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The Millennial Way - A Guide to Taking a Non-Linear Career Approach (Part 1)

My name is Ashleigh and I’ve been working at Kennedy Reid as a Recruitment Consultant for about 6 weeks now. I’m 22, 6 months out of university, eat avocado on toast every morning for breakfast, fall for new trends and fads every week, dream of one day being able to monetize my social media accounts and like many other fellow millennials, are fairly new to this whole full-time-save-money-pay-bills-think-about-my-future-career thing that my generation often refers to as ‘adulting’.

Being at this stage of life can be super daunting because we’ve spent our lives this far focusing on studying, socialising and working part-time so we can afford luxuries like new phones, extra gigs of data, and new outfits every week rather than essentials like rent, healthy food and mental wellbeing related expenses. The onset and realisation of this often leave us grads with this immediate thought– “I need a job that’s going to pay me some serious money.”

The thing with Millennials is that we realise we need a secure income, but we don’t want to compromise on what older generations refer to as ‘luxuries’ that we’ve developed a liking to over the years. We don’t want to fall into the hum-drum ideology associated with working 9-5 in a tiny office cubicle – the painful inevitable world of ‘adulting’ our parents grumble about but constantly reiterate the importance of. We want fulfilment that isn’t just financial. We want to find a job that makes us happy to go to work, let’s us socialise and grow our network, offers international travel opportunities, bonuses, room for growth, office ping-pong tables, the works! The question is, how do we find all of that with little to no industry-relevant experience?

Here are some tips to help get you started:

1. Fix your resume, and then keep fixing it

I spent the entirety of 2018 during my last year of university editing and re-editing my resume. I researched Harvard University’s guide to writing a resume, I sent it to my peers to review, I went to resume writing workshops and I tailored my resume for every job I applied for. It is so important to keep your experience up to date and put yourself in the shoes of the person reading it. You don’t need fancy fonts or eye-catching graphics to get an employer or recruiters attention. What you DO need to do is read about the role, research the company, look at the requirements, even Linkedin search people who work there and then use all of that information to craft your resume to make it easy for the reader to see why you would be the perfect fit. Check out this short clip by my colleague Chloe to find out if you’re aware of some of the major 'Do’s and Don’ts of Resume Writing'.

2. Hone your skills

So if you’re currently studying or unemployed, you’ve probably got a bit of free time on your hands. Take a night off from bar-hopping and instead, check out aclass or online course that can help you develop industry-specific skills that will stand out on your resume and set you apart from other candidates. Don’t use finances as an excuse not to do further research and instead take advantage of some incredibly affordable courses available like these Groupon offers for online education courses or this awesome Adobe CC training bundle available for $29.

If extra courses aren’t your thing, that’s fine! Focus on the skills you already have and use those to take a skills-based approach to your job search process. Take me as a case study: I studied Music and Management in university and yet I’m working in recruitment. Why? Because I worked in part-time retail sales roles for 8 years whilst studying which taught me invaluable skills in sales and customer service. Those skills qualified me for a role in recruitment with no HR degree or recruiting background. As a recruitment consultant, I’m constantly learning and honing the skills that got me here and will help me when applying for future roles. I’m certainly in a different place and industry to where I thought I was headed, but sometimes a non-linear approach is the best one.

3. Look for a backdoor

If there is anything you take away from this quite lengthy blog post (hooray if you’re still with me!) Let it be this – The first step you take is just that, a first step. The place you start will almost never be the place you end. If you’ve been applying for assistant roles for the past 6 months at your dream company and haven’t heard anything back yet that is OKAY. Don’t let it discourage you and instead start thinking laterally. Use those skills you have honed and work out how you can use and develop them within a different industry or smaller company to get some work experience behind you.

Is your dream to be Head of Marketing at Google but you can’t seem to land an internship there? Try looking for roles as a Junior Marketing Assistant at a smaller tech company, an Office Junior role for a Marketing company or perhaps a junior sales role in tech. Working for a small-medium business can also offer you more opportunity for speedy progression. Within 2 years you could go from an Office Junior to a Marketing Manager - meaning you now have relevant experience behind you that you can use as leverage to apply for a more senior role. No more competing for entry-level roles with hundreds of other grads with degrees and little experience! Yes, you had to wait a little longer but it wasn’t time wasted, it was experience gained. The journey to your dream career does not have to be a linear one.


  1. Do your research and tailor your resume for each role you apply for

  2. Refine your skills and use them to expand your job search process

  3. Start thinking laterally about your career progression

Get started with these simple tips and keep an eye out for Part 2 where I discuss social media, work/life balance and how to stay motivated. For now, give these a go and start to create healthy habits when taking a revised approach to your job search process!

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