Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Career > Work

The “Ins & Outs” Of The Gen Z Job Search, According To A LinkedIn Expert

With a new year comes new goals, habits, and — a new addition on TikTok this year — what have been coined the “ins and outs” of the year. If you spent time scrolling on TikTok, you probably saw creators share their 2024 “ins and outs.” The trend takes a twist on a New Year’s resolutions list, with many falling into the lifestyle or personal wellness categories. But a different version of the trend has found its way to LinkedIn. Gen Zers have taken to the platform to share their career “ins and outs,” and as a Gen Z’er myself who is currently tackling the internship and job hunt journey, I am here for it. 

If you’ve spent any time looking for a job, you probably know how frustrating the process can be. Not only are there so many opportunities to filter through, but if you’re trying to find the right job and the right company that aligns with your values, the process becomes immensely stressful. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In a recent LinkedIn survey, 53% of Gen Zers who are looking for jobs have reported feeling stressed. 

We’re all in this together, besties. And to help, Her Campus sat down with a LinkedIn career expert and two Gen Zers beginning their professional careers to get their advice on the “ins and outs” of the 2024 job search. 

In: Establishing your own career “Ins and Outs.”

After going through so much in the last few years, from COVID-19 to graduating college and straight-up navigating adulthood in this day and age, Gen Zers have been through it. So, it’s no surprise that this generation is putting their foot down about finding the right job opportunities. Gen Zers want jobs that not only meet their professional goals, but jobs that will also speak to their personal goals. This is where your career “ins and outs” comes into play. 

As LinkedIn Career Expert, Catherine Fisher tells Her Campus, “Focusing on your career is in for 2024, and for college students, this includes anything.” Making new connections, researching the field you want to work in, and widening your skillset all count. “While networking is a priority ‘in’ for your list, it’s also a great way to learn more about the industry you want to enter,” says Fisher. “You can see what people in your desired field talk and care about by following expert voices on LinkedIn or by attending relevant career fairs on campus.”

You wouldn’t want to end up working a job or in an industry that won’t serve you in the long run, or have you feeling limited. For example, if you’re an English major, there are so many other fields you can go into that aren’t teaching or being an author, but navigating that search can be confusing. LinkedIn’s Job Collections and Preference feature can help. The feature allows you to cast an even wider net while searching for relevant jobs on the platform and helps you explore opportunities across a variety of industries. 

If you want to know what to include on your job “ins and outs” list, Gen Zer Caitlyn Guntle, senior at the University of California, Berkeley, has one major “out” you can consider. “This may be controversial, but fully remote jobs were a hard no for me,” she says. “As a new grad, I really want to establish great connections and meet new people as much as possible.” 

On the flip side, a major “in” you should consider is to stand out. “Make sure your LinkedIn profile contains all the necessary information to tell your story. Your profile is your virtual handshake. Show off. Tell your professional story,” says Fisher. 

In: Taking advantage of mentorship and leadership development opportunities. 

The good thing about still being in college is that you have time. Not that preparing for your career should be put off until graduation, but you do have time to continue developing your skills. Whether that’s through using campus career resources or taking advantage of resources like LinkedIn Learning courses to bridge any skill gaps, Fisher recommends that college students use this time wisely. “Talk to your on-campus career experts about the industries and companies that interest you,” she says. “Get their support in connecting you with alums who are currently working in your fields of interest.” 

Morgan Young, a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno, also shares a list of mentorship and leadership development opportunities for college students that you can use: 

In: Advocating for yourself during the job hunt. 

Doing the research into your field and networking are only half the battle of finding a job. The journey continues while applying and interviewing — two of probably the most nerve-wracking steps. I’d like to say that “ghosting” only applies to dating, but it is a very real and unfortunate part of the job hunt process. “Being ghosted by a hiring manager is never fun,” says Fisher. “If you find yourself being ghosted in the job hunt process, the best way to handle it is to take a break and come back with a fresh approach.”

For instance, if you’ve been blind applying, you may want to create a specific list of companies and roles to apply for. Sometimes, all it takes is becoming more personal with the approach, crafting a strong cover letter and following up with recruiters. “You’re gonna have to throw your resume out a lot, but you should also be creative and strategic,” says Young. Young’s strategy of sending out cover letters and “niching down” with applications led her to her most recent job as a Venture Capital Fellow at a Silicon Valley-based firm. 

Once at the interview stage, use your “ins and outs” list to your advantage. This can help you narrow down what’s important to you and how to evaluate your non-negotiables. For example, if work-life balance is important to you, you want to prepare questions for the interviewer to determine that the company supports and values that. 

At the end of the day, your career “ins and outs” are personal to you and your journey. You’re in the driver’s seat and the only one who can determine what your “ins and outs” should be, but that process shouldn’t be stressful. Give yourself time to begin the process, and embrace the journey in confidence! “It’s important to believe in yourself,” says Guntle. “I found myself repeating some mantras to keep my hopes high, and often tried to think as if I was the perfect fit for the job. Channeling that energy into my job search helped big time.” 

Kaitlynne Rainne is a HER Campus National Writer on the Life and Career team and she writes about advice, life experiences and profiles. Born and raised in Belize, Kaitlynne grew up surrounded by culture and stories. They fueled a creative passion for storytelling that led her to Savannah, Georgia, where she completed her BFA in Fashion Design at SCAD. She is currently completing her MFA in Writing at SCAD with a focus on creative nonfiction, freelance writing and fiction. Outside of HER Campus, Kaitlynne also works as Editor-in-Chief at her school’s college newspaper, District. Her work has also been published in Port City Review and Square 95. In her free time, you can find Kaitlynne taking walks throughout Savannah, making oddly specific playlists on Spotify, sipping a vanilla chai, writing her novel, or spending time with her friends.