Tech is king and soft skills matter

These are just two of the key findings of the recently published, “LinkedIn 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report”. Not at all surprising. The report is worth checking out regardless of where you are at in your canstock 121417 tech is king and soft skills mattercareer. As I always tell people, be open to the possibilities.

The report notes the estimate that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately hold jobs that don’t yet exist. Just think back to what your options were when you started primary school.

I know as a young girl in the 60’s, it seemed like teacher or nurse were the options. My sister did become a nurse and then went on to get a master’s degree in public health. By the time she retired a few years ago, she had run many of the state health departments in Minnesota at one time or another. I wanted to be a math teacher when I was young. Instead I found my path to computer programming in the early 80’s when the field was starting to really explode. Here I am today having served several healthcare organizations as their Chief Information Officer before starting a health IT advisory firm.

Back to the “tech is king” finding. The report says that the top emerging jobs are machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data engineers in a wide range of industries.  It also notes that there are currently 1,600 open roles for machine learning engineer in the U.S.

The report also found that there is a low supply of talent for top jobs. For example, data scientist roles have grown over 650% in the past 5 years but only 35,000 people in the U.S. currently have data science skills. Any CIO looking to build out the analytics capability for their organization is probably all too aware of this gap. Continue reading

You need to own your own career

December brings the holidays and social time with co-workers, friends and family. It’s also a good time to take stock and reflect on your work and career. Two years ago at this time I planned my next chapter and canstock120117 careerdecided to leave a permanent CIO position. My two goals were to live where I wanted to live and have more flexibility in my career.

I talk with a lot of people at different stages of their career who are taking stock and trying to figure out their choices.

They may be in their 30’s, relatively young in their career, and thinking about the next right move and where that would position them for the long run.

Or, they may be someone in their 50’s or early 60’s and thinking about how long they want to work and the one final job change that might make the capstone to their career.

Or, they may be someone who has made the decision to “retire”, but not quite yet. They are considering what kind of work they still want to do, and how much.

For people in that last group, I ask them to think about 3 questions:

  • What do you want to do? After all, what you are good at and enjoy the most?
  • How much do you want to work?  If you’ve been working 60+ hours a week at a demanding job, it’s time to consider how much time you want for yourself, your family, your other passions and hobbies.
  • What do you need financially? There are 3 ways to look at it: continue at roughly the same income level and continue contributing to your retirement, make enough to live on but not contribute any further to retirement, or start drawing on your retirement savings.

Until you ask and answer these important questions, it’s hard to make a solid plan.

For people younger in their career, these questions still apply. But there are others: Continue reading

Thinking about relocating?

“My spouse won’t move.” You may have heard this if you have ever hired someone who would need to relocate their family. You may have even heard it after you extended the offer. If it happens that late in thecanstockphoto49324635 process, it may be just an easy excuse because they weren’t going to accept the position anyway.

Whether your spouse and family are willing to relocate to a particular city is something that should be discussed and agreed on together very early in the process. Why waste everyone’s time if it’s not going to work.

Relocating is a big decision. I’ve done it several times. And each time, my husband and I discussed it early on. Was this a part of the country we were willing to live in? Was this city one that we’d be happy in? What did the housing market look like? These are just some of the considerations.

If you are early in your career, you probably want to figure out what kind of future opportunities are in that area, is it family friendly, are there good schools, and can you afford to buy a house. If you are later in your career, you may think of your next move in terms of where you might want to eventually retire or living closer to your grandkids.

Regardless of where you are in your career, there are some common considerations. Assuming it’s a job you really want and an organization you really want to work for, here is my advice on what to consider when relocating: Continue reading

When does the honeymoon end?

Remember those first few days on a new job? You were officially onboarded, and signed a lot of forms. You learned all the basic processes and policies that new employees need to know. And you canstockphoto31122040 onboardinggot the big picture of the organization’s mission, vision, values and culture. Your head is spinning by the end of day one and even week one, but everyone is patient with you. They recognize that it is a lot to take in.

In that early period when you are introduced to lots of people, everyone is so happy to see you. Everyone is offering to help you get up to speed, and do whatever they can to make your onboarding smooth.

