2018 is finally here, and if you didn't set any resolutions, I'm happy to help grad students everywhere get active with your professional development and career planning. You don't have to be graduating this year to take advantage of these tips. In fact, if you have a few years left in your program, it will work even better.
Imagine you’re in the market for a car. You see an advertisement featuring one that you like, that gives the basic details, and shows the happiest person you’ve ever seen in the accompanying picture. Would you buy it? Of course not! Nobody invests over $20,000 on something they don’t really know much about, right? Wrong. It happens every year when high school students submit their applications to colleges and universities. As a society, we expect 17-year-olds to somehow intuitively know what path is right for them, and then we ask them to make the biggest decision of their lives without much information at all. They can’t vote, they can’t drink, and they can’t sign up for military service, but we expect them to choose a postsecondary program that will start them on their career journey.
Welcome to 2017, where a former businessman and reality tv star sits in the oval office, and LinkedIn looks like Facebook. Yikes! Hard to believe, but the robust site that was the gold standard for online networking has lost its je ne sais quois that just made it work for seeing and being seen by people in your field and beyond. The LinkedIn update is far reaching, so I’m going to examine and review different aspects of the site and functionality over the next few blog posts to help my job seekers, particularly those with a PhD, figure out how to navigate the site and make the most of what’s left.
Note that everything I mention will be available with a free account. I use this site with my clients, and I have made it a personal rule to use the basic free account. That means that anything I can do, you can too.
Pursuing a tenured faculty position is like no other job search. It is time and labour intensive. If you’re completing a PhD, and seriously contemplating an academic search, the best time to start is before you’re ready to go on the market. Passed your comprehensive exams? Successfully submitted your dissertation proposal? If you are considered a PhD Candidate, rather than a student, you might want to start prepping your application package.
You know what your resume looks like. You’ve written, edited and read it enough times to be able to almost recite it from memory But do you know what it looks like after you upload it for a job application and it has been parsed by an Applicant Tracking System? ATS isn’t just about keyword searching. Heck, we could all accomplish that by using a keyword search in Word. ATS reads your resume and makes judgments about you based on the document you share with it.
So what does it look like? One of my clients recently uploaded his resume to a service that provided him with an insider’s view of his resume after ATS parsing. Here are the lessons from this experience: