The worst stereotypes about millennials and how we can overcome them

(PS: This article was published in the September 2016 Issue of Badassery Magazine, so that’s pretty neat.)

If I hear another person tell me how lazy and entitled my generation is, I might lose it. You know what I’m talking about, right? If you’re somewhere between your early 20s and early 30s, and you’ve had a conversation with literally any person who’s even slightly older than you, there’s a pretty solid chance you’ve endured an anti-millennial rant. As far as I can tell, that rhetoric isn’t leaving anytime soon and there’s probably not much we can do about it. What we can do, though, is be the exception to what our older friends (or foes) consider the rule.

Here are some of my favorite (insert sarcastic tone here) criticisms targeting millennials, plus ways you can shut them down, or at least prove them wrong.

millenials

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Want to get started on LinkedIn, but not quite sure where to start? These four tips might help.

LinkedIn basic questions + answers

You are a budding, magnificent professional who has excellent experience, which totally qualifies you for that position you’re just about ready to apply for. There’s no way the recruiter for that position isn’t going to at least call you for a phone interview…right? Ha. If only.

According to Forbes, the average number of applicants for any given job is 118. (Ok, I realize that’s a stupid statistic, and if you share my loathing of stupid statistics, you want to stop reading this right now. Don’t. The point is, there’s a lot of freakin’ competition out there for that job you’re super-qualified for.) Assuming that statistic isn’t garbage, that’s 117 applications that yours needs to be better than. No pressure.

Fortunately, computers. We have a ton of tools at our disposal that can help elevate our job applications. One of the simplest and most effective of those tools is LinkedIn. In my ever-so-humble opinion, if you’re applying for jobs and don’t have a solid LinkedIn presence, you’re dead to hiring teams. That holds particularly true if you’re in the marketing or communications fields, which happen to hold special places in my heart.

LinkedIn is a pretty intuitive tool, but it can be a little overwhelming when you’re just getting started. I have faith in you. Here’s a list of questions I’ve heard often from LinkedIn newbs, plus my opinion on each.

First-person or third-person point-of-view?

I’m not exactly sure what it is that fuels my fury about this one, but I think there’s a special place for people who use third-person POV in their LinkedIn profiles. And it’s a fiery place. Yes, LinkedIn is a professional network, but it’s still a social network. People who look you up on LinkedIn know you’re the author. You’re not fooling anyone or making yourself sound any more important by playing your own commentator. For the love of god, describe your accomplishments using “I” and “Me”.

What photo should I use?

For the love of all the deities, don’t you dare use a selfie. And also don’t use photos that include alcohol (unless you’re an aspiring mixologist), animals (unless you’re on your way to becoming a vet or zoologist), or skanky clothing (unless you’re an aspiring, well, I’ll let you fill in the blank here).

If your LinkedIn profile picture includes any of these things and they don’t have anything to do with your current profession or intended career path, I’m judging you. Hard. And so is every other person who sees your profile.

Who should I connect with?

There are a couple different schools of thought out there on this one. Some go the more-the-merrier route, others are more selective on which connect requests they’ll actually accept on LinkedIn.

More often than not, those who subscribe to the latter opinion tend to be higher-ups with access to high-value contacts. That’s because it’s not uncommon for trolls/sleezy salespeople to try to connect with CEOs, SVPs, etc. simply to gain access to their networks, which tends to consist of other CEOs, SVPs, etc. with a lot of decision-making power.

My approach to LinkedIn connections falls somewhere in the middle. I try to only accept requests from people who I actually know, and that I can picture myself comfortably reaching out to to ask a favor from. Granted, I don’t follow this policy religiously — there are plenty of people I’m connected with on LinkedIn who don’t fit that criterion. Most of those people, though, either work at organizations I once upon a time thought I wanted to work for, or seem like relatively influential contacts who probably had some good insight to share, based on the articles and other resources I’ve seen them share.

If I only have 10 minutes to spend, what should I focus on?

