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Top tips for the job-hunting Generation Y

The job hunt can be tiring -- but how can you make your life easier in the modern world?
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1 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Top tips for the job-hunting Generation Y

The hunt for a job fresh out of school or college can be difficult, especially in as economies worldwide are in the throes of -- or recovering from -- the economic downturn.

When competing against so many of your peers, making simple mistakes, such as creating a resume which is too long, can mean your application ends up in the bin, rather than a possible way to secure an interview. 

Today's Generation Y has to use the tools available to them in the job search -- and technology plays a part. Dan Schawbel, Gen-Y researcher and author of Promote Yourself, has some tips to help you on your job search:

  1. While you're job searching, do freelance projects so that you can be actively developing your skills and building case studies of your work that you can use to prove your worth to employers.
  2. Instead of submitting your resume to a job board, conduct a people search on LinkedIn to see who works at that company and then touch base with them directly to learn more and explore opportunities.
  3. Create your own website and do a targeted advertising campaign using Google AdWords or Facebook social ads so that your credentials and name appear to the people who can hire you.
  4. Put the computer down and go to industry networking events so that you can meet the right people and stand out in the clutter.
  5. Invest the time you spend job searching into your own company so you can create your own income, gain valuable experience and not have to worry about trying to break into a company.

Advertising campaigns? LinkedIn? Websites? Read on for tips on how to create and use these tools.

Links of interest:

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2 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Use LinkedIn

While the debate on how effective LinkedIn -- a social network for employers and prospective employees -- rages, being found online cannot necessarily hurt your prospects. 

You can get a headstart on your profile by using your resume as a reference, and by using keywords, businesses that have filtering systems for potential applicants can find you. In addition, while space is limited on resumes, you can use a LinkedIn profile to write more about your experiences and key skills.

Instead of submitting your resume to a job board, conducting a people search lets you see who works at that company, and then you can touch base with them directly to learn more and explore opportunities.

The "skills and expertise" section, where third parties can recommend you, can also prove to be a bonus when potential employers are researching your digital footprint.

Links of interest:

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3 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Twitter job search

More and more employers are seeking out a job applicant's digital footprint before considering them in a job role. While this cannot be avoided, the generation growing up with technology should clean up their act before entering the workforce.

The case of Paris Brown -- the U.K.'s first youth and crime commissioner -- shows just how an errant tweet several years later can impact on your job prospects. After securing the role, the teenager resigned due to a police investigation taking place concerning allegedly racist tweets sent into the social media world when she was between the ages of 14 - 16.  

Several tips to help you are below:

1. Clean it up: If there are any tweets that could cause you problems, delete them. Half a day of work can save you months of heartache later.

2. Make Facebook private: While some members of Generation Y go so far as to change their surnames to avoid employers finding Facebook profiles, by restricting access to posts, photos and timeline events, you can control who sees what. A photo of you on a heavy night out might be fun for friends, but a potential employer may not find the neon paint and vodka so amusing -- especially as you could end up representing their brand.

3. Create a personal and professional brand: To attract a recruiter's attention, create a one-line biography using keywords that are relevant and show you at your best.

4. Tweet about news, not breakfast: No-one cares about the amazing food you had today, but sending out the occasional tweet or two commenting on your industry's news can't hurt. Participate, offer an opinion or two once you've connected to those relevant to you.

5. Follow events and conferences: If you follow events in your industry online, and perhaps manage to attend one or two, who knows who you could bump in to. 

 See also:

6. Use Twitter 'job search engines': Twitter is full of job postings, aggregated lists and industry-specific opportunities. The social media platform can remove the pain of registering on multiple job agency websites and cuts the time required to scan through lengthy job postings.

Links of interest:

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4 of 10 University of San Francisco School of Management

Promote yourself

One thing that social media networks, access to the Internet and mobile technology offers us is the option to be seen.

