Bridging the gap between no experience and entry-level

Over the past few year marketers seem to have caught on to what we want – customization, integration, instant gratification. But it’s time to really start paying attention to what we are – “collaborative, inventive, giving, entrepreneurial”. And by “we” I mean myself, Caroline, our peers, and our generation itself – millennials.

We’re not just important in how we have reshaped the consumerism market; we are simultaneously laying the groundwork for a much bigger shift in reshaping corporate culture as a whole – companies are not just selling to us, they are also hiring us. Defined as the 80 million people born between 1980 and 2000, we are posed to make up 46% of the workforce by 2020.

While described with praise as adaptable and eager, millennials are also being plagued with names such as selfish and entitled. Our generational mantra does seem to be “we want more!” However, to shine a negative light on such misconstrues the positive realities of what we actually want more of: fulfillment, collaborative corporate structure, work-life balance, meaningful/purposeful work.

Yet for as much optimism, talent, and education we possess, as well as are ready and able to pour into the workforce, millennials are facing some deeply acknowledged hardship. Swimming in the workforce is a competitive pool, but doing so in the wake of a recession makes it incredibly more so – and with two main disadvantages. First, we are faced with less job openings – unemployment rates for those between 18 and 29 years of age are calculated to be about 7.9 or 13.8 percent, depending on the factors considered. Secondly, we are making less than young professionals of 10 years ago.

Not only are we competing among our own peers, but due to unemployment rates across the population, even entry-level positions are being coveted, and taken, by more experienced candidates. So how are millennials supposed to successfully compete in the job market?

Many job-seeking individuals try tactics such as uniquely designed resumes and humorously toned cover letters, yet many still find these efforts not enough.

A Newsweek article summed up the challenges millennials face, “You’re like, ‘I’ll do anything and apply for everything, but usually it’s an electronic filing and you’re spending all your time on it and never hear back. … So far, I have applied for around 30 jobs, if not more, and have heard back on two of them. … I didn’t get either job because I don’t have enough experience. These are entry-level jobs, but experienced people are taking them.”

But what if there was a way to bypass the traditional job application process? One guy, Petar Vujosevic, is trying to do just that. His website GapJumpers works to connect employers with the best and most talented candidates regardless of education and/or experience, and connect untraditional candidates (those without education/experience) a chance to prove they have what it takes to not only do the job, but be the best person for it.

So instead of creating a job-listing, employers post a question or a problem and ask applicants to submit a response. If the employer likes the applicant’s answer they can further reach out to continue the interview process.

jobpostinggapjumpers

Vujosevic comments on job-seeking in an interview with NPR, “There is definitely room to improve how we view talent, how we screen talent, how we engage with talent and how we end up interviewing talent.”

An article by The Resumator, highlights how companies should plan to adapt to different hiring approaches for the new wave of job seekers, “Millennials are more likely to be unemployed or underemployed than previous generations, so remind hiring managers not to focus too much on past work experience. Instead, get into the intangibles; look for personality traits and hobbies that indicate motivation and commitment.” This seems to be exactly what GapJumpers is aiming to help employers accomplish.

The consensus is that millennials want and support equality; data shows that we collectively appreciate it across the spectrum – marriage, race, and pay. It seems that GapJumpers is identifying with that value through elevating equal opportunity via its blind auditions.

As the last of the millennials make their way through school and emerge into the highly saturated job market, we wonder how this new and improved way of job searching will affect the way we view educational obtainment and ourselves. Do platforms that take away all individualization show a shift in our cultural values? Are we placing less emphasis on educational background and more on learned skills?

Let us know what you think of GapJumpers. Would you apply for a job listed on their platform, or do you prefer to stick with the more traditional applications?

-Savannah Valade & Caroline Robinson

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