The Graduate Student’s Guide to the Non Academic Job Search Part 2


All right, so now we are
getting into the third part that is by itself the longest time. I’m going to talk about the
actual mechanics of a job search. I’m going to talk about job
postings, hiring managers, mental preparation
that you should do, the logistics of job
searching, and a little bit about potentially flying
solo and being your own boss. All right, job postings–
who writes them, who they are for, how to search
for them, where to find them. Now, who writes job postings? Sometimes it’s the
hiring manager, but sometimes– especially for
entry level jobs or jobs where they’re hiring a lot of the
same people– it’s written by human resources, and
sometimes it’s the last person to hold the job. So, when I was at Amazon I was
one of the early employees, and I wrote– I want to say
when I left my first three jobs at Amazon and
went to the next one, I wrote the description. Now, who are job postings for? Directly, of course, they’re
for external and internal candidates, but there are also
a lot of indirect audiences. And it’s important to realize
this about job descriptions. They’re also for the
hiring manager’s boss to prove that the hiring
manager knows what she’s doing. Finance reviews them to
prove the position is needed. Human resources does it. So, the thing that’s
important to realize about job descriptions is when you
see a job description that seems to want
everything and you say who is going to fulfill
that, bear in mind that the applicant is
not the only audience. Especially coming
out of a recession as we did after 2008
where a lot of people could not make
hires for a while, they are going to be wanting
absolutely everything they can get, because the
fear is, oh my god, I’ll never get to hire anybody else. So, they will cram it all
into a job description to prove to their
boss that they really, really need this
person and people like us read the job description
and goes who is that. So, you just need
to be bear in mind that this dynamic
is taking place. Now, how do you search
for job descriptions? Many people start out
with a geographic search. They say I want to
be within a one hour commute of a certain
place, or I have to use public
transportation so anything I can get to via public transit. Or they do a field search,
training manual writing, event management
of public parks, and they’ll look for anything
anywhere that does that. Sometimes they will
search by network. I’ll work my
LinkedIn connections and I’ll work through
my career centers. Oh dear, please do not do this. Many, many people who come
out of academics where there are very, very few academic
jobs when they are confronted with a vast universe
of non-academic jobs panic and apply for everything. Do not do this. It’s understandable. It’s understandable that you
want to maximize your chances, but it is almost never
the best thing to do. This is usually how
successful job searches start. You take a set of
key words describing what you do best– this is
why that skill exercise is important– and you
limit it by geography. This is not where
job searches end, but this is where
successful ones typically start with some focus to
the topic and some focus to the region. Now, where do you actually
find job descriptions? The huge majority
of job descriptions that anyone in this room will
be applying for will be online. So, you go to the websites
of companies, and nonprofits, and public sector services you
admire or ones that you think stink and you want
to make them better. In publications on
and offline of places you might like to
live– there is no geographic area
in the country that does not want to attract
relatively young, educated workers. That’s what you guys are. And the chamber of commerce
of almost every entity from the municipal level
through the state level will have job postings
and a description of who they’re trying to attract. LinkedIn has job postings. People you know
have job postings. And then finally, how
many people in here are not citizens of
the United States, so just the
international students? OK, so for
international students, find the companies in your
home country that do business here and find the
companies here that do business in
your home country, and your embassy or
consulate can help with this. Because those are
the companies that have the greatest interest
in your dual education from your home country and
from the United States. That is a great way to
start, but all of these are really good ways
to find job postings. Now, once you find them,
what do you do with them? So, it is really,
really important that before you
apply to anything that you read a ton
of job descriptions, because you need to
understand what’s jargon and what’s actually unique
to a particular job. It is important to learn
the academic nearest equivalents for required
and requested skills. Now, that was that
slide I showed you when you changed your
self-description, but here’s something
else I want to show you. Let’s assume this is up here. So this is my
website [INAUDIBLE], and if you click on graduate
students and post-docs– is that showing? Ah, I hate it when
that does that. I told it to stop. Hello? Now the cursor has failed. Grr. Ah, all right. All right, if we have to brute
force this we will, we will. Graduate students
and post-docs– OK, so I have here a number of posts
about describing your skills in a job letter, writing
samples, all this other stuff. But here are the
two things you have to read about this– one is
how to read non-academic job postings and one
is understanding common terminology in
non-academic job postings. So, you will find here– here
is a list of a lot of terms you will see in a job posting
and below each of them I have a list of what comparable
academic situations are. So, I’m not going to
go into this in detail because I have it
posted for you, but that’s where
you can find it. But you’ve really got to teach
yourself the jargon before you go apply for stuff. It’s very important that
you get a human being to help you learn how to
read job descriptions. I have posted a bunch of stuff
and it will be helpful for you, but it’s ask friends
in those type of work to help you read those
job descriptions. This is why I said to you that
it was so important that you go ahead and make LinkedIn
connections with all those undergraduate
friends of yours, because one day some
of them are going to help you interpret those
