The Graduate Student’s Guide to the Non Academic Job Search Part 1

–get started. My name’s Amy Fruchtman, and
I am the assistant director of professional development
in the Office of Professional Development at the
graduate school. We’re so pleased that
you’re here today. We have the pleasure
of welcoming Dr. Anne Krook to our campus. And I will say very little
by way of introduction, because during
this workshop today Dr. Krook will be telling you
a lot about her own pathway. But she has talked with
many, many graduate students and post-docs about
their career pathways, and today she will be sharing
a lot of that with you. So, Dr. Krook. OK, thank you. [APPLAUSE] All right, so why you are here–
so a lot of people with PhDs don’t find academic
jobs, and some of them don’t want the academic
jobs they do find, so they look for
non-academic work. But finding those jobs
is different from finding academic jobs. So at the end of this
session today, you should be able to conduct
a non-academic job search, should you want or need to. That is the goal. I want you walking out of
this room able to do that. So today we have three
hours, and there’s time built in that for
a lot of questions. So I’m counting on
you not to be shy. Let’s make sure
we’re showing up. Yes, all right. You should feel free to take
notes with phone photos. You may also tweet or
post during the talk. I will ask that if
you take phone calls, that you step outside. And you may want to put them
on silent, because I understand those are fire doors. I will be doing this. I will be taking a bio
break part way through, and I will be sending slides
and templates to be posted. You should have at
least one handout. out. The one handout
is the slide list. The second handout, of which
there were not quite enough, are the two first
pages of the template I’m going to be discussing. And that is because
of resolution issues, but we will also
provide more of them. So that’s the structure. All right, so the
agenda– I’m going to start off by
talking about the PhD degree and the
non-academic job market. And then I’m going
to go into how you can prepare yourself
while you are still in graduate school. And then the bulk of it is going
to be non-academic job search mechanics– how you
actually go about conducting one of those searches. And then I have a
much shorter section at the end, about what
you should do next. I have some resources. Because I, myself,
am a former academic, I have a suggested reading list. And I have some reminders. So that’s going to be
the structure of the day. OK, first– the PhD and the
non-academic job market. So first, it’s
sort of me, me, me. I’m going to talk
about my career path and how I got where I am. The second thing I’m
going to talk about is what I value when I get
PhDs coming for me to hire. And then finally,
I’m going to talk about what it means to be a
PhD on the academic job market, and what some of my former
advisees are doing now. So first, me– I’m
a faculty brat. My father taught veterinary
medicine at Cornell for 100 years. And I went on the straight path. I went right from high school
to college, to graduate school, to a faculty job, and I was
an assistant professor at 26. Then life changed. I became a bartender. I was at Amazon, where I held
many roles over 13 years. I did the small startup
thing, and then I worked at a product
design engineering firm. I am on the board of directors
of a national nonprofit, and I’m a consultant. So as you can see,
there’s at least three careers there,
and possibly more. So now, I want to talk about
how I made those changes. So faculty member
to bartender– this is the one people
find most interesting. So I was denied tenure,
and so I needed a job. Right? So I was at the University
of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and I moved from
there to Seattle, and I got a bartender’s license. This is the second most
interesting transition people find. When I was a bartender,
one of the reasons I took the bartender’s job is
because it’s night-time work, and it allowed me to look
for a job during the day. So I talked to a friend of
mine who said, oh, there’s this weird little place. They sell books. You read a lot of books. And so I interviewed with them. And a lot of people
say, so what’s the deal? You were a bartender. Why would they hire you? So this is a question
I want to answer. And then finally, how
did I join the board of directors of Lambda Legal? So when I was at
Amazon and worked on websites for
many, many years, I got to be a donor
to Lambda Legal, and I hated their website,
and I hated their web– I hated their Twitter feed. I hated their website. I hated their– I hated it all. And I complained about
it pretty constantly. And finally, someone
said to me, you know, if you hate it that much
you can help make it better. So I consulted with
them for a while. And as a result of that work, I
was invited to join the board. Now, why is any of
this interesting? Here’s the first and
most important point. And this is a really
hard thing for folks who have spent a
long time in school, and who are getting a PhD. Many, many jobs do not
require a specific credential, but all jobs require skills. So there are not many
jobs out there, actually, that say PhD required, but
every job requires skills. Now, here’s the next thing. Non-academic work is
really interesting. And I fault myself. This is the thing that
I understood least, when I went on the
non-academic job market, because I had grown up
in a university town. And because I went
right from high school, to college, to graduate school,
to an assistant professorship, I did not know this. And shame on me, actually. But non-academic work
is really interesting, and you don’t always know
what you could be doing. You don’t always know
who can help you, and you may spend
part of your career in fields that don’t exist now. The internet did not exist
when I began graduate school. It existed by the
time I left it. It was a business when I
got my first job in it. But that was not something
I could have predicted. Here’s another thing. There’s a lot of ways to engage
with the academic job market. So you can learn
a ton on the job. And one of the things you have
going for you as good students is that how to learn, and you
know how to learn quickly. It’s also the case that
your interests, and not just your training,
can lead to a job. One of the things that
your current work is doing is making sure you focus on
it, and partly that by saying, your focus on your work is how
you’re going to get your job. I’m here to tell
you that there’s a lot of ways to get a job. And then finally, if you
complain about something, ask if you can help fix it. I am still waiting
for the person who will fix cable companies. All right. So what do I like? I’ve hired a lot of PhDs. And I have hired
a lot of them, I will say– I have hired a lot
of them into academic jobs when I was a professor,
and I have hired them into a lot of corporate jobs. So what do I like about them? This is a real strength. Most of us look at old
problems in new ways. If we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t
be trying to add to knowledge. And most of us believe
that other people have things to teach us,
and value collegiality– that the academic
workplace is a thing, and that people work
together to make knowledge. And most of us realize that
explaining some things is hard, and learning some
things is hard. These are all
qualities I actively look for when I hire PhDs. This is great. Now, on the flip
side, here’s what I worry about when I hire PhDs. Some PhDs have a narrow
view of intelligence. You are all here because you
have done well in school. And you have done well in
secondary school, which led you to do well
in college, which led you to your acceptance
into your current program. And some people
believe that that is what intelligence means. But that really sells other
types of intelligence short. It’s also the case
that some folks believe that rewarding work has
to be related to academic work. Right? They look for work as editors,