While careless digital trails can shoot jobseekers in the foot later on in life, you can use the Web to connect with those that offer advice, tips and job opportunities. Staying current on Twitter and Facebook can alert you to job postings, participating in online discussions can get you noticed, and accessing resources can improve your skills and attractiveness as an employee.

If you're interested in the creative industry, starting small and taking on freelance projects can help you with the rent, as well as give you valuable experience to put on your resume. Free courses on Coursera and edX can improve your knowledge in a field, and creating a personal website can give you an edge over your competition.  

Links of interest:

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5 of 10 Victor Petit

A creative resume

Printed T-shirts, skydiving, tweaking company CEO search results to promote your name -- the creative ways used to snag an employer's attention can reach extreme levels. 

However, you don't need to stalk an employer for the chance to put yourself forward. A stand-out resume can do the trick. While Victor Petit used QR codes to link to a video that showed off his creative skills, slightly more subdued methods to stand out also work.

When trawling for candidates, the typical buzzwords are usually seen hundreds of times -- 'works well as part of a team,' 'enthusiastic,' 'able to work on my own initiative' -- and while some firms expect to see these phrases, adding something about you as a person can make you memorable. (Someone I know, who used these types of words, was given a high-profile job purely because the interviewer was curious about their time spent working as an elf.)

Spell check your resume, use clear fonts, and don't go over two pages. Remember, these people are human -- and so what would you like to see from a candidate?

Links of interest:

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6 of 10 C.Osborne/ ZDNet

Monitor your online footprint

Type your name into Google on occasion, and see what information is available to you. We tend to be quite free with our data, and while this can cause security problems, it can also impact how a prospective employer sees you -- and this could decide if you are offered an interview or not. 

Links of interest:

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7 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Be realistic & authentic

Today, earning a degree is no guarantee of securing work afterwards. You will be competing against many of your peers -- often in the same boat as you -- and so presenting yourself as professional through both the application stage and interview is a must.

This doesn't always mean that the piercings have to go, or you need to subdue yourself in the interview room. If an employer thinks your personality would mesh well in the company, you stand a fighting chance. 

However, it could take years before you land a role in your required role. In the meantime, anything to keep you in work can help. It may also be worth considering broadening your horizons by researching internships, opportunities abroad and free courses.

Links of interest:

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8 of 10 AJ Cann

Email etiquette

Generation Y are well known for acronyms, emoticons and typos, but when you're sending an email to a prospective employer, email etiquette is key.

There are a number of ways you can improve your email communication, including:

  • Check for spelling mistakes.
  • Use a professional email address, preferably with your full name.
  • Use the correct salutation -- Ms., Dr., Sir, or Madam are usually acceptable -- but not 'Hey."
  • Punctuation is important.
  • Stay clear of emoticons and exclamation marks -- unless they do it first. If you receive a response, tailor your reply to their tone. 
  • Leave signature-based profound quotes about life on Facebook and Tumblr.
  • Make communication easy -- send along your telephone number.
  • Keep it short and sweet -- there is rarely much time in the world of recruitment.
  • Don't forget to follow up. 

A further tip is to avoid copying and pasting messages in contact forms online. Sometimes, due to differences in coding, the message will arrive garbled at the other end -- rendering it unreadable and immediately deleted. 

Links of interest:

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9 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Create your own website

The idea of creating a website to promote yourself and your skills was once a scary thought. However, there are free templates available online, free CMS sites including Wordpress and Joomla make updates easy, and even Google has got into the creative act by offering a new, web-based design facility.

By having your own web domain, you can upload a resume, document your background and skills, as well as explain the role you're seeking. If you are working as a freelancer, your own website is often a must to display a portfolio of your work. 

If you also invest in an adwords campaign, then more relevant visitors may find themselves on your site. 

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10 of 10 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Advertising campaigns

If you're feeling creative, creating a website and then doing a targeted advertising campaign using Google AdWords or Facebook social ads to reach employers and get your credentials out there to people who may hire you is worth a shot. 

Links of interest:

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