Career Warrior Podcast #265) Learn New Skills Now, Thrive in Your Future | Lisa Gevelber
If you couldn’t tell by now, a fundamental shift is happening in the workforce. And that’s an increased emphasis on skills. And now, job seekers need to step up, acquire those skills, and land their dream job.
Maybe you’re not happy with where you’re at right now, and you believe it’s time for a change and to learn a new skill that will get you paid well.
Well now’s the time.
Today, I brought on Lisa Gevelber.
Lisa Gevelber is Google’s Chief Marketing Officer for the Americas and the founder and head of Grow with Google, the company’s tech skilling initiative. Over the last 5 years, Lisa has expanded Grow with Google around the globe, reaching millions of people with tech skills for their careers, small business, and life. Lisa is committed to helping build the next generation of talent.
So as you can see, Lisa is going to be just awesome, and this episode is all about skilling up and why you should do so right now.
Chris Villanueva 0:04
And welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast where our goal is not only to help you land your dream job, but to help you live your best life. Today, we’re going to talk about why to learn new skills now, so you can thrive in your future. If you couldn’t tell by now a fundamental shift is happening in the workforce. And that’s an increased emphasis on skills. And now job seekers need to step up, acquire those skills, and land their dream job. Maybe you’re not happy with where you’re at right now. And you believe it’s time for a change and to learn a new skill that will get you paid well, well, now is the time. Today I brought on Lisa Gevelber. Lisa Gevelber is Google’s Chief Marketing Officer for the Americas, and the founder and head of growth Google, the company’s tech skilling initiative. For the last five years, Lisa has expanded grow with Google around the globe, reaching millions of people with tech skills for their career, small business and life. Lisa is committed to helping build the next generation of talent. So as you can see, Lisa is just going to be amazing for this episode. And really, we’re going to talk about skilling up and why you should do so right now. So let’s get started with episode 265 of the career for your podcast.
Lisa Gevelber 1:27
Lisa, thank you for joining us. Thanks so much for having me, Chris. I am so excited and so honored to have you come speak on our show. And I think so many listeners are wondering what’s next for them. You know, there are so many people who are making a change in careers. And so I want to go into grow with Google. And a little bit here. I think that will serve as a great example. But first, I’d like to just zoom out a little bit and talk about how we got here in the first place, talking about people recognizing the importance of acquiring new skills in the first place. So obviously, your team gets this, but from the perspective of an employee, why should I seek new skills? And how is now more different time than ever?
Yeah, so I’m really interested in this question myself. I’ve spent the last several years of my life kind of working on how do you help people easily acquire new skills? Let’s start with the why which I think is your question. So I kind of have two answers to that question. There’s the databased answer, which you know, places like the World Economic Forum say that, you know, about half of us are going to have to get new skills over the next few years, to meet the needs of today’s jobs. But I think there’s a more important thing that resonates with me personally than just the data, which is getting new skills allows us all, to contribute in different ways to personally learn and grow and to teach others. And I think there’s this fundamental human thing where we were, we were all born as great learners. And, you know, it certainly doesn’t stop when we leave school. As a matter of fact, some of the most important things I feel like I’ve learned in my life, I learned in the world of work. And I learned not just you know, things about doing the job, but things about working with people, things about leading people, things about being a good teammate, and team member. And I think that learning new skills is a really important way for people to advance in their lives and in their careers. And the good news is, every one of us is a good learner. None of us were born with all the knowledge, you know, we need to know to live our lives or do our jobs. And I think your question around like, why now is there’s more ways than ever, for people to learn new job skills. If there’s one silver lining on COVID, it’s that it made it even more easy for people and more acceptable for people to learn new job skills online. And there’s so many more ways to do that, that are, you know, on demand and super flexible, even for working adults. And so I think we’ve been investing in a lot of those opportunities, but so have many others. And I think now’s the best time ever to invest in yourself, decide what it is you want to be or do. And then you know, bet on yourself and go learn the skills you need to get to the next place.
Chris Villanueva 4:15
I love that such a good primer and opener. And you know, for me, I’ll you know, I’ll be honest, I’ve had the reluctance in my own life to go out and learn those new skills just because it feels so either it feels so caught up in my own job right now. I’m like, Oh, how do I have time to learn new skills if I need to do this thing and that thing, and so there’s the busy aspect, and also the fact that you know, it’s like, you know, I went to school already, I got the degree. And so there’s that almost that silly reluctance, like why do I need to keep learning for something? If if I’ve already been there, done that. But I think that’s the beautiful thing about grow with Google and just learning like where the marketplace is going right now in general for how people are learning. And so I think this is something that people need to adapt — have to right now. And so I’ll go back to what I said earlier about like the degree, a lot of people do have that reservation about learning a new skill for a job because they think it requires degree. So what’s your perspective on that, and how this sort of continuous education can work alongside a degree?
