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Monday, September 16, 2019
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Tips & Training

Job search strategies for the multi-generational workforce

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Every day we get closer to a world without resumes and interviews, where your next job is only an introduction or conversation away. As coaches, we often ask our clients, “How large is your network?” “How many of your family and friends are aware when you are on the job hunt?” “How are you leveraging job search tools to help you move into your next role?” These questions become critical pieces of information that help career coaches craft successful strategies for jobseekers in today’s competitive, multi-generational workforce.

The job market today, for the first time ever, has five generations (Generation Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists) working together simultaneously. Candidates have to work hard to differentiate themselves. While not all candidates will fit into the general characterizations of their generation, there are traits, values and preferred methods of operation that hold true across these generations.

Partnering with a career coach can help jobseekers build a personalized job strategy. Following are a few of my favourite job search strategies for four of the generations present in the workforce today.

Generation Z

The Generation Z or Gen Z demographic is said to be the generation most hooked on independent thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset. According to Harvard Business Review, Gen Z shows the strongest inclinations for entrepreneurship. This free-thinking mindset can create a disconnect between jobseekers and potential employers when Gen Z employees enter the workforce in entry-level roles with fairly limited autonomy and opportunities to showcase their entrepreneurial thinking. Ryan Jenkins shares similar sentiments in the article “How Generation Z Will Transform the Future Workplace.”

A competitive strategy is to encourage this generation to seek out roles that give them opportunities to share their entrepreneurial ideas while still supporting the core business goals. Coupling their entrepreneurial thinking with storytelling and a strong technological skill depth, Gen Z candidates can quickly differentiate and position themselves ahead of other generations in the market.

Millennials

Jobseekers of this generation, like their Baby Boomer parents, are often recognized as resilient. They are also characterized by being able to efficiently and effectively navigate change with a strong appreciation for diversity and inclusion. They tend to be effective at networking and building relationships.

A competitive strategy for Millennials is to leverage their relationship-building skills to build and maintain rapport with connections. They should also use storytelling to highlight their ability to adapt to the changing needs of an organization.

Generation X

This generation has made a push for work-life balance (leading them to be described as the ‘slacker’ generation, according to this American Management Association (AMA) blog). It is important to look for roles that incorporate elements of flextime, accommodations and benefits that satisfy this generation’s focus on balance.

A competitive strategy for Gen X is to be very clear and honest about their personal and professional goals from the beginning. They should seek to align with companies that share a similar value system and culture. When being able to facilitate and accommodate work-life balance requests is a deal breaker, setting realistic expectations can prevent the frustration of going after opportunities that aren’t a good fit.

Baby Boomers

According to AMA’s blog, Baby Boomers are the ‘Me Generation’ and live to work. However, in organizations where their interviewer could be half their age and their manager could be a Gen X or Millennial, being able to demonstrate the ability to co-exist and collaborate with a diverse group or team will become a distinct advantage.

A competitive strategy for Baby Boomers is to get off the internet and out to network and build relationships with decision-makers. Making connections and sharing their skills and expertise is critical to demonstrating their value and shortening their job search timeline.

Each generation offers different strategic advantages to the workforce. Being able to acknowledge and incorporate each generation’s difference into their job search strategy can give them the competitive edge they need. How are you leveraging a candidate’s unique generational characteristics in their job search strategy?


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Aldeen Simmonds-Thorpe is a Coach, Consultant and Strategist at Aldeen Simmonds-Thorpe Consulting. She is an HR Transformation Strategist, Speaker and Coach helping professionals and businesses to navigate and solve complex business and people problems enabling them to adapt, compete and thrive. She is a trusted Adviser and Coach to entrepreneurs and business owners helping them build sustainable businesses through community.
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Aldeen Simmonds-Thorpe is a Coach, Consultant and Strategist at Aldeen Simmonds-Thorpe Consulting. She is an HR Transformation Strategist, Speaker and Coach helping professionals and businesses to navigate and solve complex business and people problems enabling them to adapt, compete and thrive. She is a trusted Adviser and Coach to entrepreneurs and business owners helping them build sustainable businesses through community.
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