jobs, because they say, oh yeah, I had a job like that. Here’s what this really means. I know this is what it says,
but here’s what it really means. Now, a personal contact
at the organization is your best source
of information. What I’m referring to here
is that first slide where I said sometimes
the hiring manager writes the job description,
but sometimes it’s HR, or sometimes it’s people like me
who held the job two jobs ago. You always want
to ask the person on the ground what this job
description really means. So, it is worth spending
time on LinkedIn and on your
connections so you have the best chance of reaching
out to an organization. Now I’m going to talk a
little bit about the hiring managers behind the job
descriptions– who they are, what they need, what they may
want, what they really want, and how they behave. So, a hiring manager is
one of two kinds of people. They are the direct supervisor
of the person they’re hiring– so I hire
you, you you’re going to come work for
me– or they are recruiting or human resources staff. So, again, they may not
know exactly what the hiring manager wants, but especially
in big organizations you may not be hired by the
person you directly work for. Now, what do hiring
managers need? They need someone to
solve problems for them. They either need to
address the volume of work or take on a new type of work. Hiring managers do
not need a PhD per se, or a master’s student
per se, or a postdoc. They need someone
to solve problems, and it’s important that you
start thinking of yourself as having skills,
not a credential. Now, remember why I said
that not all the hiring managers don’t always
write the job description. Sometimes what the
hiring manager needs is not in the job
description, especially if somebody else wrote it. And sometimes they
don’t know everything they need, especially
for a new type of work. In organizations, so-called
reorgs or reorganizations happen all the time where
all of a sudden somebody has to manage something
that they maybe don’t know a ton about, and
all of a sudden they have to hire for those positions. So, it is not always the
case that hiring managers know everything that
they’re going to be needing. You can exploit this. Now, what do hiring
managers want? This is a personality problem. If they have recently had an
employee that they liked a ton, they may want to replace exactly
that type of personality again, or if they just fired
somebody and can’t stand them, they may want nothing
like that person. So you had this weird experience
of going into an interview and being really well
suited for the job, and its like, whoa, the hiring
manager just didn’t like me. And you know what? That happens. Now, they may also have
purple squirrel syndrome. Purple squirrel syndrome
is where you want something not found in nature. And this often happens
after recessions where, again,
people have not been able to make a hire
for a long time, and they feel like they
won’t, and so they say, wow, we really need a
user experience designer, but I’d also really
like her to have some experience in
usability and in testing, and maybe in public
communications, and can she do our databases. And it’s like, ugh, calm down. But people think like
this when they have not been able to make
hires, and so you will see these job descriptions
that seem incredibly weird, and they are incredibly weird. Now, they may also want
anybody sooner rather than the right person later. When people are
desperate to hire, they often make very,
very bad decisions. And if you find yourself being
squashed into a job– you go and you apply for
one thing and they say, well, we have this other thing
that we really need more. Would you be willing to do that? And it’s one thing if
you’re suited to it and you’d like to
do that, but if you find yourself being squished
into something that you actually are not well suited to,
or don’t really want, or don’t think you’d be good at, it’s
important to be wary of that. Because as much as you
want to find a job, you also want to find a
job where you can do well and it’s hard if you feel
like you’re being shoehorned. And when people are
trying to make hires, they often do shoehorn, so
you want to watch for that. So, that’s what hiring
managers may want, and you can’t know about
the psychology here. But here’s what they do want. They want every
useful skill they can, but they are often
willing to take a subset. And here’s when they are– if
the skills are in high demand, or if the job is in a hard
location to recruit for, or if it’s been open awhile. But above all, if a candidate
seems smart, teachable, and willing to learn, they’ll
take a subset of skills, even if you don’t
have absolutely everything the job calls for. Now, here’s one important thing. They want the person to start
as soon as possible or as soon as budgeted. When you’re in academics,
you tend to think of, oh, I’m now applying for a job
for the subsequent academic year or I’m applying
for a job in May and I expect it to
start in September. Non-academic
employers expect you to start after the end of
your notice period, which in most jobs– depending
on how senior you are– is either two or four weeks. So, what this means is that when
you go out on the job market, you have to have a
good handle on when you are going to be
willing to take a job, because most employers
are not going to be content to say next fall. Most employers–
let’s say, what it’s the 29th of August–
most employers are going to say mid-September. And that’s how the
hiring cycle works. So, what does this
all mean for you? All hiring managers have a
mental model of the person they really, really
want to hire, but they can be
persuaded otherwise. You can make the case that
you have the right subset of skills, because
it’s always about who is the ideal person versus
who is the actual candidate. For example, one of my
young Swedish cousins stayed with us last summer. He’s 16 years old. Like every other 16-year-old,
he wanted a girlfriend. He described in great detail
what she would be like. Whatever. Then he went back to Sweden and
he met an actual human girl, and it turned out she’s not
like any of those things. She’s an actual human girl. And hiring is exactly like this. You have an idea of who
your ideal candidate is, but you hire from the
pool of available skills. And if you get the feeling
the hiring manager is saying, oh, I really like this
and you say, OK, well I have a good track record
of learning skills. I’ve learned A, B, and C.
