The Career Playbook Interactive

The Career Playbook Interactive is a rich-media, self-paced, professional development training experience developed by some of the leading career management professionals in the world. It is chock full of interviews with human resource directors at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Johnson and Johnson, and career advisors from Dartmouth, University of Indiana’s Alumni Association, Wesleyan, Duke, and Colgate.

Jim Citrin runs the CEO and Board Practice at one of the most prestigious career design and placement firms in the world, Spencer Stuart. Over his 23 year career he’s interviewed thousands of candidates and placed over 650 executives in some of the most influential companies in the world. He’s a LinkedIn 1st influencer and strategic advisor with over three quarters of a million followers. This is an incomparable resource for preparing the marketing of your personal brand and designing a career that fulfills your deeper talents and aspirations.

WHAT’S INSIDE

The Career Playbook Interactive is a breakthrough online course based on the successful print version of Jim Citrin’s practical guide for launching, or restarting, a great career. Jim Citrin leads the CEO practice for the global recruiting firm Spencer Stuart. He is a member of several boards, the author of seven best-selling books on career success and leadership, and is a LinkedIn Influencer with more than half a million followers. Many of the remarkable people Jim interviewed to create the book make on-camera appearances in the online course. They include:

Laszlo Bock, Senior VP of People Operations, Google

Ada Yu, Senior Project Manager for Students App, LinkedIn

Lori Goler, Head of HR, Facebook

Dennis Woodside, COO, Dropbox

Sandi Peterson, EVP, Group Worldwide Chairman, Johnson & Johnson
… and many more

• Observations about the job market for today’s young professionals
• Unlike the past, career paths are now more unstructured and there is more competition
• However, young professionals today care more about making a positive impact on the world than just having jobs that pay well
• The good news: there is a set of core principles to building a successful career
• This online course is divided into three parts
• Part One looks at how careers really work, combining money, meaning, networks and relationships
• Part Two covers how to secure a good job, including the interview process, what to do with a liberal arts degree, and overcoming “the permission paradox”
• Part Three gets into thriving at work by balancing job satisfaction, compensation, and lifestyle
• Goals of this course: strategies to launch a career, navigate your career’s changes, and how to thrive in your career

• Data about the tough job market for millennials
• Implications of today’s unstructured, competitive, dynamic job market
• Think about your career like a long-term investment
• Having a job—any job—makes you more attractive to employers
• The earlier you start working, the greater your odds are to getting a better job in your next career move
• Waiting for a first job that makes a meaningful impact on the world may have trade-offs
• Preview of creating a great LinkedIn profile
• Preview of how to overcome the Permission Paradox that says, “You can’t get the job without the experience, but you can’t get the experience without the job”
• Every successful person has had a network of mentors and advisors
• Cultivating mentors and advisors is a career management skill that can be learned

• Having a degree in the humanities or liberal arts should be supplemented by being fluent in the areas of highgrowth opportunity
• Internships and varied experiences in the public and private sectors may improve your range of career possibilities
• It is critical to work hard and do well in whatever job you land so that you can build a career ladder
• Happiness is key: the happier you are, the more successful you will be
• Take your best shot at a job, get into the flow of whatever job you land, and make the most of every opportunity before moving on

• Employers value individuals based on two fundamental criteria: potential value and experiential value
• Early in your career, employers are interested in your potential value
• There are six distinct phases that most careers follow
• Phase 1: The Aspiration Phase—get into the job market and start gaining experience

• Phase 2: The Promise Phase—develop the main skill or industry focus that defines your core competencies
• Phase 3: The Momentum Phase—your experience begins to overtake your potential
• Phase 4: The Harvest Phase—the apex of your career
• Phase 5: The Encore Phase—many successful people become mentors or reinvent themselves with new skills
• Phase 6: The Legacy Phase—staying active in retirement, perhaps as a mentor and advisor

• When you evaluate job opportunities, there are three competing factors that create the Career Triangle
• Job Satisfaction, lifestyle, and compensation are the three legs of the Career Triangle
• Job satisfaction relates to how happy you are in the job
• Lifestyle is about how well your job suits the where and how you choose to live
• Compensation is about the amount you make in money and benefits in your job
• Typically, you can achieve high ratings on, at most, two legs of the Career Triangle at once, but not all three
• There are more trade-offs in job satisfaction, lifestyle, compensation, during the Aspiration Phase of your career
• Most aspiring young professionals are more likely to be successful over the long term if they are willing to make trade-offs in more than one aspect of the Career Triangle

• Recall that we said there are typically six phases to a career and the first phase is about aspiration
• During the Aspiration Phase of your career, it is very likely that higher ratings on job satisfaction or lifestyle will be more obtainable than great compensation

• Your first job may not be your dream job, but you can leverage that experience to advance your career
• The Aspiration Phase is about self-discovery, exploration, and gaining real-world job skills
• Internships are a great way to gain experience during this first phase of your career, since you want to discover more about a variety of career possibilities
• Your next job may begin the next phase of your career, the Promise Phase
• In the Promise Phase, the Career Triangle is likely to be restricted in terms of lifestyle, since you are digging into your professional major while building a track record
• Job satisfaction and compensation are likely to increase, but you should expect to sacrifice some of your Lifestyle in order to get ahead
• During the Promise Phase, you should pay attention to building your own personal brand and developing a strong voice about who you are as a professional
• It is likely that you will work harder than you ever have during the Promise Phase, but you should really love what you do
• When you reach the Momentum Phase, you may be trading off some of your job satisfaction or compensation, but this is when your track record and expertise really take shape
• Every individual will make choices throughout his or her career that shift emphasis from lifestyle to job satisfaction to compensation, in various turns
• The key is ongoing self-awareness so you can honestly evaluate where you are and what sacrifices you are willing to make to get where you want to go

• Money may not be a polite subject, but it’s important to managing your career trajectory
• In the Career Triangle, money is usually a trade-off, one way or another
• It may seem obvious, but the best way to make a lot of money is to pursue a career that pays well
• Finance, law, general business, engineering, technology, and energy are among the most lucrative fields
• There are risks in pursuing a high-paying career, including the chance that you may be unhappy in your lifestyle or job satisfaction
• Another risk is that the more you cost your employer, the higher your risk for being let go at some point if you don’t add that much value
• High-paying jobs also tend to be very specialized, so the risk is that you need to stay very current with trends in that area of specialization
• Alternatively, you could pursue a career in a field that you are passionate about, like teaching or not-forprofits, but do not expect to make a high salary
• Regardless of how money fits into your Career Triangle, thrift and savings are important to maintaining a buffer
• Understanding what role money should play in your career decisions begins with a strong sense of selfawareness that you must cultivate throughout your life

• In today’s connected world, it makes sense that connections and networks would be keys to success in your career
• The term “networking” has some negative connotations; think instead about cultivating a “relationship mind-set”
• Cultivating this mind-set will not only improve your chances to succeed in your career, it will make you a happier person
• A relationship mind-set is a two-way street where “I help you and you help me”
• 70% of jobs are gotten through relationships, through referrals, and through connections
• There are no differences between personal and professional relationships when you maintain a relationship mind-set
• Employers look for experience and for a good fit—that is, for people they want to work with
• Employers also take references seriously, so having a relationship mind-set is important to cultivating solid references

• Look for common ground with people and be willing to share personal experiences
• In our interconnected world, you can find common ground with almost anyone professionally
• Your career services department can help you make these connections, but so can friends, family, and their extended networks
• Make a list of people you know who have a lot of connections, and start with these “super connectors”
• Introduce yourself to others regularly
• Ask how you can help others and follow up
• Asking others for small favors can improve your chances for building relationships, also known as the Franklin effect

