job search, generation y, job hunting, employment, resume, youth

If you were born between 1980 and 1992, you are part of the so-called Generation Y, just like me. Our generation is an interesting one as we are the last one to have grown up (for the most part) without the internet and all that came along with it, such as e-mails, smartphones, social media and so on. However, when the world wide web took over, we were young enough to quickly learn everything about it and grow with it, and now we can’t imagine life without it.

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The internet undoubtedly changed everything, including how we apply for jobs. While our parents would have written formal cover letters and (rather short) resumes, which were then posted to the potential employer, nowadays, we e-mail applications. And that is where the job-hunting problems of generation Y start. As e-mails are generally less formal than letters, it seems as though most 20-somethings have no clue about the basics of a job application. The following are common mistakes that I have encountered and how to avoid them:

Use an appropriate e-mail address.

If your e-mail address is fluffyunicorn@myspace.com, I can guarantee you that it will be deleted immediately. In order for your possible future employer to even read your application, your e-mail address must not contain any nickname/animal/song title or other weird things. In fact, the only really professional e-mail address is a variety of your name, whether that’s your full name or a combination of your initials and name does not matter, as long as it isn’t too complicated.

Spell check.

This is pretty self-explanatory. Check your spelling and grammar before you send off an application. Also, make sure your layout and font are consistent – typos in your application will make your employer think that you have no attention to detail.

Be polite.

Simple manners will go a long way. Use a proper salutation and closing in your e-mail and avoid slang. Thank the addressee for their time – if you fail to show respect in your application, chances are you will do the same at work.

Tidy up your social media accounts.

It is common practice for employers nowadays to check applicants’ social media accounts. So if your profile picture is a selfie of you in your most revealing party outfit, it’s not a good first impression. The same goes with what you write and share. The general rule is: If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it, don’t share it on social media. Better safe than sorry.