8 Job-Seeking Terms That Millennials Should Know

African man browsing work opportunities online using job search computer app, black jobless seeker looking for new vacancies on website page at laptop screen, recruitment concept, rear close up view.
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It can be difficult to find a job that pays well and satisfies the need for a work-life balance. Not only that, but it can be hard to find a stable job that lets the job seeker use relevant skills and gain a sense of fulfillment.

Millennials, who make up the largest age group in the American workforce, face these quandaries more than any other generation.

“One would think that the hiring process is easier with technology — it’s harder,” said Alice Rush, MA, certified career counselor and a career advisor at University of Phoenix.

This is especially true with the prevalence of remote work.

“When you are looking for a remote job, you are competing with the hundreds and thousands of people throughout the USA or even globally,” Rush said. “[There are] so many more thousands of applicants than baby boomers had to contend with locally in one geographic region.”

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Although finding a job as a millennial can be tricky, there are ways to make it easier. One of those ways is to learn the key terms that recruiters and hiring managers commonly use. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, as well as by understanding what’s unique for job seekers in the millennial generation, you can increase your chances of finding the right job for you.


The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a program many employers use to quickly identify and screen potential candidates and their resumes. For the most part, millennials have experience but haven’t reached senior-level positions. Because of this, they often have to get past the ATS filter before they ever get an interview.

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“The problem is that the competition for entry-level or mid-level jobs is getting tougher; it is not uncommon for employers to receive 100 to 200 applicants for these kinds of jobs,” said Nathan Brunner, CEO of Salarship. “To reduce the candidate pool, recruiters use an algorithmic filter that checks the candidate’s resume against the job description.” That is, the ATS.

It’s a good idea to optimize your resume for the ATS filter. This involves using keywords from the job description in your resume.

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“To get a fair chance at getting the job,” Brunner said, “I would strongly recommend millennials to customize their resume with relevant keywords mentioned in the job description.”

Rush also confirmed this by saying, “Targeting your resume and aligning your skills with the requirements of the job is imperative to increasing your probability of being asked to interview for the position.”

If your resume can’t get past the ATS filter, it may never be seen by human eyes.

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s the reduction of work-related stress. For others, it’s the balance between the time spent dedicated to work and the time spent leading a fulfilled life outside the office. Knowing what kind of work-life balance you need can go a long way to achieving job satisfaction.

Not all jobs offer good work-life balance. Some employers will have mandated overtime or expect employees to do extra work — sometimes without pay. But as millennials and Gen Z job seekers start replacing the older generations, it’s time for employers to make a change.

When asked about this, Dr. Danielle Kelvas, a medical writer at hospitalrecruiting.com, weighed in about changes to the medical industry.

“According to a survey released by the American Nurses Foundation and Joslin Insight, Generation Z and millennial nurses have specific desires when it comes to their workplace environment,” Kelvas said. “For example, they place a high value on work-life balance, flexible scheduling and opportunities for professional development. Healthcare employers looking to attract and retain millennial and Gen Z professionals may need to offer these types of benefits and amenities.”

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This is true even for those not pursuing a career in the medical profession. Younger job candidates tend to look for positions that reflect their interests and desires. So, sooner or later, companies looking to hire these job seekers are going to need to learn to adapt to their needs.

Hybrid Workplace

Working from home has gained a lot of traction in recent years. In fact, nearly 18% of people living in areas with a population of 65,000 or more worked from home in 2021. That was triple the number from just two years prior.

Now, many employers offer hybrid workplaces — i.e., the ability to work from home and in the office. For many, this offers more flexibility and a better work-life balance.

But the term “hybrid workplace” may not have the same meaning for all employers.

“More and more companies are adjusting to spending more time in an office, so if you’re applying for a hybrid job hoping to spend most of the time at home, you should be prepared in case that changes,” said Ryan Miller, director of client success at Employment BOOST.

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If you’re interested in hybrid work, it’s important to find out how each company defines that. It’s also a good idea to see whether the company plans to change its work model at any point.

“Businesses have no obligations to maintain their current office/virtual schedule,” Miller added.


Building a professional network can be vital to helping job-seeking millennials find work, especially in an increasingly digital world. In some cases, it might even be more important than having the perfect resume.

“We know a very small percentage of applicants who apply online are requested to interview,” Rush said. “Most of the job search time invested needs to be placed on networking. As the adage states, ‘Network or Not Work.'”

Many millennials shy away from networking, but learning how to do it effectively can go a long way toward building a lucrative career.

Rush said, “Social science research indicates that in-person human contact results in greater likelihood of callbacks and deeper connections than those more superficial interactions through email or text.”

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Job Hopping and Counteroffers

Job hopping, which is essentially going from one job to another, has become more prevalent in the modern era. This is because many job seekers are always on the lookout for improved pay and benefits. For some people, job hopping can even lead to better career prospects.

“If you do accept a new offer with a company, you should be wary of a counteroffer from your current employer,” Miller said. “Employers can promise you the world if you stay with your current company, but accepting them can put a target on your back for your current employer.”

Before accepting a counteroffer to stay, consider the benefits and drawbacks.

“Knowing that you’re not invested/interested in the company long term brings your loyalty to the company in question and can open you up to being reassigned or maybe even bring you in line for the next time a company has a potential layoff,” Miller said. “Additionally, counteroffers often will not address all of your issues/concerns with the company.”

If you do decide to leave your company, try to do so on a good note. This can help you keep some of those important professional connections and potentially get you a better opportunity in the future.

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Professional Associations and Affiliations

When looking for a job, see whether the company or employer you’re interested in is part of a professional association or affiliation. If so, this can boost your chances of getting an interview.

In the past, “a job applicant used to be able to apply in person and have the receptionist hand carry your resume over to the hiring manager,” Rush said. “Now for millennials — they must get creative. They need to use their affiliations, their alumni from where they went to school, or professional association and ask them to hand carry your resume over to the hiring manager.”

There are several ways to do this. For example, you can use LinkedIn to find connections from a school or company. Or you can do a quick internet search to find professional associations based on your major or area of interest.

“From that search list,” Rush said, “you can then find a local chapter in your area for job clubs and in person connection groups.”

Career Portfolio

In many ways, a portfolio is like a resume. It shows off your abilities, skills and experiences. Depending on your industry, it might be a good idea to have an online portfolio or website you can direct recruiters or employers to. This can give them a better idea of what you can do than a resume would.

Following Up

Once you have an interview, it’s important to follow up. Even if you don’t know the outcome yet, sending a polite thank-you could improve your chances of getting another interview, or even the job.

When you do follow up, keep it short and sweet. Try to send it the same day or the day after your interview. And it doesn’t hurt to remind the recipient of who you are and what you discussed.

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About the Author

Angela Mae is a personal finance writer specializing in consumer loans, debt management, investing, retirement planning, and financial literacy. She comes from a journalistic background and pulls from hands-on experience and deep-dive research to breathe life into her stories. Her goal is to help others achieve financial stability and independence. When not writing, she can be found traveling, honing her yoga skills, hiking, or exploring new means of healthy, sustainable living.
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