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Neither millennial nor genZ and I am job hunting

I am not a Millennial and I am not a GenZ. I grew up in the 2000s, a time when the job landscape was vastly different from what it is today.


The jobs being created now did not exist 20 years ago. If you ask a 10-16 year old today what they want to be in the future, they are likely to say a YouTuber or TikToker. They do not aspire to traditional 9-5 jobs because their entire upbringing has been influenced by the digital age and the gig economy.


In five years, we will likely see an increase in independent contractors, each doing their own thing. This shift in career aspirations and job structures presents unique challenges and opportunities for those of us who do not fit neatly into the Millennial or GenZ categories.


Employment dynamics of millennials

Millennials have reshaped the workforce with their tech-savvy skills and demand for work-life balance. Understanding their employment trends helps in recognizing the broader changes in the job market.


Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, have experienced significant shifts in the job market. They entered the workforce during a time of economic uncertainty, which has shaped their approach to work and employment. Millennials value job stability, but they also seek meaningful work that aligns with their personal values. They are known for their desire for work-life balance and their preference for flexible work arrangements.


Millennials have witnessed the rise of the gig economy, where short-term contracts and freelance work have become more common. This has led to a more fluid approach to career development, with many Millennials pursuing multiple career paths and side hustles. They are also known for their emphasis on continuous learning and professional development, often seeking opportunities to upskill and stay relevant in a rapidly changing job market.


I am a Millennial

I am a Millennial and my journey in the workforce has been both fulfilling and challenging.


When I first started my career, job stability was my top priority. Growing up, I saw many of my relatives being retrenched from their work, and I wanted to make sure I had a secure job. I looked for positions that seemed stable and offered long-term prospects.


As I gained more experience, I realized that having a job that felt meaningful was just as important as stability. I wanted to do work that aligned with my personal values and allowed me to make a positive impact. This led me to explore different industries and roles until I found something that truly resonated with me.


When I got married and started having family responsibilities, work-life balance also became a crucial factor in my career decisions. I did not want to be stuck in a traditional 9-5 job that left little room for my family, personal interests, and hobbies. I looked for flexible work arrangements that allowed me to manage my time better and maintain a healthy balance between my professional and personal life.


The rise of the gig economy also played a big role in shaping my career path. I decided to take on short-term contracts and freelance work. This allowed me to pursue multiple career paths and side projects, which provided both financial stability and personal fulfillment.


Employment dynamics of Generation Z

Generation Z enters the workforce with a digital-first mindset, valuing innovation and flexibility. Their approach to employment differs significantly from previous generations, focusing on meaningful work and personal growth.


GenZ, born between 1997 and 2012, is the first generation to grow up with the internet and digital technology as integral parts of their lives. They are digital natives, comfortable with using technology for communication, learning, and entertainment. This has influenced their approach to work and employment, with a strong preference for digital tools and platforms.


GenZ values job security, but they also prioritize opportunities for growth and advancement. They are known for their entrepreneurial spirit, with many members of GenZ starting their own businesses or pursuing freelance work. They are also highly adaptable, comfortable with change, and open to new experiences.


GenZ places a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They seek employers who value and promote diversity, and they are more likely to leave a job if they feel that their values are not aligned with those of the organization. They also prioritize mental health and well-being, seeking work environments that support a healthy work-life balance.


I am a gen Z

I am a GenZ. I am 23 years old and graduated with a BSc degree in Computer Science a couple of years ago. When I graduated, I sought jobs that allowed me to leverage my tech skills and stay connected in a digital environment. I have been working for two years now. Initially, I sought financial independence from my parents and a job that could help in paying my student loans. In the second year, I felt that this was not enough, and I wanted to work in positions that challenged me and allowed me to develop new skills. This led me to explore various industries and roles until I found a path that aligned with my interests and goals.

I successfully applied for a funding opportunity for a tech startup. Starting my own business and pursuing freelance work have been significant aspects of my career. This flexibility has allowed me to take on multiple projects and explore different career paths, providing both financial stability and personal fulfillment.

Understanding the unique position of the in-between generation

The generation between Millennials and GenZ faces unique challenges and opportunities. They bridge the gap between two distinct approaches to work, blending traditional values with modern flexibility. This in-between status presents both advantages and challenges as in-betweens navigate the job market.


Born in the late 1990s or early 2000s, they straddle the line between Millennials and GenZ. This unique vantage point offers a distinct perspective on the job market. On one hand, they possess a foundational understanding of traditional job-seeking methods, such as networking and in-person interviews, which were more prevalent during the Millennial era. On the other hand, they are well-versed in the digital tools and platforms that are second nature to GenZ. This duality allows them to navigate both worlds, leveraging the strengths of each generation.


As an in-between generation, they face the challenge of not fully identifying with either Millennials or GenZ. This can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation or confusion about where they fit in the professional landscape. Additionally, the rapid pace of technological change means they must constantly adapt to new tools and platforms, which can be overwhelming.


I am an in-between generation

I am part of the in-between generation. I was born in 1996 and I recently graduated. I do not fully identify with Millennials, nor do I completely align with GenZ. I kind of lost two years of my life due to COVID-19. I was neither in school nor working.


