The unemployment rates for millennials are higher than those in other age groups. This up-and-coming generation is shaping how we think about work, and yet they are struggling to find jobs.

The modern workplace needs them to gain experience and take the places of previous generations, and yet they seem to experience many stumbling blocks when trying to enter the job market.

Expectations may be too high

There is an idea that millennials are overconfident about what they can expect. They want the higher pay that comes from more responsibility without first getting the experience they need. This overconfidence could be affecting their potential.

If millennials don’t find a ‘dream job,’ they may get discouraged and stop looking. They may not even think of looking for a job opportunity at a company like Walmart, for example, because they don’t realize how much they can progress and grow once they have a foot in the door.

Work ethic, ability to take responsibility and critical thinking are skills that are likely to draw the attention of employers and create new opportunities. Like many other large companies, Walmart has plenty of opportunities for advancement. It is looking for software engineers, data scientists, entrepreneurs, merchants, and technologists.

Mismatched skills

Millennials are facing a demand for new kinds of skills and education. Many of them are well educated, have skills and are ready to find employment. However, they often lack the most basic workplace skills such as an ability to communicate and organize.

They may have focused on theoretical studies and be highly qualified and yet not have the work skills that come with experience. Employers want to experience and recruiters emphasize that hiring managers usually believe college graduates are not ready for the workplace.

For those who have just graduated, this may make them feel getting a job is impossible. To get that all-important experience, they may have to take on a position that is not ideal, but they should do this at a company where there is potential for growth.

Today many free online courses exist that millennials can take to train themselves in key areas important to employers. Finding a mentor to help teach them the skills they need is another option. The more initiative they show in learning and trying to further their careers, the more likely employers are to be impressed. Mentioning any kind of paid work experience, even if it was freelance, can be helpful.

The wrong focus

Millennials may focus on what they need from the job, rather than on how employers will benefit from employing them. In an interview, they will speak about their education, themselves and what they expect from the job.

It’s better to focus on the benefits they can provide to the employee, such as an ability to solve problems or save money for them. This focus should start with the cover letter and continue in the interviews. In a cover letter, they should introduce themselves and then outline their understanding of the role and the organization. They should make a pitch for their vision of the role and why they would be great at it.

A competitive, crowded labor market

Employment opportunities are limited, and most adults agree that it is much harder today for young people to get jobs. This is due to a variety of different factors such as the higher prices of a college education, the economic crash less than a decade ago and a wider skills gap which creates difficulty in finding an entry point.

Millennials need to increase their employability. They have graduated in a difficult economic environment. They need to think about developing skills in new emerging professions in fields like healthcare, IT, finance and energy. It is in these fields that they can build a foundation for a successful career.

Some of them are prepared to go back to graduate school, but trade schools and certificate programs also give the opportunity to retrain and transition into a different field. They are also less time consuming and costly than graduate school.

Negative attitudes

Anxiety, doubt, fear, and frustration are just some of the emotions experienced by millennials who are battling to find jobs. This can prevent them from being open to new possibilities.

If they are positive, engaged and focused, they are more likely to find opportunities to grow, even if they start in a fairly menial position. No-one wants to be an assistant, but at least it’s better than not having a job at all and the way the job is done may just draw the attention of someone in leadership and open up new opportunities.

Student debt

Student debt is often a crushing burden for millennials. This debt puts pressure on them and may keep them stuck in a low-paying job with no prospects where they just survive rather than fulfilling their potential.

Careful planning can help them to take a step forward at a time without losing hope. Staying informed about the job market, keeping tabs on what skills they need to develop and staying positive can help them to make progress.

Activity on social sites

Activity on social sites can work against millennials. Employers may have a very different idea of what’s appropriate on social media to them. It’s a bad idea to post a job interview on social media unless social networking is part of the job description and they have something positive to say.

While most students keep their resume up-to-date when looking for jobs, they may be less careful about taking potentially damaging content from their social media accounts.

However, social media can also be used by millennials to increase their chances of being employed. Employers who see a professional profile on LinkedIn and read great content posted by a potential employee will receive a favorable impression.

Just because everyone agrees that finding a job is difficult for millennials and there are no guarantees, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort. Follow these tactics, keep thinking positively and be open to every possibility.

Guest writers and carefully selected for Career Enlightenment. Thanks for reading!

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