This is a bit of a departure from what I usually write. However, I felt compelled to get some thoughts “out there,” in hopes that they might fall on the right ears and, perhaps, make an impression toward the right road for the young job-seeker.

Several months ago, I stepped into, very unexpectedly, the role of recruiting coordinator for my husband. He is in the insurance and financial services industry, and while he does lots of face-to-face recruiting, he needed someone to help him with social media and passive recruiting, as well as building a pool of “warm” talent.

To say that this has been an enlightening experience would be a gross understatement.

I am on all the major resume sites, doing extensive resume searches and getting a bird’s eye view on how the average job-seeker presents themselves. I came into it with certain assumptions and expectations.

I was, and continue to be, proven wrong.

There are several things I would love to tell the young person, in particular, as they search for their new career. Sit back, if you will, and take a few notes, because if I, the relatively new recruiter on the block, has already formed a list, you can be certain that the veterans and heavy hitters have one twice as long.

  1. Do not use text language to write a cover letter, or in an answer to a resume inquiry via email. Seriously, don’t claim to have any education at all if “u r gonna pass this off 4” communication. To be honest, the recruiter will not even get down to your education history if this is how you present yourself.
  2. Speaking of email, set up a separate email address for use in your job search. This is not the time to use your clever address denoting your love for dogs, or your flaming red hair. It is not the place for cutesy or sexy. Email addresses are FREE for heaven’s sake; try something like your first and last name and let Gmail or Yahoo set you up.
  3. Use one of the many online resources for resume writing and editing. Your resume is a snapshot of what you have to offer, and if it’s a mess, it doesn’t matter how well-equipped you may be for the position because you’ll never get in the door.
  4. If you accept an appointment for an interview, KEEP IT. It is astonishing, to me, the number of candidates who make it through the initial screenings to a face-to-face appointment, and then don’t show up for the interview. Even if you’re uncertain whether this particular job is for you, GO TO THE INTERVIEW. Get more information about the job in person, and, if it does turn out to not be the right fit, you’ve still gained invaluable experience by honing your interviewing skills. (And nobody can ever call you RUDE.)
  5. Don’t set up a life style that demands a high salary. When you are job hunting, it’s the time to get lean and mean with your finances and life style. It’s amazing to me the number of people that turn down incredible opportunities for future growth simply because the initial salary won’t pay for their loft downtown, or make the payment on their convertible. Which, incidentally, are currently being funded by their credit cards.
  6. When you get a job, make a commitment to it. One thing that has really blown me away is the number of jobs (oftentimes greater than one per year) that many young job-seekers have listed. It appears that they get a job, but always keep their options open for something better. The minute that something comes along, they make the move, all the while continuing to keep their eye on the horizon. Job loyalty and settling in to grow into a position and, subsequently, up through the same company, seems to be a notion of the past. Somewhere along the way, instead of graduating from school and looking for a solid entry-level position with a good company, today’s graduates are, by and large, toting their impressive degrees into potential employers and demanding the money they “deserve.” Much to their dismay, however, those companies are still operating in the old mindset of working hard to work your way up. So that young seeker reluctantly accepts the job, all the while leaving their resumes on every site, just in case that utopian firm starts hiring. So, I have a question for these folks…

            If you get married, are you going to leave your online dating profiles active? Just in case? 

As an adult who has grown children in this group of 20’s-30’s, I’m disappointed in my generation for not standing up, more often, in protest when the grading systems started to become less competitive to avoid damaging self-esteem. I hate that we stood by while the blue ribbon went by the wayside, in favor of honorable-mentions and participation medals. Instead of learning that working hard toward a goal rendered its own rewards, we did a tremendous disservice to a generation of kids who were taught that rewards come just for showing up.

Even though you may have come by it honestly, my dear young job-seeker, that is not a true picture of the real world. If you want a truly meaningful career, and not just a string of employers, you’ve got to stop expecting others to validate your self-esteem, and do the hard work it takes to build self-worth instead. That’s the by-product of committing to something, and staying with it through the challenges. That’s the real reward.

And that…well that’s what makes a person worth hiring.