MBA no guarantee of success

October 27, 2013

Q: I received my MBA in April and I still can’t get my first job. I’m overqualified for most entry-level jobs, but when I apply for the ones that match my education, I never make it past the first interview. Why don’t they see what an asset I am?

A: While employers may be seeking the specific skills and abilities promised on your resume, they often hire for attitude. Gen Y employees bring significant skills but can show up in interviews with characteristics that are unwelcome at work.

Interviewers are most likely going to be of a different generation than you. They value initiative, critical-thinking skills and effective communication. They are looking for loyalty and a strong work ethic. Be sure you haven’t embellished skills on your resume or you will be dead in the water in the interview when your level of integrity and honesty is exposed.

They want employees who respect authority, are willing to adapt to someone’s idea – not reject it out of hand without weighing its merits and can accurately access likely consequences.

While you may feel the position is below your qualification level, show up prepared, enthusiastic and engaged in the company and the role. Keep the discussion professional. Ask pertinent questions demonstrating that you have done your research and are giving this serious consideration.

Leave personal conversations to social media. In the end, you may need to accept a job that pays less than you want to get your foot in the door of your ideal employer. During those first few years focus on learning, demonstrating your abilities, and willingness to invest the hours to get ahead.

This paves the way to being a top earner in subsequent years. As the boomers retire, there will be plenty of promotions up for grabs.

Originally printed in The Province, October 27, 2013.

Meet Gen-Yers on their turf

June 12, 2011

Q: I’ve been a CEO for a long time and frankly this generation has me stumped. Our new hires are 20-somethings. I hate to stereotype but they seem arrogant and self absorbed. During an interview one candidate even checked a text message on his phone! How do I manage and motivate them?

A: Generation Y are whiz kids raised on instant gratification where a click of a button gave them access to everything. They have short attention spans, which makes them excellent multi-taskers.

If you want to reach them, meet them on their turf. They respond better to an instant message or text than a phone or face-to-face meeting. Be brief. They speak in shorthand, processing information quickly. What you may be interpreting as disrespect is their chomping at the bit to take action.

They work best in an open, energetic atmosphere. They love to participate, not wanting to miss out on anything. They thrive in an entrepreneurial environment where they are empowered and rewarded for their individualism.

Salary is less important than meaningful work where they’re recognized for the difference they make. They are motivated by a management style that mentors and develops them professionally. Inspiring leadership can unleash tremendous productivity. When they’re engaged, they willingly work after hours as long as they can check their Facebook status at work.

Sharp, highly creative and ambitious, they crave variety and challenge. If they aren’t given the chance to advance they’ll be out the door. They know they don’t have to go far to replace an aging boomer. With 1,000 retiring each day in Canada, you’ll need to continue meeting the key retention question: “What’s in it for me?”

Originally printed in The Province, June 12, 2011

Lost Generation

May 17, 2009

This video demonstrates how easily we can believe our perception is ‘The Truth.’   At the same time, it also highlights how there isn’t “One Truth” only different interpretations of something.

There is only ‘our truth.’  And ‘our truth’ is not even that reliable.  It shifts with our perceptions.  That means ‘truth’ can change from one moment to the next depending on the facts at hand.  Even more importantly- by the facts we choose to give credence to as well as the facts we conveniently choose to ignore in the moment.

When I watched this video for the first time, I felt growing sadness and despondency about how this generation views their world and the legacy they are creating.

Then just as quickly my opinion got turned around 180 degrees to embrace a complete different perspective.

I learned how susceptible I am to being persuaded by a compelling point of view.  Once I emotionally connect to it, I can be drawn into believing it to be “the truth”.  It is so important to stay present and conscious that ‘my truth’ is only one perspective of many.  All of which may be valid and right.

This is where coaching is so powerful.  When ‘your truth’ isn’t serving you, your coach can reveal to you what truth you have adopted- perhaps unconsciously.  You can examine the results you have been achieving based on your assumption or ‘truth.’  Then just like in this video, you can consciously choose to alter your beliefs, behaviours and actions to create more effective results.

This is one way we will change the world.

Free Hugs Campaign

April 14, 2009

An Australian man known by the pseudonym “Juan Mann” (pronounced one man) carried a Free Hugs sign in a Sydney mall on June 30th 2004 in an effort to give and receive a free hug from a stranger because he needed one himself  that day.

Mann said, “The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning.  How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling.  Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven’t compared.  But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time.”

Believing that one person can make a difference to another through a simple and random act of kindness, Mann continued to offer free hugs to make others feel better.  As others joined in, the popularity of Free Hugs grew to the point that public authorities concerned about public liability, tried to stop the campaign in October 2004.  Mann submitted a 10,000 name petition and was permitted to continue.

The campaign received international attention in 2006 when a video was uploaded to YouTube.  Mann appeared on Oprah and has generated a following of 27 million viewers.  In 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper reported Free Hugs as one of the top 20 brands in Australia.

This simple gesture based on Mann’s own personal need inspired Generation Ys to spread a movement symbolizing kindness, connection and joy to over 80 countries.