April 28, 2018

Tips on Updating Your Resume, Preparing for an Interview, or Getting Started Networking

Image: Daily Muse, Inc.
The mission of CareerLight, LLC, a company that I co-founded in 2017, is to provide customized career training for international students to help prepare them for a successful career in the U.S. and abroad. I regularly share articles focused on how to effectively find a job on CareerLight's social media pages. This post is about an article published by The Muse, an online career resource, which contains a list of 50 job search tips provided by Muse hiring managers and career experts.

While each recommendation, which are grouped by resume, cover letter, networking, interviews, and follow up, is valuable, below are those I particularly recommend to CareerLight's clients and wish prospective employees of my ventures utilize: 

Your Resume

1. Focus on What You Want, Not Just What You've Done
"Spend some time considering what you really want out of your next job, your career, and your life. Be honest with yourself, and try to get clear and specific. Then rewrite those 'goal' and 'objective' sections (yes, they're OK in some cases) with newfound clarity."—Dr. Suzanne Gelb

6. Use Numbers
"You increased recruiting? Give us the percent increase. You raised money for charity? Tell us how much you raised! This can turn average-looking experiences into impressive head-turners and help distinguish you from other candidates."—Alexandra Cavoulacos

8. Add Non-Work Work
"Volunteer work, particularly if it's long-term or if it gives you the chance to lead a project from beginning to end, can be a great substitute for full-time work. Some organizations give titles or recognition to regular volunteers, so find out if there are any formal credentials that you can use (if not, just use 'Volunteer'). Just like you would for a paid job, list bullets that show your major accomplishments and what you learned during your involvement."—Ashley Faus

Cover Letter

12. Be All About Them
In other words, avoid writing about how working at your target company will create a great boost for your resume and career. Hiring managers are fully aware of that. What they need to know is how you're going to provide a boost for the company."—Mark Slack

15. Rock Your Intro
"Try a high-personality lead in like this: 'Having grown up with the Cincinnati Zoo (literally) in my backyard, I understand firsthand how you've earned your reputation as one of the most family-friendly venues in the State of Ohio. For 20 years, I've been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team has so graciously done for me.'"—Jenny Foss

18. Talk About Results
"Results stand out, and potential hires can really stand out by highlighting what they've done and the results. It's so important to hire talent who can execute, and my focus as an employer is to determine if hires can theorize, strategize, and execute their plan. There are plenty of thinkers and not enough doers. Separate yourself from the masses, and demonstrate what you have done."—Andrew Thomas


21. Get on LinkedIn—All the Time
If you're looking for a job, LinkedIn should be your social media priority. In your profile, include a meaty description of your experience and strengths. Flesh out each job opportunity with your responsibilities and biggest wins. Call people in your network who you've done great work for, and ask them to post a recommendation. Curate and create content around the industry or specialty you're most interested in securing a job in, and share that content with your LinkedIn community."—Alex Honeysett

24. Have a Powerful Elevator Speech
"Spruce up the delivery of your elevator pitch by using language that focuses on strong leadership verbs to send a powerful, forward-focused message. For instance, in order to shift perception of yourself from doer to leader, catch yourself before you say you 'work on' something or that you're 'responsible for' it.

"Be actionable instead. Say you lead it, oversee it, or orchestrate it. You'll convey that you do more than simply fulfill your job description—but that you take pride in your career and aspire to continue along a path of success."—Jo Miller

28. Follow Up With Everyone You Meet
Plan to sit down the next day and send a brief email to everyone you met. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them, follow up on anything you discussed at the event, and then, make it personal. Include an inside joke from the night before, share an article you think they might like, or, if you chatted about your hobbies, mention a new band or movie you think they'd like. This little extra effort can be just what it takes to start a worthwhile relationship."—Susan Blond


29. Do Your Research and 30. Research Competitors, Too
"It's key to have a strong understanding of the position and the performance that would be expected of you. This means not only reading through the job announcement with a fine-toothed comb, but also researching past and current employees on LinkedIn. Often, you will find that they describe their jobs in a way that is not disclosed in the official job description—and this unique understanding can really enrich your ability to converse about the role."—Ashley Stahl

30. Research Competitors, Too
It's really surprising how few applicants have properly researched our competitors. Candidates who really make an impact know all about our brand, as well as how our strengths and weaknesses could relate to the market in general. Researching our products is all well and good, but a grasp of the bigger picture is just as, if not more, important."—Marvin Amberg

