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The Grad Student’s Guide to the Non-Academic Job Search with Dr. Anne Krook

The Grad Student’s Guide to the Non-Academic Job Search with Dr. Anne Krook

All right, most of
you probably know why you’re here, because
you read the newspaper or online sources. A lot of graduate
students end up looking for nonacademic work. And sometimes they want to and
sometimes they don’t want to. But those job searches are
very different than the ones that academics trains you for. I expect you to leave this room
in two hours able to conduct a search for a nonacademic job
should you ever want or need to. So here’s the shape of the day. We have two hours. And there’s time for
questions built into that, so I’m counting on
you not to be shy. You should feel free to
take notes via phone photos, and you may also tweet or
post about this session if you choose. And I will send templates
of the exercises and a PDF of the slide
to be posted for you. So the organizers– I’m assuming you all signed in
with your cards and organizers have your email
address, so that way you’ll be able to get the
slides and the exercise. So here’s the shape of the day. I’m going to talk about
what graduate training means on the nonacademic job market. I’m going to talk about how
you can prepare yourself right now while you’re
in graduate school before you ever
enter such a market. And then I’m going to talk
about the actual mechanics of going on and conducting
a nonacademic job search. Those are the three
long sessions. And then I’ll have three
much shorter sections about what you
should do right now, some resources and
some reminders. And if you don’t have one, you
should all have a slide list. All right, first,
graduate training in a nonacademic job market. I’m going to talk about myself,
about my own career path. And then I’m going
to talk in general about how people like me think
when they hire people like you. I am a faculty brat. My father taught veterinary
medicine at Cornell for 100 years. And I went right
from high school to college to graduate school. And then I became an
assistant professor. And I was an assistant
professor at 26. Then I became a bartender. I went to Amazon
when it was small. I joined when it was 120 people. I left it was 120,000 or so. I had a lot of roles. I did a small startup thing. I was a product design
engineering firm. And then this is what I do now. I chair of the board of
directors of Lambda Legal, and I’m a consultant
and an author. You can see “path” is
in quotation marks. Now, here’s the part that is
more interesting than actually what I have done. How did I make the big changes? Well, to get to be a
bartender, I lost my job. I didn’t get tenure,
and I needed a job. I moved from Ann Arbor to
Seattle with my then partner and got a bartender’s license. This is the one people
always are interested in. I talked to a friend of mine
with whom I played softball, on my graduate
school softball team. He was a very early
adopter of the internet. And I interviewed with Amazon. And what he said to
me was, you know, Anne, there’s this
company, they’re small. They’re selling books. And you read a lot of books. So you should probably
go talk to them. And the introduction of the
company, not to the company, but the introduction
of the company was not more
sophisticated than that. And so I interviewed with them. And I talked about my
skills, not so much about my previous jobs. But everything I learned
about technology, I learned on the job at Amazon. When I arrived at Amazon,
I had never used a mouse. When I left Amazon, I was
launching their data centers. The board of directors
at Lambda Legal. So I had been involved as
a donor, small level donor. And I hated their
web properties. I hated their website. I hated their Facebook page. I hated their Twitter– I hated it all. And I complained
about it constantly. And then when I was at the
end of my time at Amazon, somebody said, you know, Anne,
you know how to do this stuff. Talk to them. So I did a bunch of pro
bono consulting with them to help improve
their web properties. And as a result, I was invited
to join the board of directors. And I’ve recently
been elected chair. So that’s how I
made the transition. Now, as a friend of mine says,
what do we learn from this? This is something very,
very important for everybody who goes to graduate school
for a graduate degree to learn. It is most jobs do not
require a specific credential. All jobs require skills. We hope that people in operating
rooms who are operating have an MD after
their names, right? We hope that people
who are piloting the 737 that got me
here from Minneapolis have pilot licenses. But most jobs are not like that. Most jobs do not
require credentials, but they all require skills. Here’s the thing I knew
least, because I was involved as a faculty member, because I
paid to be a faculty member, so young. Nonacademic work is awesome. It is interesting. It is varied. It is challenging. It is developing. And like me, you do not always
know what you could be doing. And you may spend
part of your career in fields that don’t exist now. When I entered graduate
school, Al Gore to the contrary notwithstanding, the internet
as we know it in e-commerce didn’t exist. Here’s another thing
that’s incredibly important for graduate
students to know. There’s a lot of ways to engage
with a nonacademic working world. In graduate school, you
come to get a credential, to get a certain kind of work. But I learned a ton on the job. That’s where I learned
all my technical skills. Your interests, not just your
training, can lead to a job. The chair of the board of
directors of Lambda Legal is about a half-time job. And it was my interests
that led to it. And if you complain
about it, ask yourself if you can help fix it. That’s how I got
to Lambda Legal. Nobody has yet taken me up on
this about the cable companies, but I wish you would. And then finally,
another lesson, you can get that
academic dream job and still need to change jobs. So that was sort of me, me, me. But now, this is
about you, which is how employers like me
look at people like you. So a nonacademic employer’s
view of graduate training. If you come to look for
a job that is plausibly related to your training,
I will probably think, OK, that could be an
advantage and, you know, you’ve made this commitment
to advanced training. But most of you, if you
look for nonacademic work are going a little
further afield than that. And if that’s the
case, if you look for work that is way
different from your training, then I’m going to think it’s not
an advantage or disadvantage. But here’s what it is. You guys have devoted a lot
of time to graduate school. It’s a lot of time. It’s a lot of money. And it’s a lot of sunk cost. And so what you
need to explain is why you decided to
go to graduate school and why you decided
to finish, if you do, or why you decide not to finish,
if that’s what you decide. Both of those choices
have good explanations, but you just need to
be able to make it. So that’s how I look
at people like you. Now, I have to
tell you, mostly I am really glad to hire people
with graduate training. And here’s why. Almost all of us look at
persistent and difficult problems in new ways. That’s what this is
about, solving problems. Almost all of us believe
that other people have things to teach us. We’ve come here to learn. We value collegiality. We learn with each
other in groups. We believe that
other people who are doing different things
at this university also have things to teach us. And then finally, we
realize that explaining some things is hard and
learning some things is hard. And this is going to be a
characteristic of your working lives. So people who have gone to
graduate school and believe these things tend to be really
good candidates for jobs. Now, there’s a dark
side to the force. Some people who go
to graduate school have a very narrow
view of intelligence. They’ve succeeded on
the academic path, and they believe this
is what defines smart. And that really sells other
types of intelligence short. And people who think
that for obvious reasons don’t always make really
awesome colleagues at work. Some people think
that rewarding work has to be related to
academic work and workplaces. So if they decide not to
do the academic thing, then they say I’m going to
look for the thing that’s most closely related. I’m going to try
to work in a lab. Or I’m going to
try to be an editor or be a high school teacher. And don’t get me wrong. Those are awesome jobs. But it also sells other
kinds of jobs short. Part of my goal
today is to get you to think more broadly about
what your economic and workplace opportunities are. And then finally, some people
think that taking other work means not using their
degrees and they resent it. And that tells you
yourself short. I’m here to tell you that
there will never again be a time you will
not use your degree. That time is over, because
you’re degrees are part of you. You have worked hard. It has changed your thinking. It has changed how you
interact with knowledge. It has changed how you
interact with your colleagues. There will be no
situation ever any more in which you will
not use your degrees. Now, my former graduate students
and my fellow former academics have done a lot of really
interesting things. And the one I want to
point out, actually, is the one faculty member and
the director of study abroad. This is a former
student of mine. And like a lot of people,
she likes to travel. And like a lot of academics,
she doesn’t have a ton of money. So what she does
she goes and she teaches those three week
intensive summer courses abroad where you teach like art history
for three weeks in London or something like that. So she did that every year
for, I think, 15 years when she got to this university. Well, it turns out there’s
a lot you learn in addition to teaching when you do that. You learn how to take
care of people overseas. You learn how to take
care of young people who are traveling for the first
time without their parents, all those kinds of things. When the director of
our program retired, she was invited to apply for
