The ability to craft a perfect text or social media post might make you proud, but can it help you land a job? While employers value the tech prowess millennials bring to the workforce, they worry that digital natives lack traditional communication skills. Digital communications minimize crucial skills that help people build relationships at work, such as listening and public speaking. Use job interviews to prove you can communicate professionally and represent your employer well.
As a millennial job seeker, it's common to face stereotypes about your generation. Many employers view millennials as aloof, self-involved and permanently attached to a smartphone. And the cliché isn't entirely false. In a 2017 survey of 4,000 people, cloud messaging provider LivePerson found that 65 percent of millennials and Gen Z’ers communicate digitally more often than in person. In fact, leaving a wallet at home is more preferable to going out without a phone, according to 61.8 percent of respondents.
Yet, technology is no replacement for verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Everything from pitching clients to managing a team requires a strong sense of interpersonal relations. Engaging in person helps you build confidence and learn to work with diverse groups of people. With that said, don't give employers any reason to doubt your communication skills. Treat your job interview as a trial performance, and demonstrate your competency in these core areas:
Clarity: Being well-spoken is a sign of poise and intelligence. Practice speaking in a confident voice without wavering or stumbling over your words. Sounding nervous and fearful is a red flag that you're in over your head. Use examples to flesh out your answers and prove how well you can hold attention.
Composure: Command the room with your speech and nonverbal communication skills. Try not to panic or ramble on when you lose your train of thought. Instead, pause, smile and say, "Let me think about that." Pay attention to body language as well. You should maintain eye contact when speaking and use hand gestures to bring energy to your presentation. Just don't overdo it. Too much enthusiasm and wild mannerisms makes you appear too casual.
Insightful: Ask thoughtful questions to keep the conversation flowing and show your interest in the job. Talking too much about yourself and your needs plays into the millennial stereotype of self-entitlement. Impress the hiring manager by asking in-depth questions about the goals and challenges of the company.
Positivity: Don't overlook the importance of simply being open, friendly and upbeat. Employers want to hire someone who is positive and accountable. Avoid speaking negatively about past employers or blaming others for anything that went wrong in previous jobs.
Responsiveness: Be tactful and punctual in all communications throughout the hiring process. Using informal language, ignoring instructions or taking too long to follow up can undermine your candidacy. Thoroughly proofread written and digital correspondence to make sure your language is polished and concise.
Interviews are your best opportunity to put your communication skills front and center. You are the only person who can tell a story from your unique perspective. Use that advantage to explain why your qualifications serve the needs of the company. Persuading the manager to hire you is the most effective way to prove your communication skills are on point.
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