Thursday, June 6, 2013

Eight Career "Truths" That May Not Be So True

In preparation for my University of California, Berkeley Extension Public Lecture this Wednesday, I wrote a draft of what I plan to say.

HERE is the link. I'd welcome your reactions.

Also, it is a public event, so you are invited. The event is free but you're required to register.


Anonymous said...

A great piece, Marty...very thought-provoking and well-supplied with a mix of "hard" information, such as statistics, and "soft" information, such as personal stories.

These certainly ring true for me...and I've discovered a seventh truth that may not be so true in my own experience:

"Networking is the best way to land a job." Although networking can be really effective when it comes to finding opportunities and getting an edge, consider that networking might not be your best bet if:

You need a job fairly quickly.

You're new in town or live in a small community where you already know most everyone.

You're changing careers and don't know many people in your new field.

You're looking for jobs in another part of the country.

You're not the schmoozing type.

In short, it takes time and effort to build a quality professional network...time and effort that you might not have at your disposal.

It's also the case that more organizations are turning away from networking as a way to fill jobs because hiring friends of friends often means hiring the wrong people, and also because organizations are under pressure from the law to make their hiring more transparent and objective. It also seems sleazy that many people get jobs they're not really qualified for just because they're great schmoozers.

That said, it may make a lot more sense for you to focus on finding on-target job ads you're well-qualified for and creating top-of-the-pile applications.

In my experience, 9 of the last 10 jobs I've held I got from answering an ad. When applying, I've included everything from positive quotes from performance reviews to how much money one of my ideas saved the company.

-Your reader in PA

Marty Nemko said...

That is an excellent point. So much so that, yes, I will add it to my talk. Thank you very much.

Marty Nemko said...

Dear Anonymous (and perhaps others)

Perhaps you might enjoying seeing what I added to my speech thanks to your fine comment:

2. "Networking is key to your career." I've become convinced that's overbroad. Some of my clients have gotten all their jobs and otherwise boosted their career thanks to networking. For many others, networking has been a waste of time. Still others have been hurt by their networking. I'm one of them. No matter how much I try, I too often come off as too intense and a know-it-all. I interrupt too much, even though I know it's wrong. My career has been hurt by my talking with others. I think I do better when I to talk to audiences and write to audiences. The message: One size does not fit all. Here's how to assess how much effort you should devote to networking. The more of these you can answer yes to, the more you might want to network: 1. Does your career need networking, for example, if you're unemployed or are looking to move up or to another employer? 2. To date, have you found your networking has been worth the effort? The past is a reasonable predictor of the future. 3. Do you enjoy networking? Even if you're good at it, ask yourself whether it's the wisest use of that time--What otherwise could you be doing? 4. Is your existing networking liberally laced with people who can help you? Building a network usually takes a long time. By the time you build one that nets you a job, you could be homeless and eating cat food. Some people do better simply answering jobs ads, but taking the time to do it really well, to reveal their true strengths and weaknesses so an employer will believe what they're writing and be able to assess whether there's a good match between the applicant and the job. So the message here, as with the other six career beliefs: There are few black and white truths. Nuance is required. One size does not fit all. So, moving forward, should you do more or less networking?

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like is overrated anymore.

Anonymous said...

"Do what you love and if the money doesn't follow, don't worry, your parents or someone will support you."

I would lose this sentence. Maybe you're going for a laugh, but it struck me as being fuddy-duddy.

#3 seems to be more about misrepresenting yourself rather than selling yourself.

Marty Nemko said...

Thanks. I made clearer that even ethical selling feels like the wrong metaphor. Regarding "parents or someone supporting you,' it's such a legitimate concern that I'm willing to accept being labeled a "fuddy-duddy" for saying it.

Anonymous said...

Don't follow your passion.

Instead follow your skills!

Hopefully they will be the same but maybe not.

Marty, have you read the book "So Good They Can't Ignore You?"

The author goes after the follow your passion myth. (A myth for many, anyway.)

Marty, can you recommend some career aptitude test that actually test aptitude instead of asking what a person prefers? (I would imagine there must be some type of career skills testing but all I find is Myers-Briggs types of tests.)

Also, can you recommend ways people might be able to uncover skills they don't know they have?

How to find your SKILLS, not passion. Maybe this would be a good topic for your radio show.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

How did it go? Was your lecture well-received?

Marty Nemko said...

Extremely well. Thanks for asking. Afterwards, the dean said, "We'll be back in touch very soon about having you do more events."

Marty Nemko said...

The Johnson-O Conner is mentioned but the few people who've gone through that few-day expensive experience haven't felt it was worth it. I wonder if self-report such as CareerPath is good enough.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Marty! I have been a devoted reader and listener going on 7 years now, and this is your finest piece to date. The anecdote about your father always gives me goose bumps and, more often than not, brings tears to my eyes. It also gives me a swift kick in the rear when I'm feeling lazy! Thank you for all of your contributions.


Marty Nemko said...

Thank you, Anonymous. Frankly, I can particularly use your kind words today.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Johnson-O Conner. I took their expensive assessment tests in Washington, DC. The result: you have an aptitude for nothing. (!)

Marty Nemko said...

And some takers of the Johnson-O'Connor are told they can do anything. The core problem is that the predictive validity of the counsel is too limited to justify the time and money.