What are Xennials like at work? A guide to getting hired

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Xennials can be strong employees because they connect multiple age groups at work. As a Xennial, you likely have a lot of strong traits that can help you excel in your career. If you're currently job searching, it's helpful to learn how to communicate these skills effectively to a prospective employer. In this article, we explain who they are, how they fit into the generations before and after them, what their common professional skills are and how to highlight them in a cover letter, CV or job interview.

What are Xennials?

Xennials are people who were born between the 1970s and the 1980s. They're the generation sandwiched between Generation X before them and the Millennials after them:

  • Generation X, or Post-Baby Boomers: 1965-1976

  • Xennials: 1977-1985

  • Millennials or Generation Y: 1986-1996

  • Generation Z: 1997-present

One of the key differences between this generation and others is that they were the first to grow up with a computer at home, making them very computer savvy. They grew up with analogue technology such as record players and rotary phones and were the last to experience adolescence without social media or mobile phones. In the years that have passed, they have adapted to using new technology in their careers.

This generation has been working for over two decades and has withstood a lot of professional change. Their key skills lie in their versatility, people and communication skills, technical skills and practical experience gained throughout their careers.

Related: A complete guide to the 9 key skills to include in your CV

Common skills in the workplace

People born between 1977-1985 have a lot of transferable skills that can help them in all aspects of their lives. Here are some of their most common skills and traits in the workplace:

Being agile and adaptive

This cohort of people is familiar with change because they grew up during a time when technology was fast advancing. They're used to adapting to suit the surrounding environment, making them outstanding employees because they can adapt and accept new ways of thinking. Not as rigid or structured in their ways as Generation X before them, they're eager to take in new information. They're also very strong problem solvers and offer a positive attitude and a willingness to learn.

Related: Cognitive skills: what are they and how can you improve them?

Being inclusive and a team player

They bring a positive force to a team because they're incredibly strong team players. They can interact with colleagues who are older or younger than them. Having grown up during a period of transition they shared with both generations above and below them, they can work well and empathise with both generations. They also bring maturity to the team, which can make them strong leaders.

Related: 18 people skills that can help you succeed in the workplace

Being responsible and reliable

One of the greatest strengths of employees born between Gen X and Gen Y is their reliability and steadfastness. They're usually very responsible and hold themselves accountable in the workplace. As they grew up before social media was a concept, they have a longer attention span than millennials, yet understand more about modern technology than their older colleagues do. Their strong work ethic makes them a great candidate for any team.

Related: 11 top job skills: transferable skills for any industry

Being able to maintain a healthy work-life balance

Unlike the millennials born after them, these individuals aren't as reliant on their mobile phones or the Internet. They can switch off and make time for what's important to them. Contrary to popular belief, having a good work-life balance is a positive trait they can bring to their career. Being able to switch off from work and reset means they can come to work the next day feeling more refreshed, which can make them more productive.

Related: 6 examples of soft skills interview questions and answers

Being creative

These people are creative employees as they have grown up during a time without virtual stimulation from social media or smartphones. They filled their childhood with games where they had to use their imagination. This has encouraged more creativity in their personal lives, which can transition into their professional lives too.

Related: Best practices to boost your creative thinking skills

Having technical savvy

Those people born right before millennials have grown up without mobile phones and social media as millennials did, but they're just as savvy with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This is because they were still one of the first generations to grow up with the Internet available at home, so they're excellent at using the web. They're also experts at adapting and learning new technology and have a wealth of experience to draw from their two decades in the workforce.

Related: Functional skills: definition, importance and examples

Typical careers

Here are some of the career options that are a good fit for xennial skills:

1. Communications officer

National average salary: £27,858 per year

Primary duties: A communications officer manages the communication for a company or organisation. They create engaging content in a variety of formats, such as for the website, publications, briefings, press releases and digital channels. Communications officers have exceptional communication skills and can understand technical information and communicate this effectively.

2. Advertising manager

National average salary: £34,954 per year

Primary duties: An advertising manager develops, delivers and monitors advertising campaigns. This can include a variety of paid media touchpoints, such as briefing agencies, managing budgets, developing and planning campaigns, implementing strategies and analysing campaigns post-performance. Advertising managers have strong communication, data skills and technical expertise.

3. Marketing manager

National average salary: £38,800 per year

Primary duties: A marketing manager develops marketing campaigns and activities to raise brand awareness and generate revenue and traffic for a business. This can include a variety of marketing media, such as offline media that includes newspapers, underground advertising or magazine adverts. It can also include an array of digital media, such as targeted advertising and social media.

Related: 10 best skills to include on a CV

How to highlight your skills in a job search

If you're a Xennial looking for a job and want to prove your value to a company or for a new position you're applying for, here are some ways you can highlight your skills:

1. In your cover letter

A cover letter is your first opportunity to impress a hiring manager before they even look at your CV. A well-written cover letter is a great opportunity for you to discuss who you are, what your goals are and how you can add value to the role you're applying for. Hiring managers may look for someone who can be innovative while keeping the company's values in mind.

Discussing your values, goals and mission statement adds an extra element and more personality to your application, which can help when a hiring manager is narrowing down the options for an interview. Try to keep your cover letter short and still filled with enough concise information for a hiring manager to want to interview you.

Related: 10 communication skills to add to your CV (with definitions)

2. In your CV

After reading a strong cover letter, a hiring manager may open your CV and read through your skills and abilities to determine whether you're the right fit for the role. When you're listing your skills on your CV, include any relevant or technical experience you've got while working or in your personal life. Make sure that any skills you list in your CV apply directly to the position you're applying for. Update your CV every time you apply for a new position to keep it personalised and relevant.

It's helpful to discuss your abilities with computer programs or software used in the workplace, how much experience you have with social media and include a summary of your work history. People from this generation can be strong candidates for hiring managers looking to fill a leadership role because of their people skills and ability to work well within a team. For this reason, be sure to mention any leadership traits you have or any experience you have with managing a team.

Related 12 top jobs on social media and their duties and skills

3. In an interview

An interview is the key opportunity for you to highlight the key skills you have gained throughout your career that apply to the job you're interviewing for. It's an opportunity for you to showcase your people skills and ability to interact well with people of all ages, experiences and professional or personal backgrounds. One of your strong traits is your ability to find similar interests and establish common ground with people who are both older or younger than you.

Talking to a hiring manager face to face is a chance to show off your personality and interpersonal skills, highlighting how what you have gained throughout your career can add value to the position. Showcase that you're hard-working, agile and a strong team player.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌‌ experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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