Fortune has a great article "Humans are Underrated" and it has so much information in it. It is adapted from an upcoming book called Humans Are Underrated What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will by Geoff Colvin. This is the kind of article I would spend at least two classes going over as a Prof but it is summer and I am off, so I get to ramble about it here (lucky you).
The article talks about technology and the analogy is that jet planes sped up travel by a factor of 100 (compared to walking) while now, every two years, computer processing power doubles which is an "increase in computer power of a million every 40 years". I am (almost) 40 years old and I have seen how technology has absolutely changed by what feels like about a million in the years since I was a kid and all we had was DOS programming and a modem that squeaked to show it was online - not to mention landline phones and cell phones that looked (and felt) like bricks. Now we have the equivalent of the computer processing that sent rockets to the moon in our pockets (or pocketbooks) and can stream any show we want at any time and so much more...
Ok, so the article talks in detail about technology and the impact on employment. There is a potential for trucks to be driven by computers, which would impact about 2million jobs held by, you know, actual truck drivers. (I digress, but would the show Ice Road Truckers be as popular with computers driving the rigs instead of people?) When I teach, I often discuss "The World is Flat" the article by Thomas Friedman and how the outsourcing and offshoring of jobs (caused by technology leveling the playing field) has impacted the economy and jobs available to recent college grads. We usually talk about how blue-collar jobs are least likely to be decimated because, like, who would pick up the garbage - a worker in India or China cannot do that -- but by reading this article, there is a very real fallacy to my logic because things that were considered "un-programmable" are more and more becoming programmable - such as truck driving. In 2004, there was belief that driving was intrinsically human and could never be done by computer and then several years later, Google had a self driving car. So what we think cannot be done by computer and technology is actually consistently proved wrong because of the absolute staggering increase in computer processing and abilities.
So the crux of the article (and subsequent book, which is about to be pre-ordered by me) is to highlight how "humans add value"? Empathy is highlighted as being something that is very necessary to hiring managers - but, ironically, empathy is on the decline in most people (maybe because we are always looking at our smartphones or something). Also needed for employees is "relationship building, teaming, co-creativity, brainstorming, cultural sensitivity, and ability to manage diverse employees". There is even a vignette about a new Technology Director who was hired and then quickly fired by Southwest because he just could not handle the culture of friendliness and openness - it was not based on his ability to do the job but because he did not have the people friendly skills necessary for the culture he was in. The article discusses this as being the focus of the future and that even one employee who is disengaged and not meeting the people skills necessary for this new world is one too many.
This article is so intense and has so much interesting information in it, you really have to read the whole thing. It makes for good interview small chat - adding in how your people skills are so important to the future of the company you want to work for and why - it is the wave of the future.
Check out the book below; also the link to the Fortune article is below, too.
You need a great resume and cover letter to score the interview. You need to be as great as possible during the interview. And then, after the interview, you must send a thank you note.
Yes, still. And no, not by snail mail but by email.
I am going to put on my professor hat now, so please skip this if you already know it -- but please keep your email address professional. I cannot tell you how many resumes I have edited where the email address was "Hotgirl123@xyz.com" or "firstname.lastname@example.org" (all email handles are pseudonyms for real stupid email addresses for which I have had to correct/suggest new ones). Your email should be a personal one, not your current job's email (unless you are interviewing internally with your company) and you should have it contain your name and if your name is common some string of number or middle name combination so you can appear professional and put together. For most people reading this blog, this is a no brainer but it does not hurt to go over the basics, just in case.
Ok, professor hat is off now. The thank you email should be a combination of gratitude with specific references to some key points you and the interviewer discussed about the job or about your commonality or something - so to say "It was awesome meeting a fellow XYZ University alum" is a good way to stand out but also include "we discussed how the position needs a person with HTML coding ability, please check out this example of my coding I mentioned during the interview" is a great tie in to represent your ability and to tie back to the meeting discussion. I am just pulling these off the top of my head but each interview is different and each thank you note should be different, too.
