to date.”
Show off your tech skills.
Millennials are super tech-savvy and now often required to have knowledge of various software to get hired. If you have knowledge of software (other than Microsoft Office and Google Doc’s, as these are givens), highlight them on your resume. I am continually surprised by the number of students who know complicated computer programming and data software, but leave them off their resumes. Don’t make this mistake—show off your tech skills!
- Example: “Knowledge of SQL (expert), Java (proficient) and Python (novice).”
Now, go out there and market yourself as a millennial!
Kyle Elliott is a well-caffeinated freelance marketer, writer + editor and professional development coach who has helped more than 300 clients reach their full potential for success. Learn more about Kyle, Kyle Elliott Consulting and his Starbucks addiction at LinkedIn.com/in/KyleCromerElliott.