This sounds sort of like B, so let’s talk about the
time frame in which I can learn that for you. That’s a perfectly reasonable
conversation to have. Here’s the other thing
about hiring managers– with a good reason,
they trust somebody who has worked at their company
to refer job candidates more than they trust anybody else. So, finding somebody
through LinkedIn or through some other way who
has a connection with somebody at that company is an
incredibly valuable thing, because a hiring
manager is going to turn to somebody who’s
been at the company and say, yeah, you know what. I’ve been there. You can hire this person. You can be confident. OK, so before I go on
to mental preparation, let me ask if there’s anything
about job postings or hiring managers that you
want to ask now. So would you say
that knowing someone is more important
than– it’s more of who you know than what you
know that is more important? So the question is
is it more of who you know than what you
know that’s important. That can be true, as long as
the what you know is sufficient. Who you know won’t make up for
not being able to do the job, because the hiring manager
will grant someone a courtesy interview, or wants to please
somebody, or their former boss or whatever, but the hiring
manager has to get stuff done. So, you have to be able to
do the job for which you’re applying. When you’re searching for jobs
over a broad geographic area, is it going to be a detriment to
have Madison, Wisconsin stamped on my resume? No. No, no. You just have to
be clear that you are eligible for the job
for which you’re applying. Like if you’re applying
for work in Amsterdam, you have to have
something that says eligible to work in the EU,
because hiring managers assume you’re eligible for every job
for which you’re applying. And sometimes people have
available to move dates on their resumes. I don’t, because
as a hiring manager I assume that if you’re
applying for a job and if you get the
job that you’re willing and able to move. You don’t need to
have all the skills, but you can have a subset. So you’re reading
a job description, and it says required,
or would like to have all of these things. Do you address the ones
that you don’t have somehow in your resume or cover
letter, say, I don’t have this but do have– like
you were saying, this sounds like
something else I’ve done. Is there any way
to addres those– Right, oh absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, you first have to
do an honest assessment. If it has four required
skills and you have one, that’s going to be a hard sell. But what you also
have to assess– and this is why a personal
connection is so important is how important the one
thing you don’t have is. So, that’s why you want to say,
look, I’m really good on UX. I don’t have much UI experience. Is that going to stop me
from getting this job? You have to understand that. But again, it also comes down to
how long has the job been open. The longer the
job has been open, the more leverage you have. Is it in a hard
position to recruit for? Maybe they’ll take you
and they’ll train you. When searching for jobs it seems
like the keyword to look for would be jobs you know
that you want to do. But what if you don’t
know what you want to do? Yeah, that’s a really
common situation, especially leaving
graduate school. So, focus on what you have
to do in that situation. You must do that
skills inventory, because you have to say to
yourself, what do I do best. What do I like to do? And then where in the
jobs I have held so far can I find that thing? And so, what you will do
as you interview for jobs is you will learn about them. For someone in your position–
or in that position, I should say– informational
interviewing is really helpful, where you find a
company you think you might be interested
in working for and you call HR and
you say would somebody be willing to do an
informational interview for me, because I’m really
interested in this. And very often
the answer is yes. Yes? Since a lot of employers operate
on a short time frame from when they offer the job to when
they want you to start the job, do you recommend starting
the search pretty late, close to your graduation date? I recommend starting
the preparation as early as possible, and
I’ll talk a little bit about that, because you won’t
have all your ducks in a row. You want to have connections. You want to start
that immediately. You want to get a good
resume put together and you want to have
that on LinkedIn. It’s the application
process itself. So, what you have to do is you
have to start within– say, if I were starting
a job search now for an entry or
second level job, assuming I had my
ducks in a row, I would start the search within
three months of when I expected to finish my degree-ish. But I would expect the search to
take up to six to nine months, so it’s important to understand
where you are fiscally as well because you’re going
to need to support a longer search than may be ideal. But you have to be willing to
jump if they offer you a job you really, really want, because
the worst that can happen is you get a
terrific job and then you decide, huh,
guess I better move. Yes? Turning years in graduate
school into years of experience to an employer. Because a lot of times
you’ll see something like six years of
experience or a PhD. Right, right, right. So, I gotta say, I
think that “or a PhD” is the laziest thing ever. It’s like tell me what you need. I don’t let my managers write
job descriptions like that, but you will see them. So, basically what
you want to do is you want to look at
the experiences you have. So if they say– let’s say
they say two years management experience, and
what you have done is you have led three
semesters of TA groups. Then you can plausibly
say, led TA groups, managed four other TAs, responsible
for overall grade curve and performance,
and so on and so forth. You can make that. Basically, I look at it in two
year increments– one to three years experience, three
to five years experience, and you need to be
within the band. Yes? [INAUDIBLE] Oh, dear God, no hiring
manager reads every resume that’s possible– I mean, for
tiny numbers of applicants, sure. But this is where the personal
connection is important, and I’ll talk about
how you make– how you make your resume be
one of the ones that gets read. So, all right, I’m going to
talk about mental preparation for the job market,
a note about gender, starting over, an interim
job, some comments about for profit,
non-profit and public sector and how to handle the slog. So, a note about
gender– so, here’s what guys do on the job market
If a job description calls for six qualifications and
he has three, he applies. He views required
qualifications as negotiable and desired ones as
optional, and he routinely negotiates salary and benefits. Here’s what women do. They likely don’t apply
if a job description calls for six qualifications
and she has five. She views required
qualifications as non-negotiable and desirable
when she lacks as discouraging, and she routinely does not
negotiate salary and benefits. Gentleman, keep doing
what you’re doing. Ladies, stop this right now. Do not be this applicant. You are hurting your
financial futures. You are not applying for
jobs at which you can succeed for which you are eligible,
and where you can do good work, and you are putting yourselves
behind the financial and career eight ball. I expect you guys to go for it. The gentlemen already are. They have this behavior down. A note about starting
over– you are probably going to
find yourself, if you go for non-academic work,
