Here is an article in the Australian Financial Review on Luck in Careers. How to get luck on your side in your career. It is about luck in careers, luck readiness, and luck and career success.
Here is an article in the Australian Financial Review on Luck in Careers. How to get luck on your side in your career. It is about luck in careers, luck readiness, and luck and career success.
110 job hunting resume cv and interview tips from Jim Bright
Here are some tips for Job Hunting, Resumes, Interviews, and Testing for 2011.
As an author of job hunting books that have sold way in the 100,000s in the USA, UK, Australia, China, Vietnam, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Japan (you get the idea), with titles like Amazing Resumes, Brilliant CV, Resumes that get shortlisted, Should I stay or Should I go, StressSmart®, and Job Hunting for Dummies Australia & New Zealand, I thought I’d pass on some tips to assist in landing that job.
I’ve divided the tips into sections below.
39 Resume, Cover letter, Job Search tips
26 Interview Tips
45 Testing Tips
For traditional face to face testing
For online testing
For all testing
I want to share a resource I’ve been working on over the last week called the Edge of Chaos Posters. I’ve designed a couple of posters that try to illustrate the idea of the relationship between certainty and uncertainty.
I decided to select words that in some way illustrate the ideas of certainty and uncertainty, order and disorder. I decided I wanted a complete A-Z of words which was something of a challenge. I determined to put words redolent of certainty on the left hand side and words indicating uncertainty on the right hand side. I found it easier to think of or find words for certainty. It was more challenging to find words for uncertainty. In fact often, just like the word “uncertain” – the uncertain has to make do with a modification of a word about certainty. This I find intriguing.
The poster above is the black version. Click the poster to download an 8Mb PDF version. Note you may have to right-click to save these posters to your computer, or look in your downloads folders, or even look in Acrobat as different browsers do different things.
All the words on these posters will be familiar to you. On the left there are words like Plans, Goal, Control, Prepared, Stuck. Similarly on the right there are words like Exploring, Change, Serendipity, Vulnerable and Magical.
The purpose of these posters is to help people appreciate that a full life needs all of these words. However when we are feeling confused, sad, unsure or vulnerable we tend to retreat into what we often see, or are encouraged by others to see as reassuring, and somehow more legitimate, more proper left side words. However, this can only provide short-term succor. Sometimes we believe that all we need are the right-hand side words, but these alone wont do either.
A full life requires all these words – order and disorder, chaos and certainty, strength and vulnerability.
There are lots of uses for this poster. You can circle the words you identify with – are you more left or right sided? You can use words on the left to help you strive toward words on the right. You can use words on the right to help you arrive at words on the left. You could even measure new ideas, initiatives and policies against these words – is a balance of left and right achieved? The possibilities are endless.
You might be interested in this related post on Why people don’t get uncertainty
You can download low-res posters in yellow or black and white by clicking on their images above – they are 2381 x 1684 pixels, but they are still large files (6Mb and 8Mb). If you want high-res versions, you’ll need to email me as these are very big high quality files suitable for making large posters. I am happy for you to use them with acknowledgement. I’d love to know what you make of them.
How long has there been serious interest in goal setting? You might be forgiven for thinking it has always been a key approach to changing human behavior. However according to PsycInfo (the largest and most authoritative database on published psychological research), between 1900 and 1980, a search of this data base on the terms “goal setting” yielded only 39 publications. The first being in Harry Spillman’s chapter Tides of Life in Personality: Studies in Personal Development. New York: Gregg Publishing US.
The 1980s were not much better, in fact they were worse than the average of 0.5 a year, with only 2 publications (both in 1986).
The 1990s were when goal setting really started, well, kicking goals. A whopping 335 publications turned up in the search – more that the previous 90 years combined.
But it was the 2000s when we became totally obsessed with goal setting as the answer to just about everything, a whopping 1168 publications came out about goal setting.
However, something interesting may be happening. Have a look at the graph below that shows the search results for “goal setting” across all types of publications by year.
It seems that goal setting publications peaked in 2008 and have been in decline ever since. (Note the figure for 2011 has been adjusted by taking the figure produced at the end of September, dividing it by 9 to get a monthly figure and multiplying that by 12 to get a comparable annual number – given the dramatic drop off, this probably over-estimates the true figure for 20110.)
