Opportunity Knocking on Your Door

Think about this scenario that I faced less than seven years ago.

I received a call on a Friday afternoon and was told that I would have an interview for a principalship on Monday and all I would need to do was bring my portfolio to the interview.

My response? “No problem!”

So after about a 90 second freak out about not having a portfolio, I decided to get to work and put together my first portfolio. After about 20 hours of work to put it together digitally (not on the web), I finally got to the interview (exhausted) and we had a great conversation, as the person who was hiring looked at my portfolio for perhaps five minutes off and on during the interview. Needless to say, I ended up getting the position but wow, what a process.

If you really think about it, and I said to you, “Your dream job is available and the deadline for your application is tomorrow so please bring a resume and portfolio,” you could probably put that together the night before. It might not be great, but it is definitely doable.

Now, what about this scenario?

“Your dream job is available and I am going to need a resume but I will also be Googling all candidates to see what they share online.”

How would you fair?

Would people be able to see your learning and the things that you have done in your position? Even if you had a common name, could you send them a link to find more information?

This difference from scenario one to scenario two is that one can be done in an evening, but “googling” someone often shows a considerable amount of time and effort, as well as vision.

It is not about creating an “online persona,” but I always suggest that if people share their learning online, their footprint will take care of itself.

Maybe you have your dream job as an educator. Maybe you are insanely happy with your position currently in education. That’s awesome. But what about our students? In a world that googles people for everything from work, to university, to even dating, are we helping to set up our students for success?

One educator told me a story of how one of his students did not get into the school of her choice based on her grades alone, so she contacted the university and asked them to look at her work online. Seeing what she had done online was the determining factor to get into the school. People are more than their “grades.”

And to note, the “college degree” required idea is changing for many organizations. In an article I shared this morning, Penguin Random House says, “job applicants will no longer be required to have a university degree.”  The article went on about why they were changing their policies:

Neil Morrison, human resources director, says they want talented staff “regardless of background.”

“This is the starting point for our concerted action to make publishing far, far more inclusive than it has been to date,” says Mr Morrison.

“We believe this is critical to our future – to publish the best books that appeal to readers everywhere, we need to have people from different backgrounds with different perspectives and a workforce that truly reflects today’s society.”

It means that having a degree will no longer be a minimum threshold or “filter” for any job the firm offers.

“While graduates remain welcome to apply for jobs, not having been through higher education will no longer preclude anyone from joining,” says a statement from the publisher.

Penguin is the latest company to change its recruitment strategy so that there is less emphasis on academic qualifications.

It follows concerns that requiring a degree and recruiting from particular universities was producing too narrow a range of staff.

The world is changing…are we changing with it?

But is it just about getting a job, or being in a space where opportunities find you? A resume is something you often share when you are asked, yet an online presence is a space where opportunity knocks on YOUR door. It’s really interesting to see many people I know have opportunities come their way because of what they share online. This is not about leaving your job, but about creating options for ourselves and our students.

Don’t we want our students to have as many doors opened as possible? Or do we close them ourselves by ignoring this shift in our world?

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