applying for some entry level jobs. Now, some non-entry level
jobs will be open to you if you describe your
experience well. This was the six years
or a PhD question. In my experience,
PhDs especially– sometimes masters students
as well– PhDs will often, though not always, be promoted
faster out of that entry level job. They’re more mature. They’re more experienced. They’ve had some supervision. So, a lot of what I
see makes people not do well when they enter
the market initially is they say, oh my god,
what did I spend all those years in graduate for. Now I’m applying for
entry level jobs. And that’s OK, because
by and large you are not going to be there long. Now, you can start
with an interim job. Find almost any job. Work at Home Depot. There’s some really
good reasons for this. Having a job helps you
present yourself well. If you know you have a job,
it affects your posture, it affects how you
sit up, it affects how you feel about yourself,
it affects your dignity. There is a very,
very profound bias. Employers prefer to
hire employed people. Many of you have seen
this with our parents, and siblings, and relatives,
and so on in the recession, but employers prefer to
hire employed people. It is also easy to
explain why you’re working in an interim job. A lot of people don’t
want to take one, because they’ll say like,
well, you’re at Home Depot. Why are you applying
for this job? And if you say, well, it’s
the only job I could get and I felt I had to
take it, that’s right, no one will hire you. But if what you say
is, well, I knew there’d be an interval where
I’d need to bring in some money, and in the meantime I wanted
to learn about a new job, a new boss, and a new industry. Those are the kind
of people I want to come work for me,
because employers really like people who want to work. One thing that I think is
actually underdone and very helpful is you can start
with temp or contract work, especially if you have
skills like drafting, if you have any computer
languages at all, if you have technical writing. Starting with temp
or contract work is actually a really good idea. At my firm, I hired– at Synapse
Product Design and Engineering, I hired everybody temp to hire. The benefits for
you, right, you learn about an industry, and
a boss, and a company, because there are places
you may get offered where you may not want to work. It is also possible to do
contract work successfully long term. Not everybody likes that and not
all those jobs have benefits, but there are some
advantages to it. And one of them is if you have
a partner who has seasonal work, or who has to move a lot, or is
in the military, all of those make contract work actually
a pretty attractive option. And then, finally,
contract firms have offices throughout
the United States. So, if you find
yourself needing to move and you’ve done well working
at a temp, or a Manpower, or something like
that, sometimes they will help with the relocation. Some things about for-profit
jobs– many people worry that when
they leave academics it means they’ll have less
intelligent colleagues. They fear like, oh my god,
I’m leaving intellectual work behind. It’s a myth, it’s out
there, but there you are. There is also a fear that they
will have less intellectually demanding work, and
in my experience this is absolutely untrue. And they also believe that
the profit motive overrules all other considerations. And when you read the
newspaper or read online, you can understand
why people think that if they read about EpiPens
and other kinds of things that are really awful. But in my experience,
it is not true, because honestly
most people want to run companies where
they themselves are proud and want to work and where they
can hire people who are proud and want to work there. Non-profit job notes– this
is actually very important, because many PhDs especially
mistakenly believe that non-profits are where
they should go after academics, that they are the employment
options that are most like academics. Oh, this is awful–
that it’s easier to get a non-profit job
than a for-profit job without the relevant skills. It’s actually the reverse,
and I can tell you this from my own experience. So, I’m on the board of
directors of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education
Fund and we have a tiny, tiny number of lawyer. And we cannot afford to hire
beginning lawyers with no experience, partly because
the cases we hire have very, very high stakes, but also
because we cannot afford to make a hiring mistake because
our budgets are so tight. Big law firms can do that. We can’t do that. So, it is easy to
go in thinking, oh, it’ll be easier
because they’ll just be glad to have me, and
in fact it’s the reverse. This is a very persistent
myth that non-profits are better places to
work than for-profits. It’s not about the profit
motive of the organization. It’s about the
people who are there and whether you fit in
with that with your skills and your personality. But it is not about
for or non-profit. And then, finally,
there is this belief that people are better
motivated in non-profits. Sadly, I have found
this not to be true. And then lower
material rewards will be rewarded by more
rewarding work– I’ve got to tell you the people
who work in AP at Amazon and the people who work in AP
at Lambda Legal Defense Fund are doing basically
the same job. They’re doing it for
different reasons and they’re motivated
by different things, but the core of what they
are doing is the same. It’s not the differentiator. Now, if you work in
the public sector, this is not common
misconceptions but this is some differences. Hiring requirements
may be more rigid. Everything I have
said today has been about how you can describe
yourselves in the best light possible against your skills. In the public sector,
sometimes hiring requirements are written into regulations. And when that is
the case, if you don’t have a particular
qualification it’s going to be very, very
difficult to be hired anyway. Unlike the private sector and
much of the non-profit sector, in many cases salary and
benefits are set out in statute and may not be negotiable. Your salary may be
publicly available. When I was a professor at
the University of Michigan, I was a public employee and my
salary was publicly available. And I felt for about a year that
I was not wearing underwear. I felt very exposed by having
my salary data out there. But let me tell you something. This is also a
note about gender. Having publicly available
salary information benefits the less powerful, and it
benefits the less paid, and that is still in
our society women. Women disproportionately
benefit from having publicly available salary
information, because people get shamed into
closing that gap, and the gap at the
University of Michigan was smaller than most
institutions of its type. So, I say that in
case you also feel exposed by salary information. And then finally
this is a thing, your comments about your job on
social media may be regulated. I don’t know of an employer
who cares about your comments not about your job, but if
your comments on social media reflect on your job or
reflect badly on your company, then it may be
taken into account. And this is you have seen
many, many cases of this, particularly around law
enforcement, so this is something to be aware
of about the public sector. Now, when you start
this, a couple comments about
handling the slog. Resumes, especially mine, they
show long term, larger scale successes, jobs you’ve
gotten, titles you’ve held, accomplishments. Resumes do not show the much
more numerous rejections, so maybe you get one
acknowledgement for every four resumes you send, two to
