Engineer into the Workforce presentation to The University of British Columbia, School of Engineering, 4th year Capstone Project course. November 2, 2016
Yes, LinkedIn and Human Resources screening technology are suppressing hiring. The fact is, the task of submitting a resume’ that will make it past the filtering technology used by almost all recruiters these days, requires cunning and a shrewd understanding of how to manipulate these screening apps, something akin to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). However, HR SEO techniques requires a knowledge of the app itself, which is a closely guarded secret. WRT to LinkedIn, I have growing concerns that LinkedIn no longer meets the “WIIFM” test, or “what’s in it for me?” LinkedIn seems to have aligned its business and destiny more with the needs of the recruiting industry than with my own needs, while still trying to sell me on the benefits of paid “Premium Membership.” Increasingly blog discussions on the value of LinkedIn to business users are concluding that it’s value has diminished sharply. Perhaps the recruiting industry represents a bigger potential revenue stream and LinkedIn does not wish to reveal that to its individual users. Then there is the matter of the LinkedIn merger with Microsoft, which has left many observers underwhelmed, despite pronouncements of the exceptional strategic value to both companies.
My own odyssey in choosing a major and a career is probably not a great guide for today’s students. I had only a vague idea that I wanted a quality “liberal arts education,” to equip me with the thinking skills necessary to guide my career. I chose an undergraduate major in Speech-Communication with double minors in Philosophy and Photography. In retrospect, despite the disadvantages of my choice, it turned out well at that time, primarily because being able to communicate and present yourself is perhaps the most important skill in any career. Warren Buffett agrees with that. But in today’s much more competitive environment, I am sadly less confident that it would work. This is the dilemma for today’s students.
I ran across this recent HBR article and thought it would be helpful for management students contemplating an internship or co-op employment as part of their degree program. Such programs are a highly valuable way to gain experience, and to find career-focused employment. This is particularly true in this challenging employment market. I would even go so far as to suggest that it may even be a workable strategy for recent graduates still searching for that opportunity that will kick start their careers. Get an informational interview and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
There is a lot of hubris and fantasy here in the Okanagan that no amount of reality can kill. Contrasted with that is a political faction that wishes for nothing more than the status quo. In yet another example of Kelowna’s long-standing poor employment market, and bizarre claims of being a technology industry hub, high tech employment in the Okanagan is being curtailed by the mass exodus of qualified graduates to employers outside the Okanagan.
This is a metaphorical essay on personal ethics, worthy of a serious read and contemplation. When I saw the title I was intrigued but suspected it had something to do with Andy Grove’s adage, “sewage flows downhill,” which means “if anything bad happens it will eventually flow down to you.” This is about ethics. The points made here are particularly apt in light of the huge number and sheer scale of recent business frauds: the Volkswagen fraud, LIBOR, Lehman Brothers, Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme, Conrad Black in Canada, Olympus in Japan, Bernie Ebbers and Worldcom, Tyco International, stretching back all the way to Enron, Michael Milken’s junk bonds, and the 1980’s savings & loan debacle.
I noticed the following post on LinkedIn, and thought that it was important to share it. When I first came to UBC to teach Industry Analysis and Entrepreneurship in the Faculty of Management, I was struck by how utterly unprepared Faculty of Management students were to stand up and communicate their ideas. Most students used 3 x 5 cards and stared at the floor. One student, without realizing it, stood up and crossed his arms across his chest, projecting only his personal discomfort with the situation. Clearly this problem needed to be addressed. If there is one thing I have learned since graduating with a Speech-Communication degree, it is the importance of being able to stand up and communicate your ideas, what you believe, and most importantly, who you are. It is crucial to career success.