or publisher, or research, and they look for those
kind of work places. But that really sells
other jobs short. There’s a lot of really
interesting stuff out there. And then, some people think
that taking other kinds of work means not using their
degrees, and they resent it. And that sells yourself short. I want to say something
right up front. There will be no job in the
future in which you will not use your degrees. Your degrees are
now a part of you. They are a part of
your habits of mind. They are a part of your
intellectual discipline. They are a part of how
you absorb knowledge, and how you approach problems. The point in your life at which
you could not use your degrees is over. So do not worry about that. So now, here’s what
an employer thinks when she looks at PhD students. If you apply in a
related field, it might be an advantage because
it indicates your commitment to advanced training. So let’s say you’re
getting a PhD or a master’s in psychology, and
you’re applying to a job in usability studies. You have a probable
way of saying, here’s how my work is related
to the kinds of things you’re doing. But many, many
graduate students who go on to work
outside of academics work much further
afield than that. So here’s what a PhD
looks like to somebody in a non-related field. It’s neither an advantage
nor a disadvantage. It is an aspect
of your abilities. And above all, it
is a choice you made about how to
spend your time, whether you decide to finish
your dissertation or not. You all know by now that you’re
spending quite a chunk of time in graduate school, and there’s
a lot of opportunity cost and a lot of financial
cost to that. So it’s on you to explain to an
employer outside of academics why you chose to get a PhD. Now, here is a list of what
my former graduate students, and advisees, and fellow
former academics are doing. And I want to talk particularly
about the one 2/3 of the way down the list, the
faculty member who is now a director of study abroad. This was one of my
Michigan graduate students, and she likes to travel. And like many people
with academic jobs, she’s not exactly over paid. So the way she travels is she
teaches those summer sessions, where you go do a six-week
intensive art history course in Europe, or
something like that. And she goes over there. She teaches there, and
she uses the stipend to travel for a couple
weeks after the course ends. And over time, if you
take enough undergraduates to enough places,
you develop a lot of skills that are not
necessarily related to your subject matter. For example, what do you do
when one of your students, who is not used to drinking
strong English beer, goes up and throws up
on the shoes of one of those guards with the tall,
fuzzy hats, or propositions the ambassador’s daughter? You develop a lot of skills
that are about making those courses be successful. So anyway, she did that
for a number of years. And then the director of
study abroad programs retired. And she was invited to apply for
the job, and she got the job. Now, what is
interesting about this is that when she
took her faculty job, she did not realize
this was a thing. She did not realize it
was a job she could do. She did not necessarily
plan to apply for it, and it was not
part of a pathway, but its now half of her job. And what I want to say
to you, that I think should be very encouraging,
is that a lot of getting jobs is like that. It’s being prepared
for opportunities that are there, and realizing
that you have skills you can bring to take them. OK, so the next session
is going to be about how you guys can prepare yourself. But I want to stop and take
questions about my pathway and other pathways I have seen. Yes? You seem to emphasize
that knowing that learning some things is
difficult is very important. Why would you say
that is important? So the question is–
we’re on capture, so I’ll be repeating you like a parrot. So the question is,
you seem to emphasize that knowing that learning
some things is hard. Why is that important? And the reason is, when you go
out to solve problems at a job, the reason you will be
hired is because problems are hard to solve. If they were not
hard problems, they could get somebody with
less training, and less intelligence, and fewer skills
to solve those problems. Right? There are things that
work that doesn’t require that kind of innovation. But one of the reasons
I like hiring PhDs is that they assume, going
in, that the problem is going to be difficult. And so when
the problem is difficult, they are much less
likely to be discouraged. And that’s a thing,
because when I hire people, I can’t have them throw up their
hands and say, oh, it’s hard. It’s like, yeah. It’s hard. It’s Tuesday. Yes? What has been your
experience with– can you simultaneously look for
an academic position and explore
non-academic type jobs? So the question is,
can you simultaneously look for an academic and
a non-academic position. The answer is absolutely yes. I’m going to put off
a specific answer until later in the presentation,
because I address that directly. OK? [INAUDIBLE] Yes? In your experience,
have you seen other people [? go for the ?]
transition from academia to non-academic
jobs or vice versa? Or is that kind of– So the question is,
have I seen people go in the other direction–
so from non-academic to academic work. That is much less common. It is very field-specific. So it’s actually relatively
common in computer science, for example, where people will
go– Stanford does this a lot, where they take people
from Silicon Valley, and they go teach
entrepreneurship, or computer science, or something. It’s very field-specific. It’s very rare in
the humanities. And when it happens,
it tends to be on the model of
temporary teaching. For example, business schools
will bring in somebody to teach mergers
and acquisitions. And they don’t need a
full-time person on that. They need somebody to do it
once every four semesters, so all the MBAs can learn it. That happens a lot. But the other
direction– sometimes happens in engineering,
and sometimes in the bench sciences. It’s not all that common. Yes? The two lists that
you gave us, in terms of the things that you liked
about hiring PhDs, versus what you fear [INAUDIBLE], as a
former academic yourself, do you feel that the qualities
that you listed on those two slides are still also
shared by employers who don’t have a
background in academics, or do you feel that somehow you
have an insight [INAUDIBLE]? Right, yeah, there
is no question. I have a warmer heart
for PhDs than others. The question is,
what do employers who don’t have PhDs– do
they share those questions, those same qualities? So I think the thing
that employers have, who do not have PhDs– they
have a couple incremental fears to the ones I have. And those are, they will
come here and be bored, or they’re overqualified. Right? And overqualified is
the nightmare fear. Like when graduate students
go out on the non-academic job market, they all worry
about being overqualified. And so what I’ll argue later
in the presentation is, if the discussion turns
on being overqualified, it’s the wrong conversation. Because what you must
focus on is your skills, because if they say, well,
your qualification is a PhD. Why don’t I just hire a
bachelor’s degree student to do this? It’s the wrong
conversation, because a PhD doesn’t qualify you, per se. It’s the skills you’ve
gained through your PhD that are useful to employers, because
I do not need PhDs, per se. I need people who can
solve problems for me. I know that PhDs have many
good problem-solving skills. But that’s the conversation
you have to have. But yeah, there are many
employers who just default to, you know, oh my god. Either she’s going to
be bored at this job, or she thinks we’re
stupid, or she’s not going to want to talk to
people who are not PhDs. Will you speak to strategies
to achieve that conversation later? Yes, yes, in some detail. OK, one more before I go on? Ah, yes. I’m curious to your last point
[INAUDIBLE] the bartender job. I’m not [? even ?]
