November 3, 2022

How Do Young Job Seekers Build Connections?

Many unemployed youth aren’t even sure how to start looking for a job.

When the MyStartr team asks young people about their employment goals, 40% tell us they don't know where to begin job hunting or how the hiring process even works. This can be hard to understand for people further along in their careers — but what may look like wheel-spinning or inertia often reflects a more fundamental gap in understanding. 

Many young people spend much of their lives on their phones and online. They seem to thrive in a totally connected world. But they lack the vital human connections that make all the difference in the quest for a good job. 

There’s no one in their circles who can advise on how to prep for an interview, or warn them about misleading job offers and other potential pitfalls. They haven’t grown up surrounded by mentors and role models. They don’t have strong connections — or even one person with more experience who can help point the way to a promising career.

24% of young people say they have no network of friends or family to provide advice and support. And even those who do have basic networks can still use some additional guidance or a personal introduction to get them in an employer’s door.

StatsCan reports that the use of networks to fill job vacancies has grown steadily, increasing from about 65% to 75% in just the past three years. In fact, leveraging social and professional networks is the second most effective route to landing a job — right after scouring employment websites. 

So how do we help young people build connections?

Employers who want to expand the youth talent pool — while keeping an eye out for prospective candidates — are bringing young people together outside the recruiting process to interact informally with hiring managers. And many organizations encourage their employees to take part in youth mentorship programs and networking events where they can share their perspectives on finding the path to a good job.

Making these connections is a big part of what MyStartr does.

We bring young people together with employers and mentors so they can hear firsthand what different organizations are looking for in new employees. And that same dialogue helps employers gain a deeper understanding of how young job seekers see the world. 

We also connect young people with their peers to compare notes and share jobhunting stories, good and bad. And through our MentorU MentorMe program, we create opportunities for early-career employees and senior leaders to have frank conversations in which they exchange viewpoints and learn from each other. 

At a time when networking has never been more crucial, we can all help young people see the value of getting better connected — and show them where to start.

You’ll find more on this and many other related topics in Erasing the Barriers: Youth Employment Insights Report 2022. As always, if you have ideas or insights of your own to share, please connect with us through our social media or get in touch directly via email.

Angela Simo Brown

Executive Director, MyStartr

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