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How to Spin the Negative "Millenial" Label

How to Spin the Negative "Millenial" Label

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

May 23, 2011

If you’re interviewing for a job, you’ve probably gotten the “tell me about yourself” question.

While everyone is an individual, there are certain characteristics being ascribed to Millenials—members of the generation born after 1980. Or rather, perceptions other generations have about Millenials. And unfortunately, not all of them are good.

But, there’s a way to spin those “negative” attributes. Here, we flip four of the top complaints about Millenials on their heads. If you encounter any of these Millenials stereotypes, here’s how to work them to your advantage.

Millenials are… unfocused—too concerned with their smart phones, texting and social media. They are “always connected”.

Interview Speak: “Technologically savvy” and “excellent multi-tasker”. No other generation can say they grew up with the Internet, can text with lightening speed or knows their way around a smart phone the way Millenials do—and, all at the same time! Fact of the matter is, technology is always evolving, not going backwards, and to stay competitive in our world, your employer needs you more than you may think.

Millenials are… cocky and have an inflated sense of self-worth.

Interview Speak: “Confident in abilities to succeed”, “Positive attitude.” After all, no one is going to trust an idea coming from someone who isn’t quite sure if they believe in it themselves. In other words, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? Technology news website SYS-CON Media said in a recent article, “Today’s young adults are entering the job market in tough economic times. And despite the challenges, they remain upbeat about the future.” That’s a good thing.

Millenials… don’t value the same office environment as their predecessors. Don’t respect the status quo on searching for jobs and integrating into the office environment.

Interview Speak: “Forward thinker”, “ability to ‘think outside the box’”. According to the SYS-CON Media article, “traditional resume and job search methods are dying as 94% of Millenials look online for employment … 40% indicate they are using social media to land jobs”

Millenials… care more about their own happiness than the work. This includes a lack of regard for the traditional 9-5. For example, “53% of Millenials state that they are happier working as a freelancer versus a full-time employee,” the SYS-CON article said. In fact, “only 13% want to work onsite at a company a majority of the time.”

Interview Speak: “Flexible.” Sell yourself as the candidate who is willing to be flexible when it comes to hours, projects, responsibilities, etc. Some employers even like the idea of having employers work from home, because it saves on office overhead – even if it’s just once or twice a week— and to top it off, working from home is greener.

According to another article on, there are a few more attributes Millenials possess. While these descriptions won’t fit EVERYONE in your generation, their research finds that these attributes are more common in Millenials generation than others. Here’s some food for thought.

As a whole, Millenials are:

  • Well educated.
  • Not very religious.
  • More ethnically and racially diverse than previous generations.
  • They get along with their parents.
  • Twice as likely to vote Democratic in the 2008 election as older groups.

How would you spin these and other descriptions you’ve heard of the Millenials generation? Let us know in the Comments section below!

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Information compiled from and