Millennials and the Workforce

PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson/Getty Images
By Sara Lasseter

Photo: PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson/Getty Images

For the last decade, Americans everywhere have been concerned about the high unemployment rates sweeping the nation. But who is it that’s out of a job? Unemployment has hit every age group, social class and industry, but Generation Y (those born roughly between 1980 and 2000) has seen the most trouble. While this group of 80 million recent grads and young professionals have one of the highest levels of education, entering the workforce as a Millennial is proving more difficult for this generation than any other before it. Gen Y has a staggering 12.1% unemployment rate, and the lucky few with jobs are experiencing lower average salaries that are decreasing at a higher rate than other age groups and skyrocketing college debt that is higher than it has ever been.

As part of Gen Y myself, I’m experiencing first-hand the challenge facing most Millennials in this economy. While I’m fortunate enough to hold a great internship position with KG, I’m entering my senior year at UT with determined resolve to find a job upon graduation. It’s the Holy Grail for college grads these days, so we can use all the help we can get.

A great feature on Forbes lists some helpful ways that Millennials can stay sane and keep their skills polished while waiting on one of 100 companies you’ve applied at to offer you a position. Here are a few of the best tips!

  • Keep working and volunteer Contributing to side projects and small startups can keep your skill set in practice while also filling in that jobless gap on your resume. Volunteering in the community is fulfilling and adds another dimension to your on-paper personality that employers will notice.
  • Network, network, network Attend as many professional and social networking opportunities as you can! Getting out there and meeting people is the best way to elevate your chances of stumbling upon the perfect position – it’s also way more fun than sitting in front of a computer screen 14 hours a day.
  • Do something you loveWhy waste your time in a job you hate? You may feel like you need to accept the first offer that comes your way, but consider how happy you’d be in that position and if you would enjoy spending 40 hours a week doing it. Feeling connected to your job is fulfilling and makes work not seem so much like work!
  • Never stop learning As an unemployed recent grad, you are likely to have some extra time on your hands. Spend it enhancing the skills you already have and continuously expanding your knowledge of the industry you so badly want to break into.

To all of you Millennials out there, don’t give up! Set a goal and make it happen.

“Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t spend half our time wishing.”

– Alexander Woollcott