Generational Differences in Job Search….”Same Old, Same Old”

Whether you are a freshly minted college graduate, mid-career professional or “highly experienced” worker, there seems to be the impression that the world of job search has changed, that somehow things are all of a sudden different than they used to be “back in the day”.    That just because there are new ways of applying, , searching for candidates, building a work portfolio, a career history, a “value proposition” or personal brand, that you have to be a technology geek to be successful.

The truth is that the ways of finding your best career or next job are not much different now than they were 30-40 years ago.  Sure, the tools and the conversations might be different, with email, social media, the internet, LinkedIn profiles, etc playing a larger and important role, but the essence, the critical activities, the exchanges are still the same……

Know what you do – this is the service or value you can produce, where you are on your career path, what your long term and short term goals are.

Know who uses what you do – these are the types of companies or “customers” that use the services you can provide.  Whether they are local or global, large or small companies, structured or matrixed, manufacturing or service focused, it is about gaining a clear understanding of the types of companies where you can deliver your best value.

Connect to those companies – Most people call it networking, but it’s really about prospecting….. conversations with people you know about people and companies you don’t know, and in it’s best form, is an ongoing activity, not something you do only when you need to find a job.  Could be from a job posting or help wanted ad, but it could also be from a casual conversation over coffee.

Understand the need at a particular company – Once you identify the companies that can be potential customers, it’s finding out everything you can about a company, it’s industry, it’s culture etc.  so that you can best determine if it will be a good fit for you and your Company of 1.  Beyond a job description, it’s the problem or challenge(s) that a company is facing in your area of expertise that will help you identify how YOU can specifically help them. 

Present your capabilities – In job search it’s called interviewing, in A Company of 1 parlance it’s where you get to identify your value.   Typically, this will happen during the first formal interview for an open position, or better yet, when you are having a “networking interview”, and you’ve asked enough questions and talked about how you solved the same problems that a company is facing, that the person you are talking with says “hmmm…. maybe this person could help us solve our problems”.

Agree to a fee/salary –  Simply this is the negotiation of current market rates for your services.  The levels of “profitability” or how much you expect for a salary may fluctuate depending on the economy, your current experience level etc., but it still boils down to what is “the market” willing to pay for the value of your service(s)?

There is so much talk about how people of various generations, Boomer, X, Y, Millenial are different, that we forget to talk about how they are the same.  In the business world, companies still need to provide value to their customers, still have the challenge of getting the right people doing the right things at the right time to deliver that value.  AND people of all ages and experience levels still have the need to find great places to work.  Places to bring their passion, energy and talent and be compensated fairly and competitively to make sure that they can be profitable.

Don’t get lost in the conversation that says you have to do things “the new way”, twittering, facebooking and mass applying your life away, using all the latest techno-tools that are being tossed into the career-sphere….  And don’t be so set in your ways that you only apply to want ads, job postings etc and then complain when you don’t get the attention or response you think you deserve. 

Instead, learn about the new tools, try them out, see if they fit you and your Company of 1 personality, culture and use all of them, old school, new school, whichever will communicate best to the company you are targeting.   

How you communicate your value will depend on the company(s) (customers) you are targeting, and the best way to reach them.  Use the best tools to get the best results…..!  Sure companies may be using the leading edge of technology and the best way to find them and reach them is through social media, being involved in LinkedIn groups, “job tweets” or by applying online and into Applicant Tracking System(s), to be sorted and filed, but I’d say, no really I’m willing to bet there are just as many (if not more) companies that find people from “cold calls”, or people they know, or people their employees know. 

So yes, there are differences in the generations, differences that bring exciting change, new vision, new passion, new, new, new… and differences that shine light on the value of culture, experience and stability. 

All the differences of the generations don’t change the basic truth of employment, job search and careers, companies need to find, attract and retain motivated, experienced and talented employees to deliver value to their customers, to be successful and to grow…just like you and your Company of 1…..



About John Kalusa

A Career Management Thought Leader and creator of the "A Company of 1" approach to career management, development and mastery. Revolutionizing the way we approach our careers.
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