Lisa Gevelber 5:16
Certainly degrees are a great thing. They’re really good path. But there have to be other paths. And I think there’s there are lots of opportunities now that don’t require a degree. You know, at Google, we have our career certificate program, it’s all online on demand. And you can stack it into a degree if you want, we worked with the American Council on Education to make sure that all of our programs are recommended by that council for college credit, so you can actually earn college credit while doing them, if that’s what you want to do. But we also know that, you know, two thirds of Americans don’t have a degree. And what we see happening in the marketplace is a lot more emphasis than ever before on skills based hiring, rather than degree hiring, I think that’s a good thing. Because right now in the world, when you put a bachelor’s degree requirement on a job, or you eliminate about 80%, of Latino workers, 70% of Black American workers and about 70% of people who live in rural America, and so we just can’t have these degree requirements on jobs, we need to focus on whether people have the skills they need to succeed. So the first thing is creating optionality, which is what we’ve done with our career certificates. They can be stackable into a degree. But they’re also available just online, on demand for anyone who wants to do it. And the good news is what we have seen, and we have graduated over 70,000 Americans with our Google career certificate program already. And we can teach you everything you need to know to do a job you’ve never done before. There’s no prerequisite there No experience required in the job field. And these fields are super in demand. So in growth, Google, we teach for career fields, right now with more to come. We teach data analytics and user experience, design it support and project management, you don’t have to know anything, in particular, when you get started, because we’re going to teach you everything you need to know to be successful on the job. And there’s over a million open jobs just in those four fields in the US right now. So lots of good opportunity to try something new. And just take advantage of the fact that all of this online learning is available to you. Absolutely. And taking advantage of that is what a lot of people should be doing. And another reservation before. You know, I want to cover some of the tracks that grow with Google has chosen, I think there is I think a lot to be said about those tracks and like where different technologies are moving and where different positions are opening up. But first, just another reservation that people have is like some people feel like Been there done that I’m not young anymore. You know, I’m too old to be learning a new skill. What would you tell those people who feel like their time has passed to learn something different? We’re never too old to learn a new skill. I think people are born to learn, it’s kind of how we’re wired. You know, and, you know, we have people completing our certificates of absolutely all ages. And you know, we have people at Google changing jobs at all levels, or in 10 years in their career. So I think the good news is, everyone has an opportunity to think differently about what they want to do. And I think, you know, COVID has helped everyone take a moment’s pause and think about what their goals are. And like I said, there’s more information out there than ever, in terms of what you can use to get to your next place.
Chris Villanueva 8:35
Yeah, I love it. And look at the stats, some of the customers that we serve at, Let’s Eat, Grandma, and you know, over seems like about half of them are making some sort of career change, where they have to learn a new skill, and they’re not all in their 20s. Like, they’re not all young people. So I think that says a lot. Just you can learn a new skill at any point, you can change careers at whatever stage you are in life, and it is okay. I think people need to be reminded that it’s okay. Just, it takes a lot of self reflection and knowing where you want to go. I think that’s a whole nother episode in itself. But people need to give themselves permission, I think to say, you know, it’s okay for me to learn a new skill. It’s my time. Sure. So why did you take the three tracks? So let’s talk about and I was prompted UX design, data analytics, and IT support so why those fields?
Lisa Gevelber 9:23
Yeah, and project management to you know, what we did is we really tried to make this a very data based approach. We looked at what were jobs that were really in demand, there were lots of open jobs, right that employers were looking for people. And were projected to keep growing, right fields that we knew people could get into and grow their careers. And because those fields were really expanding, and that didn’t require any sort of degree. We knew we could teach you everything you need to know to be successful in the job. And we also picked fields where Google had really unique expertise. So we don’t outsource this work. All of the Google career certificates are built by Google employees who have decades of years of experience in these fields, so everything was written kind of by the job back by experts. So we look at each role. And we say, what do you need to be able to know or do to be successful at the job. And then we build a curriculum based on that. And then we vet that curriculum with other employers. So we go to the top employers of some of these fields, and we ask them, if we teach these skills to people, will that be what you need to hire for, and then they helped us make the curriculum better. Some of them even contributed, like the kinds of assessments they use to make sure that someone has mastery. Deloitte is a great example, they gave us some of the assessments that they use for some of the software’s like SQL and R that are used for data analytics. And then we just built that right in and now the Google career certificate as a preferred hiring credential at Deloitte, because they know that we’re teaching the things that they need for their employees to know. And so one of the key criteria or, you know, do we have real expertise to share with the world, and all of these fields and the ones to come are all things that Google employees know an awful lot about, and have really been successful themselves and these fields, and we just build that right in to help make other people successful?