the job and she got the job. And this is important
for two reasons. One is she didn’t
know that was a job. She didn’t know that was
a thing she could do when she arrived at this university. And the second thing
is it was something that her interests got her. She didn’t need a
degree for that. She just followed her interests. She learned what she was doing. She did not even realize
she was developing skills that would lead to a job. But it’s an incredibly varied
and interesting work world out there. So what does all of
this mean for you as you go on the
nonacademic job market? I want you to
believe that there’s incredibly interesting jobs
and work out there for you. I want you to describe
your skills, not primarily your credentials. I want you to broaden
the range of people you seek out for help. And I will talk a little
bit about how to do this. I want you to treat
everybody you meet along the way as a colleague. And here’s a core
piece of advice. I want to make your message
to an employer this. My skills can help
solve your challenges. That is how you fashion yourself
as a potential employee. Now, before I go on to talk
about how to prepare yourself, let me see if you have any
questions about either my path or how I as an employer look
at you as potential employers. Yes. I guess my question is
for you a future employer, but the thing that worries me
is if I want to transition, you mention that you have
skills you learn on the job. But I feel like when you
at the job announcements, they want this, this and that. And I don’t have
that necessarily. And that makes me not
want to apply for the job. I’ll talk specifically
about that– how to define what the job
asked for and how much of it you have to have
to apply for it. OK. I will get there. Yes. Maybe it’s something
related, but I feel that maybe a lot of people
here share the same thought that when we’re
here in grad school, even ourselves we talk
about it as not being the real world that, that
the academic world is somehow different from the real world. So for me, when I got
a job descriptions, as the other you grad
student was saying, I feel discouraged sometimes
because I feel like it because I’ve been
here for a few years that I’ve been out
of the real world. Then I feel it’s a very
tough sell for an employer to say to say, yes,
please hire me. Because I feel like I
at least have the idea, I have a hard time
shaking off the idea that the academic is
like a parallel universe to what companies are
doing and looking for. So a bunch of responses to that. Some will come later. First of all, don’t believe
everything you hear. Second of all, skills
are skills no matter where you get them, whether
you get them in academics or whether you get
them in the workplace. And third, I guess I would say
that to some extent, the self description of academics as not
being in the real world, some of that comes from without,
some outside of academics, but some of it
comes from within. And I would say that the
definition of academics as being in the real world
or not in the real world doesn’t actually matter. What matters is
whether you have skills and whether you can
apply them to a job. I think it’s easy to either
insult or praise academics as not being real. But I find that
astonishingly irrelevant. Yes. Have you come you
come across the view that academics as
over-qualified? That they have too much that
they intimidate the employer? Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I will talk specifically
about the response of overqualified. But the short answer
to being overqualified is that if you are having a
discussion about overqualified, you’re having the
wrong discussion. The discussion to have is here’s
why I’m interested in this and here’s why my skills and
experience make me believe I can do the job for you. But the way to get away from
the discussion of overqualified is to talk about interests,
skills, and experience, because then it’s not a
question of your qualifications. Here’s what you have to
do to prepare yourself. There’s basically
three elements to it. You have to broaden the
way you describe yourself. You have to find people
to help your job search. And you have to prepare
yourself mentally. And I’m going to go through
these three things in turn. First, your self-description. I assume you think
something like this. Your knowledge is your
subject and its scholarship and your approach. And your skills our research,
writing, and teaching. I encourage you to also
start thinking this. Your knowledge and skills come
from all your previous and current jobs in organizations. And your skills abstracted
from your current position include your ability to add to
your knowledge base quickly, to identify problems, rethink
solutions and persuade others to adopt them. Those terms are not the terms
you would use for academics, but those are the abstract
versions of your skills that employers
care about deeply. Yes. That last paragraph
could be copy/pasted for every piece [INAUDIBLE] Yep. That’s literally [INAUDIBLE] Yeah, that’s right. So that’s how you think. So then how do you
describe yourself? I assume your self-description
looks something like this. I’m a grad student or
post-doc in this field and here’s my expertise. I’m an experienced researcher. I have done this and that. I am a scholar. I have presented this and that. I am in training to
become a faculty member. Many people internalize
this as this is who I am. I encourage you, however, also
to describe yourself like this. And the terms in blue
are academic equivalents. I complete large projects
with minimal supervision– papers and research papers. I have worked in
large enterprises– namely your institution–
and medium-sized organization within the enterprise. The gentlemen had been telling
us for years that size matters, and I’m to tell you
that, as we all know, there are people
who are comfortable in big institutions. There are people who wanted
to go to small colleges. The fact that you were here
at this large institution and also work in a
department or a lab that is a much smaller
institution says something about where you
are comfortable working. I have participated
in and led small teams within the enterprise. Graduate students
often say to me, I don’t have any leadership
or management experience. And most of you actually do. You just don’t call it
leadership or management. I use research and analytical
skills to identify problems. I manage contentious discussions
toward productive conclusions. I persuade reluctant adopters
to accept and deploy standards. There is an entire
genre of jobs out there that are about saying
here are the standards of this discipline
this industry, this is why you must adopt them. A much better internalization
of graduate work than this is who I am is this is what I do. Now, once you have changed
how you think about yourself and then changed how
you describe yourself, then you have to adopt
an additional vehicle for that self-description. In academics, it’s a CV. A CV is written in
academic shorthand. Professional
readers evaluate it. And it’s comprehensive. A resume, on the
other hand, is written for people who may not
know how to read CVs. But what they need
to know is how you can help solve their problems. It may be evaluated by
entry level employees, and it is selective. So to write a resume, which
is different from a CV, you gather information from
your entire work history and you describe your jobs your
achievements and your skills. To succeed in graduate school,
you have to forget a lot. You have to forget
things you like to do. And you have to stop doing them. Graduate school
rewards a narrow focus, but the nonacademic job
search rewards a broad one. So what you do is you have
to remember where you lived and what you did. You have to define, sort, and
count the skills you gained. In doing so, you will remind
yourself what you know. And that is way
more than you think. And you will create
rudimentary skills database out of which to build your resume. So now, I’m going to walk you
through a template exercise that will do that. Oh, don’t tell me you’re
not going to show up. Go away. Go away. Go away. Kind of gone away? All right, there we go. All right. It will come back later. So this is a template
that helps you create what amounts to a
mini database of your skills. And it has tabs
for each of these. I’m going to show you a
version that I have filled out for myself. But what I’m giving you here
is a way of organizing life experiences in the buckets
people usually use– where you lived, where
you went to school, travel and languages, you know,
teams, organizations, all of that stuff. In that ugly Excel salmon
color in the middle, a place for paid jobs
and volunteering. And then a list of other
characteristics about yourself. And again, because I find
templates hard in the abstract, I filled this out for myself. So here’s what it looks like. And you know, I went right
back to the beginning. I went Cornell Cooperative
Nursery School, like all these places I went
to school, because the idea is to remind yourself where
you’ve been and what you did. Later on what this
is going to help you recall is who you know,
which is also important. But you write all this down
because it helps remind you of your experiences. And what it eventually
ends up with is that column of paid
jobs and volunteering. And I went right back
to my first dollar from babysitting
and tutoring in math and all that kind of stuff. The last column is
sort of interesting. It’s the other
characteristics that you need to describe yourself
that make you what you are. And how they come to
bear on what you do will become evident later. In my case, I’ve
always owned dogs. I’m good with dogs. Interested in politics. Comfortable in
large organizations. Good public speaker. Good with languages. Comfortable talking
about sports. All of these matters
in different ways. But what this will help you
do– and I think this gets to your question– is it will help you learn
how to read job descriptions and figure out what you
are well-suited for. Now, the first I
put up this chart in front of a bunch people like
you, someone raised their hand and said, yeah, but, Dr.
