Posts tagged dream jobs
The consequences of GenX's sweet talk.
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The way work has been discussed lately has changed a lot from what it used to be before GenY entered the labour market. It seems like GenY, my generation, questions many of the things that were utterly normal to GenX; not necessarily to GenY's liking.

Many have raised their voices against our generation's idealistic belief that we can have it all: a great career, money, a family, amazing friends and a fulfilled party-life. GenX sees these ambitions as unrealistic. They think we're dreamers.

A couple of days ago a very angry email reached my mailbox. This is part of the email I received:

"We are sick of a younger generation saying "woe" is me I can't find a job that does not pay me enough money to pay off my college loans, afford a car and a house etc. immediately, yet alone gives me "fulfillment".

Guess what? Many of us (that are not on welfare) got out of college during a recession. We worked as waiters or waitresses while we also answered phones during the day. Nobody saw anything wrong with this and nobody complained. We do not expect fulfillment to come from anywhere but from where we can make it on our own. Real life pays the bills. The rest is just gravy.”

I completely get it. I understand what bothers them (especially this woman). Still, I believe there are reasons why we got to this point and I think it’s about time to look at the situation from another perspective.

This is part of my response:

"Every generation has its own struggles, aims & aspirations. Being part of GenY myself, I’ve watched how my parents went to work without necessarily enjoying themselves. To make matters worse, they worked so much there wasn’t much time left to spend with us, their kids. To keep us busy, they sent us to piano classes, drawing classes and whatever classes you can possibly think of. We grew up with the idea of self-optimisation, with the idea that we must get better at everything we do.

Our parents also told us something that might have led to what you’re so critical about: They told us that we could become anything we wanted. Now, my generation is taking advantage of what we’ve been told for so long.

If you blame GenY for being idealistic, think about where we got the idea, that we could allow ourselves to think the way we do.”

Dear GenX, you had great intentions and we love you for that. Now deal with the consequences.

Screw up your cover letter, start over.
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Recently a friend asked me to correct her letter of application. First I looked over the CV and then corrected the cover letter. It made me think about what a good application is expected to look like.

You might remember just as much as I do about how they taught us in school to apply for jobs. We were taught what we're supposed to write and how we're supposed to phrase things. Speaking for myself, it's been about 13 years since I've been taught how to write cover letters. I guess it's about the same for everybody in their mid twenties.

Every time you decide to look for a new job, you recall how you should be doing it. You remember what they told you to do. You go back to your old letters, you adapt them, you send them. When no one calls you after a week, you feel disappointed.

I've worked for a number of companies, which gave me the opportunity to look at things from the other side. It's not like companies don't need more people. Truth is, they do. Most of them urgently need people. They receive applications too. So what's the issue?

At work, people are busy. They have a limited amount of time to get to know the applicants, which means they have to be quite selective about who they invite for a job interview. But the applications they get are highly exchangeable – letters written in coded language, using the same phrases over and over again. All of them.

If you ask me, companies that hire just want people who care and who care enough to put some effort into this one application letter.

A letter that only consists of standardised phrases might not necessarily give HR managers the feeling that the applicant cares. Imagine you get 20 letters that all sound the same, have the same structure and which you've sent to twenty other companies. How would you feel about it?

Being the Community Manager of Somewhere.com, I get to think a lot about how people present themselves professionally. I'm also interested in stories that show how people landed great jobs. There are some great examples out there. Just look herehere or here.

If you really want to get a job and if you're the right person for the job, there is a high chance you'll get it. If you are a great fit, companies won't let you slip away (or they'll at least keep you in their files and get back to you as soon as they're hiring. It's not like there are tons of people who would make a great fit out there).

It's quality over quantity. Just take some time and do the right thing. Show that you care. Or just remember when not to bother: don't bother to apply for a position or a company in which you don't necessarily see yourself. Also, don't bother to waste your time on sending the same letter over and over again. Choose one or two companies and take yourself a day or two to apply in a way that will land you that one job you want.

Most of the companies I know are hiring almost constantly. What they're looking for are people that stand out.

Now, screw up your cover letter, start over.

(Also published on Medium)