*A young adult

Written by: An adult—not overly young or overly old


If a bell rang every time a young adult applied to a job online, the world would sound like one million churches letting out after sunday service. Applying online is the most common way young adults apply to jobs, and most often it is the least effective way when paired with no other activity.

Through my years of working with young adults on career exploration and the job search process, I have come up with a Top 10 Tips List for successfully landing the right job. By the way, this is in no particular order.

1. If you are spending most of your day submitting your resume online and doing nothing else with your job search process, STOP.

This activity alone will not get you a job, just as practicing only free throws will not make you a good basketball player. You need to be out there meeting people, honing and telling your story, learning about different industries and job functions, and most of all, having a game plan and a strategy. You will grow old and gray and be jobless if the only person you see all day is your own reflection in the computer monitor.

2. Be open to SALES.

Here is a dirty little secret, sales is not a dirty job! In fact, sales can be a very lucrative, interesting, challenging, and engaging. 99% of the young adults I meet say, “I would do anything, JUST NOT sales”. You are way too young to rule out an entire industry and profession; in fact, you need to start with asking a bigger question, “What kind of sales may I like and be good at doing?” Remember, you can sell products, services, ideas, etc. Be that young adult who WANTS to do sales. This will pay off; I am not just selling you on this!

3. Email is not a communication style that has gone to the wayside like sending a telegram, or someone might even say, sending a fax.

Yes, in the past two and a half decades many more modes of communication have been introduced (i.e. text messaging, instagram, etc); however, email is still the preferred mode for work and business communication and either you are onboard with using this “You’ve got mail” device or you will be passed over by your bosses who think you are unresponsive. To add to this, respond to an email within 24 hours; if you do not have the answer at that moment, it is fine to acknowledge the email and come back it to.

4. If you are amongst professionals whom you do not know or those who are older than you, ask them questions.

Ask about their background and their stories. It pays to show other people that you are aware that you have two ears and one mouth and are open to learning from others.

5. Read

Yes, reading can differentiate you from your peers big time! Read the real newspaper, that black and white and sometimes colored paper mess that comes to the house. Reading online and reading just the headlines won’t win the sophistication award. In fact, throw in some real books that you have read as well, and people will really be impressed.

6. Be careful not to generalize about the Big Bosses or the CEOs.

I hear more often than not from young adults that “Upper management tends to be scary, money-hungry, selfish, not caring of the young adults, etc.” Sure, this could be true at times, but it is far more likely that management wants to get to know its young work force and wants to help you succeed. It is likely that your managers have children of their own and therefore want to be impressed by this younger generation. If they are thinking anything negative about the millennials, PROVE them wrong!

7. Have confidence that it/your plan/your chosen career WILL all work out.

Everyday, picture yourself opening a fortune cookie that reads, “You can do this. Stay calm. Have some fun along the way”. The level of seriousness of young adults these days is at an all-time high and I can see why. There is endless pressure to get into the right college, earn a stellar GPA, find the right job, marry the right person (who comes from the right family). There is only so much you can totally plan in life. Plan what you can, push for what you want and also, eat the cookie!

8. Take the long view in life.

It is so healthy to think about WHO you want to be in 10, 20, 30 and 40 years and not just WHAT you want to be doing. The few years after college are not the end all and be all to your life; therefore take time to think about your FULL life and how you want your FULL life to play out. I don’t mean to contradict #7, but instead, take the long view and have the confidence that you have a robust life ahead of you. No weepy eyes on college graduation day! The best is yet to come.

9. Make a difference.

Give back. Serve. Volunteer. Help others. Whatever you want to call it, DO IT. Help your neighbor with moving in. Ask to babysit your cousins. Do a random act of kindness for someone. Mail a real letter.

10. Look up

Did you do it? Not yet? Ok try again. LOOK UP! Good job. Look up from your phone, your computer, your Pebble watch, your whatever glowing device that keep your eyes from looking into another person’s eyes. Looking into someone’s real eyes is when real conversations start.