Krook, you are senior. What is this chart going
to look like for me? She was in her mid 20s
in graduate school. And that was I think
a legit question. So here’s what I did. I realize it’s a little
hard to see in this light. Everything in red happened
after I left graduate school. What that means is that
the nucleus of my skills was already there when
I was where you are now. And the reason
that’s important is that what you will be
able to do is credibly talk about your skills. Now filling this all out takes
two hours over two sessions, because it’s
helpful, if you can, to have a sibling or a
friend or somebody that knows you well say,
oh, don’t you forget, you also did blah, blah,
blah, whatever it is you did. But this will two hours. And then what you do is you take
the stuff and the ugly salmon color. And you copy it into the
park marked describe, because now comes the hard work. Now what I want you
to do is copying that column of paid
jobs and volunteering, and I want you to describe what
role you played in those jobs and what skills
you got from them. So there’s the template. And here this is for me. Let’s look at the kinds of
things where we’d be similar. So one of the
things you find out is that when you take
a particular job, you obviously do more than
one thing at the job right. You have usually a
bunch of different roles and you do a bunch
of different things. So look at what you do
as a teaching assistant, for example. You interpret the non-obvious. You do time management,
clear written explanations, clear oral explanations. Most crucially is
that last one– the engagement of the
desperately skilled. You all know that when
you run a class or a lab, people show up with
wildly different training, intelligence, background. But you’ve got to
teach them all. Work is like that. You will be working
with a bunch of people with really different
levels of interests and practice and experience
in what you are doing, but you’ll still need to do it. Research assistant, library
research, line editing, [? tapped. ?] My
dissertation director asked me to edit a manuscript
for her, and I said yes. That was mistake number one. Oh, well. Resident dishwasher. I lived in an
undergraduate house while I was in graduate
school in exchange for room and board and washed dishes. Dishwashing, sanitation
regulation management. You know, life coaching, I
did a lot of informal coaching of the undergraduates who
would come into the dish room while I was washing
dishes, and they were weeping and saying I got
a B. It was like, you know, get over it. But we don’t say that. Now, notice the next
thing, the next line. I spent a year in England. And I was treasurer of my
graduate student union there. And I managed the graduate
student union budget. It’s very important to keep
track of these kinds of things, because that skill is very
valuable in the workplace even if it is not so
valuable to get hired as an assistant professor. So make sure you note
all of these things down. Now the hard part
of this exercise is not the remembering,
though that takes some time. The hard part of this exercise
is describing the skills you got in the same way,
because initially when you look at the long list,
it’s like, oh, my god, I have 101 things and not
one of them is the same. But eventually as you
start reviewing them, you will see that
that is not true. And the trick is to
describe similar things with the same words,
because Excel is not smart. Excel is stupid. And the next things I’m
going to ask you to do– this is the hard work. Once you have done
this you have done what is hard, because the next
things I’m going to ask you to do are easy and mechanistic. I’m going to ask you to sort
these skills and count them. You go through, you do
this for all your jobs, and then you take the blue
column, and you do a sort. This is what it
looks like for me. You will have to do
it in a single column, because that’s how
Excel’s tiny mind works. I have displayed it
horizontally just because it’s easier
for audiences to see it in this format. And then after you sort it,
you will do something even less sophisticated, which
is that you will count how often each skill appeared. Now, look what happened
when I did this for myself. Here’s what to look at. Where are you? There. These are the things
I have done most often over the course of my career– clear written explanations,
clear oral explanations, empathy, customer
service, data analysis, personnel development, personnel
management, and understanding organizational expectations. All of you have
done most of that. You have done it to
very different degrees because you are
early in your career and I am farther along in mine. But you have all done
something like that. You all have skills. The question is how
to identify them in graduate school that
has taught you only to value certain things. And then the question will
be what you do with them. But let me start now and take
questions about this exercise. And you will get both
the blank template for this and the one
filled out with my stuff so you can see how it
is, how it’s set up. Questions about this? Yes. So when you were going
through [INAUDIBLE] at least what you said here
was skills, they [INAUDIBLE] like what you’d see
in a job announcement. But I in part with
the template, I guess I would maybe not
think in those words. So how do I think [INAUDIBLE] So what will happen is that
as you do this exercise– I’ll talk about this
a little later– you will start reading
job descriptions. So you will learn
their jargon, just as you have learned your field’s
jargon, and Wisconsin’s jargon, how the University of
Wisconsin describes itself. You will learn job
description jargon. And I also have some
online resources that show you parallels between
academic and nonacademic language. But one of the reasons
this exercise is hard– this is where this
exercise is hard. You have to take this new
language you’re learning. And you have to look at your
skills and describe them. And this is an
iterative process. The first two or three
times you do it, you’ll say, I’m not getting
anything out of this. And then as you hone
in on your skills, you will get a
better sense of it. But it’s an iterative exercise. And it does take some time. But it is critical to enabling
you to make a resume, which is our next exercise. Yes. This is a more of a
specific question, but I think that it will
apply to most of us, in doing a CV, one of
the most important things in getting I guess an
academic job is the ability to get funding, so grants
or something like that. What would you suggest as
a translation for that. I mean it’s a writing
exercise in a lot of ways. But is there a
different beneficial way to translate that. Sure. You know ability to secure
competitive funding. So that would also be– Oh, hugely valuable,
because you know what I do being a
senior in the workplace is I’m deciding what
projects to apply or not. And that means I’m
allowing people to pursue the things
with resources, money or people and time. So I am the one allocating
what amounts to the grant. What you have proven is
that you can persuade people to give you a grant. Yeah, it’s a very
simple process. OK, so now, let’s see how long
it takes us to resurrect– oh, no, wrong presentation. Let’s bring back that
the other presentation. Oh, don’t save. Go away. Excellent. All right. So you do the template exercise. Your goals are to remember,
define, sort and count your skills. And then your next job
is to create a resume out of that data. Recall that I said
to you earlier, your message to a
nonacademic employer is my skills can help
solve your challenges. Your resume’s message to
a nonacademic employer is my skills can help solve
your challenges, here’s proof. So to do that you highlight
critical information and support. You describe what you
were responsible for and the key skills you used. And you describe the outcomes
with measured results where that’s possible. And I’ll discuss
a little bit what to do when measured
results aren’t so possible. So now, let’s look at my resume. OK, resumes. Some resume basics. No funky monkey fonts. No Comic Sans. Sans serif for
resumes read online. You should have a
nonacademic email address. Please no jokey email addresses,
no [email protected] You laugh. You would not believe what
has crossed my screen. You will need a reference
to your LinkedIn profile. You will need a
telephone number. Put whichever number you
are more likely to answer. I very strongly recommend
that particularly women do not have snail mail
addresses on your resume. There’s a lot of
creepazoids out there. And then the Seattle,
Washington will tell– where you live will create
a bunch of expectations, including what jobs you
are eligible to apply for. Employers assume you are
eligible to work at jobs for which you will apply. So if you have, for example,
more than one citizenship, under Seattle, Washington, you
might say US and EU passport holder, for example. Then there’s a summary. The summary paragraph is
a list of, in some cases, of your best skills. And it should describe
both your best skills and should implicitly tell the
employer what kinds of work you would be best at. It’s almost like a
distilled resume. Think of yourself as
answering the question, what am I getting when
I hire this person? That’s what you’re answering. It’s excruciating to write. I really hate it. Then you hop down. And you write– this is
my last corporate resume. So this is the last
one I wrote when I was applying for
the kinds of things you may well be applying for. So you have the name of the
entity, where it’s located, the years, or in some cases, in
your case, months in which you worked there, title
you held, and then what you were responsible
for and what the outcome was. So look at the Lambda Legal
one, for a bunch of reasons. As a member of a
board of directors, responsible for reviewing and
approving policies, strategies, and budget of Lambda Legal. Member of executive strategic,
planning, and audit committees. Member of search
committee for a new CEO. Chair of technology subcommittee
for development committee. As leader of the
leadership team responsible for chairing Seattle garden
party annual fundraiser, netting an excess of $250,000. That last is the one I want
you to be able to write. The numbers may be smaller. Now, you may have less
responsibility than I do, but I want you to be able
to say, here’s who I was. Here’s what I was
responsible for. And here is the outcome. That is the core of persuading
an employer through a resume that your skills and
outcomes can be related to what they need to hire. Note also that this work is
not labeled with the scarlet V for volunteer. If you’ve got your skills
through a volunteer organization or
operation, you don’t need to label it volunteer. Skills are skills no
matter how you got them. But I want you to be able to
write sentences like that. Now, let’s look at
some things that are a little closer to where
you are at this moment. If you look at the
University of Michigan, this is how I described
my academic career. Placed PhD candidates
here and there. Co-supervised candidate who
won the dissertation prize. And then this last
sentence, faculty supervisor of graduate student
journal, turned it from dysfunctional mess into
a respected publication, efficiently produced. Now, there’s three
things about this matter. One is the snark. You have to judge your audience. I was applying to a
technology company. And I knew I could