• Landing interviews is essential, but being prepared for those interviews is even more important
• You need to prepare a 30-second elevator pitch
• The two parts of an elevator pitch: who you are / what you’ve done; and what you want to do with your career
• Build a target list where you want to interview, and do your research
• Keep notes on your communications with your targets and stay organized enough to keep driving forward
• Using LinkedIn is essential today; we will dedicate a separate module just to using LinkedIn
• Your LinkedIn profile must have a good photograph of you and all the essentials of a great resume
• But LinkedIn is more than an online resume; it is also a platform to facilitate connections that can lead to interviews
• Study best examples of resumes, and pay attention to details like formatting and grammar
• There is a formal etiquette to e-mail you must observe
• Do not be discouraged by the process—landing interviews is a journey and must be approached with a desire to learn, explore, and connect with people

• How to build and leverage your LinkedIn profile
• How to build and leverage your LinkedIn network
• Introducing the LinkedIn Students App
• Exploring suggested roles based on your education
• Connecting with companies that hire from your school
• Discovering profiles of recent alumni with your major
• Following up on job listings that are appropriate for your major and year
• Featuring the LinkedIn Students App Product Team

• Realize that you face a challenge throughout your career where you can’t get the job without experience but you can get experience without the job
• This paradox can be overcome with credentials gained through additional education
• Another strategy is creatively reimagining and describing the experience that you do have
• You can also gain experience through nontraditional approaches, like entrepreneurial ventures
• Also, do not be afraid to start at the bottom and work your way up
• You may be able to barter for experience by volunteering
• One of the best ways of overcoming the Permission Paradox is to land an internship; you may not get a job with that company, but your experience there will count elsewhere

• Compared to computer science, finance, or other types of technical degrees, it is true that liberal arts majors typically have a harder time landing their first job
• And in terms of pay, there are advantages to having a technical degree
• However, liberal arts majors know how to synthesize information, think critically, analyze data, and communicate—those are the skills that employers are looking for in higher-order careers.

• Double majors that combine liberal arts with a technical degree are another way to get ahead
• But if you are only pursuing liberal arts studies, you need to really work on your elevator pitch and your resume because it is up to you to translate your skills into what employers are looking for
• Do not shy away from adding technical and quantitative studies to your program, because you must at least be fluent in understanding these trends
• If you are sophisticated in your understanding of how these technology trends are shaping the world, your Liberal Arts background may serve you very well
• Career services is an essential resource for liberal arts majors in shaping a compelling career strategy
• Studying the languages of emerging markets, like Chinese or Vietnamese, are also highly valued by employers
• If you are a good communicator, a liberal arts degree can serve you well in sales because selling is always in demand

• Dialogue between Jim Citrin and Kate Ashforth Hurley, Executive Recruiter, Spencer Stuart
• Background on Kate, starting her job search in the Great Recession of 2008
• How both Jim and Kate rose to senior positions at Spencer Stuart and interviewed thousands of prospects
• Interviewing is a life skill that you want to cultivate throughout your career
• Interviewing and being interviewed are two sides of the same coin
• There are five key points to a successful interview and the first is telling a narrative
• Telling a narrative is more than just stating the facts; it is telling about who you are as a person
• Narratives allow the interviewer to ask meaningful follow-up questions you can answer about yourself
• Injecting humor is a great way to break down walls

• But be succinct: talk in short stories of 60 to 90 seconds each
• Practice, practice, practice
• Turn what might be weaknesses in your narrative into strengths

• Dialogue between Jim Citrin and Kate Ashforth Hurley, Executive Recruiter, Spencer Stuart
• The second key tip to interviewing is avoiding the most common trap: “Do you have any questions for me?”
• Know that you will almost certainly be asked this question by your interviewer
• This is the part of the interview where you get to take control
• Most people prepare to answer questions when being interviewed, but it is equally important for you to prepare your own questions

