Does the Way You Job Hunt Show Your Age?

Here's another interesting post from our friends at The Fiscal Times. Check it out: 

How you search for a job depends a lot on your age. A new study out today, The Multi-Generational Job Search by Millennial Branding, a research and consulting firm, and, a career network, highlights job search commonalities and differences among Gen Y, Gen X and baby boomers.

RELATED: Gen Y vs. Boomers: Workplace Conflict Heats Up

Over 5,000 job seekers in total were surveyed, including 742 18-29 year olds (Gen Y), 1,676 30-47 year olds (Gen X), and 2,850 48-67 year olds (baby boomers). The study found a number of similarities in how the three generations approach searching for work: All spend the majority of their time looking online, most favor online job boards, and on average, all three groups spend between 5-20 hours a week looking. More than a third manage their online work histories, fewer than 15% have their own professional websites, and all generations use social media in some form–but Twitter is the least popular job search tool for everyone.

The similarities stop there. Here's a look at how the three groups differ:


Gen Y, also known as millennials, is more optimistic about finding a job, values workplace flexibility, and is more likely to plan to go back to school instead of continuing their search. They're also seeing more results: 33% of millennials said they were able to find employment in less than one month, compared to 29% of Gen X and 24% of boomers. Aside from requiring lower salaries, they may be bagging jobs because they’re prepping more – 68% said they practice interview questions before an interview, whereas only 60% of Gen X and just 52% of boomers said the same.

RELATED: The 10 Highest-Paying Companies for Millennials

When it comes to social media, not surprisingly more Gen Y’s (21%) choose Facebook as their first choice when job searching than Gen X (15%) or boomers (10%), and they are also more aware of their online reputations: 47% of Gen Y's search to find out what's being said about them, compared to 38.8% of Gen X and 35% of boomers. Gen Y is also the most likely to follow and interact with the company's social media profiles.

As for what they are looking for in a potential employer, millennials have high expectations. Location is the most important factor to them (59% said so), closely followed by meaningful work and job security (57%). A higher salary is also a bigger priority for Gen Y (41%) than Gen X (37%) or boomers (27%).


Gen X has the most angst about looking for work. Seventy-two percent of this group are stressed and frustrated, more so than boomers (69%) and Gen Y (61%). What's on Gen X's wish list for that ideal job? Sixty five% said job security, while 62% said employee benefits like health care and 55% said location.

RELATED: Gen X Disproportionally Affected by the Recession

Gen X isn't content to wait for an employer forever. Thirty-six percent said they have considered starting their own business instead of continuing their job search, compared to 35% of boomers and 31% of Gen Y.


Surprisingly, boomers spent the most time on social networks of all three generations. “Baby boomers job search online the most and use social networks, especially LinkedIn when conducting a search,” says Dan Schwabel, founder of Millennial Branding.

Ninety-six percent of boomers are conducting a job search online, compared to 95% of Gen X and 92% of Gen Y. More boomers choose job boards as their primary resource in the job hunt (87%), compared to 82% of Gen X and 77% of Gen Y.

RELATED: The 50-Year-Old Intern: Boomers Go Back to the Bottom

Boomers, though, are having the toughest time getting a job. Twenty-five percent have been job searching for over a year (compared to 17% of Gen X and 10% of Gen Y). Boomers feel like they're being singled out because of their age – 65% said they suffer from age discrimination, compared to only 22% of Gen X and 21% of Gen Y.

It's not as if boomers aren't giving it their all. They were most likely to prepare for interviews by reviewing the company's website (85%), and more likely to search for news related to the company they are interviewing with (64%), followed by Gen X (58%) and Gen Y (53%). Boomers, however, were least likely to say they would consider going back to school than continuing their job search (23%), compared to 35% of Gen X and 48% of Gen Y.

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