Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg delivered a speech to the graduating class of Harvard Business School this week:
"The traditional metaphor for careers is a ladder, but I no longer think that metaphor holds. It doesn’t make sense in a less hierarchical world.
When I was first at Facebook, a woman named Lori Goler, a 1997 graduate of HBS, was working in marketing at eBay and I knew her kind of socially. And she called me and said, I want to talk with you about coming to work with you at Facebook. So I thought about calling you, she said, and telling you all the things I’m good at and all the things I like to do. But I figured that everyone is doing that. So instead I want to know what’s your biggest problem and how can I solve it. My jaw hit the floor. I’d hired thousands of people up to that point in my career, but no one had ever said anything like that. I had never said anything like that. Job searches are always about the job searcher, but not in Laurie’s case. I said, you’re hired. My biggest problem is recruiting and you can solve it. So Lori changed fields into something she never thought she’d do, went down a level to start in a new field and has since been promoted and runs all of the people operations at Facebook and has done an extraordinary job.
"Lori has a great metaphor for careers. She says they’re not a ladder; they’re a jungle gym. As you start your post-HBS career, look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. Move sideways, move down, move on, move off. Build your skills, not your resume. Evaluate what you can do, not the title they’re going to give you. Do real work. Take a sales quota, a line role, an ops job, don’t plan too much, and don’t expect a direct climb. If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career.
"You are entering a different business world than I entered. Mine was just starting to get connected. Yours is hyperconnected. Mine was competitive. Yours is way more competitive. Mine moved quickly, yours moves even more quickly. As traditional structures are breaking down, leadership has to evolve as well. From hierarchy to shared responsibility, from command and control to listening and guiding. You’ve been trained by this great institution not just to be part of these trends but to lead. As you lead in this new world, you will not be able to rely on who you are or the degree you hold. You’ll have to rely on what you know. Your strength will not come from your place on some org chart, your strength will come from building trust and earning respect. You’re going to need talent, skill, and imagination and vision, but more than anything else, you’re going to need the ability to communicate authentically, to speak so that you inspire the people around you and to listen so that you continue to learn each and every day on the job."
Read more: http://read.bi/JK5HqE
At the monthly Startup Product Talks San Francisco meetup, people make pitches both about positions available and those who are seeking new positions. Announce your availability on the Startup Product Talks SF form: http://bit.ly/LWmf4Q
One of the recent comments was about "Unicorn hiring" where the hiring managers are seeking a mythical product management superhero that doesn't exist (never did and never will). Its simply insane to expect one individual to have the expertise, breadth and width of experience and mastery to plug all the holes and provide all the product management strategies and tactics necessary to successfully bring products to fruition throughout the entire process from development to launch and produce revenue.
A year ago, I posted my suggestions for 10 Steps to Prepare for a New Position in Product Management
Here's the next one in the series:
Position Yourself & Ask for Help
5 Resume Messaging Suggestions From Hiring Professionals:
2. Highlight fast-track promotion. The careers of many management professionals are distinguished by a record of rapid advancement through a series of increasingly responsible positions. Be sure to highlight your promotion track and remember that you don’t have to write a job description for each of the positions with a single company. Rather, you can just focus on your last one or two positions at each company along with your most notable achievements.
3. Showcase the problems that you’ve solved. Managers and executives face challenges, often on a daily basis. Demonstrate your strong problem-solving skills by including several of the most notable problems you’ve helped to solve, what you did and the end result (quantified if at all possible). Contributing to the start-up of a new operating division that delivered $8.1 million in first-year sales is a great achievement!
4. Be different. Management professionals often share common skill sets and qualifications. Most are experienced in budgeting, staffing, team leadership, operations management, administrative affairs, technology and more. As such, what can you highlight in your resume that will differentiate you from all of the other candidates with similar qualifications? This might include public speaking, media interviews, industry honors and commendations, publications or any one of a number of other projects, events or initiatives. Give careful thought to what makes you unique and a great candidate; then be certain to strategically highlight those items in your resume.
5. Integrate the “right” keywords so your resume will get selected during a keyword search. Here are just a few general management keywords and keyword phrases that you may want to include (if appropriate to your experience and education):
Banking, Budgeting, Business Development
Board of Directors
Cash Flow, Cash Administration, Cash Management
Client Relationship Management (CRM)
Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT or EBITA) & Amortization
Financial Management, Controls
Manager, Director, Vice President, President, Chairman
Profit & Loss, P&L
Return on Investment (ROI)
Staffing, Talent Acquisition
Team Building & Leadership
9. Have a good attitude. Be open minded - Think like an entrepreneur and do what you can to pay the bills (but don't sell yourself too short) - Even being underemployed - Working increases confidence and network.