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June 23, 2016
How Young Professionals Break the Millennial Mold
Whether it fits or not, we all get grouped into a stereotype. When it happens, and you pay the consequence for someone else’s behavior, it’s pretty demoralizing. But you don’t have to be the scapegoat, particularly if you’re a Millennial.
Online career network Beyond.com did a survey to contrast perceptions between young job seekers and the human resource professionals that interview them. The research revealed that self-perception is of little advantage when not shared by your potential employer. In other words, you may disavow the Millennial label, but you have to prove to your potential employer that you don’t epitomize the negatives of the group.
Being labeled with the negative stereotypes of a Millennial can seem unfair, especially when they don’t fit. But consider the opportunity to stand out as a job candidate by embodying the attributes most important to employers.
Hard Working – 86 percent of Millennials describe themselves as hard working versus one percent of HR professionals.
People Savvy – Sixty-five percent of Millennials vs. fourteen percent for HR.
Loyal – Eighty-three percent of Millennials view themselves as being loyal versus one percent for HR. That isn’t a typo. One percent.
If you're a so-called Millennial, you’re probably a little irritated by now. So break the mold. Walk into the interview a Mill. Walk out a rock star. Here’s how.
1. Prepare ahead of time. Get a friend to give you a series of practice questions that most interviewers ask. “Tell me about yourself” is a great one to use to show your soft skills. Notice: I used the term “show.” Don’t tell people you have great people skills; say things that make the interviewer think you do.
2. Describe yourself in ways that show you are the opposite of the stereotype. Don't reference the stereotype. Why bring them up? Instead, focus on concerning traits from the interviewer's point of view.
3. Make Millennial traits a plus. Millennials are known to respect the opinion of the older generation. They respond well to guidance, structure, mentoring, and supervision. Communicate to your potential employer your desire to be an asset to them by putting these traits to work.
If you’re in the age range of Millennials, don’t fight the stereotype. Don’t be offended by being grouped with the bad. Take it in good humor. You can do so if your actions don’t support the stereotype.

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Bart Cleveland spent over 30 years helping grow brands like Coca-Cola, The Ritz-Carlton, and CNN. Now, he guides creative professionals to plan and execute successful careers through his business, Job Propulsion Lab℠. He also helps both agencies and marketers nurture customers into advocates through a relationship development program he calls, ACES℠. 
Bart launched Ad Age’s most popular blog, Small Agency Diary. He is also a contributing author of the book, The Get A Job Workshop, How To Find Your Way To A Creative Career In Advertising.
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