31. Research Everyone You'll Be Meeting With
"Do your research about the people who will be interviewing you. Know their professional background, interests, and experiences, and ask them relevant questions that show you did your homework. Ask the interviewer why he or she chose the company you're interviewing at, what attracted him or her to the opportunity, and what the future looks like for the business."—Matt Mickiewicz

32. And Have Questions for Them
"I am often the last stop on the interview schedule. I always ask candidates if they have questions, and I often hear, 'All my questions have already been answered.' It's tough to hire someone who doesn't want to ask the founder even one question. Good candidates come prepared with a lot of tailored questions."—Beth Monaghan

34. Have a Great Handshake
"A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake. Extreme? Perhaps, but he's actually not alone in his judgment."—Olivia Fox Cabone

44. Remember You're Interviewing the Company
We seek highly strategic thinkers, not people who just want a job. They should be interviewing us, too. The most memorable candidates have reached out to multiple team members ahead of and after an interview to ask questions, and some have asked to hang out for a day to experience the culture. These proactive inquiries show they are taking us seriously and strive to make well-informed decisions."—Emily Holdman

Follow Up

45. Email, Don't Call
"Skip the phone and send an email. It leaves a paper trail, it allows the recruiter time to properly look up your status information, it eliminates those annoying games of phone tag, and it prevents what I call drunk dialing the recruiter. (Nerves replace alcohol, but the result is the same: leaving a lengthy, nonsensical voice mail that hurls any candidacy consideration down the proverbial drain.)"—Yolanda Owens

47. Send a Suggestion
"Sometimes you leave an interview, send a thank-you note, then realize days later that you have a great idea, something else you should've asked, or another example that demonstrates your abilities. When this happens, a follow-up note is the perfect time to show that the company is still on your mind and you're really mulling on how you can help. Lead with asking for an update, as suggested above, and then go into your business question or suggestion."—Rich Jones

50. Don't Give Up
"Do what it takes to prove how much you want the job. Show that you are willing to go out of your way to chase your goals. Prove that you have a strong sense of initiative and are not afraid to veer off the usual path. Make your goals and requests clear with a sense of urgency. And make every person you meet with feel special."—Camilla Cho

Among the 50 tips, are there any that you find particularly valuable? Do you have any tips you would add?

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

April 22, 2018

EIU Report Explores Different Scenarios Around the Economic Impact of Machine Learning

"There is more uncertainty around advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and one of its major sub-sets, machine learning, than the current debate suggests, particularly with regard to the technology's impact on society and the economy," explains The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in a report entitled Risks and rewards: Scenarios around the economic impact of machine learning. "No doubt the advances have indeed been incredible and advocates are right to highlight them. A decade ago few believed that a car could drive on its own, even in a controlled environment, or that an algorithm could learn how to label and organize photographs. Yet both of those are now possible and various forms of AI are performing new tasks it seems on a weekly basis."

Commissioned by Google, The EIU report is based on the results of econometric modeling of three scenarios covering five countries—the US, UK, Japan, South Korea and Australia—and Developing Asia as a region. In addition, the report presents qualitative scenarios for four industries: manufacturing, healthcare, energy, and transportation.

Impact on GDP and productivity

With respect to the three econometric scenarios, The EIU uses its current forecast to 2030 as a baseline. The scenarios are:

Scenario #1: Greater human productivity through upskilling
"Scenario #1 assumes a higher degree of complementarity between human skills and AI than does the baseline and that governments will invest more in upskilling than current trends suggest. In the results, every country or grouping covered benefits, but some more than others. Australia, where growth in services is becoming more important for incremental economic growth than commodity exports, would see the greatest gains. The gains elsewhere would be more modest by comparison; although in this scenario, the UK's productivity rises to slightly positive from our baseline forecast, which is for a slight decline."

Scenario #2: Greater investment in technology and access to open source data
"Scenario #2 assumes investment in access to open source data, tax credits to spur private sector adoption of machine learning, and advances in computing efficiency drive hardware costs down. This scenario yields the most encouraging results insofar as economic growth is concerned. Each of the five countries, as well as Developing Asia as a group, experience higher levels of growth relative to our baseline forecast. Australia, again, along with Developing Asia, reap the greatest rewards from promoting investment in this scenario, but all of the countries covered see GDP rise by at least 1% above the baseline between now and 2030."

