Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is scary as hell. I feel confident in my assessment of the level of fear because I’ve done it. You know what else is scary? Leaving the comfort and security of a good job with a really good company because you have the strong desire to make a change in your life. How do I know? I just took this leap a couple months ago.
This strong desire to make a change when things are good, in the attempt to find something great, is part of my generation. I’m a Millennial (gasp!) and most of my friends are too. Millennials like us have our own way of viewing the world and how we want to experience the workplace. It’s less about money and more about passion, making a positive impact, and personal growth. Does any of this sound like you or the Millennials you know?
- You like doing work you are passionate about and see it as an important long-term career goal. According to Harvard Business Review, this is a top priority for Generation Y (aka Millennials).
- You want regular feedback on your work and professional development, ideally from your boss. Forbes reported that three out of four Millennials feel in the dark about their work performance and 90% would feel more confident if they had ongoing check-ins with their direct report.
After eight years (yes, EIGHT) in a good job, I was ready for something different. I had a list of new criteria I wanted to incorporate into my new work. While I was completely open to what that looked like, I knew I would need to be strategic to find a great fit. So, I set three guidelines to prepare me for taking the professional leap:
1. I wanted a job that focused on systems.
2. I needed to do work that would make a positive impact in my community.
3. I wanted a coach more than a boss.
Not long after I set my guidelines, a friend forwarded me the most unconventional and intriguing job posting ever — “The Job With No Title.” The posting gave a brief description of the type of person they were looking for and minimal specifics on actual job duties. Unexpectedly, they didn’t want my resume (crazy, right?!). This hiring approach was so new, fresh, and outside the usual box, I just had to apply. To learn more about this unique approach check out these previous blog posts: The Perfect New Position Needs No Title and Hiring A Needle in a Haystack.
I used my newly acquired Canva skills (Millennial tip: if you’ve never used Canva, download it right now!) and put together an infographic to show my creativity. One of the most challenging parts of applying for any job is communicating who you are in a way that makes you stand out. Thankfully, my personal infographic did the trick and I made it to the next round.
Next, I was asked to send a one-page resume and one-page job description. That’s right — I got to write my own job description! I passed round two, and it was on to the interview stage.
Interviews, much like first dates (with which I have plenty experience), can be awkward and uncomfortable. You try to be authentic and engaging while also thinking:
“Is there anything in my teeth?”
“Did I just laugh a little too loud at a joke that wasn’t that funny?”
“OMG did I remember to put my phone on silent?”
So, I approached the interview like a first date, armed with tons of research (aka internet stalking) and a “Please, just don’t suck!” attitude.
The interview was held, unconventionally, in a ceramic studio. We painted ceramic bells as we talked and I must say, it was the best “first date” ever! I was asked about experiences where I had been challenged and experienced growth, as well as about work I wanted to do and the impact I hoped to make. I got to ask questions too and was immediately struck by the CEO’s vision and passion. I walked out of the interview knowing that the company and the job (still with no title) exceeded the criteria I’d set for myself, and I knew without question that I wanted to be on the rocket ship this company was building. Lucky for me, I was invited on board!
The application and interview process, described by my CEO as Hiring a Needle in a Haystack, were unlike anything I had experienced before. I was given the freedom to convey who I am without the pressure of making sure those traits directly checked off items on a list for my potential employer. It had the added benefit of giving them an honest picture of who I am and what my actual skills are. The process gave me the confidence to accept the “Job with No Title” in spite of my fear of the unknown because I knew I was joining a company that aligned with my goals and values. Good news, I do have a job title now!
By 2020, my Generation Y colleagues will comprise 50% of the world’s workforce and closer to 75% by 2025. So, if you’re a job-hunting Millennial or you’re looking to hire a Millennial, here are a few tips for doing it differently so you can make sure it’s a GREAT fit:
- Create your personal guidelines.
Make a guide for what you want to do in the next step of your career. This is not a wish list of perks — it’s a goal-sheet that will help you focus on your personal priorities. This will help focus your attention on companies and jobs that align with your values, skills and interests.
I found out later that nearly 50% of the applicants for my new job were eliminated because they did not follow directions. Don’t be part of THAT 50%!
Connecting with people in your industry (and industries you are interested in) will help connect you to the job you want. Personal contacts are the best way to help your shiny needle get found in that great big haystack!
- Shift the focus from YOU to the APPLICANT.
You will get a more authentic response when applicants have the opportunity to share who they are and what they have to offer. Place the priority on finding the right team member for your company, rather than attracting someone who sits in a chair and completes tasks.
- Communicate your values and mission clearly.
According to Forbes Magazine, 64% of millennials say that making the world a better place is a top priority, yet very few even know what their company’s mission is! You do not need to be a charity to help impact the world in a positive way. For-profit companies like GoDaddy and InfusionSoft do a great job of communicating their values and actively working to make a positive impact on their communities.
- Be flexible and open to change. You’ll get great rewards in return.
Whether it is your approach to the hiring process, offering flexible work hours, or being open to process change, flexibility will all help your company flourish. A recent study from Bentley University showed that 77% of millennials say flexible work hours would make them more productive at work, and more than 70 percent of hiring managers said Millennials were more open to change than members of Generation X.
It’s true: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Don’t let your fear of the unknown stand in the way of your dream job. Making a career change is scary — even scarier than skydiving (with a parachute you hope works). But with the right mindset and tools, you can find a great fit and the leap will be worth it. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.
Do you agree that skydiving and job searching are equally terrifying? If so, share this blog post with someone who could benefit from learning about my positive experience (because why learn the hard way?). Oh, and if you’re interested in a career with Javelina check out our most recent job posting for a Client Manager. Happy leaping! #Fearless