And then you realize they all need something from you. They all think you can solve all the problems. But you are still given some time before you start waving your magic wand.

You’re on a honeymoon. It will be measured in days or weeks but usually not months. You must drink from the firehose, get to know all the key people and start adding value. “Proving yourself,” as they say.

You may have relocated, so you’re also getting to know your new town.

It can be exhilarating and overwhelming all at the same time. Continue reading

Time for a job change?

It’s that time of year. With the holidays upon us, you may have a slightly more relaxed schedule at work. And you may be taking stock of where you are in your career and what might be next.canstockphoto14736747

I talk with a lot of people looking for career advice. It might be millennials early in their career who are thinking about their next opportunity. It might be mid-career management positions who are looking for that next step up. Or it might be people late in their career who are thinking about stepping off the permanent track for a less than full time work situation and a more balanced lifestyle to spend time with family or travel.

Regardless, the questions to consider are similar for everyone:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your key strengths and areas of expertise?
  • What new skills do you want to develop?
  • What new areas do you want to learn about and develop expertise in?
  • What kind of organization and culture do you want to work in?
  • What family situations do you need to consider? Are you starting a family, do you have young children at home or teenagers who need a different kind of support? Are you caring for elderly parents? What are your spouse or partner’s work hours and flexibility?
  • Do you want to and are you able to relocate to another part of the country? Are you open to anywhere or specific regions?
  • And last, but not least, what are your financial requirements?

Continue reading

Puppies and rainbows

“You need to go beyond puppies and rainbows”. That’s the advice this week from a search firm expert. I’m part of the search committee for the new president of a non-profit organization where I am a board canstockphoto15113488member. The search expert was telling us to go deeper in our questioning. Get past the fluff and canned responses. He said it’s ok to make candidates uncomfortable.

I’ve done a lot of hiring in my management career for direct reports. And I’ve been on search committees for executive positions. I’ve also been on the other side of the search process being interviewed for CIO positions.

You review resumes, you listen to the search firm’s summary comments on each candidate, and then you finally meet the candidates in the first round of interviews. It’s a process. And you only have an hour or so to get to know each person.

What you see on paper are the qualifications. In the interview you get to know the person. I said in one of my first blog posts, hiring the right people is one of the most important decisions managers make. For executive positions, the process is more rigorous with more people involved. After all there is much more at stake when you are choosing one of the top executives.

You are all working off the same position description and the organization’s mission and strategy. Yet search committee members come to the process with different perspectives. Continue reading

So you didn’t get the job

Last week I wrote about how to stand out in the interview for a new job. I promised that I would write about what to do when you don’t get the job.  I’ve been there before and it’s not easy.

You think you’ve nailed the interview. You’ve met with lots of people. You like them and your potential new boss. You think it’s a great opportunity and you are excited about the prospects. You anxiously wait for “the call”. And then it comes. The hiring manager, HR person, or recruiter says “we’re going in another direction” – that common euphemism to say that someone else is getting the job.  They go on to say some nice things about you and that you interviewed well but all you hear is that you didn’t get the job.

Your friends and family are supportive. They may say “it wasn’t the right one anyway”. Or “something better will come along”. They tell you how to feel but what you want to say is what my youngest daughter would say to me – “you can’t tell me how to feel, you’re not inside my body!” Continue reading

Stand out at the interview

Interviewing for a new job? Remember when you interviewed for your current position? Any way you slice it, job interviews will cause stress but they can also be a growth opportunity.

In recent weeks I have interviewed several candidates for three different positions. I am hiring a new executive assistant who will work closely with me as a partner for day to day tasks, so I can be more effective and efficient.  On a different level, I’m on the search committee for our University of Michigan Chief Information Security Officer – a critical leadership role at a time of increased security threats. I’ve also interviewed a candidate for a key director position in our IT department at the request of the executive director who is doing the hiring.

No matter the role, there are some common themes: the first impression you make, your engagement during the interview, your core skills, and your previous experience all come into play.

Group interviews are especially challenging. They can seem stilted and scripted as the interviewers take turns posing questions. Interviewers need to balance common questions/scenarios with each candidate for consistency while creating a lively discussion where they get to know the person. Candidates need to adequately cover each question without getting off track and still let them get a feel for the person. Continue reading