“What are you planning to do when you graduate?”, is a question that I often ask undergraduate and graduate students. Responses are as wide ranging as the student population itself. There is the predictable “Good question”, the more resigned “I don’t know” and the more altruistic variants on “save the world — make a difference”. Most though have a common goal, either continue on in their academic pursuits or…..get a job. A recent article (published by BBC) on a study done at University of Westminster revealed many of the experiences I have had over the years are not unique, but rather data points in the much larger phenomenon of recent graduates not being able to find a job. (article here)
Before coming to Washington University in St. Louis almost ten years ago, I spent 17 years in the private sector, working as a project manager in the civil engineering\architecture business. Part of that time was as a self employed consultant, part working for a major engineering software provider, and part working directly for engineering companies. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the real-world project experiences that have shaped my professional career. All of these experiences had a common denominator. You must bring value to the job.
Sharing these experiences have led students and recent graduates to my door to ask for my help in finding gainful employment after graduation. They come with CV in hand and want to know what to change and how to modify content to get a job. They are crushed to discover that almost no one cares which lab they worked in during college, what their GPA was, or who they were a TA for (and how many times). They make the changes only to find that it’s still not enough to land their dream job….or any job. The disconnect between resume and interview is real. read more…
Career Advice | Life hack | Mentoring
June 1, 2018 | Leah Weiss
For us to make the greatest impact at our jobs — and also feel the greatest satisfaction — we need to tap into work’s deeper meaning, says Leah Weiss, a compassion expert and researcher.
For humans, purpose can be a matter of life and death. As Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote in Man’s Search for Meaning, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Purpose is something we do or something we create — not something we buy, inherit or achieve. Purpose could be any direction in which we’re heading with some degree of intention. It’s a far-reaching, steady goal, something personally meaningful and self-transcending that, ideally, shows up in our lives every day. Read more…
People who consider their work to be a calling tend to be more satisfied than those who think of their work as “just” a job.
Workplace | Career advice
Networking across your company, cultivating charisma and developing expertise in an emerging area are keys to success—and can be learned
By Sue Shellenbarger
March 6, 2018
Illustration: Robert Neubecker
Many young employees are frustrated when their first jobs land them in powerless positions at the bottom of the organization chart after years of leadership roles in school, leading some to jump ship far sooner than employers would like.
How do you gain power when you have none?
More employers are opening new paths to leadership by encouraging employees to develop spheres of influence that have nothing to do with the org chart.
Such informal power is increasingly important—and valued—in today’s flatter organizations, where more jobs confer responsibility for teammates’ performance without the authority to give orders or dish out rewards or punishment, says corporate trainer Dana Brownlee, of Atlanta. Read more…
Career advice | Professional Development | Mentoring
by Ellen Mehling | January 11, 2018
Q: When I attended library school a decade ago, it was with the intention of working in a public library, but I got drawn into corporate work as a metadata specialist. The work was interesting, the salary was good, and I had loans to pay off. Mission accomplished, I’d like to get back to my original intention. However, I’ve advanced far enough in my corporate career that I suspect my resume is a turn-off for most library hiring managers and have gained little traction in my applications. I’ve considered deeply the step back in pay and seniority I’d have to take, and I’m willing. What can I do to make myself a more attractive candidate?
A: I’d start by examining a large number of public library job postings that interest you, and compare your existing skills and experience to what employers are requesting. Consider which public library-related skills and experience are conveyed clearly by your resume, which ones will need some explanation from you, and which you don’t yet have.
For the ones that require explanation, remember that you are competing for jobs with others that clearly have the experience the employers want and you’ll have to convince the reader of your application documents to contact you for an interview – connect the dots for the hiring manager, make it very clear how your past experience and existing skills would translate or transfer to the new venue. Hiring managers may be skeptical about your suitability based on your past experience; you’ll have to overcome that and be very persuasive in your cover letter in order to get a chance to interview, and be able to explain clearly why you feel you’re a strong candidate in the interview. Read more…
Conferences | Networking | Professional Development
by Kyle Ewing | People Operations | October 1, 2017
It’s that time of year again! On October 4, more than 18,000 people will convene in Orlando for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. As the world’s largest gathering of women in tech, GHC can be an action-packed and incredibly rewarding experience. Over three days, there are hundreds of sessions, ranging from keynote addresses, to panels and presentations by industry leaders. Add in the largest career fair I’ve ever seen and conference-related social events, and it can be hard to know where to focus your time. But with the right approach, you can learn new skills, hear about trends in your field, and make lasting connections — both professionally and personally. Whether you’re a student off to your first big conference or a seasoned pro, here are some tips that fellow Googlers and I use to navigate events like GHC:
1. Make a plan.
Have a goal for what you would like to get out of the conference. Are you there to learn and gain knowledge? Want to make new networking connections? Is there a colleague or potential mentor who you want to support? Go through the agenda and devise a plan tailored to your goal. (Conference apps are great for this.) And have a backup plan in case that session you were dying to go to is jam-packed.
2. Divide and conquer.
If you’re attending with co-workers, try splitting up and then sharing notes. Regroup during meals or at the end of the day to share key learnings and takeaways. Read more…
Competencies | Career development | Library Skills
by Betha Gutsche and Brenda Hough, editors.
19 March 2015
Looking to take your career to the next level? The Competency Index can help! See how 21st century skills, accountability, and community engagement can make a difference in your work. #WebJunctionWednesday http://bddy.me/2xfzafR
Career advice | Resilience | Emotional Intelligence
by Dr. Marla Gottschalk January 24, 2017
I’ve often wondered why building resilience isn’t a key business imperative. My opinion is such, primarily because being human, is often at odds with work life. Work can routinely bring stress, negativity, setbacks and outright failures — and most of us are challenged to combat the effects.
We often frame conversations about resilience with stories of extreme hardship or extenuating circumstances. However, resilience could serve as an ever-present, daily mentor, helping us to rebound from the collected pressures of work life. Most of us forge on — taking little note of the increasing toll — and building resilience isn’t considered.
This can be a serious mistake.
Through all of the trials and tribulation, we rarely notice that our psychological resources are waning.We muddle on. We develop idiosyncratic mechanisms to bolster our mood and maintain motivation. However, the damage accumulates. We become less able to bounce back. Months later, we may realize that we still lament the project that has been cut, laid off co-workers or failing to land an important client. Read more…