Millennials represent the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. In fact, 35 percent of the labor force is made up of workers between the ages of 21-36, according to a Pew Research analysis of the last census. That means more competition for available jobs and more of a need for you to stand out.
The web has made job searching much easier and more competitive. According to Jobvite, there were 85 million job seekers in 2017 and 17 million job applicants. The average corporate job attracts 250 resumes, of which only 4-6 candidates are interviewed. Your challenge is to beat the odds and become one of those interviewees, and your best approach is to present the right skills on your resume.
Age Bias in the Workplace
Age discrimination in the workplace is real. According to an AARP survey, 61 percent of workers over 45 have experienced age bias in the workplace, and 91 percent are convinced age bias exists. Sixteen percent believe they were not hired, 12 percent say they were passed over for a promotion, and 7 percent say they were laid off or fired because of age discrimination. In addition, 76 percent say that because they are older, it will take more than three months to find a new job.
Today’s workforce is geared toward younger workers. They are perceived to have more energy and more technological savvy, and since many are just starting out, they will work for lower salaries. For example, 65 percent of Millennials surveyed said opportunities for personal advancement were the most important aspect of any job, and 22 percent said training and development was the most valued employer benefit, However, older workers have more to offer in a number of areas:
- Older workers have more experience. Older employees have decades of experience on the job, which means they need less training and hand-holding. They also have cultivated interpersonal skills that take years to learn.
- Older workers have more confidence. After a number of years in the workforce, older employees will experience layoffs, disgruntled customers, bad bosses, and just about every other job scenario. They also have the confidence to share what they know and are willing to push back when appropriate.
- Older workers are more reliable. They understand what is expected of them and are more willing to step up and do the job and go the extra mile.
- Older workers have more loyalty. They are not looking to build a career but to establish themselves with an employer who appreciates their expertise and experience.
- Older workers save money. They require less training and support, and they are likely to make better business decisions.
The biggest complaint about older workers is that they lack technological skills, but you can learn how to use technology. If you want to level the playing field in order to compete with millennials, then you may need some career training to acquire the skills you lack and certifications to prove your know-how.
Tips to Stand Out as a Job Candidate
As you start your job search, you should understand what type of position you are seeking and the qualifications you will need. Then you can demonstrate your expertise and determine where you need to acquire additional skills. Here are six strategies to consider that will help you stand out from the competition:
- Inventory your skills. Start by taking stock of your job skills. List your past jobs and work experience. Include all skills and specific training you may have had for software platforms, equipment, or work processes. You want to inventory your expertise so can capture it on a resume and identify gaps in your skill set.
- Fill any gaps with credentials that will make you more marketable. Consider additional career training that you can cite as part of your skills. Certifications also are a good way to demonstrate expertise and validate skills other applicants won’t have, especially in technology. If you are seeking a specific type of technical job, consider certification programs that will help you stand out. Certifications can help validate soft skills in management and leadership building on your years of work experience.
- Optimize your resume. Start with a brand statement of 15 words or fewer that tells a hiring manager why they should interview you. With the number of job applicants on the rise, hiring companies have created databases to manage incoming resumes. Be sure that your resume uses industry-recognized job titles, terminology, and keywords so that it stands out in a database search. In addition to your years of experience, be sure to call out soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, attention to detail, and so on.
- Prioritize what you want in your next job. Employment is about more than earning money. Make a list of negotiable perks that you can use as bargaining points and to show your ability to adapt to the needs of the company. Perks to consider might be telecommuting or additional training to help keep your skills current for future opportunities..
- Use social media to aid your search. Research is an essential part of any job search, but it’s about more than looking at online help-wanted ads. Tools such as LinkedIn can tell you a lot about prospective employers and company executives. Use LinkedIn bios to learn about executives’ experience and background. Use other channels such as Facebook and Twitter to see what people are saying about hiring companies, and what those companies are posting about themselves. Facebook, for example, has both corporate profiles as well as job search groups organized by industry and region. This will not only give you invaluable information but also demonstrate you are not a luddite.
- Demonstrate your capabilities in your interview approach. Be prepared with your own research about the company and its market. Use problem-solving to show you have done your homework and thought about the company’s challenges and how you might help overcome them if you are hired. Also emphasize your adaptability and ability to embrace the corporate culture. Discussing where you want to be in five years also will demonstrate that you are looking for a long-term commitment.
No matter what type of job you are looking for, there is a lot of competition out there, and you are certain to encounter millennial competitors for the job you want. If you approach the process with the right credentials and the right attitude, you can outshine your competition and land a job that will make the most of your experience.
Anticipate Employers Demands for Your Future Career Path
The path to any in-demand career is wide open for anyone who’s willing to dig in and get going in the right direction. Get our complete guide and learn how to stand out in the workforce in a way that lands you the job you want, and the career you’ve always dreamed of.