qualified to do that. Ah, yes– so the question is,
how were you not overqualified to be a bartender? So the good news is,
to be a bartender in the state of
Washington, in Seattle where I was– where I am– you
needed two things, well, three. You needed to persuade
the person that you had the right experience, and
I had gone to bartender school, so I had a certificate. So I had the basics. You needed food
handler’s license, and you needed to
go to drunk school, to learn the rules around that. And after that, it was– but
after that, interestingly, what sold my employer were
I lived near the area. I show up for work regularly. I have a work history. Right? Because showing up and
getting work done is a thing. And the thing about bartending
and other short-term jobs is that if you are not good
at it, and not showing up, and not being on it there, you
will be let go instantaneously. Right? There is a lot to be said
for the culture of work, and of showing up to work. And restaurant work is useful
as a transition industry, because it’s very quick. Like if you work in
a restaurant for six months between full-time jobs,
nobody thinks that’s weird. That’s actually
one of the things that’s really handy about that,
and some other industries. OK, now, how do you
prepare yourself? There are two main
aspects to how you have to get ready
to enter this world, if you want or need to. One is a change in how
you describe yourself, and another concerns how
you seek out other people. All right. So first, how you describe
yourself– re-articulate your knowledge base
and your skill set. I assume you think something
like this– your knowledge base is your subject, and it’s
scholarship, and your approach. And your skill set is
scholarly research, writing, and teaching. You also need to start thinking
this– your knowledge base and skill set are
the aggregated ones from all your previous
and current jobs in organizations, not
just graduate school. Your skill set, which
you must abstract from your current
position, includes the following critical
things– your ability to add to your knowledge base
quickly, identify problems, rethink solutions, and
persuade others to adopt them. And those two bullet points
refer to exactly the same jobs, but they are described
in a very different way. And the latter is
abstracted from the former. Now, once you do
that– once you rethink what you think about
yourself– then you have to augment your
self-description. I assume you describe
yourself something like this. I am a master’s,
doctoral student, post-doc in a certain
field, with this expertise. I am an experienced instructor. I am a scholar. I am in training to
become an academic. This is how people
internalize that. This is what I am. Now, I’m going to
encourage you to augment your self-description with
some academic equivalence. I complete large projects with
minimal supervision– papers and research projects. When I hire people,
it’s because I need work done that I don’t
have time to do myself. I have worked in
large enterprises and medium-sized organizations
within the enterprise. The gentlemen have been
telling us for years that size is a
thing, and I am here to say that, in fact,
the size organization you are comfortable
working in matters. We all know people who have gone
to really, really big schools and been happy there, and gone
to really, really big schools and gotten lost. We all know people who have gone
to small colleges and thrived, and who have gone
to small colleges and freaked out because
they’re so claustrophobic. Its important that
you understand what size organization you’re
comfortable working in. I have participated
in and led small teams within the enterprise. I use research and
analytical skills to identify and solve problems. All right, this is a key thing. I manage contentious discussion
toward productive conclusions. Right? This is what happens
in work places. I persuade reluctant adopters
to accept and deploy standards– freshman composition, and
calculus, and chemistry 101. There is an entire industry
out there where people say, here are the standards
of this profession. You must adopt them. And people say exactly what
you think they’d say– really? Why? It’s easier this way. You have heard all this,
just in a different venue. So a much better internalization
than this is who I am is this is what I do. And really, here is the core
of what I am saying today. Your message to a
non-academic employer is the following– my skills
can help solve your challenges. Not my PhD, not my
degree– my skills can help solve your challenges. And before you can say that
persuasively to an employer, you have to say it
persuasively to yourself. Now, once you’ve
got all that done, you have to put it in a CV. You’ve put it in a CV
for an academic job. You have to put it in a
resume for a non-academic job. And these two things
are different. So a CV– or curriculum
vitae, for which you go to apply
for academic jobs– is written in
academic shorthand, for people who understand
what those data mean, and it’s evaluated by skilled readers. So when I was an
assistant professor at the University of Michigan,
I was on hiring committees. And everybody who was
on the hiring committee was more experienced than I was. We were all faculty members,
and we got applications from graduate students. And I know how to read them. I knew what their
undergraduate experience meant. I knew what their
graduate experience meant. I knew how to read
their writing samples. It was easy. A resume is different. A resume is written
for people who may not know how to read
CVs, and they may not care. But what they do
need to know is what you can do to help
solve their problems. A resume also may initially
not be evaluated by a human being at all. It may initially be
evaluated by software. And if it is evaluated by
a human being, recruiting or junior human
resources staff, they’re are often entry-level staff,
and they’re often inexperienced. So to write a resume,
here’s what you have to do. You have to gather information
from your whole work history, and all your skill sets. And then you have to
describe your jobs, and your achievements,
and your skills. So how do you do that? Now, graduate work requires
that you forget many things about yourself. It requires that you
narrow your focus. It requires that you focus
brutally on your work. And you have to do that
in order to finish. But job searches in my world
reward broadening your focus. So to broaden your focus,
here’s what you have to do. You have to remember where
you lived and what you did. And you have to
define, sort, and count the skills you’ve gained. And I’m going to walk
you through a tool that will help you do that. In that process, here
is what will happen. It will remind you
of what you know, which is more than you think. It will also tell
you whom you know, which is more than you think. This is the part where
I do a little bit of mild deprogramming from
the way graduate school has taught you to think. All right, so now we are going
to do a template exercise. Oh, it’s not going to
come up on the screen. OK. I think we’re just going to