Scenario #3: Insufficient policy support for structural changes in the economy
"Scenario #3, which is the one negative scenario among the three, assumes the substitution effect for labor dominates due to inaction in workforce development—or more simply, skills— and a lack of national data sharing schemes. The losses are substantial compared to the baseline. The UK and Australian economies actually shrink in US dollar terms versus today, as a result, with the UK's economy becoming US$420bn smaller in absolute terms and the Australian economy US$50bn. The US, Japan and Developing Asia still grow in this scenario, but their economies are all significantly below the baseline, with the US and Developing Asia both off by around US$3trn."

The industries

The qualitative scenarios look at four industries: manufacturing, healthcare, energy and transportation, which are provided below in its entirety from the report's Executive Summary.

Employment in manufacturing has become a headline issue with the rise of populism in certain developed countries. When discussing AI, it's important to differentiate automation in hardware, such as robotics, from automation in software, AI and its sub-sets. The former has already had a significant effect on labor demand in the sector and while the latter may contribute to this trend, its impact has been less direct, at least to date.

When manufacturing firms talk about AI, they talk about creating greater efficiencies in their supply chains, reducing maintenance costs and moving towards batch production. Each of these may or may not result in the elimination of low wage jobs, but they will almost certainly create high wage ones, albeit not at a one-for-one ratio. The speed at which firms turn towards automation in both hardware and software depends on the 'payback period,' a measure which weighs the cost of investment in automation versus that of the cost of local labor."

As a knowledge industry, healthcare is ripe for AI and there are a variety of applications already in place. It's being used in the discovery process for new drugs, to save costs in both prevention and treatment, and to augment the abilities of practicing physicians and clinicians.

Yet there are constraints. The healthcare sector has traditionally been slower than most sectors to adopt innovations. That may be changing, however slowly, but there are other hurdles that need to be overcome. One is the issue of privacy. Patients are understandably sensitive about their personal data being shared and unless they can be assured their data will only be used for specific and agreed purposes, they may not agree to sharing it at all. That would hinder the use of AI considerably, dependent as it is on data for developing solutions.

AI is expected to have the most significant impact on the energy sector in transforming generation, transmission and distribution into a more coherent system. This means, among other things, creating pricing systems based on probabilistic models and developing smart grids that can better deal with the issue of intermittency, or the fact that the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. Solving for intermittency will allow electricity providers to maximize their use of green energy.

This does not come without risks. Smart grids, while more efficient than current analogue grids, are exposed to new and greater risks from cyber-attacks, which, in turn, creates national security concerns. That has knock-on effects on the willingness of local governments to integrate their grids and share their data.

While autonomous vehicles have captured much of the public's attention, even though they may still be far off, AI is already making major contributions to the speed and safety of public transport. In many cities, AI being used to balance the flow of passengers across different modes of transport and data received from sensors around cities, combined with AI, are helping to make traffic flow more smoothly.

The advent of autonomous vehicles nevertheless remains in the fore of people's minds in this area. Besides the obvious issue of its impact on employment, there are regulatory and privacy concerns, as well as the question of liability when, inevitability, a driverless vehicle becomes involved in an accident, fatal or otherwise.

The report also identifies five approaches to grounding the discussion in reality.

Managing expectations. "In the near-term, AI will be neither utopian nor dystopian. It will provide new benefits and it will create new problems. Exaggerating its upsides is as detrimental to the debate as is exaggerating its downsides."

Better communication. "There are many understanding gaps when it comes to AI, but one of the most important to bridge is that between developers and businesses and government institutions. The former are often only dimly aware of what the latter two really need, and the latter, in turn, are often only dimly aware of the potential solutions the former could provide. A more robust and frequent exchange of information, capabilities and needs would help to remedy this."

Acknowledging the risks. "It is important to acknowledge that AI presents risks to employment, as well as privacy, and to start finding solutions to these and other issues rather than encourage complacency or resignation through unshakeable confidence."

Improving trust and transparency. "'Trust us' or trust the algorithm is not a viable strategy for gaining widespread acceptance of AI and its various subfields. Developers and users alike need to make known what they are doing and how they are doing it, in a way that is both meaningful given the usage context and practical given technological constraints."

Educating the public. "Gaps in knowledge and understanding are filled more quickly than ever with misinformation and distortion. The public needs an explanation of what AI is and does, and as simply as possible."

