Last evening I sat in on a “Career 3.0″ session at NYU that was in part sponsored by the NYU SHRM Student Chapter. 200+ early careerists came looking for specific job search and career management – I think they received some useful tidbits but nowhere near enough for a chilly Friday NYC evening. Some – but not enough.
Overall, the advice sounded dated, “lectured”, and ubiquitous: “Show Passion”, “Be authentic”, “Practice your elevator speech”, blah, blah, blah. The students and early careerists in the audience hear this “rah-rah” advice daily but are rarely given specific tactics and techniques beyond a boilerplate. It’s like telling someone who has never built a car to go build a car by pointing to an assembly line and saying, “See?” In the career space, the advice is, “Go research; go network. See?” – then turn and say the same thing to the next person.
For example, many students in the audience are multilingual and want to use their language skills. Where are the opportunities? Are language skills important? What should we do?
Which should never be unexpected – because the most useful answers to the truly complex career and job search problems aren’t the standard “the color of your parachute is…” The most personally game changing answers require “lateral thinking” – and often the answer is so elegantly simple that the question asker is left I smile a crooked smile and think, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” Alas, lateral thinking isn’t taught in school; it is left for a scant few to learn through trial and error when in reality it isn’t a difficult skill to learn (read everything you can about Edward de Bono).
As for the language skill opportunities, let’s use Russian as an example (one if the students’ Mother tongue). I showed her that by Googling “US Russia Business Council” you actually get the US-Russia Business Council website. See that Members link on the navigation bar? Click. BAM! All US and Russian companies in the council.
Works for any language and country.
Next step is to do some advanced LinkedIn research and identify the person who serves as the head of the function you want to be on or the person who is the Council liaison. Heck, maybe they graduated from YOUR school or is from your home town.
When you send that LinkedIn request, write it in BOTH languages.
Again, just one example.
I wish career experts would just drop their boilerplate advice and actually ponder how they sound like just another talking head. No one deserves receiving career advice from a bobble head. You can’t teach a novice to build a car by pointing at a whirring assembly line…
So…any specific questions from you?