There are a few intriguing things here. Firstly, are we over goal setting? Regular readers will appreciate that from my theoretical perspective of the Chaos Theory of Careers, goal setting can be seen to be limited in its efficacy, especially for longer-term behavioral change (because complexity and change serve to move or obliterate the goal posts) this is not an unwelcome thing if it turns out to be true.
Secondly, is it the case that goal setting has been in decline since the GFC? The GFC really hit in mid to late 2008 (see graph below of S&P 500 since 2006). 2008 was the peak year for goal setting papers, and 2009 was not far behind. However journals and other forms of academic publications and outputs (like theses) tend to reflect work that was done or submitted 2 or 3 years earlier. So there is likely a lag effect in operation here. And sure enough if you look at 2009, and 2010 and almost certainly 2011, we see an exponential drop off in papers on goal setting.
So, is it a little like the financial markets, that people are beginning to appreciate that the world is more uncertain and changeable than we realised, and that maybe we need techniques that are not so firmly rooted in the idea that the future (goal) is relatively unchanging and predictable.
It is truly fascinating, and reminds me of the Peak Oil debate, have goals reached their zenith – have we reached a tipping point on goal setting? Is this just a temporary blip? Is goal setting so accepted there is nothing more to say, or is it the case as I am hypothesizing that we are beginning to appreciate goal setting as useful, but an over-simplified response to complex and changing problems? Or is it simply turbulence in the numbers?
Who knows for sure, but this graph certainly makes interesting reading to me. I guess we must wait to see how it emerge over time, and on that chaotic and complexity-laden bombshell, I shall leave it to you to ponder!
Note: Psycinfo is “Unrivaled in its depth of psychological coverage and respected worldwide for its high quality, the database is enriched with literature from an array of disciplines related to psychology such as psychiatry, education, business, medicine, nursing, pharmacology, law, linguistics, and social work” according to Proquest.
Redundancy is generally a bad thing but there are plenty of people who should be made redundant without delay: Kim Jong Il of North Korea, and Omar Al Bashir of Sudan spring to mind. They should be joined by the self-proclaimed spokespersons for a generation. Especially the Gen Y spokespeople because of the widespread disservice that they have done to the reputation of their own. It is time for Gen Y to reclaim their own identity and set the record straight.
It is beyond me why anyone would want to develop a career as a generational spokesperson, a job that has a finite shelf life. The Canadian novelist Douglas Coupland was the spokesperson for Generation X after publication of his novel in 1991. Yet by 2006 Coupland was admitting in his New York Times blog that he was now occupying his time in Vancouver chewing up his own books (literally) while watching Law and Order on television. This does not bode well for the aspiring generational spokesperson. A quick search on the internet failed to unearth any current Gen X spokespeople, and only a handful of Baby Boomer spokespeople. Most of those were authors of books about how sex and sciatica can be bedfellows, or how to retire. By contrast, the Internet is heaving with apparent authorities on the topic of how to talk to 18 to 28 year olds. Qualification for this role? Being aged between 18 and 28. It also helps if you can claim that you have spoken to someone older aside from saying “I wont go to bed it’s not my bedtime”.
Being a successful generational spokesperson falls into the get in quickly, make a quid and then get out category of occupations. Therefore it can be safely grouped together with con-artists, Senators (but I repeat myself), and boy bands.
It is time to make these chancers redundant because there is now a lot of good evidence that casts serious doubts on most of the central claims made about the Gen Y generation. On the off chance that you have managed to avoid to breathless claims made about this generation, and at the risk of perpetuating untruths, the claims are broadly that Gen Y’s (born late 1970s to late 1990s) are: technologically savvy having grown up with it; socially highly inter-connected; impatient for career responsibility, consultation and advancement and quick to quit if their needs are not meet. It is claimed that these (and other) characteristics differ from previous generations.
