“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 | Mentoring | Employment |Professional development
By Waajida L. Small on February 22, 2017
Do more, achieve more, stay relevant
You’ve made it through the first 18 months of your social-impact job! Give yourself a pat on the back. I know it wasn’t easy but you didn’t break, and now you’ve made a name for yourself.
As I mentioned in part one of this series, You’ve Got the Job…What’s Next?, once you’ve been at your job for 12-18 months, you should be working toward “Superstar Status” by stepping outside of your role and establishing yourself as a leader. You’ll need to be more and do more in order to stay relevant.
Here’s how to stay relevant at the workplace by excelling at your work and stepping up for new challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities:
Be an advocate and an ambassador
Career advice | Coaching |Mentoring
February 27, 2017
Mentorship comes in many flavors. It doesn’t always work unless leaders bear in mind a few common principles.
Over the past three years, as part of my forthcoming book, I’ve been researching how leaders can better judge and develop their talent in light of a changing, more purpose-driven, more tech-enabled work environment. Having interviewed close to 100 of the most admired leaders across business, culture, arts, and government, one important characteristic stands out: They do everything they can to imprint their “goodness” onto others in ways that make others feel like fuller versions of themselves. Put another way, the best leaders practice a form of leadership that is less about creating followers and more about creating other leaders. How do they do that? I’ve noticed four things the best mentors do:
Put the relationship before the mentorship. All too often, mentorship can evolve into a “check the box” procedure instead of something authentic and relationship-based. For real mentorship to succeed, there needs to be a baseline chemistry between a mentor and a mentee. Studies show that even the best-designed mentoring programs are no substitute for a genuine, intercollegial relationship between mentor and mentee. One piece of research, conducted by Belle Rose Ragins, a mentoring expert and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, demonstrated that unless mentees have a basic relationship with their mentors, there is no discernable difference between mentees and those not mentored. All this is to say that mentoring requires rapport. At best, it propels people to break from their formal roles and titles (boss versus employee) and find common ground as people. Read more…
by J.T. O’Donnell
CREDIT: Getty Images
Several times a day, the phone rings at our company with people calling to discuss their career problems. We get ten times as many emails each day from people writing in about their career problems. By phone or by email, they always start with, “I need to explain my story, it’s pretty complex…” And yet, here’s what they have in common:
- All of them are experiencing a crisis of confidence.
- They’re all frustrated and unhappy.
- Each has a detailed account of what has led them to their current situation.
- AND, every single one is also making the same (false) assumption about their situation.
It’s Not Rocket Science, You Shouldn’t Treat It That Way
Over 15 years ago, I started studying and working with people who felt unsatisfied in their careers. I’m a logic girl. I like process. I went to school for engineering. I decided to set out to build a system for finding greater career satisfaction. To do that, I realized I needed to be able to diagnose each person’s situation so a plan could be put in place. To the untrained ear, it might sound like each person has a highly complex career problem on their hands. But, after listening to a large quantity of career stories, I noticed they all fell into four categories. No matter what the complexity of the circumstances surrounding their particular career problem, it still boiled down to one of these four major challenges. Read more…