• There are four categories of questions you should ask
• Category one: questions about the broad industry
• Category two: questions that are specific to that organization
• Category three: questions about the specific job for which you are interviewing
• Category four: questions about the person conducting the interview; this is perhaps the most important category of question for you to ask
• People love talking about themselves, so draw out your interviewer
• Do your research ahead of time; has the CEO of the company given a recent interview published online?
• Know about the challenges and successes of the company for which you are interviewing
• Do not ask questions for which the answers are easily discoverable on the company website; dig deeper and be prepared

• Dialogue between Jim Citrin and Kate Ashforth Hurley, Executive Recruiter, Spencer Stuart
• Our third advisory about the art of the interview is knowing how to overcome a disadvantage
• It is almost inevitable that there will be some aspect of the job where you are not fully qualified
• The key is to be self-aware of this disadvantage and prepare in advance to address that disadvantage up front
• Find some aspect of your school, volunteer, or previous work experience that applies

• Bring transferrable soft-skill talents into the equation to address your disadvantage
• Confront the disadvantage head on with confidence in your ability to apply what you know and learn what you don’t know

• Dialogue between Jim Citrin and Kate Ashforth Hurley, Executive Recruiter, Spencer Stuart
• The fourth advisory on interviewing is being clear and articulate
• Through preparation, you can present sophisticated insights about the company or the industry
• Write down the tough questions you think you may encounter, then write down your answers and rehearse
• Some questions you may be able to turn back to the interviewer for his or her opinion
• You might try taking the position of a customer of the company to demonstrate your knowledge and insights
• Representing the perspective of millennials may provide fresh insights to questions
• Do not be too quick to answer: pause, think, and be succinct
• And do not be afraid to offer your own point of view on a subject

• Dialogue between Jim Citrin and Kate Ashforth, Executive Recruiter, Spencer Stuart
• The fifth and final key insight about interviewing is communicating with confidence
• Projecting a strong sense of confidence helps demonstrate your potential as a future leader
• In the Aspiration Phase of your career, your value to an employer is less about experience and more about potential
• Communicating with confidence means eliminating verbal habits such as repeating the word “like” or “um”
• Good eye contact and strong body language is just as important on Skype as it is in person
• Practice in front of a mirror; work with career services to schedule mock interviews
• Keep your body language simple and alert
• Even if your answers are strong, being timid and softspoken diminishes your performance
• Interviewers want to hear a smile in your voice, even over the phone
• Dress professionally, regardless of whether the interview is in person or electronic, because it will improve the confidence of your communication
• Thank your interviewers by name after the conclusion
• And always, always follow up with a nice, thoughtful, succinct, and unique e-mail no later than 24 hours
• Be aware that your e-mail will very likely be forwarded, so pay attention to the details
• Remember, interviewing is something you will do throughout your life, so take it seriously

• Dialogue between Jim Citrin and a roundtable of Spencer Stuart interns and young employees
• Even if your undergraduate area of interest is different from the field of your first job, there are skills that can be applied
• First jobs are often outside the domain of your degree; do not automatically reject opportunities that seem unrelated to your major at first
• Your undergraduate years help you discover what you are good at, and your first job can give you practical experience with those skills
• You may realize that graduate school would help solidify your expertise
• Taking an internship may be the most effective way to get a leg up on your career

• You need to be authentic in your self-awareness of what trade-offs you are willing to make in terms of the Career Triangle at each stage of your career
• Count on your career services department at your school to help you make some of these tough trade-off decisions
• Connections to alumni from your school can be among the most important of your early career
• Alumni are also welcome to work through career services departments at many schools
• Expect that your first job may not be in your field of study, but working for a good company is highly advantageous
• Bigger companies with greater resources may be a better choice for your first job than smaller companies with smaller networks
• A reasonable amount of time to work for your first company is two years
• Whatever job you accept, it should open up new possibilities for your next career move