have to close out and open it up later. All right. So those of you who have the
handout– I’m sorry there weren’t quite enough of them. This is the instruction page. So what you have here– and you
will get this electronically, and you will be
able to download it. So no worries. So what you have here is a tool. Can we maybe dim the
lights, just a little more? Because I think it will
make it easier to read. Thank you. This is a tool that helps
you do the four things I just talked about– remember
what you’ve done and did, and where you’ve been. Described them, and then sort
and count the skills you have. Just a hair more. Just a hair more. OK. So that’s very exciting. OK. So the first thing is a
template to recall your life outside this room. And basically,
what I’ve done is, I’ve put up here
the units into which people organize their lives. So it’s where they’ve
been, where they’ve lived, where they’ve gone to
school– travel, languages, organizations, and
teams, and other stuff they’ve been on– jobs
and volunteering they’ve done, and then other
characteristics. Now, I have to say,
I find these tools, when described in the
abstract, very frustrating. So what I’ve done is,
I’ve gone and filled this tool out for myself so
you can see what it looks like. OK. So I filled this out
for myself, so you can see the places I’ve
lived, the schools I went to. And really you go right
back– travel, languages, organizations, jobs I’ve held. And then under other
characteristics, I want you to start thinking
about the things that describe you well– the things about
you that don’t necessarily show up on a CV. So I’ve always owned dogs. I’m very good with dogs. I’m interested in politics. I’m comfortable in
large organizations, good public speaker. Somehow I’ve done a lot of
dishwashing, like almost all my first jobs were
dishwashing, somehow. Anyway, so what this
does is, it goes and it gives you what amounts to
a database of your experiences. Not everything, but
it gives you the start of a database of
your experience. Now some of you– because I can
see it in the thought bubbles– are saying but,
Ann, you are senior. You have been out there a while. So I went and did a
second version of this. Everything in red happened
after graduate school. And so what you can see– and
I’ll scroll down on the job, so you can see where that
is– but the important thing to note here is
that all of the core stuff– the stuff with which I
got my first non-academic job– was present when I
left graduate school, and that should encourage you. So even if you scroll
down– oh, I love Excel– even if you scroll
down, you can see I still had a lot of work
experience before that. So what I want
you to do when you do the exercise on
this first template is to give yourself a
database of your experience. That’s what this is about. And in my experience, it
takes about two hours, over two sessions. Because once you
start remembering, man, it all comes back. That’s a little scary. All right. So now, once you
have the database, what do you do with it? Then what you have to do is,
you take this middle column, where you number your jobs,
and you describe what they are. And you copy that,
and you describe the skills you got from them
and the roles you’ve filled. Now, all of us who have
been in the work world know that when you go to a
job, you never do one thing. Right? Jobs usually have
many parts to them. And sometimes, you need
different skills for them. So what you do in this next
part of the exercise is, you go through and you
inventory your skills. This is excruciating. This takes about six to eight
hours, over three sessions. It’s worth it, but
its a huge pain. OK. So just starting from
the brutal beginning here– like many people, I
began my employment career as a babysitter. I was a tutor. And I want you to look at
the skills there– clear oral explanations,
interpreting the non-obvious, and confidence instilling. Notice that the
skills I put down were not necessarily
teaching algebra. Teaching algebra is what I
did, but the skills it required were the ones that are up there. And this is what I mean
about abstracting your skills from your current use of
them, because unless you’re applying to teach algebra,
you’re not going to go and say, hey. I taught algebra. What you’re going to do
is say, you know what? I had a terrified
seventh grader who was looking to take the New York
regents, and who had failed, and I gave him
confidence to do it. And those are two very
different explanations than teaching algebra. And you keep doing this. You keep going down,
down, down, down. So what I’m going
to do is look at one of the jobs I did as
a graduate student, because I think it will
be most relevant to you. Oh, man. I had a lot of crummy jobs. All right. Excuse me? Yeah? Would you mind zooming
in a little bit? I’m sorry, I can’t hear. Just zooming in, so we can see,
because we cannot see anything. OK, it’s going to be hard
for me to zoom too much more. At the bottom– Hold on. Let’s see. How’s that? No, that’s worse. Sorry about that. Because I’m going to run
off the page here– better? Yeah. That works. All right. Yeah, I’m sorry about this. All right, so let’s look at what
I did as a graduate student. Assistant professor, treasurer,
editor, research assistant– all right, I want to look at
two of these jobs– teaching assistant and
research assistant. So as a teaching
assistant, notice– I’m not talking about
English 101, which is what I was
teaching, but again, interpreting the
non-obvious– time management, clear written explanations,
clear oral explanations, and the final one,
which is important, engagement of the
disparately skilled. How many of you here
have taught a section of something, anything? OK, so you know what
I’m about to talk about. Your students come in with
different skill levels, but you have to teach them
all in the same material. This is exactly what
happens in work places. You’re all working
toward the same goal, but people have different
levels of skills, and they have
different abilities, and they do different things. And it all has to work
toward the same goal. So then, as a
research assistant, I was a research assistant
for my dissertation director. I did library research. I did line editing,
and I needed tact, because I line edited my
dissertation director’s manuscript. It turned out not to be a
career problem, I’m glad to say. But it did require tact. But this is what I mean about
abstracting your skills. I am not only interested in
the actual things you did, but in what you gained
and learned from them. And as I say, this
is excruciating because you have to
go back and remember, and then you have to–
especially in the blue column– you have to describe the
same things in the same ways. So once you do that, the rest
of this exercise is easy. This is the hard part
of this exercise. Once you’ve got all
those skills there, then you have to do two things. You have to sort them, which
is a dumb Excel function. And then you have to count them,
which is an even dumber Excel function. And I’ve given you
ways to do that. So there’s a sort mechanism