speak to them like that. If I was applying to
a white shoe law firm, that sentence wouldn’t
be in there like that. So that’s one thing. The second thing
is this sentence illustrates the difference
between academics and nonacademic job. That work, advising
Michigan feminist studies, was throwaway work. It didn’t help my
academic career. In fact, I didn’t get tenure. But that was the sentence that
got me my Amazon interview, because what that sentence
says is she found a mess, she fixed it. That’s what work is. You find a mess, you fix it. You find a problem,
you help solve it. That is the sentence that
got me my Amazon interview. Now, I sent this resume to a
friend recently whose husband is looking for work. And he was scrolling
down through it. And he read it out loud and
said, oh, my god, Teresa, come over here and read this. And so he read
her that sentence. And she knew me. She had been a colleague
in graduate school. And she said, yep, that’s Anne. And I want you, over time, to
be able to write a sentence that says, yep, that’s me. It will take some time. You will have to
work on your skills. You will have to think
about what you want to do. And you will have to think
of those things I have done, what is characteristic of
me and what do I do well? It takes time to get there,
but you will get there. I want you to think about how
to write sentences like that. And then finally, just
a couple more things, in resumes education
usually comes at the bottom. Many, many academics have– like their fingers twitch
when I tell them to do this, because they don’t want to move
their education to the bottom. But it really is something
that you have to do in resumes, because the position
you have to take is I am looking toward my
new working environment, not with my feet in the old one. So the education has
to go to the bottom. You no longer need that
sentence that says references available on request. Everybody knows that. That’s a sort of
high level overview. Let me take questions
about resumes. There’s typically a lot. Yes. First, I see that
yours is three pages. Is that acceptable more or less? Or is that your
more of a senior– No, it’s because I don’t
have religion about that. And I’ll tell you why. The reason I don’t have religion
about my length of resume is that many, many resumes
now are submitted online. And length is less a thing. What I do have
religion about is doing exactly what you are asked. So if you are asked
to submit something no longer than two pages,
don’t submit anything longer than two pages. Now, what you should
absolutely do, though– you notice that this
resume is nicely formatted. My late wife thought I was a pig
at formatting and did it for me and didn’t allow me to do it. So what you should
do is you should have a text version of your
resume all left justified with no formatting at all. And the reason you
should do that is you will be cutting and pasting
your resume into online forms as often as you will be
submitting it as a resume. And that’s why I don’t
have religion about it. But I have absolute religion
about doing what you are asked. I have one more question. So most of us in here
are graduate students, can we use our graduate
student training as a job. I mean not necessarily TA
or research assistants, but in writing dissertations
there’s a ton of skills that you gain in terms
of project management, in terms completing large tasks. And is some ways
that’s my outcome. Is that something that
would be acceptable as a professional experience
or is that just something that we would go into an
interview as talking points. More likely that
latter, unless– and here’s the unless– it depends on what
you are applying for. If you are applying for a large
scale research management job, then you would say, yes,
dissertation on x, particularly if it’s completed in a
relatively constrained time frame. There are many– sadly for me
to say– humanities disciplines where the time frame has gotten
so long as to be embarrassing. And then, no, you
shouldn’t be doing that. You shouldn’t be
talking about that. But that’s where
judgment comes in. It is possible– and most
people, I got to say, most people have
about three resumes. In my case, I have the here’s
the corporate tech job resume. I have here’s the
consultant resume. And here’s the everything
I do is targeted to universities resumes. Almost everybody has two or
three versions of a resume. So it depends on what
you are applying for. My guess from what
you’ve said is that you will have a base
case that you will submit 80% of the time that
will not talking about the dissertation that way. Yes. I notice you have a lot of
complete sentences on here. How do you compare
that to bullet points? So a lot depends
on the kind of– let’s look at this– a lot depends on the kinds
of accomplishments you have. There is a little bit of
field specificity, too. For example, in
that top paragraph where I have sentences,
on technical resumes, it’s very common for
that top paragraph to be followed by a bulleted
list of either computer languages or technical
research capacities. So one of the things
you will have to do is look at some resumes
that are written by somebody in your discipline and figure
out what the discipline peculiarities are. But the standard
way to divide that is responsibilities get defined
in sentences and achievements get defined in bullet points. That’s a high level way
of thinking about it. Yes. What about gaps in experience? If you some kind off year
that’s not permanent, is that good or bad? No gaps? What you have to do is
account for your time. Because whether you had a gap
for employment or raising you children or whatever it is,
you were doing something. And what you don’t want
to leave the employer with is lacking the ability to
understand what you were doing. So if there’s a gap
in time, you have to describe what
your skills are. This is mostly a
huge issue for women if you’ve taken off time to
do child-rearing, for example. And so then what you have
to describe is here’s the skills I gained. Somebody I hired
had raised $200,000 to redo her
playground, the school playground and had done
it in micro fundraisers. She got hired. So what you have to do
is account for time. So I have a question. If you put the
education at the bottom, it kind scares me when then at
the top of my resume of my job experience are all teaching
assistant, graduate research research assistant, the
positions don’t sound as glossy or they might not be as clear
to as an academic audience, especially applying
to grad school having a title that sounds better. Do you have any advice
for how to go about that to nonacademic employers. So in your case, where you
have a work history that precedes graduate
school, you have two options for handling that. One is to have a
skills-based resume, where you talk about
skills in groups instead of in reverse
chronological order by position. It is possible to do that. The disadvantage to do that is
because it’s nontraditional, it can make people
suspicious that you are cutting and pasting to
cover up a gap in work history. So just make sure that
that is not the case. But the second way to do
it is to do it like this and just have a killer first
paragraph, to say here’s what I’ve done and here’s how
all my skills come together to form a coherent narrative. And frankly that is something
that whether you organize the resume or not that way
you are going to have to do, because the first
person you have to convince that you
have a coherent narrative about your career is you. Yes. So a lot of times in
academia we measure how successful we are by the
number of publications we have. When we’re applying
to nonacademic jobs, do they care about that? And should we list
selected publications? They care about what is
relevant to their job. And if the publications
are relevant, by all means, include them. The question is whether they
indicate something else. So for example, if you
are in a peer reviewed journal that typically
accepts 3% of its articles, that’s a factoid. But again, the thing to remember
is that CVs are comprehensive. They have it all in there. And it’s like a military uniform
with all of its decorations. Resumes have to be selective. Some people put
publications at the bottom and so on and so forth. But what you have to put is
relevant to the employer. And that’s why it’s so
important to make that shift. So now let’s go back. I have a quick question. Go ahead. Just listening to you
saying choosing skills and those experiences that
are valuable to your employer, for example, I have a lot of
those things in food service [INAUDIBLE] How do
you go about that? [INAUDIBLE] omitted
for [INAUDIBLE] Don’t omit it. Yeah, just put it in
a list there so people know you were employed. And then, you know, it’s
actually really easy to answer the
question, oh, I see you were in food service,
what were you doing? If what you say is oh,
I was in food service because no one
else would hire me, I will join the list of
people who will not hire you. But if what you say is
I was in food service because I didn’t know
what I wanted to do, but I knew I had
to stay employed, and I wanted to learn about
another industry, another boss, and another workplace,
because you know, pro tip, people love hiring
people who want to work. A lot of success is
showing up for work. All right, so now,
you’ve got your data. You have a resume. And now you have to find
people to help your job search. Only a few people can help
you get an academic job. You must have a good reference
from your supervisor. But lots and lots of people can
help you get a nonacademic job. So that means you
have to assemble a pool of people who can
help you reach out to others. Personal contacts
are how you find out what a job advertisement
really means. And personal contacts help
resumes not get lost in a pile. This is the important thing. Now, LinkedIn is
the current tool. So show of hands,
how many of you have used LinkedIn
at some point? A few. Way better than most groups. All right, good. So LinkedIn provides a database
of companies, jobs, and people. And deploys you into the pool. It helps you research
organizations and their job listings. This is the crucial point. It helps you ask
for introductions to people you don’t know
through people you do. And it makes your
resume available online. So what you have
to do is you have to use LinkedIn to
create a group of people you know through whom
you can reach out to people you don’t know. And what you’re doing is you’re
optimizing here for the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. The more you know, the more
people you can reach out to. Or I could say the
more people you are connected to on LinkedIn. So that means you have to
create your pool contacts. So you go in, you
claim your name space. You invite people to
connect on LinkedIn. That’s obviously people
in your own address book, people LinkedIn recommends
if you know them, people from groups
to which you belong. Groups are an underused
feature of LinkedIn. You should join the
alumni organization of both your undergraduate
and graduate school. You should join your
professional organization, you know, American Society
of Mechanical Engineers, or whatever. People with whom you
have interacted well. I’m connected to my
dentist on LinkedIn. My dentist has a big practice. Now, you should not add
people you don’t know or whom you don’t respect. So how many of you who have used
LinkedIn have gotten requests to connect from people
