Technology Trends for Job Seekers TXT

Transcript for "Technology Trends for Job Seekers" episode.

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Thank you for tuning in to our second podcast series featuring Smeal Alumni Career Services coaches supporting lifelong learning and business career development for alumni and friends of the Smeal College of Business. This series showcases the expertise of our career coaches as leaders in developing resources and services for strategizing careers. Follow our next three episodes releasing in mid June, July, and August. Then on September 11th at noon Eastern Daylight Savings time, tune in for Now The Authentic Interview Advice from Smeal Alumni Career Coaches. Like the podcast episodes, Smeal lifelong learning webinars are free. 

I am your host Cindi Satterfield, senior programs manager for Smeal Alumni Career Services. And I'm very excited to be working with my colleagues on these episodes. Today, I am talking with our director Keleigh Asbury about technology trends for job seekers. Keleigh has been a real advocate for Smeal Alumni Career Services. And along with her career coaching expertise, she brings a wealth of knowledge on strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurism. 

Keleigh is passionately involved in our entrepreneurial ecosystem here at Penn State. She is a professional advisor for startup teams at University Park's Innovation Hub, Happy Valley Launch Box, and has sharpened her entrepreneurial skills by building partnerships with Experiential Insight, a digital executive coaching service based in San Francisco, California, and Job Scan, an online platform for optimizing job search materials for applicant tracking system based out of Seattle, Washington. Keleigh joined Smeal in March of 2017 and is always researching cutting edge business trends and career resources to scale our services to the 95,000 Smeal alumni around the globe. 

Welcome, Keleigh. We are so lucky to have someone with your creativity and drive working to be an advocate for alumni. And tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience. 

Absolutely. Well, thank you so much, Cindi. I'm really pleased to be here with you today. Many people probably don't know this, but I actually grew up in the State College area and graduated from Penn State in health and human development in 1996. I was fortunate enough to work in the outdoor industry in Colorado for many years where I was exposed to dynamic individuals taking big calculated risks through mountain climbing and even launching their own businesses. So I was deeply connected to the creative community in Boulder Denver area as a director of contemporary art museum and also a career advisor in animation. 

I eventually advanced my career through recruitment and talent acquisition in the film and game industry in Vancouver, British Columbia. I got to work with some incredible companies like Industrial Light and Magic and Electronic Arts. What was really unique about those regions is that they deeply support entrepreneurism and, more importantly, technology startups. So it was great to bring this culture and mindset with me back here to Penn State supporting Smeal alum in their quest to be a part of something innovative. 

Thanks for sharing that dynamic story with us, Keleigh. It segues nicely into our first question regarding technology in the job search. How has technology shifted today's search from, say, 10 years ago? 

So that is a great question to lead us off, Cindi. Many alumni who reach out to us for career support are doing well in their present endeavors but are definitely looking to pivot into something new. We actually have a term for this. It's called career transitioners. Often, their first instinct is to search online for job postings and to apply directly with a general resume. 

However, technology has really changed best practices or, on a more positive note, has enriched the job search. And they do this by leveraging the power of online networks and platforms for processing applications. Most Fortune 500 companies are using applicant tracking systems or the acronym we call ATS. And they have recruiting professionals scouting for talent on LinkedIn. 

This means not only do you have to have a resume and cover letter optimized for these parsing systems, you must have a dynamite profile that projects you as an engaging individual with technical skills to match your submitted materials. The trend for many organizations is to conduct soft searches where recruiters direct message employed talent with new opportunities within their organizations. So essentially, they're using LinkedIn to target candidates before they're even thinking about moving on for their present employer themselves. 

I remember one of the first tools you brought on board was Job Scan. How are the coaches using this tool to help alumni in the job search? 

So Job Scan is an applicant tracking system, one of these ATSs. So it's an online platform to help job seekers optimize their resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and they use this against or in comparison to job descriptions. So the more effectively you tailor your resume for a specific job, the better your chances are to make yourself a top candidate in a search. 

So Smeal ACS partnered with Job Scan using their platform technology to run scans of our clients' materials to obtain a match rate or score for how likely they would be considered for a role. 80% is the immeasurable result that employers are hiring managers and recruiters are looking for. So we are too. 

Wow. 80% seems like a reasonable score. However, it is a low B in academia. 

That's true. 

What kind of scores are our alumni getting when working with you? 

So 80 is a good score. But we're finding that many of our clients are hitting the 30th and 40th percentile in their first scans. This can be eye opening for many of them, even downright shocking. But fortunately, part of this service is that they receive a very detailed report breaking down where they can improve priority areas around hard and soft skills, utilizing keywords associated with the job description. Some ATSs even use prescriptive analytics to determine what additional skills the employer might or should be looking for in a resume. 