with instructions. And then I went through,
and I did a sort for myself, so you’ll be able to
see how I did this. And then a count function–
so you do another sort, and then you count. Now, this is only
interesting for one reason. When you sort it,
I want you to look at the skills and the
things you did most. And I want you to look
at what I have done. I am now 54 years old. And I want you to
look at the things I have done most– clear
written explanations, clear oral explanations,
empathy, customer service, data analysis, personnel management,
personnel development, and understanding
organizational expectations. All of these things
are things you already know how to do, to a
greater or lesser degree. I’m better at it
because I’m more senior, and I’ve had more practice,
and I’ve made more mistakes than you have. And that’s how you
get good at stuff. But the thing that should
give you confidence about this is that everything
I have used most over the course of
my career is stuff I was able to do when
I left graduate school. And so what I want
to do for you is help you learn how to
describe that, and that’s what this tool is for. So let me take questions about
this, before I leave this here. Yes? When you’re [INAUDIBLE]
after your degree is done, as far as a non-academic
job, how far back do you draw from
your experience? Is everything fair game? I’ll talk about
that in my resume. I’m going to roll out my
resume next, and discuss how to talk about that. Anybody else? Yes. Describing things the way
you do, I think, is an art. I think that we all are
here to try to [INAUDIBLE] talking about a research
assistant position, and calling that engagement
of the disparately skilled. How do we put what we’re
doing into those terms? And maybe that’s
where we’re going. So I will show you
how to do that. The short answer is,
what you have to do is, you have to read a
lot of job descriptions. You have to read
and say, oh, what on earth do they mean by that? And then you have to ask people
you know who hold those jobs. And I’ll talk about how
you go about doing that. But honestly, this is just
learning another jargon. This is just literary theory,
or MATLAB, or shorthand for chemistry formulas. It’s another jargon. This is just another
jargon, and it is totally, totally learnable. It’s much easier than French. Yes? Once you jot down all
the skills that you have, so you end up with quite a few
skills that you [INAUDIBLE]. So if you have, let’s
say, 10, 15, 20 skills– so it is not necessary
to mention all of them on the resume. So how do you sort? How do you [INAUDIBLE]? The question is, once you
get your inventory of skills, and you have a lot of
them, which you all will, you’re not going to
be mentioning them all in the resume. How do you do it? I will be talking about that
when I review the resume. Good. Yes? Is there a standard vocabulary
for different fields, you know, with job descriptions? Absolutely, yeah. Job descriptions totally
have their own language, and I have some
resources at the end that I’ll talk through, about
where to find job descriptions. But basically, what
you have to do is, you just have to
read a lot of them. Because they all have
their own subject jargon, but it’s not nearly as
common as work jargon, and it’s really easy to learn. Believe me, all of
you in this room are smart enough to be here. You can all learn the
language of job descriptions. OK. I’m back. Let’s see where it starts. I knew you were
going to do that. All right. OK. Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, the goal of the
template exercise is the following– you have
done a skill inventory, and you should be
able, as a result, to read a non-academic
job description and know whether you have
the skills it calls for. That is the reason to do
the template exercise. OK. Now, I have just given
you a way to create a database of your skills. What do you do with the data? Here’s how you create
a resume out of data. You describe what you
were responsible for and the key skills you use. You describe outcomes, with
measured results where you can. And you highlight critical
information, rather than listing everything,
reverse chrono order, and you provide contact details. All right. So let’s look at my resume. And we’re just going
to have to come back. Let’s see if it will
put this up without it. Excellent, all right. So many lessons here– font,
please no funky monkey fonts. No Comic Sans– and also,
remember, your resume is going to be,
almost certainly, scanned in to be read. So pro tip– once
you get your resume put together, make
five copies of it. Take the worst copy,
make a PDF, and then try to feed that into
a system and ensure that the font can be read–
no funky monkey fonts. I expect you to have
an email address that does not end in dot edu. Please, no funky monkey
email addresses– no [email protected] You laugh– you
would not believe what has crossed my desk. I expect you to have
a LinkedIn profile. There are people who will
not read your resume, but who will assume that
you are on LinkedIn, and will go there to look. You should have the
phone number at which you can most easily be reached,
and the city where you are. Ladies, please do not put a
full address on your resume, for safety reasons. The Seattle, Washington tells
employer the following things– employers who see that are going
to make the assumption that I am eligible to work
in the United States. So another assumption
employers make is that you are eligible for the
job to which you are applying. So if you have
eligibilities that are implied by– other
than living in Seattle– this is where you would add–
under Seattle, Washington– this is where you would
add, eligible to work in the European Union
and Canada, for example. OK, so that’s the basics. Then there is
typically a summary. And what the summary does is
describe your core skills– the things you’re
really good at. This is the partial answer
to your question about do you list all those
things on your resume. Because what you want
to front load here is the skills that you’re best
at, because the other thing to be aware of is, you
guys are going to probably be applying for
a couple or three main different kinds of jobs. Right? And so you will probably
have two or three resumes. For example, it’s often the case
that computer science people will have a hard-core
computer science resume. They may have a game
developer resume, and they may have a
tech teaching resume, just to give an example. All of them will be different. So you have a summary
of your experience, and then you go down
with your work history in reverse chronological order. And you scroll down. Professional experience–
where it was, what your title
was– many of you, instead of the
years I have there, will describe those
in months– you know, September x to June y. And that’s totally
fine, and that is very common for
early career resumes. Now, here are the kind
of sentences I would like to see you able to write. So the top is my board
service experience. OK, blah, blah, blah. Oh, I missed a comma there. That’s bad. So as a member of the
