Career Links: May 2016

 New graduates celebrate during undergraduate commencement on May 9, 2016, at Chase Field in Phoenix. Photo by Ben Moffat/ASU Now.


OK, OK, so May is traditionally the month for school graduation ceremonies, and ASU recently held its Spring Commencement and numerous convocations to celebrate the success of the Class of 2016. Even if you didn’t graduate, or know someone who did, it’s likely your day has been impacted  this month by someone’s college, high school, middle school, elementary school, or pre-school (yes they have those) graduation ceremony.

 One of the reasons that the smaller, more intimate celebrations of student success are called “convocations,” even thought they fall at the end of the school year, is because they are supposed to herald the beginning of the rest of one’s life. Some things end when a student becomes an alumni (going to school), some things begin (a full-time job, if one is lucky) and some things continue. One of the items that should remain in the “continue” category is lifetime learning.

 Lifetime learning is especially important in terms of career development. This month’s links provide opportunities to learn new things about how to be a leader, how effective job searches are really conducted, what constitutes “good career advice,” and how women can breakthrough gender-based bias at work. Although grades aren’t officially given in this ongoing “School of Life” learning project, the benefits of keeping an open mind and being willing to practice new skills are unlimited!

10 Simple Mindset Changes That Will Turn You Into a Real Leader | The Muse

Most of us have had supervisors who were simply our “boss.” And some of us have been lucky enough to have been led by a bona-fide leader - someone who regards their position as one of trust and not necessarily unbridled authority.

The Muse recently shared a cute infographic created by the folks at Office Vibe to illustrate the difference in mindset between someone in “boss” mode and someone who operates in “leader” mode. Many of the comparisons aren’t new - bosses are impersonal, leaders are compassionate; a boss inspires fear (think Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada”), a leader earns respect (think Richard Branson of The Virgin Group). But with charming images, the post is a nice reminder of the sort of management style to aim for that will create admirers and far fewer behind-the-scenes detractors.


The Biggest Job Search Myth, Debunked

You may want to sit down for this - Jennifer Parris of FlexJobs has just dropped a piece of news so big, the entire career services industry may need to come to a screeching halt to absorb its impact. We’ve all heard (and I know I’ve quoted) the statistic that 70 to 80 percent of all job openings are never made public, and are filled through networking or word-of-mouth referrals.

First, Parris traces the lineage of this “myth.” It turns out that it traces its origins to research by Harvard sociologist Mark Granovetter, who was quoted in Forbes in the mid-1970s as saying 75 percent of successful job searches were the result of informal contacts. So, the story is more than 40 years old, and there have been just a few teensy changes in the workplace, technology and the economy in the meantime.

Second, the writer checked recent statistics to see if the myth held up using current data. It didn’t. She says that a CareerXRoads 2014 Source of Hire study found that from 2011-2013, people were hired based on the following methods:

  • Referrals: 24 percent
  • Career site: 17 percent
  • Job boards: 18 percent
  • Direct source: 9 percent (e.g., contacted through LinkedIn or already have your resume on file)
  • 3rd party: 4 percent (recruiting agency)
  • Others: 20 percent (temp-to-hire, rehires, etc.)

So that translates to just 33 percent (one-third) of jobs coming from a referral or informal source, and just over another third (35 percent) coming from career sites and online job boards. While targeted networking and making personal contacts at companies you want to work for is never a bad thing, this post indicates that it may be worth it to diversify your job search strategies and try a fresh approach if  you’re feeling stuck.


When People Ask For Career Advice, This Is What I Tell Them | Inc.

Insight founder Justin Bariso apparently gets a lot of email asking for advice as a result of penning a column for Inc. And most of that advice centers on just 3 questions:

  •  Should I quit my job?
  • What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
  • What should I do to sharpen my leadership (or emotional intelligence) skills?

 So instead of answering all those emails individually, he wrote this post, and the upside is that those of us who hadn’t thought to write to him yet get in on some of his wisdom.

This relatively short post is organized by the “lessons” Bariso says he’s passed on to others. One of the ones I like best is titled “You can learn to do anything.”

 The resources are out there to learn just about anything.But no matter how many online courses you take or videos you watch, and regardless of the formal education you've received, true learning comes down to doing. For example, if you ever start working for yourself, you'll have to learn marketing, sales, and finance--in addition to everything else.

But don't be intimidated: Find others who are good at what you want to learn, and observe. Seek out mentors; ask for feedback. Then, practice. It takes time, but remember: Everyone was "the new guy" at some point.

This post is nice for charging yourself up when you don’t feel confident, or passing along to a new graduate who is still trying to figure out how this whole “making a career” thing works. 


The Goldilocks Dilemma | ChangeThis

ChangeThis is known for publishing brief (under 20 pages) “manifestos” that propose new ways of working, creating and living. This link, authored by Andrea Kramer and Alton Harris, takes on the knotty problem of career advancement for women and offers suggestions for dealing with a pernicious bias against women who attempt to make progress in traditionally male fields - namely, that if they behave in stereotypically female ways, they are seen as less talented and less suited for challenging assignments, but if they behave with authority, competence, and independence, they are branded “aggressive, abrasive and bossy.”

Kramer and Harris, who are the authors of the book “Breaking Through Bias,” assert that all employers should take steps to ensure their workplaces evaluate, compensate and promote women on a basis comparable to men. However, in this manifesto, they offer some tips for women to try now, to make headway against bias while waiting for meaningful reform to take place.

Their solution is something they call “attuned gender communication,” in which a woman “can manage the impressions others have of her so that she is neither too soft nor too hard, but just right.”  They provide a list of behaviors to avoid (ones that undercut one’s authority or project an overly submissive posture) and ones to embrace (which help soften self-assertion with warmth and inclusiveness). 

Some people may argue that attuned gender communication is playing into the misogynistic game, but for the most part, the manifesto comes across as practical and not assimilationist. The authors claim that research validates the effectiveness of their suggestions — it might be interesting to try some of these suggestions and see how they work for you.

~Liz Massey, Managing Editor, ASU Alumni Association