The negative stereotypes against Millennials aren’t about to go away. We’re lazy, inept at face-to-face communication, and entitled. Sure, previous generations had it hard, but they grew up in an entirely different era, one in which there were different sets of social pressures and economic climate. They didn’t have to ask questions like, “How am I supposed to gain experience for an entry-level job?”, “Should I pay my student loans or save for retirement?”, or “How do I design my resume so an actual human being will look at it?” But you’ll never get older generations to relent on their views; they obviously had it harder than we did, and we’re all just useless Millennials.
Unfortunately, those older generations are often in charge of hiring. And while it’s tempting to delay employment until these stereotypes are worn down, the rising costs of graduate degrees have prompted many Millennials to flood the job market now. So you can try and convince hiring managers that you’re not the “typical” millennial, but that could take more time than a standard interview. Instead, you should turn a negative into a positive by tweaking perceptions and making these not-so-stellar stereotypes work for you. Here’s how.
YOU’RE NOT LAZY; YOU JUST WORK SMART
Older generations remember all the work they had to do to accomplish a task, so when they hear us complaining about researching using a library or mailing a handwritten letter, they think that we just don’t want to put in the effort. Really, our frustration lies in the loss of efficiency. We’re not complaining that we have to research a topic or that we have to spend time contacting someone. We just realize that we could’ve saved a lot of time and effort if we’d just used the Internet or wrote an email.
Believe it or not, this line of thinking can be used as a strength. You’re concerned with efficiency, which any business manager can appreciate. Plus, you’re motivated to find the smart way of doing things, not just the way it’s always been done. You’re innovative, creative, and a problem-solver, and businesses need that kind of thinking!
YOU’RE NOT ADDICTED TO TECHNOLOGY; YOU JUST APPRECIATE ITS VALUE
It’s not enough anymore to just know the basics. Technology is constantly updating, so you have to be fluent in a program in order to transition to a newer version. Confusion with technology wastes time and resources for all companies, so having someone who knows how to best utilize several programs and social media is an asset.
YOU’RE NOT ENTITLED; YOU’RE MOTIVATED
Yea, alright, you think you should have a job after college. You think you should be able to afford your apartment, your car payment, you student loans, and still spend $30 at the bar every once in awhile. But you’re prepared to work for it. You’re not standing on the street corner demanding money, right? You’re sending out job applications! You’re researching your career! You’re ready to work for your money, just like all the generations before you.
The biggest difference is that while previous generations were motivated by things like family or social respect, we’re internally motivated. We’re free from the social pressures mandating that we start families early. Often both partners work, so there’s no driving force to support another person. Instead, we’re focused on succeeding just to meet our own standards, which is more stable and powerful than extrinsic motivation. We work hard for ourselves, and this sense of personal pride is exactly the sort of trait that you should highlight in your interview. It shows that you’ll hold yourself accountable and that you’re interested in performing well at the job, not just taking a job for the money.
Of course, the money doesn’t hurt. And you might not be interviewing for the job if it didn’t pay, but you need to show employers that you’re more than just another Millennial looking for a paycheck to support their online shopping habits. They’ll be stereotyping you the second you walk through the door, before you even have a chance to shake the interviewer’s hand, but stereotypes don’t have to be all bad. With some careful phrasing you can shift their point of view and change a negative to a positive.
Love & Sparkle,