Xennials: What To Know About This Microgeneration
Updated March 17, 2023
Members of the xennial generation form an important part of today's workforce. Along with the generation's skills and attributes, they have a unique perspective on the impact of technology on jobs and operations, which can be an asset in a variety of industries. Understanding what this generation is and how they differ from other groups can help you review the unique value and expertise they can bring to a role.
In this article, we define what the xennial generation is, describe the value they bring to the workforce, outline common characteristics they possess, list jobs they may pursue and discuss how to highlight their skills throughout the application process.
What is the xennial generation?
Though not yet an official term, the “xennial generation” refers to the group of people born between Generation X and the millennial generation. People typically consider the Xennial generation to include individuals who were born between 1977 and 1983, while some argue the generation extends to 1985.
Individuals in this generation experienced the U.S. economic recession, but most were too young at the time to own their own homes. However, economic changes impacted xennials, and some may have found it challenging to pay their student loans or find jobs in their desired fields. As the xennial generation has aged, the technological and economic changes that occurred throughout their childhoods and early professional lives may have affected how they function and interact in the workplace.
Xennials and technology
Xennials are members of a unique generation who witness technological advances and the development of various tools and programs that companies now use in the workplace. Many from this age group grew up without computers or mobile technology in their homes, a fact that immediately sets them apart from millennials. Most xennials encountered personal computers and cell phones for the first time when they were in their mid-twenties. They spent their childhoods using analog technology like rotary phones, record players and cassette tapes. Xennials were also the last generation to live through their teenage years without social media.
Xennials and the workforce
Since they span two major generations, including Generation X and millennials, xennials offer unique value to their professional environments. Xennials were graduating from college and entering the workforce as early as 1995. While the millennials were still in elementary school, xennials may have been finishing high school and moving away from home.
Xennials have been a part of the world's workforce for the past 20 years. In that time, some have transitioned from being the youngest employees in a company to earning and filling leadership roles. Individuals in this generation may use their technical expertise, practical experience and communication skills to excel in their workplace. Xennials can use the versatility of their background to communicate effectively with both the older and younger generations.
Common characteristics of xennials
While attributes may vary by the individual, there may be some characteristics members of the xennial generation share, including:
In their youth, the xennial generation witnessed an unprecedented shift in society because of the rapid development of technology. This shift required xennials to adapt to the changing environment quickly. Xennials experienced the extreme switch from using rotary phones to cellular phones, which mobilized personal and professional communication. They learned to use personal computers, which were introduced in their homes and their workplaces.
Rather than viewing change as a challenge, xennials are typically eager to accept new situations and to implement new methods. Due to their versatile backgrounds and exposure to new ideas and technologies, xennials may be able to understand information quickly and use it to solve problems in the workplace.
Xennials can act as a bridge between the two generations they were born between. Xennials understand Generation X because they most likely grew up learning from them and interacting with them during their childhoods. Like Generation X, they didn't grow up with the internet or smartphones. Xennials can also communicate and empathize with millennials, who experienced young adulthood relatively similarly as they did, surrounded by the development of new technologies and information. This ability to connect across generations allows them to understand multiple perspectives and helps support positive, open communication in the workplace.
3. Eager to learn
Since they're familiar with experiencing change in both their personal and professional lives, xennials are typically eager to learn, and excited to discover new tools and techniques for completing their job duties. This can make them valuable assets to employers and positive members of their professional teams. This characteristic allows them to remain teachable, even as they develop and advance through their careers.
Common xennial jobs
Due in part to their versatile nature and their tendency to be technologically savvy, those from the xennial generation can pursue careers in a variety of industries. Each generation differs in its preference for certain job titles or workplaces, but xennials might pursue jobs in:
How to highlight xennial skills
It's a good idea for job-searching xennials to learn how to communicate and highlight their characteristics efficiently and positively to potential employers. This includes referencing these generational attributes and traits in resumes, cover letters and job interviews. Here are some tips on how to highlight the benefits of being a xennial throughout the application process:
Xennial skills in a resume
When listing skills on a resume, xennials can include any technical expertise they may have gained throughout their career. Practical experience with computer applications, systems and programming can set the xennial apart. Candidates may include a description of their proficiency with computer programs commonly used in the workplace and any experience they have with social media platforms.
Xennials may also include a detailed summary of the job duties and tasks they've handled in previous roles. For example, outlining their experience with workplace communication, practical problem-solving or training coworkers may help them show they're qualified for their prospective position.
Xennial skills in a cover letter
In cover letters, xennials might want to explain the unique value they can bring to an organization or company. For example, they may describe their strengths when encountering change and highlight their adaptability. Employers may be interested in hiring xennial employees who can introduce innovative methods without sacrificing the company's original values.
This means it may be important to describe their ability to handle change while maintaining the organization's foundational goals and objectives. Depending on their role, xennials may also describe themselves as tech-savvy, and list their experience creating social media posts, online content, or software programs, to highlight their technology skills.
Related: 10 Skills for Cover Letters
Xennial skills in an interview
When meeting with a hiring manager, xennials can show their ability to interact quickly and comfortably with others. Demonstrating their ability to communicate with a variety of audiences confidently can benefit a xennial who hopes to convey their generation's ability to value inclusivity and consider a range of perspectives. Many of a xennial's specific skills and strengths might be interpersonal. This means meeting face-to-face can be a great opportunity to convey their value as an employee
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