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Millennials May Be Approaching the Job Market Wrong

By Daniel B. Kline – May 16, 2019 at 8:00AM

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It's peak hiring season, but younger workers may not be doing the right things to get a job at the right salary.

The young men and women graduating this summer enter a job market with the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, according to LinkedIn's 2019 Grads Guide to Getting Hired. This year's graduates also get to take advantage of the fact that the "share of graduates finding their first job within the year after graduation has been steadily increasing since 2012," according to the Microsoft-owned social media site.

Millennials, however, may not be doing themselves any favors when it comes to how they approach getting jobs. Many are getting hired, but they are not making the right moves in the short term or the long term when it comes to their jobs and careers.

A woman sits across from a man and a woman.

Many Millennials are scared of interviewing. Image source: Getty Images.

Mistakes are being made

Getting offered a job is exciting, but that does not finish the process. You still have to make sure you make the best deal for yourself possible, and many millennials aren't doing that.

More than half (59%) did say they believed that hiring managers expect them to negotiate, and 51% said that doing so is a common practice. Despite that, 53% of those surveyed said they have never negotiated for a salary or benefits. In fact, over a quarter of millennials (28%) seem to really not like the idea of negotiating as they said they "would rather spend an entire weekend cleaning out their garage than negotiate."

Negotiating is important, even if you're really happy to get the job. The employer can say no to your requests and you can still accept the position, but it's important to show that you're willing to advocate for yourself. New entrants to the job market are also making other mistakes:

  • 67% said they have negative feelings about interviewing for a new job
  • 51% said they feel "nervous or uncomfortable about reaching out to a connection to ask for one."
  • Only 60% have asked for a referral, even though "applicants who are referred by an employee are nine times more likely to get hired."
  • 43% of millennials said they "don't know where they want to end up in their career."

That last one isn't a problem, as it's not important to know how you plan to spend the rest of your life right when you graduate from college. Not being comfortable interviewing or asking for references, however, is a bigger problem.

What can you do?

If you just graduated and plan to enter the job market, congratulations. You have accomplished something big, and if you're not comfortable interviewing, negotiating, and asking for referrals, that's probably not your fault. Those aren't skills most people gain without being taught them, and many schools have overlooked that type of education.

To make up for that, you have to make some adjustments. There's no shame in asking your network. Ask everyone for help finding a job, from college professors to places you have interned, even family friends. Most people want to help and like being the hero if they can help make something happen for someone else.

When it comes to interviewing, if you're not comfortable, practice. Ask an older friend who has hired people to mock interview you. Trade off practicing with peers. Repetition helps you build comfort, and there are all sorts of lists of likely questions out there.

Interviewing isn't just about you. Do your homework and know the company where you're interviewing, and be prepared with questions of your own. If you practice and study then you should be able to ease your own fears, land the job, and maybe even negotiate a better deal for yourself.

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