Upon graduating, I faced a job market that was in turmoil. There were no job opportunities, economies were in recession, and there were massive layoffs in the tech and other industries. This made it incredibly challenging to find a foothold in my desired career path.


To cast a wider net and increase my chances of finding suitable opportunities, I have been reaching out to alumni and have attended virtual career fairs. I am also active on digital platforms such as LinkedIn and online job boards to expand my search. I have also been taking online courses to upskill and earn certifications to make me more competitive in the job market. I also started this blog to improve my competitiveness.


FAQs for job-hunting young professionals


Q:     I make multiple applications daily and do not get feedback. Why is that likely to be the case? What do I need to do?

A:      It can be frustrating not to receive feedback after applying to numerous jobs. This could be due to several reasons, such as your resume not being tailored to the specific job, lack of keywords that match the job description, or the sheer volume of applications employers receive. To improve your chances, ensure your resume and cover letter are customized for each job. Highlight relevant skills and experiences, and use keywords from the job description. Networking can also be a powerful tool; try to connect with professionals in your desired industry on platforms like LinkedIn.

Q:     How do I successfully enter the job market?

A:      Successfully entering the job market involves a combination of preparation, networking, and persistence. Start by identifying your career goals and the industries that interest you. Build a strong resume and cover letter that highlight your skills and experiences. Utilize job search engines, company websites, and professional networks to find job openings. Attend job fairs, industry events, and networking meetups to connect with potential employers. Additionally, consider internships or volunteer opportunities to gain relevant experience and make valuable connections.

Q:     What skills are most in demand for young professionals today?

A:      Employers today are looking for a mix of technical and soft skills. Technical skills can include proficiency in digital tools, data analysis, coding, and project management. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability are equally important. Continuous learning and staying updated with industry trends can also make you a more attractive candidate.

Q:     How can I make my resume stand out to employers?

A:      To make your resume stand out, focus on clarity, relevance, and impact. Use a clean, professional format and avoid clutter. Tailor your resume to each job by highlighting relevant experiences and skills. Use action verbs and quantify your achievements where possible (e.g., Increased sales by 20%). Include any certifications, awards, or special projects that demonstrate your expertise and dedication.

Q:     What should I include in a cover letter to make it effective?

 A:      An effective cover letter should be concise, personalized, and focused on how you can add value to the company. Start with a strong opening that grabs the employer's attention. Explain why you are interested in the position and how your skills and experiences make you a good fit. Use specific examples to demonstrate your qualifications. Conclude with a call to action, expressing your enthusiasm for the opportunity to discuss your application further.

Q:     How important is networking in finding a job?

A:      Networking is extremely important in finding a job. Many job opportunities are not advertised publicly and are filled through referrals. Building a professional network can help you learn about these hidden opportunities. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with people on LinkedIn. Do not be afraid to reach out to professionals for informational interviews to learn more about their career paths and seek advice.

Q:     What are some effective ways to prepare for a job interview?

A:      Effective preparation for a job interview involves researching the company, understanding the job description, and practicing your responses to common interview questions. Learn about the company's mission, values, and recent achievements. Be ready to discuss how your skills and experiences align with the job requirements. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer about the company culture, team dynamics, and growth opportunities. Practice your responses with a friend or in front of a mirror to build confidence.

Q:     How can I demonstrate my adaptability and willingness to learn in a job application?

A:      Demonstrate your adaptability and willingness to learn by highlighting experiences where you successfully navigated change or learned new skills. Include examples of projects where you had to quickly adapt to new information or technologies. Mention any additional courses, certifications, or training you have completed to stay current in your field. Emphasize your proactive approach to professional development and your enthusiasm for continuous learning.

Q:     What should I do if I receive a job offer but am unsure if it is the right fit?

A:      If you receive a job offer but are unsure if it is the right fit, take the time to evaluate the offer carefully. Consider factors such as the company culture, job responsibilities, growth opportunities, work-life balance, and compensation. Reflect on your career goals and whether the position aligns with them. Do not hesitate to ask the employer for more information or request additional time to make your decision. It is important to choose a job that aligns with your values and long-term career aspirations.

Q:     How can I continue to grow professionally once I have secured a job?

A:      Continuing to grow professionally involves seeking out opportunities for learning and development. Set clear career goals and create a plan to achieve them. Take advantage of any training programs, workshops, or courses offered by your employer. Seek feedback from your supervisors and colleagues to identify areas for improvement. Network with professionals in your industry and stay updated with industry trends. Consider finding a mentor who can provide guidance and support as you navigate your career.

Message to the in-between generation

Embrace your unique position between Millennials and GenZ. Use your understanding of both traditional and modern job-seeking methods to your advantage. Stay adaptable, continuously learn, and prioritize your well-being. The job market is evolving, and you have the skills to thrive in this dynamic environment.


About the author

Luc Muhizi is a Computer Programmer with a passion for guiding both beginners and experts through the ever-evolving tech landscape. As the CTO at HAZEYouth, a nonprofit dedicated to youth empowerment, Luc champions creative thinking and lifelong learning to help young people unlock their full potential. His unique blend of technical expertise and commitment to personal development makes him a valua resource for anyone looking to thrive in the digital age.

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