I believe it was on the McKinsey Insights and Publications
site where the top three things recent graduates say
about working. Briefly, they are:
(1) they feel they are over-qualified for the work they
interview for and eventually accept. Many of the
roles and responsibilities are done by non-college
graduates and do not need what colleges offer and
(2) they feel they are unprepared for the discipline,
pleasant customer interactions expectations, and
the need to follow someone else’s orders to do things.
(3) many feel as a result they would choose to major
in something else or attend a different institution.
These same people for the most part do not use
the career services function of the school (>60%)
and do not use alumni networks of the school or
There are five areas the recent hires’ employers
assess their new graduating hires–
- working in a team ~60% effective
- oral communication
spoken ~50% effective
- training in discipline ~50% effective
- written communication ~45% effective
- problem solving skills ~45% effective
often taking short-cuts
What it calls attention to for undergraduates is to:
1. seek and accept coop jobs, internships and externships.
Get broad exposures in different kinds of positions.
2. understand that automation is happening in every
field for good business reasons. Learn about working
with computers. Learn about their strengths and weaknesses.
3. seek a wide range of people who are mentors, teachers
consultants and listen to their stories. Learn from them
and ask them to be mentors and part of your network,
whether in or not in linkedin.com.
4. despite computers, decision-making and judgment
is a human capacity. Learn how people acquire these
5. learn about career services and school networks.
Attend and participate in events to learn soft skills.
A number of years ago, I enjoyed a distance learning course
I attended that Karol Pelc delivered in NTU on Management
of Technology. Many areas were interesting. One in particular
was technological generations, S-shaped curves and technology
These areas can parallel our careers in research, business
and teaching. Atul Gawande wrote a compelling article in the
New Yorker recently describing how athletes and musicians
have personal coaches, why shouldn’t surgeons? In my mind,
why shouldn’t scientists, engineers, professors and professionals?
Gawande wrote: “As I went along, I compared my results against national
data, and I began beating the averages. My rates of complications
moved steadily lower… And then, a couple of years ago, they didn’t.
It started to seem that the only direction things could go from here
was the wrong one.
Maybe this is what happens when you turn 45. Surgery is, at least,
a relatively late-peaking career… Jobs that involve the complexities
of people or nature seem to take longer to master. S&P 500 CEO,
52, geologists, 54; Surgeons, requiring stamina and judgment,
Gawande talked about invoking coaches, just like other professionals,
and provided some real life examples of how attention to some
little things that an objective expert observer might point out.
We see many coaches for executives, for golf, for singing, for
musicians…Some are most helpful. Some provide standard responses,
that may not be helpful. Some inspire alternative ways of doing
things. Even experts have room for improvement.
SENIOR LEVEL RESUMES
We have not touched on senior level public relations documents.
There is a need to present a perspective. At the higher levels, terms
like branding, leadership, staffing and application of resources
We might think of a CTO position as a particular example of
a position. Jennifer Hay offered a candid comparison of
CIO and CTO roles and responsibilities. Notice the difference
between the more operational and the more strategic.
This falls under the term “branding” that is common in business
resume literature. More on target, it refers to the content of
the document using specific keywords in context that relates
a reputation for leadership providing:
company growth strategy overcoming obstacles
system wide implementation that drives results
providing a strategic, if not a longer-range view.
In some circles the CTO is the right hand person in technology
focused organizations, where a CFO is more business or
transaction based organizations. The metrics for CTO needs
to be expressed in senior level terms as Laura Smith-