Late last year the Journal of Managerial Psychology devoted a whole edition to examining these claims for a generation. The editors open the examination with the statement that “rarely do such generalisations seem to be challenged, or even the basic assumption that there are generational differences questioned…”. The existing evidence they did unearth was hardly promising either. One study they cite found that Gen Ys and Gen Xs “were identical” in ratings of their top six work motivators as were Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers. That study found that steady employment was the top motivator for Gen Ys. In a further four studies cited, all of them found little or no differences, or trivially small differences that were contrary to the generational stereotypes.
The special edition of the journal presents a further series of evidence that draws on very often large samples from the USA, Australia New Zealand and Europe. To sum up the results, the editors, Auckland-based academics and consultants Keith Macky, Dianne Gardner and Stewart Forsyth conclude that “many of the empirical findings are less strong and consistent than popular sentiment suggests. Indeed, there may be more variation among members within a generation than there is between generations”. (pp860)
Perhaps the most relevant study was one conducted by staff at SHL Australia, a company that for many years has specialised in objective assessment in the workplace. Melissa Wong and Leah Coulon from SHL teamed up with Whitney Lang at Deakin University and Ellirona Gardiner at the University of Queensland to examine whether personality and motivational driver differences exist across Baby Boomers, Gen Xs and Gen Ys. They examined the profiles of 3929 professionals who had completed the SHL Occupational Personality Questionnaire and the Motivation Questionnaire. They did find a couple of differences between the generations but these were not supportive of the popular view of Gen Y. They summarised their results in the following terms: “In practical interpretation terms, these differences are almost negligible. More importantly, even where differences exist (even where there are moderate to large effect sizes), the direction of the differences is often contrary to the differences suggested in popular management literature.”
What other evidence is presented in this special edition? A similar pattern emerged in a study of 1422 employees across 8 organisations in New Zealand with the authors concluding “The Baby Boomer, Generation X and Generation Y had some differences in work values but fewer than expected”. Data from 1.4 million Americans over the last 80 years does reveal some small differences in personality when test-taker profiles across the generations are averaged and compared. However the data points to higher levels of narcissism, self-esteem and depression amongst Gen Ys. However these differences if they exist – the results are not without their critics – are hardly strong support for the common stereotype.
In seeking to establish an identity and a place in the world, one strategy is to invent, emphasise or even exaggerate the differences between you or your group – the in-group, and others, the out-group. It is a strategy that has served advertisers well for decades. Set up simplistic stereotypes pitched at the target demographic group because it is uneconomic and unrealistic to pitch to individuals. Just pretend that the individual and the stereotype are inter-changeable – “Because you deserve it”.
Gen Y have been sold short by the industry that has grown up around them. Many Gen Ys that I spoke to resented being reduced to a stereotype and objected to being treated as disloyal flibbety gibbets. The attempts to translate marketing strategies based upon demographic analysis of customers into an effective model of management and leadership of employees is a questionable practice that is not supported by the available empirical evidence, and may serve only to alienate the very people promoters of such approaches claim respond positively to them.
It is a sad truth that those self-appointed spokespersons for Generation Y are too young to have heard of a certain Mr Billy Bragg but they could look him up on their FaceSpace social networking interweb site. If they had heard of him, they could consider this piece of wisdom from the songwriter of 30 odd years: “Being spokesman for a generation is the worst job I ever had”.
Here is a five minute video of my Keynote “Know Change and No Change: how I learned to love Chaos” presented at the Cannexus Career Development Conference in January 2011
If you like it, please mark it as liked on youtube and even leave a comment or two!
Here is Volume 9 of my Oppositional Thoughts…They are designed to gently puncture some of the slightly precious life advice out there, and to complexify overly simplistic homilies, that make life appear a lot simpler than it is in reality.
Oppositional thoughts…”it is not the destination, it is the journey” is a philosophy I commend to everyone..except Taxi drivers…
Oppositional thoughts…I de-stressed by parking at side of the road to admire view, but patient’s screams made me get back in the ambulance
Oppositional thoughts…” What’s the best thing you could be doing…and why aren’t you doing it?” I am doing it but the police don’t suspect
Oppositional thoughts…”Trust that voice in ur head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if.. & then do it.”…normally a legal defence?
