In a competitive employment market, where unpaid internships are becoming the norm and work experience appears to speak higher than degrees and diplomas, it's easy to lose hope as a graduate. Entry-level jobs are increasingly hard to come by, and when they do, competition is fierce. But transferable skills could be the key to unlocking our potential...
What few of us realise, employers and job-seekers alike, is the wealth of attractive know-how our generation possess, with or without work experience. When it comes to technology, social media and content, millennials are far more in tune with latest online trends, if not the inventor of them. There’s an untapped gold mine here for companies who spend thousands on researching ‘what millennials want’ whilst sometimes overlooking hiring in a younger workforce.
As a graduate struggling with finding a first job, unless you’re set on a very specific career, it’s worth exploring how these skills can be rephrased as the main selling point on your CV. It may seem like a painful edit after finally graduating from a difficult and expensive degree, but should be viewed as giving yourself additional employability ammunition rather than denoting what you have achieved academically.
You already have what employers want
With millennials making up 33 per cent of the UK population and gaining increasing buying-power, they are a target consumer. Every day we see companies struggling to tap into the millennial mentality with faux-cool marketing stunts that often leave you cringing (remember Uber’s pool in Shoreditch that no one wanted to jump into?). If you’re interested in a marketing role it’s worth making this the focus of your personal statement, highlighting some campaigns you’ve seen that worked, and others that didn’t. Offer your opinion on why, from a consumer perspective, and suggest how things could have gone better, from a marketers perspective. It is also a good idea to not only describe your creative abilities but to showcase them through the format and maybe even the delivery of your application (like this creative job-seeker did).
On the more niche marketing side there’s social media. With over 95 per cent of millennials using at least one social media platform, we don’t only know how to use social media, we know what works on social media. Being able to write a snappy tweet in 140 characters and source the most popular hashtags for maximum exposure is a valuable skill as much as a fun hobby and method of communication. There are currently over 2,000 social media executive vacancies in London and whilst some of these will not be advertised as 'entry level', if you use social media on a daily basis and understand how to get engagement, there’s nothing 'entry' about you.
Examine your online presence
Another area of growing demand is content creation. News get old faster than ever before in our ever-moving online landscape and businesses need to keep on top of their content creation to get noticed. Copywriting, photography and video production are all high in demand. As of July 2016, there were 306 million blogs on tumblr alone, an increase with five per cent from April. 75 per cent of bloggers are under 35 years of age. As a generation we consume and produce more content than any other - it’s how we know the world and how we self-express. If you run a popular blog this will be of great interest to many employers. When we hire in to copywriting roles at Hubble, we will always look at published work over grades, whether self-published or by an online publication.
In addition, a recent study shows that 44 per cent of all millennials use their camera or video function on their phone daily. With such frequent use, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks and having a good understanding of composition and lighting is a very attractive skill. Using your phone to take photos may not land you a job as a photographer but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a desirable skill to highlight on your CV There’s no denying that imagery is a very important element of online content and marketing, and many companies will not have the resources to employ a full time photographer, but will greatly value it as an additional skill.
Take a good look at your presence online. Thought that funny video you made that got 12,000 views on YouTube is irrelevant on your CV? Think again. Followers, views, likes - these are all magic words to any business in today’s landscape. If you can get 12,000 eyeballs on their product, they’ll want to hire you. Other skills that will be valued highly is knowledge with design softwares such as Adobe suite, or basic coding skills.
A way in
Once you’ve secured your first job, there’s plenty of scope to move around. Fast-moving technology and shared workspaces means new job roles pop up all the time and once you’re in, you have a chance to see what other roles and teams entail. You may not be destined for marketing, content or social media, but it’s certainly useful to know that these are areas where you can probably work, should you want to.