you have never heard of? Yeah, that’s creepy. I don’t connect with them. And the reason I don’t is that
I get requests all the time like this one. Hey, Anne, I see you did some
consulting work at Expedia. I’m really interested
in getting in there. Can you introduce me to the
tax guy you worked with? And I have to decide– because that work at
Expedia, I liked it and it was somebody I valued. So I have to decide would
I introduce this person to the tax guy at Expedia. And if I don’t
know them, I’m not going to take that risk, because
it’s my professional reputation on the line as well. So you have to be able to
answer those questions. Would you introduce her
to somebody I respect? Would I do him a favor? And if the answer is no
or, worse, I don’t know, don’t connect with them. Your contacts are a
core professional asset. So I want you to
treat him that way. I want you to keep them updated. And I’m not talking about
you holiday card list here. I’m talking about your contacts. Bring them up to date. That means name, a private
and/or a work email, a mobile phone number
if you have it. LinkedIn contacts are fine. There’s all kinds of
people who I’m only connected to through LinkedIn. You should set a calendar
reminder on whatever calendar you use to add new LinkedIn
connections every week. And you should do
that for the remainder of your professional careers. Back them up. You should follow the rule
of three with backups. The rule of 3 is one local
backup, one cloud backup, and one external device. So I have talked about how
to think about yourself, how to describe yourself,
and how to develop a pool o contacts through
which to contact other people. Now, in the last part of this
section about preparing where you are now, I’m going
to talk about how to prepare yourself mentally. Gender, starting over,
an interim job, some notes about the
various ways to work and how to handle the slog. First, a note about gender. Here’s what guys
do in a job market. If a job has six qualifications
and he has three, he applies. He views job requirements as
negotiable and desired ones as totally optional. And he routinely negotiates
salary and benefits. Here’s what a female
applicant does. Five qualifications,
she doesn’t apply. She views job requirements
as absolutely non-negotiable and desired as almost required. And she routinely does not
negotiate salary and benefits. Gentlemen, keep doing
what you’re doing. Ladies, do not be
this applicant. You are cutting yourself
off from opportunities you could have. You are undercutting
your financial future. And you are shortchanging
yourselves professionally. Apply for the job. Now, a note about starting over. You may find yourself applying
for some entry level jobs. In my experience,
people with PhDs get promoted faster
out of those jobs because they’re more mature. They’ve supervised people. And they’ve just got some tread
wear, honestly, which helps. But– I’ll talk a
little bit about this– there are non-entry level
jobs that will be open to you if you describe
your skills well. But don’t let the
mentality of, oh, my god, I’m applying for these
entry level jobs, I wasted my time in graduate
school, what am I doing. That is a very
crippling mentality. Now an interim job. I tell this to people. Academic jobs are so
hard to get and so scarce that many people feel like I’ve
got to find like the great job if I don’t get an academic job. The way you should
think about this is find your next good
job, not the perfect job. Find your next good job. And before you get
your next good job, if you are working at
Home Depot, that is fine. And the reason is
having a job, any job, helps you present
well in interviews. It helps because you have
a little money coming in, which is always a
confidence building thing. But also the second most
profound bias in employment, aside from the bias
against pregnant women, is to hire the employed. There is a profound bias for
hiring people who are employed. It is better to be employed. It is also easy to
explain why you’re working at an interim job,
like the food services jobs. I wanted to contribute. I needed to pay bills. Everybody understands that. And I wanted to learn about
an occupation, a workplace, and a boss. Now, you can also start with
the temp or contract work. That means you go to a temp
or an employment agency, and you describe
your skills to them. And you get them to find
you the opportunity. That’s what’s known as
outsourcing the last mile. You then learn about a company,
an industry, and a boss. You can do contract work
successfully long term. At my last corporate
job, we only hired off contracts, because
they are like extended job interviews. You get them for
three months and you see if they’re really suited
to your employment place. There’s a lot to be said for
starting with an interim job. Now, the next three slides
are about internal mythology that sometimes
graduate students have about the nonacademic world. First– yeah, go ahead. I have a question
about contract jobs. So one of the things
that I’m a little apprehensive about
with contract work is that you can get stuck with
a non-compete, where you become unemployable in the city
or the area in the field because there’s a contract. How much of an issue is that? It’s very, very field
dependent, and it’s very, very state dependent. Different state laws
around non-competes hold up very differently. So what you have to do is
you have to get probably legal advice about it, because
some states enforce them rigorously and some
states not at all. Like California now has
basically ruled that NDAs, they keep you from employment– not for sharing secrets,
that gets upheld. But NDAs that keep
you from employment are very hard to
enforce in many states. So get legal advice about that. OK, some notes about the
for-profit job world. There is a
misconception that when you leave academic
work that you will have less intelligent
colleagues or less demanding work in the for-profit space. I hope you don’t believe this. The single most
intellectually demanding place I ever worked in was at Amazon. But if you believe
this, conceal it, because I’ve got
to tell you, nobody wants to hire somebody
who thinks they’re stupid. And nobody wants to be your
intellectually sloppy seconds. And so if you think that,
that is not a great way to go into either a
relationship or thinking about your new workplace. The nonprofit sphere,
this is very interesting. This is where
people in academics often have the most
persistent myths. Lots of people
believe for reasons that are totally unclear
to me that it is easier to get a nonprofit job
than a for profit job without relevant
experience and skills. And I got to tell you, as chair
of the board of Lambda Legal, I’m here to tell you
that the reverse is true. And the reason is– so Lambda Legal litigates
on behalf of queer people and people with HIV. And we do high
profile litigation. And honest to God, we
cannot afford to lose. So we are not in a
position where we can afford to lose these cases. So we generally
cannot hire beginners. We have to hire people who
already have experience litigating civil rights cases. So you may find
it actually harder to get employed at a nonprofit
without the relevant experience and skills. There is also an
incredibly persistent myth that people in nonprofits
are better motivated than those in for-profits. I don’t find that to be true. I find they’re motivated
by different things. And that’s great
and that’s awesome. But the question is
what the person is like. And then finally, people believe
that you might be paid less, but it will be compensated
for because the work will be more rewarding. And this is actually
not about the work. This is about you. Because somebody at Lambda
Legal and somebody at who are doing accounts
payable work are both doing exactly the same work. They may value it differently,
and they may value their workplace differently. But that’s not
inherent in the work. That’s inherent in the person. So it’s important
to be aware of that. Finally, some differences
in the public sector from for-profit
and nonprofit work. And this is one of the places
where hiring requirements may be more rigid. And the reason is they are
often set down in statute. So this is the one
area where it may be harder for you to say, look,
I have equivalent experience. Sometimes jobs will allow
that, sometimes not. It is also an area where
compensation benefits may not be negotiable, because,
again, sometimes it’s set down in public statute. Your salary may be
publicly available. When I was at the
University of Michigan as an assistant
professor, my salary was listed along with
every other employee of the state of Michigan
in a booklet, every year. And I was completely
creeped out by this. I felt like for two years like
I was not wearing underwear because my salary was out there. And I got over it. And the reason I got over
it is this, more data protects people with less power. Women are still typically
paid less than men. The University of Michigan
had a smaller payroll gap between men and women,
because all those data were publicly available. And there was pressure
to reduce that gap. So over time, I actually got
to be a fan of full salary disclosure everywhere. The me too movement has made
some of that clear as well. Your comments about your
job, not about everything, your comments about your job on
social media may be regulated. This is particularly the case
if you have sensitive law enforcement jobs. Now, I want everybody in here
to consider running for office. Not enough people with
graduate training do. And a great way actually
to learn project management is to shadow a campaign
or to volunteer to learn to run a budget. But I got to tell you, not
enough people out there, especially with
science training, think about running for office. And you should all think
about running for office. OK, last slide before
we go into the sort of discussion of the
mechanics of the job search. This is how to handle the slog. And it’s going to be a
slog of a job search. You are here because you have
succeeded on the academic path. You did well in high school. You did well as undergraduates. You got into very good
graduate programs. And here you are. Your job search,
on the other hand, is going to have a ton
of disappointments. The worst, of course,
is the great job that gets filled just
before you apply. Not many acknowledgments
of resumes, not many phone screens, not many interviews,
not many job offers, this is normal. It is not a sign
that you are failing. I recommend that
everyone read this piece. I’m not quite sure how to
pronounce her name correctly, Devoney, Devoney Looser,
“Me and My Shadow CV.” And she’s an academic. She teaches at Arizona State. And it’s about what
her CV would look like if it listed her
academic failures as well as her successes, because
a CV by definition lists stuff you got and
stuff you published. So this is about being aware
of how to handle the slog. Now, before I go
in to start talking about the actual
mechanics of a job search, do you have any questions
about the aspects of mental preparation. Yes. I have a question
about interviewing. So I recently finished
an interview process at a consulting firm. I didn’t make it
through, but I did meet a lot of people in the process. And I’m not sure what
the rules are about whom I can connect with on there. Absolutely, if you had good
interactions with them, if they seem positive
