The Job Market Has Drastically Changed. Millennials, This Is How to Thrive

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: July 28, 2017
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Millennials have become the dominant force in an ever-changing job market. They need to be confident in their job searches, taking risks where appropriate and grabbing opportunities that will enhance them along their career path.

"The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." – Charles Kettering

Having come of age when the web's ubiquity was already taken for granted and had matured in a mobile, social media saturated world, millennials are a complicated generation, different than any generation previously. They wield real heft, too. Millennials have become the largest generation in the workforce and have over a trillion dollars in direct buying power. It's clear that they are a force to be reckoned with.

And yet, in a vastly changed job market, millennials are unfairly perceived as flighty and lacking in commitment when it comes to sticking with one job, as people struggle to contend with a new reality.

Data indicates that changing jobs with a certain frequency is smart practice, almost a necessity. Since staying put for too long can stunt career growth in a constantly evolving tech-centric job market, exposure to different sectors is crucial.

Moreover, the sheer scale of disruptions many industries face has ruptured the traditional sense of "making it." The traditional career path of getting hired straight out of college, staying at that same company and working up the ladder until retirement has become redundant to most.

So, for millennials, the question isn't whether they should stay put for longer but rather how can each job be turned into a building block along a career path?

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go." – T. S. Eliot

Very few of us are born with a burning passion and desire for a specific career. Most of us develop our passions through experiences, by breaking through our wide-eyed naive perceptions of a calling, and discovering firsthand if a role is truly meant for us. Millennials must grasp the opportunities presented by a dynamic, evolving job market. 

Millennials in today's job market must try their hands at various roles, placing an emphasis on learning. Being taught tangible skills, boosting transferable skills and crucially learning what you love and what you are good at should be your priorities. "There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." – Nelson Mandela

"There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." – Nelson Mandela

For millennials navigating the job market, it's crucial not to be intimidated by "the ideal candidate" bullet points included in job listings. Of course, you want to apply for jobs you're qualified for, but don't be put off by specifications requiring more experience than you may have. Insider secret: Those thresholds are arbitrary.

Showing up and putting your best foot forward is more than half the battle won. Even if you're lacking experience in some fields, you will likely redeem yourself in ways you hadn't even considered relevant. Industries are changing fast; hard skills need to be honed constantly. Demonstrating a willingness to learn, emotional intelligence and an interest in the company, combined with highlighting the areas to which you can add real value, will elevate your chances of being hired substantially.   

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle." – Steve Jobs

Utilizing social connections and in-depth learning about a company is an important step. Too many qualified candidates accept jobs hastily, without thinking sufficiently of the long term. This is particularly true in the current climate where many intelligent young adults are having trouble getting hired. There's an instinct to snag the first remotely relevant opportunity that comes along. This is a mistake.

Barring any dire circumstances, post-college millennials shouldn't take any random job solely for the sake of having one. Instead, accepting job offers should be calculated in the context of overall career vision. Reaching out to current employees, requesting a workday trail or undertaking extensive research is necessary to ensure each new position is a suitable match and another stepping stone to actualizing your career. 

"Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result." – Oscar Wilde

The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive, and passion, it's possible to achieve. The job market is harder to assess than ever before; however, the conditions to thrive are ripe. Millennials need to exploit the opportunity to learn their passions, they need to take calculated risks based on extensive research and make use of our interconnected world.

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