The experience could be compared to someone who finds themselves online dating for the first time after a divorce. Dating is an entirely different ballgame since the last time they were looking. It requires different skills, and a new approach.
In the same way, job searching has evolved significantly in the last two decades. With the growth of the internet, the job search process takes place almost entirely online. And, not only do you need a resume and a cover letter. Now you also need a LinkedIn profile, a social media presence and a personal brand.
The millennial generation can’t remember a time without the internet. I’m often surprised at just how much they’re comfortable to share online and how much time they spend crafting their online presence. Although it’s wise to limit just how much you share, millennials often understand personal branding in a way other generations could learn from.
First, stay connected to your entire network online – even those you don’t speak to regularly. You never know when you might need one another in the future. Your connectedness online is also something your future employer may pay attention to. It indicates things like how popular you are, and how well you get along with others.
Keep your email address up to date. Stay away from emails you created when the internet was born. Using AOL, Yahoo and other email addresses often give the impression you’re behind the times. Stick with something simple like Gmail, or create your own e-mail address like Joe@JoeSmith.com.
Connect to organizations online that you participate in offline, whether it’s your softball team, or a professional association. This will keep you in the know, and highlight your skills and hobbies.
Seek out third-party endorsements on sites like LinkedIn. Ask former coworkers to leave reviews of your work. You will be able to approve them before they’re public, so will be no surprises for you. Having these public recommendations allows employers to get to know you and your work better.
Craft your brand. Post photos of yourself that share your personal and professionals lives in the best light. Highlight activities you participate in. Share your accomplishments online; it allows you to passively keep everyone up to date.
Learn how to use various forms of communication. If you’ve never tried Skype or FaceTime, it’s time to give them a shot. More and more employers expect you to be able to video chat for your first round of interviews. It’s cheaper and faster than bringing you in person.
Overall, the biggest takeaways from the millennials are to perfect your personal brand, stay connected online, and highlight your success stories on the web. Although it can be uncomfortable at first, these strategies will help you to stay ahead of your competition.
This post originally appeared on the Memphis Daily News website.