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, 2015 to 2016; chair of technology subcommittee
for development committee. It’s this next
sentence that matters. As leader of Seattle
leadership team, responsible for chairing
Seattle Garden Party– annual fundraiser netting
in excess of $250,000. Now, yours will be scaled down
to the level of responsibility you have. But I want you to
think about, what will that sentence be like? As a member of this
thing, I did this, with this measurable outcome. That is the important
sentence to be able to write, not only
because it gives you the discipline of figuring
out what that sentence is, but because the message
it sends to an employer is that you care about
measurable results. Now, a lot of people
say to me, so, Ann, what if I have been in
jobs that don’t have measurable outcomes like that? I was a dorm counselor,
or whatever it was. For those jobs, the exercise
you should go through is this– you take
a piece of paper, and you write down two
columns– before and after, or arrived and left. And you describe the state
in which you found the job, and what was different
when you left it. That is what a resume is. It says, I was responsible
for this thing, and this is what I did with
it, and here’s how I know. Because when an employer
looks at that, they say, oh. I have this analogous
problem here. I can plausibly hire
that person to do it. So this is the core. Now, I want to scroll
down to earlier in my career, which is going
to be more relevant to where you guys are, and show
you some important things. All right, so drop
down the resume. Blah, blah, blah–
OK, here we are. All right, so this is the
very bottom of my resume. So it used to be,
people had a sentence at the bottom of
resumes– references available on request. You don’t need that
sentence anymore. People assume you
have references. There is also sometimes,
depending on the resume, some people ask for a section
called hobbies, otherwise known as what do you do when
you’re not working. Now, the thing I
want to point out is, when I was an assistant
professor– you see up there, at the University of
Michigan– so here are the things I called
out about academics to a non-academic employer. OK, placed PhD candidates
as assistant professor at Harvard, Penn, and Bradley
University on completion of their doctorates;
co-supervised PhD candidate who won university-wide
dissertation prize; faculty supervisor of
graduate student journal– turned it from
dysfunctional mess into respected publication,
efficiently produced. Now, as an assistant
professor, as you can imagine, I did more things than that. I taught, and I did
all this other stuff. But those are measurable,
concrete experiences for an employer. The third sentence there,
about the journal– which I did during my committee
service in women’s studies– that sentence was
the sentence that got me my interview at Amazon. And the thing to learn
about that– I just sent this resume to a
friend of mine, who had one of those bullet resumes. And his wife was on
his case to fix it, so I sent him my resume. And she was reading
over his shoulder, and read that sentence
and laughed and said, yup, that’s Ann. I want you to think about,
what is the sentence that said, yup, that’s me? And it doesn’t necessarily
have to be smart ass, because the thing about
this sentence– in addition to being smart ass–
that characterizes me is solving a very practical
problem in a practical way– taking a mess and
making a good outcome. That’s one of my core skills in
academic or in corporate world. And I want you to think about,
when you do your best work, how do you describe it? Because that’s what
you want on a resume, and that’s why it’s
really important to create that database of skills. Because that will
say, man, I have done nothing but X, Y, and Z. I had a graduate
student– I forget, I think I was at the University
of York– who came up to me and said, well,
you know, I just– I don’t know what
else I could do. And I said, well, what do
you do outside of school? She said, well, I just
organized this conference. And I said, how’d it go? And she said, well, we
had 5,000 employees, and I did it at the same budget
as the last person did it, for half the price. It’s like, they’d
hire you tomorrow! Are you kidding me? And she did not think of that
as a thing that she could do. I am encouraging you to think of
it as things that you could do. Questions? Yes. There are hiring
managers out there that will not see resumes
that are two pages long. You have a lot of
important information about yourself. [INAUDIBLE]. So here’s the deal with
religion about length. I don’t have that religion. Many people do
have that religion. And what you do is, if they
have it, you accommodate it. But here’s another thing to
think about– a lot of resumes now are machine-read
and submitted online. So the length is
less of a thing. I know there is
religion about length. But one of the reasons
I don’t have it is that I focus on the
units of information. Now, you should always
fulfill the requirements of the hiring description. Right? And so if you have to–
if I had to put together a two-page resume, I could
put together two-page resume. I could put together
a one-page resume. But it is increasingly going
to be about information, rather than length. And you should definitely
not monkey around with using 9-point
type to get it all on two pages,
and stuff like that, because that just annoys people. [INAUDIBLE] And maybe you could
say something [INAUDIBLE]. Good font. [INAUDIBLE] You know what, I have found the
default font in Microsoft Word, or the default Apple
fonts to be just fine. Right? Use Calibri. Use Verdana. Use– well, Times New Roman,
blech– all those serifs. But just pick a really
common, easy-to-read font. That’s the thing. People often think
to themselves, how can I make my
resume stand out? That’s a question
they ask a lot. And what I encourage
them, instead, is to focus on describing
themselves well. Because you don’t hire a
resume, you hire a person. And you want the
description of yourself to be as accurate, and truthful,
and interesting as possible. So that’s where
you should focus. And the typeface should just
not interfere with that. Yes? [INAUDIBLE], is this
[INAUDIBLE] because [INAUDIBLE]. But is that a problem for
professionalism? [INAUDIBLE]? Sure, yeah. And it was easy for me to
say that– like I would not necessarily have put that
on my academic resume. Although actually,
knowing what I know now, yeah, I probably
would, now that I am– it’s different when you’re
54 than when you’re 24. Right? There are things you can say
and have more self-confidence, because I have more
of a track record. Right? So I can get away with that. What you have to do
is, you have to be intelligent about your audience. So I could leave
that sentence in, if I was applying to a
Silicon Valley startup. I would take that sentence
out or rephrase it if I was applying to
a white-shoe law firm. Right? So you have to be smart
about your audience, because all that says to an
employer is, is he smart enough to work here? And you want the
