As studies have proven time and again, Millennials are shaping the mindset of the workforce in such a way that it will never be the same. While some may be intimidated by these changes, many others recognize that they are also the product of the advancement of digital and mobile technologies. As digital natives, Millennials breach the gap, enabling businesses to develop the types of technologies that put them way ahead of competitors.
All that said, it can still be hard for younger Millennials—specifically recent grads and current college students—to know how to market themselves based on their experiences. With a huge disparity between the number of college students and the number of internships available, it can seem nearly impossible to get the type of gig that looks great on a resume. This is where freelance work can change everything.
The correlation between freelance work and self-marketing for Millennials
Let’s turn back to those studies we mentioned earlier. One such example is the 2013 Global Consumer Sentiment Survey conducted by The Boston Consulting Group. While this study particularly looked at how Millennials are changing marketing, it also speaks to the unique and positive aspects that they can leverage to their advantage when applying for jobs and boosting their resumes.
Find authentic opportunities that hone your skills through real experience
The word “authentic” pops up often in the survey results, describing Millennials’ emphasis on authenticity being important to them as consumers. But this speaks as much to what Millennials do as what they buy. It also correlates with the shift from traditional internships to freelance opportunities. For example, instead of participating in catch-all internships that provide a broad glimpse of an entire company, recent grads and current college students are taking advantage of short-term, part-time contract positions. These assignments provide a much deeper understanding of a specific task, such as graphic design, content production, or social media management. With an emphasis on authenticity, freelance work helps Millennials dive into the workforce headfirst by honing real skills.
Capitalize on your ease in creating relationships
Thanks to smartphones and social media, Millennials are in constant communication with others. From a marketing standpoint, experts tell companies to focus on creating a personal relationship with Millennial consumers, since they are constantly following through on referrals from friends and family members. But this works in the other direction as well.
As someone who appreciates the value of relationships, you can create networking and reference opportunities very easily with the help of freelance work. In those authentic experiences we outlined above, you will be seeing projects through from start to finish. These can include writing blog posts, translating white papers into another language, or other one-off tasks. In doing so, you’ll work directly with a supervisor who can speak to your ability to meet deadlines, take instruction, and provide successful results. Even if the work isn’t what you ultimately want to be doing as a career, these skills translate across the board to other industries.
At the end of the day, the traits that make you different from previous generations are the same traits that you should be leveraging in your self-marketing. When it comes time to apply to your first or next job, make sure that your resume and cover letter are full of meaningful experiences that emphasize your value!