If you’re strapped for time, I suggest you focus 10 minutes on these four LinkedIn elements:

  • Pick a solid picture to use for your profile
  • Write a damn good headline that sums up your areas of expertise
  • Add a brief description of your most recent/relevant position
  • Connect with 20 of your professional contacts

There you have it, kids. Answers to all your basic/burning LinkedIn questions. Now go forth! Build profile + connect + get one step closer to impressing that recruiter + land that dream job.

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Changing Perspectives :: Redefining my personal brand

kayla leverton :: changing personal brand online

Alright, I’ve gotta be honest. I’ve struggled a little bit with my sense of purpose/self since diving into this photography “thing”. I thought it’d be easy. I’m a social media fiend. I’ve got some pretty sound skills in marketing + communication. I love working with people. Building + promoting a photography business from the ground-up should be a piece of cake, right? Meh, not quite.

What I’ve realized is that, as a photographer, I don’t really have much to say. I’ve got a handful of sessions under my belt, and I feel good about what I’ve learned and the progress I’ve made. But I am by no means the best. And I felt weird promoting myself as if I were. That’s been tough for me to wrap my head around, because if I wasn’t going to promote myself through content that demonstrated my knowledge as an uber-talented photographer, how in the world was I going to promote myself and get this thing off the ground?

Photography is just one piece of my personal brand. I’m not giving it up – I’m still going to side-hustle the hell out of photography – but it’s not the whole story for me.

So I’ve been focused on answering this question: What else could I possibly have to say, what perspectives could I share, that people might, maybe, sort of be interested in reading? Maybe that should be the focus of this corner of the interwebs I’ve claimed as my own. Here’s what I came up with:

I am a passion-pursuer

I am an eternal hobby hunter. I love the thrill of learning new things and throwing myself at them until I’m at least halfway-decent at them. Right now, those passions are photography + blogging. For at least the time being, you can expect the majority of my “Passion Projects” posts to be related to those two things.

This designation feels more honest to me. I don’t want to claim to be something I’m not, and classifying photography as a “passion” rather than a “profession” feels more authentic. I’m all about more authentic.

I am a professional.

When I’m not doing this, I’m leading the marketing and communications squad for a regional engineering firm. In my position, I lead the completion of proposals, business development planning, social media and content strategy, public relations, and tradeshow planning. I focus a lot of my time on refining the processes we use as a firm to win work and influence clients.

In years, I’m a career newb. But in my brief beyond-college years, I’ve been exposed to more experiences than most professionals my age. I am the youngest member of our firm’s leadership team, and I’m the only female in that cohort too. That puts me in a unique situation – ok, let’s be real: it is constantly putting me into unique situations erry damn day. I’ve picked up some really relevant and impactful insight from my experiences so far. There are so many “I wish I would have knowns” that I’m anxious to share with anyone who will listen.

I am a person.

Hopefully this doesn’t come as a huge shock, but I actually do have a life away from this + my 9-5.

What else am I all about, you ask? Fiancé and I are all about family – I’m sure you’ll be introduced to the characters of that cast soon enough. He and I spend a hefty amount of time Netflix-bingeing, but we also do our fair share of active, outdoorsy things. We spoil our two-year-old golden retriever rotten. We take on a house project here and there. And we gameplan for the future. Ok, that’s mostly the fiancé. He is a planner, through and through…and through. God love him, though. Without his fanatical organizational skills, I’d be on another planet. Stay tuned – if he gives me the green light, maybe I’ll share some of his deepest and darkest financial planning how-tos. He’s a wizard!

There ya have it, folks. If reading this synopsis makes you feel like you’ve finally found an online content-dumping ground you can relate to, WOOHOO! I’d be honored if you’d tune in every now and then to pick up what I’m throwin’ down. If reading this mostly just makes you feel annoyed, then I’m sorry – this probably isn’t the place for you. Or, who knows, maybe I’ll get annoyed in a few months too and completely change my mind about this whole thing and scrap it all.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see 🙂

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