three phone screens from 10 resumes that get
acknowledgments, one interview for
three phone screens, one job offer for
three interviews. This is normal. This is not a sign
that you are failing. And I recommend to everyone that
you read this marvelous essay by Devony Looser, “Me
and My Shadow CV.” It’s about what her CV would
look like if she wrote down all the rejections
she’d gotten and what people had said about her work. And this is a
distinguished teacher, a professor at the University–
Arizona State, not AU. Anyway, so just
to contextualize, because when you start
getting all those rejections it’s totally, totally
normal, but it can be very discouraging,
particularly for good students like you who have done
well in high school, done well as undergraduates,
and done well to be here. Rejection gets to be
hard, so I recommend that you read that essay. And then handling the
slog, your job search will not be as important to the
hiring manager as it is to you. This is not personal. Your resume will sit on there
and they’ll say, oh yeah, I’ll get around
to looking at it. And you’re like,
ah, I need a job, and that’s because
it’s your job. The number of applicants
often means that they send no acknowledgement. Again, it feels like
it’s incredibly rude. It feels like it’s personal. It is totally not personal. And then, this is the
most frustrating thing, you find this
totally perfect job and then you call or you
apply for it and they say, oh, we just filled it last week. We didn’t take down
the posting yet. That’s awful, but
it is not personal. So now a long section
on logistics– what you have to do
before you apply, the process, and then some
comments on each stage of it. And this goes to the
question of the person up there who said when you
start applying for a job. So, that’s a personal
decision that you’re going to have to make,
but here are the things that have to be done before you
apply for anything, before you put yourself out in public
for a non-academic job. You have to draft
a resume, not a CV, and somebody has to read it. You have to review
your online presence and be able to
explain what’s there. It doesn’t mean you have
to take anything down, because the internet
remembers everything, but you check your blogs, you
check Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Pinterest,
and do a vanity Google search. Another [INAUDIBLE] is out
there, a Swedish woman, unsurprisingly,
from the family I’m from makes furniture,
especially magazine racks and Swedish interior design. And I was asked about this once,
and I looked at this person like she had a third eye. And what I had not
done was I had not done the vanity Google
search to see that at the top of the list of
[INAUDIBLE] was this furniture designer, and now I do a vanity
Google search every two months. You need a writing sample. I don’t hire anyone without
reading a writing sample anymore. It has to be short,
500 to 750 words. I really prefer 250. But you have to
write something that shows that you can speak to
intelligent non-specialists. And that means you need
a short writing sample. It can be a lot of things. It can be a course description. It can be a series of rules
you wrote as a dorm advisor. It can be a handbook
you wrote for when you coached the lacrosse team. It can be a lot of things,
but what– it does not always have to be professional
work, but what it must show is that you can communicate with
intelligent non-specialists. Sometimes graduate
students ask me can I send a chapter of
my dissertation and the answer is no. All right,
international students, you have to know and have
documents for your visa status. All right, so this is an
absolute baseline requirement. So, how does the process work? It’s actually pretty simple. You find a job listing. You research the entity. You’re all graduate students. You’re good at research. You find a contact
there if you can. You apply. Sometimes there’s
a phone screen, sometimes there is– usually
there’s an interview. Typically, you’ll
submit references and supporting material, and
then you’ll receive an offer. But basically, the
first four steps– find a listing, do
research, have a contact, and apply– will be
lather, rinse, repeat. That’s where the huge
bulk of your time will be. Now, as you apply it
is incredibly important to research the
entity, because this goes to your question about
what happens when a hiring manager gets 10,000 resumes
and how do you be sure that yours is not one of the
one that goes to the shredder or to the ether when the
electrons get deleted. You research the entities
to which you apply, their web presence,
and above all you try to find
somebody you know there either through LinkedIn
or personal contacts. You have to manage the details. I assume all of you have had
more work than you can possibly do in graduate school, so
you’ve gotten good at this, but you have to track
the applications. You have to respond
promptly to requests. If you’re the kind of
person who goes into the lab and doesn’t emerge for a week
and in that time doesn’t check her email, that’s not
something you can do when you’re on the job market. And if you vary your
resume, do track which one you sent to which job. Pro tip, do not
stop your job search if you get a phone
screen or an interview. Academic jobs are so
few and far between that when you get an interview it’s
like you organize a party. Wow. And that’s great, but you must
keep your job search going. Do not stop your
job search until you are in orientation for your
new job, because stuff happens. Companies lose contracts,
government projects fall through, people get
fired and all of a sudden they don’t want to take on
all of his or her new work. That happens all
the time, so do not stop your job search until you
are seated in your new job. Now, when people
like me interview people like you what do we do? We review your resume and
your writing sample, if any, but we also look at
your LinkedIn profile and Google your name. We do due diligence. Here’s what we do
among ourselves. We meet with the
other interviewers, we divide up questions,
we discuss anything that looks weird on
your resume, and then we handoff from–
typically you’re going to interview with four
or five people, so we hand off. We say, hey, I asked him
this and he said this. Can you follow up,
because that seemed weird. What’s going on? So, interviewers, in other words
are talking among themselves, and that’s what
they’re talking about. Now, phone screens and
interviews– again, if you get a phone
screen or an interview they’re serious about you
because they’re investing time. So, it’s really
important, again, to do basic research on the
entities to which you apply, and when they get to
the point of the phone screen or the interview
when they say, do you have any
questions for us, the first part of
the answer is yes, and you should formulate
one question, roughly, about the job, and the
company, and the location. And which one of
those you ask is going to depend on how
the interview is gone, but you need to show the
interviewer or the phone screener that you
have enough interest to have done basic research. So, phone screens,
which these days are a preliminary
form of an interview– you may well be asked to Skype. If you don’t use it all
the time, test it first. Free your phone area for
visual and oral distractions. I don’t know what posters
or art are on your walls, but you should make
sure that they are such that if you interview
in your study that they are things
that you wouldn’t mind an interviewer seeing. And if your residence is
noisy for whatever reason, find a quiet place to use. Often the career