With sending the note, I always email it and mention in the email that a hard copy was sent via mail, as well. It does not hurt to send it both ways as some interviewers might appreciate also receiving it via hard copy and if nothing else, it is another reminder to the interviewer that you exist and might be the best fit for the job.
Tell me in the comments you tips and tricks for the thank you note or what you think about mine. Happy Hunting.
Career Builder Article Crafting a Flawless Thank You
Whenever I teach a class, I try to bring in pieces of real world advice and experience to the students. I have often succeeded in this and I think it is why I have such great experiences as a Professor. I can relate to the students information from the text books (whether it be Marketing or Economics) and also on what might happen when they graduate and start their careers. One important piece I have tried to weave in to certain classes, where appropriate, is the mock interview. It is amazing to me that we expect students to know how to behave on an interview and especially now with our focus on smartphones and gadgets, to find a socially at ease person is hard - most of us are so used to hiding behind technology that being in an interview environment where you have to focus on the interviewer can be a challenge.
This article highlights the type of interviews you can find yourself in with some tips on how to handle it. There are other aspects to interviews like when an interviewer is rude just to see how you respond or the lunch interview where you have to balance how to eat and how to speak in a high pressure setting but those are not mentioned here - this is just the logistical overview of how many interviewees there are present (group interview with a few job candidates) or how many interviewers (you are facing a panel of interviewers) with tips on how to handle each situation. Overall, you have to be confident and able to speak to your strengths but ultimately, it is about fit -- can the people speaking to you picture you at a desk in their offices?
The most important thing you can do is continually work on your speaking skills and your ability to focus on the interview and be positive. The right opportunity will be the right fit of culture, opportunity and people. Try to enjoy the ride. Happy hunting.
Career Builder Article
One of my recent clients had an amazing educational background and some solid work experience. Unfortunately, the resume did not highlight the strengths and amazing achievements of this individual.
I am including pics of the before and after resume below, but without any identifying information.
This is the type of work I live for - taking a document that is limping along and not able to speak for you and turning it into something that makes the hiring manager or college step up and say "Wow, this person should be brought in to meet with us!"
I can probably find ten or more articles about this written by a hiring manager - your resume must be honest, of course - it must show your strengths and accomplishments while sticking to the truth. That big project you worked on, do not say you ran it unless you did run it!
But included in this write up is the piece of information crucial to all job seekers - shown below - the spelling and grammatical errors stand out like a sore thumb and will cause your resume to be ignored. Please make sure your resume is edited and reviewed before you submit it for the job of your dreams. Even a peer review is helpful having some of your friends review it or for a small fee, you can have it professionally edited by companies, such as mine.
Happy hunting :).
Business Insider reported a follow up about the "relevant resume" project of a job seeker writing a resume highlighting his foibles and mistakes instead of his accomplishments and successes. It was a risky thing to do, but it got Mr Scardino more responses than his typically written resume sent at the same time got him. I think this was a brilliant move. In the era of a "curated life" we live in where all of our Social Media accounts are groomed to look "perfect" to put something out there that reflects your weaknesses is intriguing. I can only imagine what my relevant resume would look like but I think I am too afraid to write it :).
That being said, I do think this worked for Mr Scardino in large part because he is in a creative industry. It reminded me of the flip side experience of a young man who wrote a cover letter full of brags about his strengths that got wrecked by the investment banking industry - it became fodder for internal jokes and the poor guy never did get a banking job. (See links included below).
For all of us, it makes us rethink how to prepare this one piece of paper that represents YOU either for your first real job out of school or your next step when you are ready for advancement or if you are unemployed - how to make the resume work for you to get you the chance to have an interview so you can actually shine instead of the paper.
The Relevant Resume (Business Insider)
Awful Cover Letter (Gawker)
Lisa Vento Nielsen