Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Today, I learned how to send a fax by using my smartphone's texting function. Isn’t technology great? Well, yes it is … when it makes our lives easier and more comfortable. (When was the last time you got up to manually change the channel on your television?) But it can be scary when it threatens to invade our privacy, share our secrets with everyone ... or even take away our jobs.
This month’s career link-fest focuses on the future, technology and how career issues intersect with uncertainty and the unexpected. We have good news and bad news on the “robots are coming to take your jobs” front; an interesting report from a Google recruiter on how they really hire and what they really look for in engineers; and a look at how one job-seeker landed a job she really wasn’t qualified for (on paper).
Let’s get the bad news out of the way: automation and artificial intelligence is reducing human participation in a lot of jobs that used to be thought of as “indispensable.” Mr. Shelly Palmer, CEO of the Palmer Group, provides an eye-opener of a post with a list robot-encroached jobs that includes middle managers (the robots can use Excel, too), ad salespersons, accountants … even physicians (make way for robo-surgeons and cyborg diagnosticians) and REPORTERS! (gulp!)
But best part of this post is Palmer’s advice on what to do if your job is in danger, which is, essentially, don’t freak out.
“We know that machine learning is going to be used to automate many, if not most, low-level cognitive tasks. Our goal is to use our high-level cognitive ability to anticipate what parts of our work will be fully automated and what parts of our work will be so hard for machines to do that man-machine partnership is the most practical approach.”
Shelly Palmer’s report on whose jobs are most vulnerable to replacement by robots or other automated systems continues, with an interesting projection of who has a little bit more time, or simply doesn’t have to worry about Mr. Roboto becoming their co-worker (or boss).
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that preschool and elementary school teachers are unlikely to be replaced by robots, or that politicians will evade the creation of a Cyber Congress because they can legislate their own job security. Judges and mental health professionals get a pass too, because their work is so complicated and nuanced in terms of judging human behavior. But guess what? Artists and other creative jobs are NOT safe. Palmer writes: “Technology has already had a huge impact on the economics of the arts. And, as much as I would like to tell you otherwise, none of these jobs are anywhere near safe.”
As in the previous article, Palmer emphasizes that being ready for the human-machine confluence is the key to avoiding vocational catastrophe. “Learn how your job is going to be automated. Learn everything you can about what your job will evolve into and become the very best man-machine partner you can,” he writes. “It’s the best way to prepare yourself for the advent of AI.”
If you long to create cool things at Google, but somehow missed out on a degree in a STEM field, there’s good news: according to Fast Company post author Keawe Block, a recruiter at Google, the Internet giant wants people who can do the work, and is less interested in your academic pedigree (he says they don’t even look at your GPA) than what you’re actually able to do.
While the post is aimed specifically at people wanting to get into engineering positions at Google, the pointers that Block offers could be useful for anyone who wants to take their career in a more tech-y direction. His tips include:
- Don’t disqualify your self preemptively - People from a huge variety of backgrounds end up working for technology companies.
- Show us what you can do - If you can code, show the interviewer what you did. The venue (hackathon, coding competitions, work assignments) matters less than your end product.
- Get comfortable with coding exercises - You’re going to have to code during the interview. Practice with a friend or family member ahead of time so you’re ready.
- Remember what got you noticed in the first place - Combat “impostor syndrome” by employing relaxation exercises and demonstrating your transparency with interviewers.
Now, here I am, writing on a career blog that promotes the value of preparing yourself for a career … what I am doing sharing a post about applying for jobs that one is not qualified for? Because. Because sometimes a job that you are a perfect fit for in terms of company culture, your attitude and your strengths comes to you at a time when your resume looks a little thin in terms of your actual work accomplishments in that field or your college degree.
HR Generalist Natalie Fisher describes in detail what she did early in her career to snag a job in sales and account management through a connection she had working in a cafe at a business park. She says looking back, she realizes the following factors played a major role in her landing the job for which she was “unqualified.”
- She had a referral from within the company, which made her a known quantity.
- She had a professional resume writer prepare her resume, which showcased the qualities she did possess in the best possible light.
- She found it easy to be likeable, which is a large (if hidden) factor in why hiring managers will choose one job candidate over another.
- She very strategically asked her interviewers what the top priorities would be for someone entering the role in the first three months on the job. This allowed her to shape all of her subsequent answers around their response.
I personally think that last action was a stroke of absolute genius. The entire article is a good primer in how to set yourself up to show off your best qualities in a job interview. Not every person will be able to find the success that Natalie had in this situation, but if you need something to prompt you to step out of your comfort zone when applying for jobs, this post might do the trick.
~ Liz Massey, Managing Editor, ASU Alumni Association