center will help you. So, when you go to interview
somebody, because now you’re advancing
through this process. You’ve gotten through
the phone screen and they’ve called you for an
interview, which is typically on-site. That’s awesome. The scheduler will
call you and you may ask the scheduler about the
interview standard of dress. But if you forget to ask, you
cannot call the day before and ask. If you’re given the names of
your interviewers– typically there are three
to five of them– look them up on
LinkedIn and Google. Do exactly the
same due diligence they’re doing for you. Bring some extra hard
copies of your resume, but wait to be asked
to hand them over. This is important. Many of you, like me, now
take notes on devices. What I recommend that you do
during an interview is that you take notes on a pad and
paper, and the reason for that is this– if you take
notes on a device, you’re typically doing this. If you’re taking
notes on a pad, you’re more typically looking here. And you want to spend a
little more time looking at your interviewers
than at your device, so I recommend that you
take notes that way. Bring hard copies
of your references, and hard copies
of your references means name and contact details. It doesn’t mean the
references themselves, the actual written references. Well, I mean that
used to be the case, you would sign the seal
of an envelope and stuff, but it’s not done
that way anymore. Wait to be asked to hand them
over– the details about who your referees are do not
belong on your resume. And then, if you
are not told when you can expect to hear back, you
may ask at the last interview. Typically, the last interview
will be the hiring manager or HR, and if they say you’ll
expect to hear from us Friday and you don’t hear by Monday,
you can email and ask. And if you don’t hear two days
after that then you can call. After the interview,
send a thank you note to the hiring manager. Handwritten is better if
your handwriting is legible. Mine is pretty vile after
16 years of grading papers. But I will tell you
this– one of the things I do for the Lambda Legal
Defense and Education Fund is raise money
and after the good work of the organization in which
I believe the single most powerful tool I
have as a fundraiser is a handwritten thank you note. And then, if you have
had good interactions with the people who
have interviewed you, if you’d like them and
you’ve gotten on with them, you can invite them to
connect on LinkedIn. That’s a really, really good
way of building up connections. References, OK, typically
these are given by phone or submitted online. Academic ones tend to be
written once and distributed electronically as
they are needed. You’re probably going
to need three to five. Certainly they can
be current academics. It’s ideal, but not
required, that one be able to speak to your
work outside of academics. Here is something that
should reassure you. To get an academic
job, you essentially have to have a stellar
reference from your supervisor. It’s just not possible
to get a job without it. In my world, references
are not unimportant, but they’re less
important than that. References confirm what
we learn in interviews, and we check and we make sure
people haven’t misrepresented themselves, but they don’t have
that absolute gating factor. So, if you have, for example,
a supervisor who is upset because you’re looking
for non-academic work or if you have a supervisor
who doesn’t think well of academic jobs– is
not upset but just thinks it’s eh– that is not something
you have to worry about. And I know people do worry
and with justification. Now, however, for
those of your referees who are academics who are
not used to giving references that way, you do have
to help them get ready. So, here’s what you have
to give all your referees– a copy of the job listing,
an up to date resume, provide them any
notes they may need, and tell the referees
when to expect the call and who the caller
will be or by when they need to submit online,
and you can remind them once. Now, many, many
supervisors and academics if they are either on
leave or during the breaks or whatever, they
are often offline. They’re doing research
or they’re hard to find. If that’s the case,
you need to know that and you need to tell the people
asking for your references that somebody will or
will not be available. Now, one day
everybody in this room is going to be hiring people. You’re smart. You’re going to be
doing good work. I want you to remember this day. I want you to remember what
it was like to be entry level and intimidated. And I want you to remember what
it was like to be rejected. I want you all to
write a courteous, professional rejection
letter, email, or note, and I want you to send
it as promptly as you can when the decision is made. Everybody you interact
with, everybody in this room, all those
people on LinkedIn who are your former
undergraduate colleagues, everybody may be or may refer
your next great employee. 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, because you really,
truly never know who you’re going to work for
or who’s going to work for you. Now, the next section
is about flying solo, what it’s like to run a
business for yourself. But before I go on, I
want to stop and ask if you have any questions about
this whole– because this a lot of information to absorb. But I want to ask if
you have any questions about the mechanics
of the job search. Yes? Regarding references,
is it better to have a reference
who is experienced in academia or someone who
is relatively new on the job market who may be
in the same business that you are applying in to? If I were applying
to company X and I know a colleague who
had been in grad school with me that works there,
is that a better reference? The best reference
is the reference who can speak most
credibly to your work. It’s not either of
those as criteria. It’s really who knows you,
and who can describe you, and who can describe
what you’ve done. Those other things are bonuses. Yes? [INAUDIBLE] The question is
how do you prepare when you’re doing a job
search with your family, whether you’re a leading
or a trailing spouse, and you have spousal
considerations? In my view, the
best thing to do is to do the job search
entirely independently within the constraints
of your spouse. So, if your spouse is going to
the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, you know roughly that
you want to be there, then you apply there. I think the time to
disclose that you are a trailing spouse is
when you’re negotiating the terms of the offer. But in general, it is,
with very rare exceptions, it is not going to help you to
say at a company where either you or your spouse is
applying that , oh, my spouse is going as
well, as a general rule. Yes? [INAUDIBLE] That’s a great question. The question is what do you do
about the so-called hidden job market where jobs
are not advertised. And so, what I would
do with that is I would spend a chunk of
time, a third or a half applying for stuff
that’s out there, and then I would spend more
time or additional time thinking about what
kinds of companies would I like to work at. And then if they don’t have
jobs advertised or ones that are suited to
you, that’s where I think informational
interviews are really helpful. And so, don’t write
randomly, but especially if you have a contact
there ask the contact do you guys do
informational interviews and then try to get
informational interviews. Because what
informational interviews tell a company is,
wow, this is somebody who’s interested in going
the extra mile to get this. Let’s see what we can do. How many jobs would your
