A new report‘s out today from Millennial Branding and Beyond.com, one those companies say is the first to compare how people from different generations — Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomers — look for a job.
Most of the findings are what you’d expect: all of those groups now focus their searches online, and Gen Y and Gen X turn first to Google (and Google+), while Boomers focus more heavily on LinkedIn. Oh, and all generations say the job hunt is stressful and frustrating — something job-seeking Brazenites can certainly attest to.
But what editors here at Brazen found most interesting about this survey is that all generations reported job boards as their top resource.
Job boards?! Really?
Job boards are fabulous for learning what types of openings are popping up in your industry and what skills you need to qualify for those jobs. They’re NOT fabulous for actually landing jobs.
Why? Because so many people apply that way. And if you do just that, without finding another “in” at the company — through a professional contact, by making new connections on social media or through some sort of unique, attention-attracting stunt — your resume and cover letter might not even get read.
So what should you do instead?
Here’s what’s more effective than applying via job boards: networking. Going to Meetups. Interacting on Twitter. Building a brand for yourself — so a job will come to you, rather than the other way around. All of these brazen techniques are much more likely to help you stand out than responding to an online ad.
And today’s study gives you even more reason to go the brazen route, rather than browsing job boards: because it’s different than what most everyone else is doing. If you’re different, you’re more likely to stand out in a sea of job seekers.
On this same note, guess which online tool survey respondents said they use the least for their job search? Twitter. Only 8 percent of Gen Y, 6 percent of Gen X and 4 percent of Boomers are using Twitter strategically to find a job they love. Which is absolutely NUTS. Because of all the social networks, Twitter is arguably the one that’s most effective for connecting with people you don’t already know, for broadening your network to include new contacts. And that’s what’s important in a job search.
Here are two more interesting findings from the survey of nearly 5,270 job seekers:
- When it comes to qualities each generation values most in a potential employer, location came out on top for Gen Y at 59 percent, followed by meaningful work and job security. Sixty-five percent of Gen X ranked job security highest, and not far behind fell employee benefits like healthcare and location. For Boomers, 60 percent said meaningful work, which was followed by location and both employee benefits and job security. Gen Y valued both salary and workplace flexibility more than Gen X and Boomers.
- Each generation prepares differently for job interviews. Boomers are more likely to review the company’s website and get up-to-date on news that affects the company or industry, while Gen Y spends more time practicing interview questions and interacting with the company on social media. Gen Y also puts more effort into customizing resumes and cover letters, a smart move.
Oh, and one final note: if you absolutely MUST use job boards, at least make them niche boards that cater to your industry. That means the pool of applicants is smaller (although perhaps more qualified), and shows you know where to look online for industry-specific information.
What do you think? Is this study right on?
Alexis Grant is managing editor of Brazen Life.