answer to be yes. What about putting
a photo like you would have on your LinkedIn
profile on your resume? Is that ever appropriate? It depends on the job for
which you’re applying. Some require
headshots, some don’t. In general, you should default
to not putting a photo on, and you should probably
have a photo on LinkedIn. And the LinkedIn
photo should show you in some– it can
certainly be casual, but it should not be revealing,
or explicit, or inappropriate in some way. Yes? How far back do you
recommend that we go, in terms of
listing positions– undergrad, further
back than that? What I always say is,
nearest relevant skill set. So I had somebody apply to
be the automotive category director at Amazon, when
we launched auto parts. And he was a little
younger than I am, so I want to say
he was maybe 40. He actually went all the
way back to high school, because he had worked
in an auto dealership. So what you want to identify
is your most recent relevant skills. Right? And ideally– you
know, you always have to have your last
two or three jobs. Right? There’s no question. But you go as far
back as you need to. And actually, it’s OK to skip. So if you have–
let’s say you’re constrained to two pages, and
you have two or three jobs that you described. But then what you do in
your opening paragraph is, you call out related skills. Dit, dit, dit, gained at dot,
dot, dot– that’s fine too. Yes? Not to put you on
the spot, but I’m wondering if you could
describe how you might include your bartending experience,
for instance, if you don’t have that measurable outcome. What kind of language would you
use to describe your skill set? What would I say
about bartending? Mm-hmm. No, no, it’s not
on the spot at all. It was on the next-to-last
version of this. So actually, is it
still in this one? Because I did it
after Michigan– we can maybe give a
really honest answer. Oh, I left it off. What am I thinking? So what I said about
bartending was, bartending at Szmania’s
restaurant in Seattle; responsible for
purchasing alcohol, maintaining inventory,
levels of customer service and good service– because it
was restaurant bartending– levels of good
service to servers. Because when you
think about going into a restaurant, and the
first thing you get is a drink– and if that’s bad, the
servers really depend on you for a first good impression. So that’s what I said. I talked about the things I was
responsible for and controlled. Yes? You say that we should
have different versions of your resume for
different jobs. So I wonder if the difference
is just a summary of the resume, or if you change
the content of each. [INAUDIBLE] So when you have different
resumes, where it matters most is in the summary. So it’s the skills you
highlight and the things you describe you most want to do. Now, it may differ in how you
describe the lower jobs down. You may emphasize one group
of skills more than the other. Or for example, if you had
a research assistantship and you had two
projects, and one is more relevant to the job,
you spend more time on that one. Absolutely. Yes, in the back. So it looks like
your format switches from a narrative to [INAUDIBLE] Say it again. I couldn’t hear you. It looks like you
switched from sentences to bullet points [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah, so the point of
the summary is to say, here is how I describe myself. And the impression
you want to give is one of narrative coherence. Right? There’s a way all of
these things fit together. The bullet points are more
suited to achievements at a job that are distinct. So for example,
do, do, do– here’s where it makes a difference. Let’s look at this. So this is when I ran all
of Amazon’s global website development. So what you see in
the bullet points are specific achievements. So I start off with a
little bit of narrative, of the stuff that I owned–
what I was responsible for, what I had to do. And then within
that context, there were specific things
I did that were good. That’s how I divide it. One way of thinking it is to say
narrative describes the person. Bullet points describe
the achievements. Yes? How much of that first
summary paragraph [INAUDIBLE] put in your cover letter
and shorten your resume? [INAUDIBLE] I don’t include it verbatim. I include a version of that,
because here’s the thing to realize– hiring
managers will sometimes read the cover letter,
sometimes read the resume. Rarely will they pay the
same attention to both. So what you want to make sure
is that, if the person only reads one or the other, they
get the key information. That’s the important thing. So it seems like we
looked through piecing out our [? knowledge ?]
and skills, and then we put it back
into five-job form. Is it ever appropriate to
present a resume by skill set? So it’s a great question. The question is, is it
ever appropriate to present a resume by skill set,
and the answer is yes. It’s very common
in certain fields. It’s very common in
technology, for example. There are resumes that
have– at the top, you have two bulleted
lists of the tech languages you work in– absolutely. The place to look for
this– I’ll have it in the list of
resources– there’s a resource called It’s just And what it gives you
is different models of different kinds of resumes. And you can put your
information in it, and see how it looks like,
and it gives you templates. Yeah, and that’s
totally going to be a function of the kind of
jobs you’re applying for. OK, all right. Let’s look at this. Do, do, do– oh, and it came
back to the right format. Yay. All right, we are getting
near a break, so patience. All right. So how many of you here have
used LinkedIn– show of hands? Oh, way better than most
audiences I work with, good. OK. LinkedIn– online
tool for developing a database of people you
know, posting your resume, and seeking jobs. So recall, I have been talking
about how you present yourself, and how you describe yourself. Now I’m talking about how
you connect with others. Now, the thing about it is,
recruiters and HR professionals use it extensively. It varies by field, right? Lawyers use it less. Doctors use it a little less. But some fields, like mine
in technology, use it more. And on the West
Coast, it’s essential. So in general, it is something
you’re going to have to have. So you go on it, and you don’t
have to have your resume ready. You can go on and just
sign up, and invite people you know to connect. So you invite people in
your own address book; people LinkedIn recommends,
if you know them; people from groups
to which you belong, right– alumni,
professional groups, interest groups–
if you know them; people with whom you
have interacted well. Here’s a very important
thing about academics. In academics, there
are very few people who can help you get a job. Right? The people who are
supervising your work– that’s a tiny number of people. In the non-academic world, there
are tons and tons of people who can help you get a job. The guy who sent me
to Amazon was a guy I had played softball
with in graduate school, and who wrote early adopter