recommend applying to? Boy. The question is how many jobs
do I recommend applying to. I so hate answering it depends,
but here’s what it depends on, and that is what will
give you a number. It depends on how big the
market you’re applying in is. For small towns with
a very few jobs, you’re going to have to apply
for almost all of them that are out there. It depends on how
different they are and how widely you
are willing to stretch your abilities as you work. It’s much more
important that you find jobs for which
you are suited and apply to many of them. It is not a quantity
game, unfortunately. I mean, it is if you
don’t do the work, but it’s not a quantity game. I want to talk a little
bit about flying solo. This is a very attractive option
for many degrees students. So, what does it mean
to work for yourself? What are some constraints on it? Part time franchising, and
why solo is not really solo– so you can work, you can
build your own business and here’s how you do it. This is, in fact,
what I am doing now. You define a skill that
you have or can get and that people will pay for. You find out what the
market pays for that, you find customers, you deliver
the service, you bill them, and you manage all
the regulatory stuff. In other words,
you do everything that companies
normally do for you. Now, there are some
constraints to this. Businesses take time and
they usually take at least some money to build. Payment takes longer to come
in than the business takes to build. And as I said, you have
to manage all those things that entities
manage when you work for them like
taxes, and payroll, and regulatory compliance,
and all that stuff. And new business development
becomes your first or second job always, so you’ll be
answering nosy questions from the airplane– the
person sitting next to in the airplane
saying what do you do. Well, I go to universities
and I teach graduate students how to get non-academic jobs
should they want or need to. And they say, oh, I
went to a university. And there’s like,
whoa, there you are. You will always be doing that. It will become even more
annoying than the question so when are you going to
finish your dissertation. But solo does not have to be
a full-time, immediate, total gig. So, you learn whether a skill
can become a viable business. So, let’s say, you
play cello and you want to give cello lessons. Do people want cello lessons? You learn whether you
actually like doing it. You like the idea of
giving cello lessons but you actually hate
teaching little Johnny. You learn whether you want
to manage your own business. You actually like
teaching little Johnny, but you really hate bugging
Johnny’s mother for your check. Now, you can develop
an income out of more than one part-time job
or more than one type of job. For example, I go
around to universities and I teach groups like you. I also go to tech
companies and I teach them how to integrate young
women into workplaces that have traditionally
been hostile to young women. So, I do two very, very
different kinds of things. And it is certainly
possible to put together a perfectly good income
out of a patchwork of jobs. I want to talk just
briefly about franchising. Franchising has a bad rap,
because people immediately think of greasy french
fries, but there’s a lot of franchises
out there, including ones that are very suited
to graduate students’ skill sets– tutoring, writing,
school skill development, test preparation. There’s all kinds of
franchises out there. Here’s one terrific
thing about them. There is often part-time
work available, so while you were looking
for a full-time job, this is a great part-time job. Now, if you work for a
franchise and do well, you may be offered
management training. So, it may turn
out– I forget, I think it was you who asked
me the question of one to three years of
management experience– if you were offered management
training through a franchise and you do it for
one to three years, there’s your one to three
years of management training. And you may like this a lot. So, some franchises
will help good managers open new franchises. So, you’re here in Madison. They want to open
one in Milwaukee and they say if you go
up and work in Milwaukee we will front you the training
and some of the money. And then finally, some
franchises are nationwide. So, addressing the
spouse question, your spouse gets
a job in Portland and you want to go in Portland
and your franchise company has an office there,
you will have a leg up if you have done well in
your current location. So, I encourage you
to think about this as potentially your way into
being a small business owner if you want to. Now, here are some caveats. So, flying solo,
putting together an income out of several
jobs, freaks out some people. Are you one of the freaked out? Many people like the idea
of running a small business, but don’t like doing it. It is critical to ask
if your partner is one of the freaked out. I live with such a person. If you have a plus one,
you have to be good at communication, flexibility,
especially about money and risk tolerance, because
it really does change when you run your own business. Be prepared to fail
and start over, and be prepared to explain
what you are doing over, and over, and over again–
potential customers, family, friends, nosy
people on airplanes. All of this is something you
will need to get good at. And actually one
of the ways people judge whether they are
suited to this or not is whether they would be OK
having a 30 second conversation with a nosy stranger on an
airplane about a business they want to run. We are headed toward
the end of the session. So, first I’m going to
talk about the things that you should do right now. So, you should do the
template exercise. You should update
it once a year. The initial exercise,
six to eight hours over at least three sessions–
the updates are easy. It’s just added skills and it
takes half an hour once a year. You should join LinkedIn
and you should join it even if you don’t have a
resume anywhere near it ready. You should join it. You should claim and construct
your short URL, because you’ll need it for your resume. You should create a
calendar reminder. And you should add
two people a week. Don’t put your resume
on it until you’ve had somebody review it. You should create a
non-academic email address if you don’t have one, first
name, last name at Gmail is something
perfectly inoffensive. And you should clean up your
contacts and keep them current and back them up. This is all stuff you
should do no matter what. You should do this
whether you want academic work or
non-academic work, and you can do it right
along with your graduate work in half an hour a week, except
for the template exercise. Now, the next do next is
actually a little harder. If you have not already
finished your dissertation, I want you to ask yourself will
you start and will you finish. If you’ve decided to
finish, give yourself an approximate
deadline, because this will help you decide how and
when to enter the job market. If you decide to
finish– and this goes to a question
that was asked at the very beginning
of the hour– if you decide to finish and
to look for non-academic work and or academic work at the same
time, it’s absolutely doable. The searches do not
impinge on each other. But if you decide to finish and
to look for non-academic work, you need to prepare for this
divided feeling of working on something when
you had thought you were going to do
one kind of career and maybe you’re going
to a different one. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s just you need