and professional, invite them to connect. Absolutely. I’ve heard people say that
LinkedIn’s algorithm works better if you have
more connections, so if just accept
willy nilly and then really concentrate on the
few that you want to pursue, it works better. Is this true or not? Well, you do. The question is, is it the
kind of visibility you want? I mean, the thing about
those random connections is you don’t know who
they’re connected to. And believe me when
I say you do not want to spend your day turning
down requests from say, hey, Anne, will you
introduce me to so-and-so. Because there’s also
an algorithm for people who are constantly saying no. So I wouldn’t do it. I mean, people use
LinkedIn differently. Some people say,
yes, to requests from people who label
themselves as recruiters because they think that
seems like a good thing. My somewhat cynical view is
that anyone can call themselves a recruiter. So I don’t recommend doing it. Is there a danger
in politicizing you resume if you
decide to volunteer and you put in that you I
volunteered for X campaign? It can be depending
on what you apply for. What you may want to
say instead is– just to give a sense of
responsibility– is campaign
volunteer, managed 60 volunteers for a
congressional campaign, because the relevant thing is
the scale which you operated. Now there will be people who
care about who volunteered for and there will be people
who will not care. So it depends on whether– you use your judgment. There will be times in which you
will list that on your resume and times in which you won’t. I will say if you get into any
kind of a professional way, almost everybody knows that
campaign professionals move around from person to person. It tends to be divided by
party, but less rigidly than you might think. Can you say a few
words about the content you would post on
LinkedIn versus what goes on your resume and the
level of detail on LinkedIn? So when you apply for a job–
and I’ll talk a little bit about this– you have to apply one to one. So you have a dedicated
job letter for a job. Your resume has to be
suited to that job. And that’s where most people
have two or three high level resumes. Your LinkedIn profile
is the one ring. And so it has to contain
all of that information. So if you have two somewhat
divergent interests, which most people do– like me, I’ve worked in
corporate tech companies, but I also have a big
consulting business– you lead with the
one that is currently most important to you. And then everything else
is reverse chronological, because that’s how
LinkedIn organizes it. Yes. You mentioned keeping
people updated, like connections, with
what sort of frequency do you notify them? I think unless you have
reason to know that something has changed, once
you put it in, you can be reasonably
confident of it. So the people who you
most contact, you’re going to know about,
because emails bounce and things change. And so on and so forth. So I don’t think you have to do
something like an email blast to all your contacts once a
year to say, hey, you know, if you get this and I don’t
know it, that’s what you do more for your personal contacts. Yes. How often do you apply
just cold for a job. At entry level jobs, more often. By cold, I assume you
mean just send in a letter and resume off the
street, so to speak. Yes. Not all that frequently. And I’ll tell you why. I’m going to talk about it
in this section a little bit. But it has to do with how much
research you do to find out if you are suited to the job. So let me actually just
start to talk about that. So here are the mechanics of
the nonacademic job search– job postings, hiring
managers, people like me who hire people like
you, and job search logistics. So how to search for them, where
to find them who writes them and who they are for– more important than you think– and how to learn to read them. And there are no
perfect candidates. So how to start
searching online. This is why it’s important
to do that template exercise. You can search geographically. You know, I need to
be within one hour or so and so because
my spouse lives there. You can do it by field or job
type, the couple of skills that I’m best at. You can do it by network. It is perfectly possible
to do a search this way. You can do it randomly
and everywhere. It’s very tempting to do this,
and it’s terribly unwise. There are very
few academic jobs. So people who apply
for academic jobs apply for absolutely everything
for which they are possibly suited. This leads them to do
the same thing when they apply for nonacademic jobs. And it’s insane,
because there’s so many more jobs that they immediately
drive themselves crazy. And you should not do this. This is how most successful
online searches start. It is not where they end. But this is how most
successful searches start. You take a set of key words
that describe what you do best. And you constrain it
by some geography. And then you start
pulling the threads and crawling into the
swamp of the internet. Eventually you find something. Now, where else do you look? So you look on websites
of companies, nonprofits, and public sector
services you admire. In other words, you search for
the organization, rather than the job. In publications on and offline
of places you want to live, you look for the place,
rather than the job. It is absolutely
possible to do this. Now international students. You should find companies
from your home country that do business in the US and the
US companies that do business in your home country. Those are the companies
that have the strongest vested interest in your joint
citizenship and your training. Your embassy or consulate
can help you with that. But it is possible,
absolutely, to search for an organization or a
place, rather than for a job initially. I have a question
on that last part. So say you’re in
the US and you want to work abroad, say in
Italy, because that’s where I want to work. You can. It is much harder without
a good reason to do it. So an Italian firm
hiring you has to have a reason
to hire you rather than either an Italian
citizen or an EU resident. So you have to make
really, really good case. It’s like an Italian citizen
who wants to work here. It’s like, you know, a US
firm is going to say, really? You want me to apply
for a green card rather than just hire
somebody from Wisconsin? I mean, because that’s
what an employer has to do. Now, who writes the
job descriptions? Sometimes it’s the
hiring manager. Sometimes it is someone
in human resources. Sometimes it’s the last
person to hold the job, particularly if that
person succeeded. I wrote many of my
job descriptions at Amazon because I was the
first one to hold the job. The important thing is this. The person who is hiring
you has not necessarily written the job description. And that means that
it’s really helpful to get a personal contact with
the organization to tell you what the job description means. That’s why LinkedIn matters. That’s why building up this
database of connections is so important. You’re good? Now, who are job
descriptions for? This is another really
important thing. They are, of course,
for candidates directly and indirectly. But they are also for the hiring
manager’s boss and finance to prove that the
position is really needed. Because applicants are not
the only audience for the job description, a personal
contact at the organization is always your best
source of information about what the job
description really means. This is why you go to the
trouble of building up LinkedIn contacts,
because you’re going to need to get through to
people to describe what the job description is really about. Now, this goes to
the question somebody asked about learning to
read job descriptions. You have to read a lot
of them, at least 100, to learn their jargon
before applying. Now that link there
goes to this page on my website, which is just in Graduate Students and Post-docs,
Nonacademic Job Postings, Translating Non-Ac to Ac. So you see all of these
terms that academic jobs use. And then for each
of these terms, I have a description
of what they mean and what comparable
non-academic situations are. So it’s a sort of little
translator for you. We can’t see anything. Oh, crap. All right, go away. Uh, oh. I think we’ve lost the mouse. It’s on the screen. It is? All right, that’s good. That’s an improvement, because– I know, it’s not showing mine. Let’s try this again. Hello, there we go. OK, thank you. So this is my website,
practical workplace advice, it’s just And this is a post that compares
the language of nonacademic job postings and
translates them into relative academic experience. So there’s all the
skills they talk about. And here is a translation to
comparable academic situations. So make sure you read this
post before you go out on the job market. Now, let’s see if
they let me get back. Learn to read on
the current slide. Yes. Yes. All right, there’s the link. Learn the Academic
Nearest Equivalents for Required and
Requested Skills, those are two posts that
will help you do that. Ask friends in
those type of work to help you learn how to
read job descriptions. Now, if you find an organization
that you think is interesting– and this is a very, very
good reason to search for an organization you’re
interested rather than a particular job– you can call their HR or
their recruiting function and ask if they conduct
informational interviews. Tell them you found a job
posting you are interested in and ask if they do informational
interviews that help describe the job more fully. Many companies do this. It tends to be larger companies. It actually tends to be larger
companies and very tiny ones who are trying to recruit. It’s the ones in the middle
that are sometimes hard. But you have to
learn the jargon. It’s like any other jargon. Now, this is important. There are no perfect candidates. Applicants have different
skills in different degrees. All hires are compromises. If you like the job
description and you don’t have every required
and requested skill, find out which ones are key. This is why you have to
find somebody to ask. If you like the job
description, and you can make a case that you’ve
done that kind of work, apply for the job. Women, apply for the job. Women self-censor in
ways that men do not. It is hurting your
financial future, and it is hurting your careers. Apply for the job. Best job descr– yes, go ahead. In terms of job description,
I’ve seen a couple of times by looking for a
specific organization that they will have two job
descriptions, like two openings that are kind of related. And you could make the case for
why you could do either one. Is it a faux pas to
apply for two jobs. Do you pick the one you that
want or how do you go about it? You have to have a good reason. In that case, what I
would do, I would probably call the company. I would probably call or
email the recruiter and say, I saw these two jobs. I actually have a skill
set that could credibly apply to both of those. Here’s what I’m interested in. What do you recommend? Absolutely do that
level of research. But always apply for the thing
for which you are best suited. So that’s job descriptions. I want to talk a little
bit about hiring managers, the human beings who read your
applications and hire you. So what is it that they need? Hiring managers needs someone
to solve problems for them, either to handle the
current volume of work or to take on a
new type of work. This is important. For all those reasons I talked
about in job descriptions, hiring managers do not always
