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To The Jobless Millennial Who’s Tired Of Rejection

Don't despair. Keep calm and carry on.
PHOTO: istockphoto

Dear Unemployed Millennial,

You’ve been rejected by companies for about 10 times now, maybe more. You’ve fixed your resumé for more than 30 times—again, to no avail. And the rejection just sucks the life out of you. Why can’t you get a job, when your peers have been hired? And it’s not as if those guys were overachievers like you in college. Plus, you badly want to support yourself and your family.


You’re probably in a state of panic and despair. That’s understandable since you’re jobless and you need money, but doors just keep closing on you. All this frustrates you, I’m sure, as with anyone who’s been rejected for a job. We all went through that too.

You may find yourself wishing you were taught something else in college. Maybe you wish you had a different degree. If you’re at a really low point, you’re done wishing you studied something else in college. Instead, you wish you hadn’t even gone to college because what’s the effing point if it can’t get you an effing job.

Now hold it right there. Breathe. Shake the nerves out. You want some advice on job application? Tips to get hired? I’ll give you some, and these come with #TruthBombs or “life lessons.” You might not be in the mood for the latter, but they will greatly help you move forward from this chaotic point.


Companies, in general, want to hire someone who can work with their employees. In other words, they want someone who is easy to work with and is a team player.

They’re not going to be the one adjusting to you, because, well, who are you?

Companies have their own goals, and they want someone who has the same vision as they do and can help them attain their objectives.

Considering their future growth, companies also invest in their employees by training them to be better in their work, to be competitive, and to take leadership positions. That said, all the more they want to pick the right person for employment.


Your gleaming resumé will get you a call for a job interview. When you get that call, it means that the company you applied for has read your application. They already know your academic background and achievements. They might know your skills, if you’ve indicated these on your resumé. So what are they scheduling an interview for?

They want to meet you—to see the kind of person you are.

The company wants to see if you’re articulate, and how you handle yourself before authority and in a stressful situation. They want to know if you prepare and how well you prepare for something important in your life (Do you dress appropriately, are you punctual, do you do your research?). They also want to know your personality and your character.

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If you want to be hired, you have to show them you’re articulate and professional, determined yet humble. You must exhibit grace under pressure. You must be punctual, look presentable, and know something about the company and the work you’re applying for.

More than those, you have to show you love to learn new things. You have to give them the impression that you are easy to work with. It’s not enough to say so. They can hear in your voice and see in your eyes if you’re enthusiastic about the work, or if the work is just another thing for you to do.


If in your interview you are agitated, proud, or exuding desperation, the company will pick someone else. Someone who’s bright-eyed, passionate about learning, and is positive. Someone who genuinely likes the job.

The interview for the work you want not only places importance on your attitude, personality, and level of preparation. It also places importance on your education, which is a privilege. Tertiary education isn’t your golden ticket to a job. It’s a requirement for certain jobs and for further education, but it doesn’t guarantee any of those. So what’s it for? What even makes it a privilege?

Your university education, apart from helping you develop a good character, guides you to become articulate and competent. It trains you to think and speak for yourself. And if you articulate your thoughts well, you come off as respectable, and you can influence people. This is power. One way you can look at this is that you can persuade a company to hire you. Another way you can look at it is that companies want to see if you can think and speak well, and if your thoughts and words are directed to what’s good.

Your education gave you opportunities to be the best person you could be, and it even encouraged your growth. Remember how open you were to learning new things? How much you wanted to serve your community by being active in your orgs? Don’t lose sight of how you were your best self in your college days, because that’s exactly what you need not just in your job application or interview, but also in life.

Before you send a new batch of edited resumés, take time to breathe. Restore your joy for life. You can do this by reading, watching educational or inspirational videos, tending to some hobbies, and whatever it is that will fill you up with goodness and hope. I know all those seem pointless because the situation feels urgent to you. But you need to take a breather so you can better face your future interviewers. It’ll let the good light shine in you, not the fiery kind that people want extinguished.

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From your fellow millennial,
Steph

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Stephanie blogs about art on Catchinglight.org. Follow her on Instagram.