to be ready for it. You need absolutely to be
able to explain to an employer no matter why you stayed
in graduate school long enough to
finish a dissertation or why having gone to
graduate school you decided not to finish a dissertation. There are great explanations for
both, but you need to give one and you need to be comfortable
with it and to look at them, and to practice it in the
mirror until you’re good at it, and you need to believe it. And then finally, I want you
all to ask yourselves– this not something you need to confess
to me or anyone else– but you need to
ask yourself what would make you answer
no, I am not going to finish my dissertation. And the answer may be nothing. I am here to do it and
I am going to do it, and that’s what I’m
here for, and that’s it. But if the answer
to your question is, oh my god, I would so
drop my dissertation in a heartbeat for the
perfect job in San Diego, then that’s an answer. And you want to have
done the thinking for it, because if you apply for
that job in San Diego and you get it, and
then all of a sudden you have to decide if you’re
going to go before you finish your dissertation,
that’s a decision and I want you to make
a conscious decision. Now, some resources–
payscale.com and their Twitter handle. A ton of people
ask me, oh my god, how do I find the
data that would help me negotiate salaries? How would I know
even what to ask? Payscale is a terrific resource. This is a great
place to go and find information about how
much various jobs pay. Resume Ruby, this is what I
talked about earlier– terrific formatting help with resume
and are good for reviewing various display options. This is a great resource. Slideshare.net, LinkedIn
recently ate them. What they do is they
display presentations like– it’s like best of the
web, but for slide shares. And the reason I think
these are useful to look for is that you should steal
shamelessly– not the data, please don’t do that– but
the presentation style, because you can learn
a lot from reading through good presentations. And if a presentation
is awful skip it, but if it’s good ask
yourself why is it good and why is it persuading
me, because this is a skill set you are going to need. Careers in Gov, this is a
terrific Twitter stream. Government, in my
view, is the area that is most ripe for an influx
of talent of PhDs and MAs. And what Careers in Gov does
is they advertise job listings, and they advertise everything
from entry level sanitation engineer to lead architect,
city of Los Angeles. And the reason I think it is
so useful is that 99.9% of it will not be relevant to
any individual person, but what’s helpful about it
is seeing out what’s there. And when you click
on a link saying, so what does a data
architect even do, you can click and go
through the job description. It’s a very quick way
of educating yourself, so I think that is
a terrific resource. And then, on my website I have
all those posts on aspects of the non-academic job search. Now, being an academic,
I have a reading list– a former academic. Many graduate students
are a little bit intimidated by networking. I can’t imagine why,
because networking is just meeting people, and shaking
hands, and staying in touch when it’s helpful
and advantageous. But that top book,
for people who want a more structured
introduction Ferrazzi Never Eat
Alone is a terrific one. Atul Gawande, The
Checklist Manifesto, this is the single
best book I know about how to go about doing big
projects and doing them better. All a job search is
is a big project. If you can do a
dissertation, trust me, you can do a job search. Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade
Life, Molly Wizenberg was a graduate student
in cultural anthropology. And it’s her story about
how she decided to leave graduate school and why. It’s a bildungsroman, a novel
of one’s personal development. It’s a terrific,
terrific read, and she’s very smart about how she
went and made her decision. The other reason
to read this book is she made up a
career for herself. She’s a food blogger. She writes the very well-known
food blog Orangette. And it’s about how
you make a career almost by accident, which
more and more people are doing these days. Also, she and her husband
run a fabulous pizza place near our house, so we
like her for many, many reasons. But I really
recommend this book. And then finally, one
of my former bosses wrote “Top 11 Job Transition
Tips for When You Change Jobs.” Final reminders,
careers are long and they rarely follow
predictable pathways. The Bureau of Labor
Statistics tells us now that people who enter
in the job market now who take their
first jobs when you do at the end of
their educational pathway will hold 11.2 jobs over
the course of their career. That is what is now normal. Do not worry about this. For those of you, like
me, who have parents who say, oh my god, when are
you ever going to get a job, I have a great exercise
that I do partly to mess with their heads,
partly because it is fun. But one of my Jedi
skills is actually talking to nervous parents. And when I do this, I have
this exercise where I say, OK, I want you all to think back
to when your formal education ended, whether it was in eighth
grade like my grandmother, or high school like my mother,
or graduate school for me. So, think back and now
think of the first job you held after your
education ended. How many of you
still hold that job? I have yet to see a hand go up. And then I say, OK, the
next job– usually no hands. How about the third job? Then hands start going up. But what that shows them in
their understandable worry for their children’s futures is
that actually their children’s futures are more like their
pasts than they want to think, because of course
they’re thinking of what they would like for
their children’s futures, which is very different
from actual reality. Careers are long. There is great, interesting,
challenging, meaningful work out there. When I grew up as a faculty
brat and went from high school to college to graduate
school, I did not have the imaginative range to
realize that, and shame on me. And finally, things
not invented now will drive new jobs over time. One of the things
that makes me crazy is when people say the
jobs are all going away, and I don’t even
know what that means except I think it means this. When I was an English
major as an undergraduate, a common path for English
majors– especially on the East Coast– was to go into
entry level publishing jobs, which many of which
were in New York City, and usually as copy editors. And it is true that many of
those jobs are going away, but what nobody ever says
is all the new jobs that are being created. So, when I published my book
to give young women help in the workplace, I
publish it digitally first and I needed a digital
cover designer. I needed a digital
book format designer. I needed a book
format manipulator who made me able to publish it
in all the ebook formats that were out there. Those right there
are three jobs that did not exist when I left
my undergraduate career. So, when someone says
to you, oh my god, all the jobs are going away,
the thing to ask is yeah, but I’m going to get
one of the new jobs. And it’s important
that you realize that that is
happening all the time and that you take that
confidence with you into the world, because
we need your training, we need your intellect,
we need your intelligence, we need your persistence
with problems. And one day I’m going
to hire some of you. All right, good luck. Thank you all. And I think there’s pizza. All right, pizza in 10
minutes, or maybe now.

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