Life Advice



Millennial Life: Missing Out With Old-School Tactics

Cassie McClure on

My office is right next to the entrance, with some seasoned and stalwart administrative assistants bearing the weight of navigating employees to their meetings, fending off lost students on campus, and enduring the dad jokes from the mail delivery drivers. Since I keep my door open, I heard the student come in to ask to speak to a hiring manager.

The admin asked if they had applied online, and the student said yes, but they'd still like to speak to the hiring manager. The admin pleasantly explained that we were all out of the office and took their name and number. Spoiler: I'm the hiring manager for that position.

The admin walked over to the other assistant to detail her amusement of the student, and I came out of my office to join them.

"You know what that was? That was a student who was told by some older person that they needed to shake the hand of the hiring manager to stand out," I said. "And it's likely well-meaning, but it won't work. It'll likely do the opposite."

When my mom later expressed a slight admiration for the student, I explained that, as an example, part of the hiring details more equity now. "If all those selected to be interviewed can make it in person, great; but if one cannot, then we interview them all on Zoom," I said.

Someone had given this teen -- who might be out on their own for the first time -- outdated advice. The older generation had probably coached them with well-worn messaging about how about it's who you know.


And that's not entirely wrong. Depending on the size of the town, the industry, or your family connections, that's all well and good. My first job, working for my high school, was absolutely about who I knew: my teacher, who knew I'd be OK with the tedium of working on computers at the school. I'm grateful because I got to build off that job when I went to college instead of bringing a barren wasteland of a resume into the world.

But compared to when I started in the working world -- oof, that's a quarter of a century ago -- I've changed how I write my resume. With the rise of applicant tracking systems and AI-driven recruitment tools, your resume needs to be strategically tailored and keyword optimized even to make it past the digital gatekeepers. It's like trying to sneak past a bouncer at a club -- if you're not on the list (of relevant keywords), you're not getting in.

In the not-so-distant past, landing a job often meant pounding the pavement with a stack of resumes in hand, charming your way through interviews, and hoping for the best. But let's face it -- those old-school tactics just don't cut it anymore in today's job market. The game has changed, and sticking to the old ways is a recipe for frustration and missed opportunities.


Cassie McClure is a writer, millennial, and unapologetic fan of the Oxford comma. She can be contacted at To find out more about Cassie McClure and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2024 Creators Syndicate Inc.




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