It is challenging for people in technical fields
to consider the changes in the employment marketplace
today. So much can seem to be against our better natures
where we are taught that deep study and inspiration can
A. Big prize awards are offered for innovative ways of
solving human problems or for commercial innovation,
using crowd-sourcing approaches [See Chapter 5 of the
Second Machine Age, by E. Brynjolfsson and A. McAfee]
B. Digitized, specialized robotic equipment replace
people doing certain tasks. And strange concepts like
Maravec’s paradox: high level reasoning requires little
computation, but lower level sensorimotor skills
require enormous computational resources.
These and many other examples lead critics to dismiss
all of these as re-packaging things for the wifi-computerized
Recently, a faculty member asked me what I proposed to
do in a workshop. Before I could answer, he smiled while
dispelling his disbelief, you are not going to just talk about
“polishing the apple”.
The supply and demand picture of technically trained people
continues to shift and while your technical substance needs
to be strong, you need to recognize the need to stand out
from other equally qualified professionals. You can learn
to improve listening skills, demonstrate curiosity and
make a compelling case for yourself in voice, style and
nonverbal communications. You can do this without being
inauthentic or deceptive in your motives.
Specific evidence is in creating cover letters and resumes
that are specific, clear, easy to read and brief (error-free, too)
They do not have to be encyclopedic and cover all aspects.
Yet, they need to be targeted and show an understanding of
marketing to your audience/customer.
Specific evidence is also in knowing what apparel is expected when
you arrive for interviews, and how you connect with people
in informal and formal settings.
Again, you are marketing a product– yourself.