books about the internet. Right? And you wouldn’t
normally think of, oh, I better behave well, because
he can help me get a job. Right? It wasn’t that. It was just that I had
gotten on well with him, and I had interacted
well with him. Now, how many of you
who are on LinkedIn have gotten random requests
to ads, from people you don’t know at all? Yeah, whoa, don’t do that. So aside from the fact that they
could be creepy cyber stalkers, LinkedIn works well when you can
refer people with confidence. So the questions you
want to ask yourself are, would I introduce this
person to someone I respect, if they ask a favor, or would
I do a favor for this person? And if the answer is no or,
worse yet, I don’t know, don’t add them. Now, here’s the thing about
connections helping your job search. One of the top questions I
get when I do presentations like this is, how do
I prevent my resume from getting lost in a
billion pile of resumes? Now, the way you do it
is through connections. So you can find out if anyone
you know– if you know anybody at places you’d like to
work, or if anybody you know knows somebody at places
you’d like to work. But the main point of
personal connections is that they help
resumes not get lost in a pile, which otherwise
is really easy to happen. And I’ll tell you a
little bit about how hiring managers handle those. Now, the other thing
you have to do– it’s kind of a grimy
housekeeping thing, but it’s really important–
get your contacts in order. I don’t care if you
keep them in a file box, or if you keep them in Outlook,
or if you keep them in a Google Docs spreadsheet, or if you
keep them on your phone, or wherever you keep them. But wherever you
keep them, they have to be kept up to
date and in order. That means you have a name, a
private and/or a work email, and usually a mobile number. There will be a lot of people
you only know on LinkedIn, or you only have connections
with on LinkedIn, because they’re not on
your Christmas card list, or you don’t party with
them, or whatever it is. And LinkedIn contacts are fine
for purely professional ones. You should, from today forward,
set a calendar reminder every two weeks to
add two or three people you know to LinkedIn. And you should do
that every week or two forever, because I have
developed a list of contacts. You should consider them one of
your core professional assets. Right? And you actually
know a lot of people. There’s a lot to be
said for attending a large institution like
the University of Wisconsin. But you should set
a calendar tickler, and you should add two or three
people every week forever. Please, Lord, back them up. And as with all
backups, you should follow the rule of three– a
local backup, a cloud backup, and an external device backup. OK, more questions about
how you describe yourself, and how you represent
that description, and how you make contacts
before we go into a bio break. Yes? Back to the resume thing,
but do you have a summary– I’ve seen resumes that
have objective statements. Oh, yes. Uh-huh. [INAUDIBLE] So I am very anti-objectives. These are the ones
that say, my objective is– because they
all sound the same. Right? My objective is a
challenging, interesting job with challenging,
interesting people. Like, meh. Now, there are a couple use
cases where I think it matters. And the way it
matters is, let’s say you are doing something
that is different. For example, I’ll take from
my experience in technology. After working as a web
developer for many years, I’m now interested in working
in middle-stack software development. Here’s my relevant experience. So that what the
objective says is, even though my resume says web
dev, web dev, what I want to do is this other thing. So there’s a particular use
case for those statements. In general, I hate them. Because frankly, I’m
assuming that if you’re applying for the job, that
you’re interested in working in that job. And if you’re not, you’re
just wasting my time. So that’s why I don’t enjoy
those, particularly much. Yes? So as graduate
students, it seems like some of what we’re
learning and the skills we’re developing
through [INAUDIBLE] resume under education, PhD, or
position, research assistant. How do you decide where
to put these details? As a general rule,
under education, I use concrete markers. So MA, PhD– because education
has these digestible languages. Right? Because as you saw
in my resume, that’s also where I put foreign
languages and other stuff like that. Everything else, I think,
belongs under skills and jobs, because from an
employer’s perspective, it’s not that I don’t
care about your education. I care deeply about
your education. But I care more about what
you can do with it for me, so it is much more
important that you describe your skills associated
with jobs and positions. For example, let’s
say you had gotten terrific explanatory
skills as a TA, and I was going to hire
you to do group training, but you never finished
your dissertation. I don’t care that you
didn’t get your PhD. I care that you
had the skills that will enable you to become a
good corporate trainer for me. Right? So in general, markers under
education, skills on the top, associated with jobs. Yes? [INAUDIBLE] I’m a new grad student. I just finished undergrad. So most of my
professional connections are either undergrad professors
or people [INAUDIBLE]. Mm-hmm, people you know. But I don’t have any
[INAUDIBLE] outside of faculty. Is that OK to [INAUDIBLE]? The only problem with what you
just said was the word real. I don’t have any real
connections outside– they’re all real, because
really, first of all, everybody needs the
dignity of being understood as a real
person with a real job. Right? And so what you need to
do is make connections with every person
you know and respect, because you do not know
who can help you get a job. That is not something
that will be obvious. And it’s not like
employers go and say, oh, she’s connected
with undergraduates and other people who don’t
know anything. [GRUNTS] Right? And people don’t troll
through saying, oh, is she connected to
the famous person? Right? Because I don’t care. I can’t afford to care. I only care about what you can
do for me in a job situation. OK, one more and then
we’ll take a bio break. What is your advice for keeping
your contacts fresh or up to date? I’ve heard at other seminars,
make sure you reach out and say hi, every– I don’t
know– six months, or something like that. How do you choose who
you talk to [INAUDIBLE]? Right, right. Police call those
people stalkers. [LAUGHTER] So what I do is,
I contact people when I have a reason
to contact them, and I don’t make up a reason. That said, announcing a
job search is a reason. And I’ll talk a
little bit about how you do and make
that announcement, but don’t do it for no reason. All right, it is 3:20. A bio break– I’m going to
start talking again at 3:30. And we wanted to be sure you all
know that there will be pizza at the end of today at
5:00, from 5:00 to 6:00– a pizza reception. All right, 10
minutes– bio break.

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