Hurray for summer! It’s finally time for a break from classes, meetings, exams and projects. I usually have a running list of books I keep meaning to read, and my favorite part of summer is that I’m able to finally check off a few. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite career related picks that will help you discover your passions and ways to achieve success.
Design thinking is a hot topic these days, and this book gives practical advice on how to find a fulfilling, meaningful life using design thinking principles. It’s not about achieving success in the traditional sense, and instead focuses on what you can do to find joy in your career.
This book is a great guide for how to handle networking in the social media age. The best part is it includes templates on how to email a recruiter, follow up with a contact and even tips on how to use Twitter and Facebook for your job search.
As a freshman in college, Alex Banayan started on a seven
year quest to interview leaders in all different industries and find out what
made them successful. His book details those conversations and both the
similarities and differences in their experiences. This is a great read not
only because of the key insights from these huge names, but also because of the
adventure Alex went through to get access.
The summer’s still not half-way through yet, but I’ve spoken with a number of students who are already starting to feel burnt out. In honor of all of those who need a palette cleanser from the working day, please enjoy these images and videos of animals in business settings:
And if these images weren’t enough to help you through the working day, we’re still open over the summer and happy to talk through any career questions or plans for what might come after the summer.
I was sorting through some old boxes at home the other night when I stumbled across a copy of a book I was given when I worked as a Research Fellow at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The book is called “Don’t Shoot the Dog”, and it focuses on how you can use positive reinforcement as a tool to train animals. Zoos and aquariums engage in lots of animal training, and much of this is done to help improve the welfare of the animals, and so there were plenty of opportunities for keepers to train animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here are some examples of training in a zoo setting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2a3UIu3lJc.
At home, if you have ever given your dog a treat when it sits down on command then you are using positive reinforcement. In fact, if you have ever enthusiastically and immediately thanked a faculty member for writing a reference letter for a job application at short notice, then you have also used positive reinforcement. When it comes to animal training, humans are just as animaly as all the other animals out there. Positively reinforcing a behaviour increases the likelihood that the behaviour will occur more frequently in the future. Effective positive reinforcement increases the energy in the room when you are working with other people or animals, and creates a more positive environment for whatever project you are working on. If you can find the right reinforcer, and can provide it immediately after the behaviour you want to promote has been performed, then you on your way to being able to improve your relationships with peers, advisors, students in your classrooms, bosses, family, and your various companion animals.
about career exploration and the job search, there are many situations where
positive reinforcement can be helpful. There are also many times where people
miss opportunities to use this approach. Here are some common issues:
speak with an alum at a networking event, but don’t send a brief thank email
within 24 hours.
advisor rushes to write a reference letter for you, but you don’t acknowledge the
extra work they did, thank them, or let them know when you got the job.
recruiter emails you with an update on a position you are applying to, but you
don’t respond to their email promptly.
A positive reinforcer tells the recipient that the behaviour they just performed is good. The more you reinforce the behaviour, the more often it will occur. However, not providing any reinforcement, or providing it too long after the behaviour is performed, gives the recipient no information, provides no positive energy, and so there is no impetus for them to do more of the behaviour in the future. When you are looking for jobs or internships, this means thanking people often and quickly, and being prompt with your upbeat responses when you see people working on your behalf at any point in the job search process.
If you are looking for an easy summer read, then take a look at this book, and see how you might be able to take proactive steps towards maximizing the many benefits that positive reinforcement can have as you engage with your network.
summer is finally here and you are starting the internships you have worked so
hard to secure, it’s the perfect time to consider ways you can make the most of
this opportunity and build your leadership skills. Focusing on your
professional development while you are in entry-level roles will help you gain
skills that not only help your current team, but could also position for
opportunities in the future, whether with your current organization or a new
one. Just as athletes train throughout the year to improve their performance
during the season, you can use this summer to design your leadership strategy.
to consider the qualities that make a strong leader: emotional intelligence,
strategic risk taking, effective communication, relationship building,
flexibility, problem solving, resilience, vision, and the ability to listen and
take purposeful action. Great leaders possess a solid grasp of fundamentals in
their field, yet they also surround themselves with people who make up for what
they lack. They are constantly learning and envisioning what could be, but not
ignoring current realities and historical context. They excel at conceptualizing
a path and empowering a team to bring that vision to life.
list like that sounds like a tall order, especially when you’re in your first
internship, but you have been building many of these skills for years through
coursework, activities, sports, volunteer work, summer jobs, and more. Here are
ways to cultivate your leadership skills. Notice that many of them do not
involve an actual leadership title right now – instead, it’s about focusing on
what you are learning.
to projects: Volunteer for more responsibilities. Seek out opportunities
for impact and ones that may not seem glorious, but are important for building
the foundational knowledge.
network: Look for opportunities to work across your company; look into affinity
groups or other ways to become involved in your company’s community beyond your
opportunities: Does your office host lunch and learns, webinars, or speaker
series? Attend these both for the content and to meet more people.
mentors: Express genuine interest in colleagues and what they do. These
initial conversations can turn into regular coffee chats and may help you find a
mentor within the company or new work friends.
within professional associations: Become involved with your industry’s
professional associations. The rates for student memberships are usually
reasonable. Volunteer to help plan an upcoming event or help with the next
conference. This will greatly expand your professional circle, can be a lot of
fun, and a perfect way to learn from others in the field.
much as possible about your field and leadership in general: Read industry publications
and remain informed on current events. Look at the syllabi from top MBA
programs like Wharton and see which books their students are reading about
leadership – check those out and discuss what you learn in your networking.
Taking these steps will help you build valuable
skills to benefit you throughout your career. Enjoy your summer and remember
that Career Services is here to help you with this process.