A new trend we are seeing with ATS is that companies are recognizing when applicants submit multiple resumes for multiple positions. The technology can help recruiters vet those who don't seem focused on one role within their company, potentially branding them as someone who is unfocused or is trying to just obtain any job within their organization. So there's a real tipping point here between best practices for organic or manual search versus how technology is really optimizing it for you as an individual. 

This is an incredible resource for our alumni job seekers or career transitioners. Is there a cost associated with this service? 

So there is no cost at all, Cindi. It's free to any Smeal alumni who signs up to work with one of our career coaches. 

Great. It is wonderful that Smeal provides these free tools for alumni upping their success in the job search. Do you think tools like this will help bring diversity into the workforce? 

So that is an interesting question. These systems, there are around 13 made platforms in the industry, help employers keep all their resumes in one place. So it does aid recruiters and hiring managers to stay organized as well as compliant with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There are a few platforms out there designed to find unique or outside the box talent. And these tools are commonly used by startups and companies in creative industries. 

Personally, I'm a fan of any company that's open to recruiting and hiring diverse talent. So I believe that this technology can help to widen the pool of great candidates to build even greater companies. Unfortunately, an example of technology being a disservice to diverse populations is, for example, Uber. They actually have a pay scale algorithm built into their platform that rewards flexible workforces of drivers who drive faster and more often. 

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on what driver you have, the data shows that men actually do both. So they are driving faster and more often. And so, what the algorithm does is rewards them for doing both. So who gets paid more? Men within Uber's workforce. 

And Uber believes that this data helps them to keep from being discriminatory. It's based on performance. Unfortunately, what the data is showing that they have unequal pay within their workforce. So it's tricky stuff, right? 

Definitely. And I don't know if I want to go faster. I'd rather just get there safely. 

Right, I agree. Well, they even recommend, I mean, I don't know what you think about this, but they recommended once you use the platform and you even get a visual of your driver, are you selecting to go with that driver or not? So even the visual identifiers within these technology platforms, similar to even what you might find searching for talent on LinkedIn when you see somebody's profile. What's the subconscious bias they're telling you about a potential candidate? So it's interesting to think about it. It's good to think about it. 

Yeah, it's definitely interesting. How is technology impacting the 21st century workplace? And what should workers be doing to ensure their future career success? 

The impact of technology on the future of work is still somewhat uncertain. I know that's hard for people to believe. They feel it's pretty certain. But there really is just an educated guess around automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will reduce the number of available jobs within the next 20 years. And we're pretty sure this will happen, but we're uncertain as to the actual magnitude. 

So what can be encouraging here, which is what I always try to flip the script to be positive, I think you know that about me and how I work with our team, is that this same technology can open up a new skill set and market for new workers. One thing that we coach here at alumni career services with our clients and with alumni is that although the areas of greatest concern for elimination may be in manufacturing and areas that are unskilled, most of our Smeal alum are skilled. Of course, they graduated from the Smeal College of Business. 

So what this does is open up opportunities for creative industries, right-brained talent. Although, analytical positions may have a strong potential to be automated, soft skills are more important than ever. Data has shown that since workforce education has been so highly focused on building technical skills, young people are coming out of high school and college lacking soft skills. So critical thinking and verbal communication is more important than ever. 

So when you come out of Smeal, you have a great technical education. Many of the alum that we work with have been working for several years and fine tune critical thinking verbal communication skills. But we're always there to help support them along the way and ensure they know that those skills are really valuable. So our career advice is to advance your skills and education in areas that are not routine, repetitive, or predictable. 

We recommend taking a graduate certificate or program from Smeal. In fact, I'll be taking the corporate innovation and entrepreneurship certificate this fall under the auspices of Shawn Clark. He is actually our podcast presenter for episode three. And that was released on May 1th. So hopefully, in our track of podcasts, you'll go back and listen to Shawn's as well for anybody who's interested in entrepreneurism. 

Additionally, we're seeing that there's an increase in demand for flexible and remote workers in the workforce. So it's important for employees and job seekers to be comfortable with technological tools like video conferencing, chat-based conversations, interactive team platforms. And managers also need to be ready to manage these type of workers and be effective supervisors to them as well. So this skill set will be evolving the technological workforce. 

One of the brands that we actually recommend for remote and flexible workers in the workforce is WeWork. So if anybody is working remotely and considering an external office space, we recommend looking into the company WeWork. We've visited several of their offices. And we even had a Smeal faculty member that reported on the use of vegan food items in the WeWork as part of emphasizing their brand along with their values. So there's definitely a Smeal connection there. 

