Keeping ahead of the career curve just got easier for Northwestern alumni. In February the Northwestern Alumni Association launched the first in a series of career-related audio podcasts available on the NAA web site at www.alumni.northwestern.edu/podcast. Podcasts are audio or video files that are available on the Internet and can be downloaded and played on a computer or iPod or other MP3 player at the user’s convenience.
Each podcast features an interview with an alumni business-book author, hosted by executive career coach and consultant Carol Want Ross (McC83, GMcC87), founder of Carol Ross and Associates.
“As a coach, my role is to set clients on their own personal trajectory,” says Ross. “These interviews help alumni think about the next steps they would like to take in their personal and professional lives.”
Ross first interviewed Daniel Pink (WCAS86), contributing editor of Wired and author of A Whole New Mind (Riverhead, 2006), who explains the forces that are changing the nature of work. To succeed, he says, professionals need an added set of abilities associated with the right-brain qualities of creativity, empathy and big-picture thinking.
“Routine, white-collar work is racing to wherever it can be done cheapest,” Pink explains in the interview. “The [left-brain] abilities that used to matter most in work — the logical, linear, sequential and spreadsheet skills — are still absolutely necessary but not sufficient.”
The series’ second interview features William White (McC61), professor at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, University trustee and former chair and CEO of Bell & Howell, who identifies the work habits that young professionals need to develop for success in his book From Day One (Prentice Hall, 2005). In his interview he expands on Ross’ image of trajectory, comparing the work habits that a person forms during the first six months on his or her first professional job to successfully teeing off on the golf course.
“If [your swing is] off even a little in the beginning, it’ll end up quite a bit off in the end,’” says White. “The importance of being on the right trajectory in the first six months gets magnified because of the leverage you create in your career.”
In addition to these podcasts, the NAA web site offers more advice from alumni career experts, including articles from Marilyn Moats Kennedy (J65, GJ66), founder and managing partner of the Wilmette, Ill.–based consulting firm Career Strategies, on current topics such as self-marketing and salary negotiation. Earlier this year the NAA also offered career-related webinars and an online lecture hosted by Rob Sullivan (GJ90), a corporate trainer and author of Getting Your Foot in the Door When You Don’t Have a Leg to Stand On (McGraw-Hill, 2001).
Alumni in the midst of a job search can also take advantage of free online career resources through the NAA web site, such as Northwestern CareerNet, a searchable database of volunteer alumni career advisers; CareerTools, an interactive site that offers tips on writing résumés and researching companies and industries; and eProNet, a network that offers job postings for graduates of the nation’s leading universities. The NAA web site’s online career calendar also lists spring career events sponsored by alumni clubs in various cities, including Los Angeles, New York City, Milwaukee and Dallas.
For more on careers, see “Changing Course.” To learn more about the NAA’s career resources and upcoming career events, please visit www.alumni.northwestern.edu/careers.