know everything they need, especially for a
new type of work or especially for work they
may just have been assigned. For example, at Amazon, where
we seem to do a big reorg once a year, once there
was a large reorg that handed me management
of the photo studio, where we photographed products,
about which I knew nothing. Oh, well. So what I had to do was learn
about it quickly and rely on my managers to
help me learn how to hire in senior ways
in the photo studio. That happens all the time. And so they had to
persuade me about what the right kind of candidate was. Here’s why I went
to all the trouble to describe the fact that
hiring managers do not always write the job descriptions. Sometimes what they need isn’t
in there, because sometimes they didn’t write
the job description. This is particularly
true for job families where lots of people get hired
at once, like a publishing house that hires five
entry level copy editors, and they don’t
happen to advertise that it would be awesome if
one of them spoke German. Now, here’s what
hiring managers want. They absolutely want
every skill they need, but believe me when I say they
will take a subset, especially if skills are in high demand,
if the job is in a hard location to recruit for, if
it’s critical and it’s been open for a while– and here is your wedge– if the candidate is smart
and willing to learn. If you can show me that you have
a track record and you come in and say, oh, you don’t know
Python, and then you say, yeah, I don’t but you know what? I learned C++ in six weeks when
I had to and I learned MATLAB. I learned a bunch
of other stuff. I can do this. Here’s my track
record of learning. Here’s the important point. Hiring managers will
expect a new person if they accept a job to start
usually within two weeks, certainly within the notice
period for quitting a job. So what this means for you
is that when you are getting to the end of your
graduate work, it’s important to know when you
will be willing to start a job, because many hiring managers
will not want to hear, I’ll start it when I
finished my dissertation. It’s like, no. No. No, it’s February 5th. So you’re going to start
on the 16th, right? Like what? Or as soon as budgeted. Now, there are some
hiring managers who do understand the
university hiring cycle and will let you start, say,
in September or whatever it is. But you have to
be clear about it. And you have to really know when
your time in graduate school is going to come to an end. Now, how do hiring
managers behave? They have a mental idea
of the person they want and the skills
they want, but they can be persuaded otherwise. You can make the case that
you’re the right person with the right skills. Hiring manages trust someone
who has worked at the company to refer people more
than anybody else, because nobody knows what
it’s like more than somebody who’s actually been there. Again, this is a reason
to make connections so you can get to
somebody and say, hey, can you tell me like what’s
really going on in the company? What do they really need? OK, that’s hiring managers. Now, before I go into
a section on logistics, let me ask you if you have
any other questions about job postings or about
hiring managers. Yes. So with regard to timing, so
you say they want to hire you, is that to say don’t
apply a few months out? Or is that to say,
in a cover letter– Right, so what I typically
assume, the assumption I make is that a job search for the
job at the level of you guys are going to apply for it’s
going to take about six months. I’m assuming that’s
three or four months of that is
research, where you’re not contacting anybody. You’re just doing research. You’re figuring out companies. You’re building up connections. And then you start
applying when you credibly know that if they offer you a
great job at a great salary, you can say, thank
you, I accept. But that’s something
you have to know. But I would never
say in a job letter, I’d love to apply if I
can start in eight months. It’s like no. So do you mean, when you
know a date you can start or you know you can start now. So in other words I know that
I’m going to graduate it May now. Right. I understand. Yes, you know that now. And so you can say
that in a job letter like, looking forward to my
expected finishing date in May. I’d be available to start on x. If a job is that great
and that suitable to you, I would definitely apply. But from their
perspective, if they’ve got someone who took
a January degree, they’re probably going
to hire that person. Yes. So my question is from
the opposite side. How long does a
hiring process take? So if I’m applying for job
now, I can start in two week, but how much time to get through
interviews, to get my resume looked at. It varies wildly. It varies insanely wildly. Because a lot of
times what happens– and none of this
is visible to you, which is why it’s incredibly
frustrating and opaque. You know, all of a sudden,
like whoops, the guy who was going to run the division
you were hiring at moved to a competitor company. So all of a sudden they
don’t know if they’re going to do that project. Or whoops, they lost a grant
because the budget got cut for it in Washington DC. So they can no longer
do the project right. So all that stuff is
behind Oz’s curtain. You never see it. And that’s why I say plan
on a six month, at least, time to get hired, and of
which three to four months is purely research and
not contacting anybody. Yes. How long do you give– obviously some jobs
say, resumes need to be submitted by this date. If you don’t hear anything
how long after submitting your resume or after
that date would you suggest touching
base with the company and just wondering– Two weeks. Two weeks and following
up in two months intervals until they
tell you to stop. No, no, I mean,
that’s how it is. People get busy. And also, employers
like persistence. Man, I can’t keep
following up on everybody. Yes. You mentioned that employers
appreciate when you’re willing to learn something. Is that something that you
would put on the resume. Like if they have a requirement
that you don’t meet when you started or if you’d like
to learn more about it, would you put on the resume,
I have this much experience. I’m willing to learn. No. No. I assume you’re
willing to learn. If you’re not willing to learn,
please do not apply to my job. OK, I’m going to move
on and I’ll come. This is the overall
logistic process. Before you apply, then
the basic process. Here is what you must do before
you apply to anything at all. This is in those months
that you are getting ready. You must draft a
resume, not a CV. It has to be reviewed by
somebody outside of academics and you have to
upload it to LinkedIn once it’s been reviewed. If you’ve already
got a resume up that hasn’t been reviewed
by a nonacademic, don’t worry about it. Leave it up there until you
get one that has been reviewed. Read lots of job descriptions
before you apply it anything. Know what you’re getting into. Review your online presence. Be able to explain it right. Check all the places
you might be online. Do a vanity Google search
and read about three pages worth of results. Revise or create a
short writing sample. I no longer hire without
reading a writing sample. For intelligent, interested,
non-specialist readers, get a nonacademic friend
to read it and revise it. You and I mean something
different by short. I mean 500 words. Identify and clean your
interview clothing. Do this because you will
be asked to interview on relatively short notice. This is not like job
hiring conventions which take place and identify
times for months in the future. If you are asked to
interview, they maybe say, can you come on Thursday. And it’s like [GROANS]. The answer is yes. And you have your black pants
and your appropriate shoes and your jacket or whatever
you’re going to wear. But you will often
be asked to do that on a much shorter
notice than you are used to as academics. International students,
you have to know and have documents for your visa status. You have to be absolutely
buttoned up about this stuff. All of this has to happen before
you apply to anything at all. Good? Yes. What kind of writing sample? The way I describe
a writing sample is it shows you
stating a hard problem and how you solved it to
an intelligent, interested non-specialist. Sometimes that is a
course description. Sometimes it is an abstract of
a paper for a popular audience. It can be a conference
proposal that you wrote. Those often work
especially well. But you have to
have something that is written for an audience that
is other than your dissertation director. And honestly, not
a lot of people think about writing audiences
other than their dissertation director for about three years. And it really changes
your prose style. And you have to
think about that. Yes? So then could you take a take
a specific page from your grant and apply it– Oh, totally, totally. Yeah. Absolutely. Intelligent, interested
non-specialists, absolutely. OK, so that’s before you apply. Here is the basic process. You find a job listing. You’ve researched
the organization. You find a contact there if
you can and discuss the job. You apply with a
resume and a letter. Usually a phone or
video interview. Usually an in-person interview. You submit references
and supporting material. You receive an offer. We have all the
nightmarish stories of people who apply to 200
jobs and hear nothing back. Those people have not
done the stuff in blue, because they have thrown
spaghetti against the wall and they’re seeing what sticks. And that is no way to conduct
a professional job search and stay sane. What you have to do
is you have to do enough research about
organizations and jobs to have a sense that you
can be a credible applicant, because credible
people are not usually up applying to 200 things. You know, they’re applying
to 20 or 40, but not 200. The first contact
you make once you find after researching the
job type and the organization and the individual job– this goes back to the
LinkedIn question– you write a job letter that
is tailored to the job, one to one. You submit a resume that
is suited to the job. Most people have
three-ish resumes. It is backed up by
a LinkedIn profile that supports that job
that makes credible sense. So when they go to your LinkedIn
profile, it’s like, oh, right, I remember this candidate. Now, most people will read the
letter or the resume carefully, but they will not read
both equally carefully. So it’s important that
they stand on their own. The letter will not have all
the stuff in your resume, but it has to be
clear from the letter that you’re a
suitable candidate. And it has to be
clear from your resume that you’re a
suitable candidate. Here’s what
interviewers usually do. They look at your
LinkedIn profile and see if you guys
know anybody in common and then they call them. They Google your name. They read your letter
and your resume and not both equally carefully. And some people are
only going to read one. They ask around at the
company, anyone know this guy? And they review your writing
work or your code sample, if you have any. So that’s what an
interviewer does. You have to prepare as
carefully as the interviewer, but in different ways. So for a phone or for
in-person interviews, here’s what you have to do. You must prepare at least
three questions, one each about the job, the
company, and the location. When they ask you, do you
have any questions for us, the first part of