We also have a remote worker in Boston that you had mentioned to look into spaces for WeWork there. 

We do. So we actually have a remote career coach, Doreen Glenning, who's based out of Boston. Fortunately, she was able to come back here for a three day retreat with us. She works from her home office and meets with clients either Smeal or Penn State alum with coaching sessions in the Boston area. So WeWork is a great place for her to be able to operate out of. 

And as far as what we use on our team, we use the team's platform through Microsoft, which is a relationship that we have with Microsoft and Penn State. So there's a lot of platforms and tools that we're using as well, including Zoom for your webinars. 

Right. And for our meetings-- 


--with Doreen, which is nice. OK, technology has really been driving online learning. Can you tell us a little bit about the digital executive coaching program through Experiential Insight? 

So I'm truly excited about this pilot program that we ran in the spring of 2019. When I first came to Smeal in March of 2017, I spoke with our senior director of development alumni relations about offering career coaching for senior leaders and executives. At that point, the learning curve was a bit steep for us to offer this program right out of the gate. So we decided to partner with a digital firm in San Francisco to scale this service to our 95,000 Smeal alumni globally. 

Our career coaching program is one on one with a Smeal ACS career coach. But executive coaching, this has been focused on non-executives, was something we were able to offer online in small cohorts across multiple time zones with executive coaches, again, from across the globe. Executive Insight is actually a woman founded startup with serious traction working with companies like Apple, Facebook, Accenture, and Salesforce. 

We offered three program tracks for alumni with zero to five years of work experience, 10 to 15 years of work experience, and 20 to 30 years of work experience administered solely through audio conference calls and group chats. Subject matter included emotional and visionary intelligence, managing as a leader, the power of influence and networks, and growth mindset in the workplace. Our satisfaction and attendance rates were really off the charts compared to any of the university partners they had worked with, Columbia, Michigan, and Northwestern within that group. So this program was 100% digital. And we're excited to potentially extend this program into the coming year. 

OK. We talked about what job candidates should do to amplify their search. Let's discuss what companies are doing, which can be helpful to a job seeker. Since you have a strong background in marketing, how important will marketing recruitment be in the future? 

Well, I believe that most business persons and likely alumni and friends listening to this podcast have fundamental knowledge that 21st century integrated marketing strategy incorporates social media. It's imperative they have a plan that targets multiple audiences through a variety of platforms. This can be a challenge for small businesses, especially if they're trying to reach top talent with less than adequate resources. 

The latest recruiter nation survey from Jobvite revealed that 74% of recruiters believe hiring will become even more competitive in 2020. And 67% said their biggest challenge in hiring is the lack of high quality skilled candidates. This means that recruiters will need to be more diligent in marketing high quality job opportunities with more accurate job descriptions, transparency into company culture, and upfront details regarding benefits. A high touch service will be the winning approach in attracting and, more importantly, retaining the best talent. So technology can support both the applicant and the recruiter with services like chat bots supporting online application processes and video conferencing first round interviews. There's a lot of opportunity for compatibility on both sides for both the recruiter and the job seeker. 

What about LinkedIn? How should companies use LinkedIn to recruit top talent? And how can job seekers and career transitioners maximize this resource to their advantage? It's not just a networking tool. It's a recruiting platform too, correct? 

Yes. There are over 500 million users on LinkedIn. That is incredible, not quite close to the 2 billion that Facebook has, but it's quite a number of professionals using this platform. And they're using it to build their personal, professional, and business networks. 

87% of recruiters are actually using this platform to find and to actually vet candidates. Recruiters are using it to soft search talent, so I think I mentioned that before, as a way to review profiles before they decide to move forward with an applicant. These profiles are public, so it is viable and legal to do so if it isn't used as a tool for discrimination. 

Job seekers and active networkers must have a professional profile with an engaging profile summary and work experience section that highlights metric driven successes. The profile needs to reflect the targeted value you can bring to a company not just responsibilities you've executed in the past. And it's crucial that job seekers conduct research on both the companies and their influencers on LinkedIn. If anyone needs help with a profile refresh, this is especially service of Smeal alumni Career Services. 

Absolutely, Kelly, I can attest that our coaches do an excellent job. Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your expertise with us today. Your insight on these critical areas of a 21st century job search or career transition will undoubtedly help many of our alumni achieve further career success. 

Smeal Alumni Career Services produces these online resources to promote lifelong learning, professional development, and help keep up on future business trends. All lifelong learning webinar and podcast recordings along with more information about Smeal Alumni Career Services coaching and programs can be found by visiting and clicking on the alumni tab to find our website or email us at