Lastly, the report importantly notes: "Policymakers, for their part, face a number of choices as regards AI and its impact." These choices include investing in skills and training, dealing with data, and investing in R&D and technology.

How do you see artificial intelligence's impact on society and the economy?

Aaron Rose is an advisor to talented entrepreneurs and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of Solutions for a Sustainable World.

April 20, 2018

Mobile Industry Uniquely Positioned to Realize Bangladesh's Vision 2021 Goals

"The mobile industry in Bangladesh has scaled rapidly over the last decade to become the fifth largest mobile market in Asia Pacific, with 85 million unique subscribers in 2017 – half the population," GSMA notes in a country overview of the Bangladesh mobile industry. The London, England-based organization further says that "[b]y helping to promote digital inclusion and support the delivery of essential services, the mobile industry makes a vital contribution to the economy of Bangladesh and plays a crucial role in supporting the achievement of the government's Digital Bangladesh and Vision 2021 initiatives, as well as the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."

The GSMA country overview outlined several key findings, including:

Affordability can be major barrier to mobile uptake
  • A higher cost of mobile access will more greatly impact the poorest consumers, as it represents a higher share of their monthly income.
  • High levels of taxation and fees would directly raise the retail prices faced by consumers, and thus represent a significant barrier to digital inclusion.
A forward-looking regulatory environment is essential
  • Through review, reform and modernization of regulation in key areas, policymakers and the regulator in Bangladesh can play a major role in expanding access to and adoption of mobile broadband.
  • A predictable roadmap should be created for future assignments of spectrum (e.g. 700 MHz), in consultation with industry players to ensure fair and reasonable policies and regulations while also supporting effective pricing of spectrum.
  • Reforming mobile sector-specific taxation towards a more balanced and efficient structure can increase affordability of mobile products and services by lowering the tax burden on consumers and mobile operators
Spectrum barriers reduce operators' ability to invest
  • The February 2018 spectrum auction saw high auction reserve prices and associated licence fees, which resulted in some spectrum going unsold. This highlights the importance of setting reserve prices for future spectrum auctions that consider operators' ability to not only finance access to spectrum, but also to deploy infrastructure accordingly.
  • The government should ensure the timely release of spectrum and fair prices for access to that spectrum to facilitate better quality and more affordable services.
The report importantly notes the mobile industry makes a vital contribution to the Bangladeshi economy. "In 2015, the mobile ecosystem generated 6.2% of GDP in Bangladesh, a contribution that amounted to around $13 billion of economic value added. This figure includes the direct economic impact of mobile operators and the broader ecosystem as well as the indirect impact and the productivity increase brought about by the use of mobile technologies."

Moreover, "We expect that the economic contribution of the mobile ecosystem in Bangladesh will continue to grow. In value-added terms, we estimate that the ecosystem will generate $17 billion by 2020. This will be driven by a combination of productivity improvements brought about by continued mobile internet expansion (both in terms of coverage and uptake), as well as by the growth in content and services, which will bring Bangladesh closer to the development of the mobile ecosystem in neighboring countries."

Mobile continues to transform the lives of millions of Bangladeshi. "As more people come online over the next decade," the report explains, "the way they engage with mobile is changing as devices get smarter, services expand and societies become more connected, enabling seamless interaction between all aspects of an individual's digital life. Beyond core connectivity, the mobile industry in Bangladesh can provide services that are vital to the progress of a digital society."

Impact of Reforming Mobile Sector Taxation

The GSMA also commissioned EY to study the economic impact of potential tax reforms on the Bangladesh mobile sector. The report, Reforming mobile sector taxation in Bangladesh, analyzes developments in the mobile sector and its tax treatment in Bangladesh, and estimates the impacts of potential options for tax policy reform on the mobile sector, the wider economy and the government's fiscal position. The positive fiscal gains over a five-year period would be:
  • $29 million from the reduction of the corporation tax for non-public mobile companies from 45 percent to 40 percent and for public mobile operators from 40 percent to 35 percent.
  • $397 million from the elimination of the supplementary duty of 35 percent and VAT of 15 percent on SIM cards.
  • $397 million from the elimination of the supplementary duty of 5 percent levied on mobile services.
Based on these proposed tax reforms, the Bangladeshi government may face an initial cost in the first year following the reform, but ultimately, the reforms would be more than self-financing. They would also likely boost productivity, leading to higher GDP and taxation revenue in the medium term. By promoting investment, reducing the cost of mobile ownership and incentivizing usage, the tax reforms will help to connect individuals, particularly those in low-income groups, to mobile services.