Oppositional thoughts..”The best progress makes us work less eventually”…this assumes work is best to be avoided rather than stimulating
Oppositional thoughts…”The man who wins may have been counted out several times, but he didn’t hear the referee” …then he cheated…
Oppositional thoughts…”Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto” but open a window 1st & dont admit it was u
Oppositional thoughts..”Life isn’t measured by the breathes we take but the moments that take our breath away.” life sounds like a staircase
Oppositional thoughts…”You don’t measure love by counting phone calls.”..no but you might measure hate that way when when the bill arrives
Oppositional thoughts..”Give man fish & u feed him for day. Teach him how to fish & u feed him for lifetime.” or give him mercury poisoning
Oppositional thoughts…”Please just use what works for you and let go of the rest”…He obviously never did team rock climbing…
Oppositional thoughts…”If God is the DJ, then Life is the dance floor; Love is the rhythm”..and the bouncers wont let me into the club
Oppositional thoughts..”Nothing beats the balance between moments of explosive success with moments of body relieving stillness.” laxatives?
Oppositional thoughts..” My new diet is heavy on local, seasonal foods.” well McDonalds and KFC are local to me, open all seasons….
Oppositional thoughts… I was randomly chosen for a careers audit. They said it was wrong to call mine a career & suggested “joke” instead
Oppositional thoughts…I’ve never understood the desire to maintain the Status Quo – I reckon they went downhill after Live Aid…..
Oppositional thoughts…”Adaptive capacity grows out of the ability to notice and distinguish, not to judge and dismiss”…rubbish. What?!
Oppositional thoughts…Do not smile too hard while asleep, people will assume you are a corpse
Oppositional thoughts…I’m going to be boarding a plane soon, u would have thought they’d have more sophisticated ways of covering windows
Oppositional thoughts… “Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible”… I flashed my hindsight and got arrested…
Oppositional thoughts…I wanted to develop my brain in 2011 , but I couldn’t get planning permission from the council
Oppositional thoughts…“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” – Mother Teresa…unless they are a tax inspector
Oppositional thoughts…it is good to tie one on in Ottawa in winter, but be careful what you tie it too! #frostbite #Cannexus
Oppositional thoughts….”I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is & what is not possible” so how can u say that
Oppositional thoughts…Well done is better than well said. ~Benjamin Franklin …not if it is my steak you are talking about….
Oppositional thoughts…”Life is too short to waste time hating anyone”…So how long should it be that hating is no longer a waste of time?
Oppositional thoughts…Person A: Dialogue forms identity. Person B: No it doesn’t. Person A – Then I am nothing. Person B. Yup.
Oppositional thoughts…Leaders talk about the solutions. Followers talk about the problems. I have a problem & solution for that.What am I?
Oppositional thoughts…you know you’ve made it when you can outsource your autopoiesis…
Oppositional thoughts…if you find yourself always falling between two stools in your career, quit working in untidy path labs…
Oppositional thoughts…I attended a wellbeing convention & learned to be mindful…of the registration fees, & not to sit on the crystals
Oppositional thoughts…the Social Constructivist’s Conference was a failure, only one person turned up and he was only imagining it
Oppositional Thoughts…”Creativity is analyzing what others ignore.” then I will ignore that remark and analyze elsewhere…
Oppositional thoughts…”If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”…but then you wouldn’t be aware how much it costs…
Oppositional Thoughts.”Good morning from Milton Keynes it’s dark & 4C. What’s it like where u r now?” Worse I’m locked in your boot 🙂
Oppositional thoughts…”The quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask”..rather than making statements about it?
Oppositional thoughts…”Those with guts are bound for glory!”…so there goes my diet again…..
Oppositional thoughts.”U’ll be surprised to know how far u can go from the point where u thought it was the end” if u can get coffin lid off
Oppositional thoughts…”The principle of art is to pause, not bypass” J.Kosinski…explains difference between Art and Heart operation…
Oppositional thoughts….”Be friendly or stay home.”….that’s not very friendly advice…
Oppositional thoughts…You were born an original. Don’t die a copy….Unless you were cloned of course…
Oppositional thoughts…Why do you do what you do?….because I like to keep the prison officers happy…