• Once you have landed your first job, it is critical to earn the respect of your colleagues
• First impressions count, so embrace whatever work you are first asked to perform
• Being positive, curious, and enthusiastic will help you make the right impression—this attitude will help you feel better than if you just grin and bear it
• Be professional in your communications and be curious about the world around you so that you can hold your own in any conversation
• Even after you succeed in getting a job, continue to develop questions for your colleagues and superiors that can become part of your regular communications
• Good grammar in e-mails and effective written communications are a permanent record of your readiness to excel

• In your first job, dress 20–30% more professionally than is required of others because it shows respect
• Politeness is also a key influencer in the impression you make on others
• Understand the written and the unwritten rules of the company that form its culture
• Develop a great rapport with your boss and be ready to adapt to that person’s style
• Ask your boss every week how you can help move her or his agenda forward
• Even in the most menial task, take your job seriously, and do not underestimate the importance of doing it well

• Once you have begun to gain momentum in your career, there are a few guaranteed strategies that will ensure your success
• The first and most important is to focus on the success of others; your own success will follow
• Competing at the expense of others often results in your own failure over the long term
• Being part of a winning team is better than being a solo performer
• Generous and caring leaders are more likely to succeed than tyrants
• You want to attract others to you and that will attract success
• The second guaranteed strategy for success is persistence; take one step at a time and don’t give up when the going gets tough
• The third strategy is knowing what you are truly good at and focusing on your strengths
• Be open-minded and get feedback from others as to what others consider to be your greatest strengths
• The fourth strategy is being a “learning animal” and never stop learning
• By always being curious about the world, you will gain experience and knowledge that will serve you well
throughout your career

• Those who are just graduating from college are very likely to work for between 15 and 20 different companies over their entire career
• Careers are rarely a simple upward trajectory in a straight line
• As in the game of chess, there are often lateral or even temporary backward moves, all to help you win the long game
• You will know it is time to switch jobs when, despite your very best efforts, your work environment becomes toxic
• Another reason for moving to another job is if you really have stalled out and there is no room for upward mobility
• Taking a job at a start-up is a bit like hoping to win the lottery because the chances of success are so small and you very rarely get the kind of support you can get in a large, established company
• On the other hand, working for a start-up could give you great experience that will serve you well throughout your career
• Given today’s economy, we advise that your career blends experience with great large companies and early-stage entrepreneurial start-ups
• The value of moving from job to job is in the variety of experiences you will gain that can advance your overall career

• Among the most challenging parts of managing your career is negotiating compensation
• When asked by a prospective employer what your salary requirements are, it is best to thank them for asking and let them know how excited you are about the opportunity
• The next response to the question of compensation requirements should be that you need a little time to think about it before replying
• Go back and do your homework about compensation for that type of job in comparable locations by using LinkedIn and other online resources
• You may also ask the prospective employer if the job has any precedence in compensation
• If you have student loans, it is fair to start with that and your rent in your calculation; it is fair to provide your employer with these baseline costs
• Beware, discussing salary is probably the most sensitive topic you can engage in with prospective employers
• You can be firm and fair in your assessment, but pushing too hard will leave a lasting negative impression
• The same is true when it comes time to discuss a raise: handle with care

• Every successful person has had people help them along the way
• A professional mentor is more than just someone who gives you advice; a mentor is someone whom you can share stories with and who becomes personally invested in your success
• A mentor is not your boss; a mentor is someone who is safe and neutral about your situation
• A mentor is someone who is smart, responsive, respected, and versatile, and has a great attitude
• Mentors like to surround themselves with winners; they want to be associated with the success of the next generation of leaders
• You can test-drive and cultivate your mentors by asking questions that lead to dialogue
• While your parents may have great career advice, they cannot really be considered mentors
• Mentors are often looking for someone younger in their own image, but that doesn’t mean you need to mimic everything about them
• It is important to have age, gender, and other demographic balance in cultivating your mentors
• Having a successful career means building a strong network of mentors along the way