What strategies should be implemented for government and the mobile industry to work together to unlock digital transformation for millions of Bangladeshi?

Aaron Rose is an advisor to talented entrepreneurs and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of Solutions for a Sustainable World.

April 1, 2018

Report Focuses on How Asia-Pacific Is Leading the Way in Emerging Media Consumption Trends

A report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) asserts that "although smartphones are now ubiquitous across much of the planet, Asia is at the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to their use." Digital upheaval: how Asia-Pacific is leading the way in emerging media consumption trends further says: "Already, across much of the region there has been fundamental change in media consumption and communication. Thanks to smartphones, which have brought millions online for the first time, many countries have leapfrogged the traditional intermediate stages of media consumption, and individuals have taken control. They can now access what they want, where and when they want it." Commissioned by The Trade Desk, a Ventura, Calf.-based technology company that empowers buyers of advertising, the report is based on in-depth research, including interviews with 16 experts and executives.

Based on my frequent travels to Asia over the past several years, I concur with the report's assertion that "the region's entrepreneurs have been quick to seize the opportunity, creating new networks of information and entertainment, and finding innovative uses for technologies such as multi-functioning messaging apps and quick-response (QR) codes."

Moreover, the report, which is available in English简体中文, and 日本語, explains, "All of this has opened up new channels of communication between businesses and consumers. It has also been a boon to the region's creative industries, notably small-time content producers such as individual live streamers. Further media-related innovations popularized in Asia, like the ability to link micropayments to these live-streaming platforms, are proving this region's inventive prowess to the rest of the world."

Regarding the Middle Kingdom, the report accurately notes:
China's unique digital ecosystem is a vital part of the story, giving rise to platforms like WeChat that have pushed the boundaries of technologies in areas such as payment and financial services, and paved the way for artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbots to do things such as aiding customer interaction. Chatbots are just one new avenue companies are using to talk directly to individual consumers—QR codes are another, while digitally informed segmentation of markets for advertising campaigns can help brands forge new connections between data, clicks and purchases in the region.
Alongside the exciting advances, however, "there are concerns: Asia's frantic surge in smartphone-enabled media consumption has led to worries about media literacy. For example, Carol Soon of the National University of Singapore warns that Asian consumers have less awareness of data-privacy concerns than in Europe or North America, where it is a major issue. In the advertising space, tracking online metrics can be difficult for marketers used to channels such as TV.

"The story of Asia's digital media consumption, however, is predominantly about burgeoning opportunities and clever leaps, echoing the region's recent dramatic economic growth. Although most of these innovations can be found outside the region, in Asia their development, use, scale and impact are distinctive in several ways."

The following key advances in media consumption in Asia are addressed in the report:

Hyper-functional messaging platforms (China)
Platforms such as WeChat have become mutifunctional, especially with financial services. This is both threatening the ecosystem of app proliferation and upending payment models.

Live-streaming services (China)
Mass live streaming, an entirely new digital media category, has become especially popular among internal rural migrants, who number nearly 300 million and use it to forge informal networks of support in new environments. This has sparked new innovations in micro-payments between audiences and content creators.

QR codes (China)
Companies are finding innovative uses for QR codes, which allow them to communicate directly with individual customers in on-the-go situations.

K-pop's digital underpinnings (South Korea)
K-pop has become internationally popular thanks to a clever combination of world-leading digital infrastructure and innovative cross-border social-media marketing.

Social media as migrant social network (Indonesia, the Philippines)
Previously isolated overseas domestic workers are using social media on personal smartphones to build virtual communities of support, information and entertainment.

Long-form narrative advertising (Thailand)
Bucking the trend elsewhere for short and sensational digital adverts, Thai businesses are using the opportunities afforded by digital production to make longer narrative adverts that resemble mini-soap operas.

Natural-voice interfaces (Asia-Wide)
The region is at the fore of developing voice-enabled interfaces between users and software (including chatbots).

What innovative ways have you observed in the use of smartphones in Asia?

Aaron Rose is an advisor to talented entrepreneurs and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of Solutions for a Sustainable World.