the answer is yes. And then you go on
with your questions. If you do not care
about the job to do at least that much
research, there is no reason for them to care
about you as a candidate. For phone and
video, you might be asked to use Skype, BlueJeans,
Zoom, whatever it is. If you don’t use whatever
their platform is regularly, download it and test it first. Free your phone area from
visual and oral distractions. So if you have children,
if you have pets, if you have noisy
roommates, if you have posters that someone
might find inappropriate on your walls, one thing you
can do is, of course, clean up. But the other
thing you can do is call the career center and say,
look, I need a quiet space. I don’t have one. And ask to borrow it. So it is so hard to
find academic job so that when people go on
a nonacademic job market and get an interview, they
often get very excited. And they stop
their job searches. They say, ooh, this is the
thing I’m going to get. Don’t do that. Don’t stop your job search until
you are seated in your new job after orientation. Because I’ve got to
tell you, stuff happens. Grants go away. People transfer. Projects go south. All kinds of things happen. You need to be looking for a job
until you are seated in a job that you have. Yeah, go ahead. About not stopping until
you are seated in the job. Does that mean accepting
the job or actually going in the office on day one. That means going to the office
on day one and signing papers. Yeah, because stuff happens. It really does. So in-person interviews. Typically a scheduler
will call you. You may ask the scheduler
about the interview standard of dress. If you forget to ask, you can’t
call the day before and ask. Sometimes you’ll be given the
name of your interviewers. And if you are, do
the same preparation that they do for you. I recommend that even
if you normally take notes on a device, which
is how I take them now, that you bring a pad and pen. And the reason for
that is this when you take notes on a device,
typically your eyes are here. When you take notes
on a pad or pen, typically your eyes are here. And that difference
of 10 degrees is helpful for keeping you
focused on your interviewer. And that is a good thing. Bring a hard copy of
your references’ name and current contact. That information absolutely
should not be on your resume. And wait to be asked
to hand it over. And then finally,
if you are not told when you can expect
to hear back, you can ask at your
last interview. Typically, your
last interview is going to be either
someone from HR, the recruiter, or
the hiring manager. And you can then ask when
you can expect to hear back. This goes to the question
about following up after interviewers. You should send
a thank you note. You should send a thank you
note to the hiring manager or to the recruiter. I raise a lot of money
for Lambda Legal. And I do a lot of
volunteer work for them. And after the good work of
the organization itself, the single most powerful
fundraising tool I have is a handwritten
thank you note. And again, if you’ve
had good interactions with the people who
have interviewed, invite them to
connect on LinkedIn. Whether the hiring decision
is positive or not, this is how we all
build contacts, because you never know. You could be hiring
them someday. I have a question about
the LinkedIn connections. Suppose you have an interview
and the outcome was negative. In that case, should
you bring that up in your connection request? Or should you just say,
we had a good time– No, thank you. Thank you for the
good conversation. I learned a lot. So you don’t directly
say the outcome was this? No, no, because you’re not
connecting on the basis of only getting the job. If you were, I wouldn’t
have most of the LinkedIn connections I do. OK, references, typically
these are given by phone or submitted online, rather
than written ahead of time. Requested response
time is shorter than for an academic job. 3 to 5 is a good number. Of current research
colleagues, importantly one need not be your supervisor. It is helpful, but
not require, that one can speak to your work
in academic settings. Give them the job description
and your current resume. Here’s the thing that
should make you happy. References are less critical
for nonacademic jobs. In academics, you cannot get
a job without a strong letter from your supervisor. You just can’t. But in my world, references
are much more confirmatory. And everybody understands
that sometimes they’re bosses and situations
that just don’t work. People get that. Now, one day everybody
sitting in this room is going to be hiring people. I want you to remember
being new to the job search. And I want you to
remember being rejected. I want you all, at that time,
when you’re hiring people to craft a courteous,
professional rejection and to send it promptly. You remember how
awful it is when you apply for stuff
that you don’t know if you’ve gotten it yet. You’re just sort of
hanging on and waiting. That’s gross. It’s a gross thing
to do, and it’s a gross way to treat people. And sometimes, you
know, you have to do it, because there’s
long times when you don’t know who’s going to
accept it or whatever it is. But as soon as you know
and can exclude someone, sending a rejection is
actually a kind thing to do. Now everybody you
interact with may be or may refer your
next great employee. One of the key things
about academics is it’s mentality of there’s
only a few people that count. There’s only a few senior
faculty or whatever. And there is a tendency
in academics to develop hierarchies of people. And you never know out there
in the nonacademic world who is going to be that person. So I want you to treat everybody
courteously and professionally at all times. And I want you to treat everyone
as somebody who can contribute to your organization. This is not a skill
that academics values as much as it should. And it’s one of the things that
will help you professionally. All right, now we’re getting
to the end of our time, so I have three very,
very short sections now on what you should do next. You should do the
template exercise. You should update
it once a year. The initial exercise
is excruciating. It takes, I don’t know, eight
hours over three sessions. Once you’ve done it,
though, the yearly updates are incredibly quick, just
like half an hour, once a year. You should join LinkedIn. Add the people you
know well right away. Add the people the template
exercise brings to mind. And then keep adding people. You should create a
nonacademic email address, unless applying from is an advantage. You will know which
departments those are. Clean up your contacts. Keep them current. And set a regular
backup schedule. Here’s some resources
that will help you., payscale and and are splendid places
to go for information about negotiating salary. Many people are very
wigged out by this, but these are great
sites to help you., this will help
you with presentation ideas if for your career, if
not at a job interview. LinkedIn recently ate them. So when you type
in you will be taken to LinkedIn. Careers in Gov. This tweeter feed is
the single quickest way to look at a lot of
job descriptions, because what municipalities
and states and counties do is they post job
descriptions here. And what you can do is click
on them and go read them. 99.9% of these will be
completely irrelevant to you. It is everything from
entry level police officer to city manager for Calgary. But what you will
learn quickly is what is available out
there in the public sector, but also how these jobs
describe themselves. And you should
really absolutely set a goal of reading at
least 100 job descriptions before you reply to anything. This is a quick way to learn. That’s my website. Lots of posts on aspects of
the nonacademic job search. And I used to be an academic,
so here’s a book list. Ferrazzi, Never
Eaten Alone, this is a great, great
book about networking. Atul Gawande, The
Checklist Manifesto, this is the single
best book I know for completing large
amorphous projects, which really perfectly
describes a job search. Amanda Litman,
Run for Something, I said I hope many
of you will consider running for public office. This is someone who worked on
both the Obama and the Clinton campaigns. And it’s about running for
office at the local level and how to do it. It’s an extraordinarily
interesting guide. One word of warning, she
uses the f-bomb the way I use semi-colons. So if that is not
your kind of thing, this is not your kind of book. Molly Wizenberg, A
Homemade Life, this is someone who made up a
career and then walked into it. She became a food blogger
before that was a thing. She left graduate school
to do it and to sort of– this is a bildungs
roman, a story about how her life came to be. It’s particularly helpful for
people who are considering not finishing graduate school. Finally, some reminders. Careers are long. And they rarely follow
predictable pathways. I mean, at 26, I was
on the professor track. And I was born into it. I was born literally born in
the shadow of the bell tower at Cornell. And I had never
been anywhere else. And if someone
had told me that I would be selling
books on the internet, it was like, what’s that? And then doing
this, this was not a career I could have
imagined for myself, but it was one I have
built for myself. The nonacademic work is awesome. There is great, great
interesting work out there and
great, great people. And finally, this
is something that I think should give
you more confidence and optimism more anything else. Things that are not invented
yet will create new jobs. One of the wails
of my mother was the jobs are all going away. And what she meant by
that, which I sort of get, because I get her anxiety, was
when I graduated from college in 1983 with a bachelor’s
degree in English, what English majors did on the
East Coast was they all rolled like marbles
down to New York City and they got jobs as copy
editors at publishing houses. It is absolutely true that many
of those jobs have gone away. What is also true, though,
and what nobody ever says is that new jobs
are being created. Here’s what they are. When I published my
book about young women in technical
workplaces and how they learn what they need to say
next, here’s what I had to do. I had to find
someone to format it for me for all the
various e-readers because I published
it digitally first. I had to find
someone to design it the way it would appear
on e-reading text from my Word document. And I had to find
someone who would do a graphic design
of a book cover that would look good in the
micro space of the internet. None of those jobs existed when
I left either my undergraduate or my graduate work. And that’s the reason
I am optimistic, not only about new jobs being
created, but for you guys, because I have seen you hired
into new and interesting roles. I have seen you creating
really cool things that weren’t there before and making it up. And making it up requires
education and intelligence and drive and research. And you all have that,
and you all can do that. So I expect to succeed. I have had evidence of
previous generations of graduate students succeeding. And I think you will do well. And the final
thing I want to say is that having been a
graduate student myself and remembering how hard
it was to find an hour, I’m really quite grateful
that you have given me two. So thank you very much.

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