Chris Villanueva 11:16
Yeah, fabulous. It’s something that I get asked a lot of times during my talks is like, where are the jobs moving towards, you know, if I’m, you know, looking to step away from we have a lot of people moving away from, you know, hospitality, just given where things are right now, but, and I came from hospitality to I’m not knocking on it whatsoever, but a lot of people moving from that industry to other tracks. And so where do I go? And so I think that’s good that you went directly to the employers, you know, from the top to ask, like, what are the skills required? And where can people be of service. So I love that. I also believe I made a funny note here, I said, believe that getting a job or acquiring a skill is more than just watching videos and just sitting and just, I guess, learning that way. But what other ways to jobseekers look to acquire skills? And I know, I mentioned earlier that there were digital coaches that work with entrepreneurs, and also other coaching involved. So if we can get into some of that, I think that’d be great. Because I think everybody needs a mentor. Yeah, for sure. There are a lot of ways to acquire new skills, I always tell people early in their careers, look around and find a few people that you know, you want to learn from, and you know, kind of apprentice yourself to them. Not necessarily like a formal apprenticeship, find someone that you think, Oh, my gosh, I have so much to learn from this person. How can I make sure that I’m proactively thinking about how to learn from the people around you, I think one of the downsides of the remote work that we’ve all been doing over the past two years, as you haven’t had someone sitting next to you every day, you know, as I grew up in my career, some of the people I learned the most from weren’t necessarily the people I worked for they were the people sitting next to me, right, my peers in the book.
Lisa Gevelber 12:59
And you know, you those were the people that you asked questions, or you watched how they worked or handled a particular situation, or you had them help you with an analysis you didn’t know how to do. And I just think that the downside of remote work was there was nobody sitting next to us who we could just lean over and get perspective from or ask a question two, or watch them work. And so I do think as many of us get to transition back to the office, once again, we’ll have the benefit of all of our amazing colleagues. And sometimes you learn the most actually, from your peer group, I always try to make some goals around what I want to learn from my boss, and every boss I’ve had has taught me something different. And I’ve tried to be really proactive about that. But I think people often forget that you can also learn from everyone around you, no matter what your job is, or what field you’re in, you know, we’re all capable of learning. And it’s about being a little bit proactive about it.
Chris Villanueva 13:53
Okay, I love that so much. And I’m a huge believer of I call it the tribe, like your tribe of mentors, slash colleagues and other people who can help you move on up. So I think that’s great. And Alaskan a little bit. You’ve done a lot of hiring on your own journey. So I want to ask, like, what do you look for in your hires, and just a second here, but I think a lot of our listeners do like concrete examples. And so there’s no better person to do a working example than me. So I’ll give a little bit of my own personal learning journey here is I’ve been an entrepreneur for seven years doing the same, the same exact company, the same exact business for seven years straight. I feel like there is room for me to grow. And I feel like if I don’t, things will get stale rather quickly. And so for me the new skill that I have really chosen. The technical skill, I would say that could help level things up to another level is a combination of both Google ads, how to run a successful Google ad campaign, and a Facebook ad campaign as well. So for me, I’ve already started to do some digging by watching some videos online and talking with others. They’re entrepreneurs who are doing the same thing. Because this is something I really want to get good at and become an expert. So if you can just give me some practical things in terms of what I should do in order to scale up like, Are there benchmarks? Are there things that I should do to look at to see how I’ve been improving as a Google Ads expert or a Facebook ads expert? And what should I do?
Lisa Gevelber 15:23
Oh, gosh, well, this is all true. By the way. It’s exciting for me. First, Chris, I think you’re in very good company, we saw that the COVID crisis really meant that a lot of people who weren’t for the first time a lot of entrepreneurs are really leaning in to digital tools to help them grow their business. And, you know, our data says even up to 80% of small businesses say that digital tools were essential to them growing their business, good for you for leaning into something that you thought could help you even though you didn’t know exactly how to use that. I think the good news on two fronts is that there are a lot of tools online, available even on our websites to learn to use Google’s advertising tools. But also, those tools are very performance based. And so you can actually really easily see what is your cost per acquisition, what are your most highest performing ads and channels, and strategies, and then you can adapt. And actually a lot of our tools even include automation will do it for you will help distribute your advertising to the highest performing ads and channels. And that’s really beneficial to for lots of folks. So lots of ways to optimize and read your performance in real time, which I think is key, you know, marketing is definitely not the same as when I started a million years ago. And one of the ways that it’s better than ever is these online tools really make us all more effective marketers and help us grow our business?
Chris Villanueva 16:48
Absolutely. And I kind of ran that story out, and that I hadn’t put the time into learning the new skill, I just expected results to start coming. This is I want to say, like five years ago just started, you know, putting money into Google ads, putting money into Facebook ads, and I wouldn’t really invest in myself. And what I saw was me just wasting a bunch of money. And it was really frustrating for me, I was like, What am I doing wrong. And then this revelation, which you’re really hitting home on this podcast episode, that just acquiring new skills, and investing that time into yourself, can produce those results to accelerate your career. And so now we’re starting to see some really good results with our Google ad, we’re seeing those acquisitions. And it’s not just me, it’s like, I’ve had to ask a bunch of people, I’m talking with other people who are experts in the field, so they can pull me up from my lack of knowledge. But this is really exciting for me how something such as investing a few hours per week, can pay back dividends, like really, really get that return on investment, from just learning a little bit here. And so our business is growing. I even applied this principle to my own artists page on Spotify, and we’re starting to see more results there. And so you’ve sold me and I hope other listeners right now are who are just hesitant right now thinking, Should I acquire that new skill? They know the answer’s yes. You are Google CMO, clearly you’ve done a lot of hiring in your own journey to get there. So what do you look for in your own hires? I’ll start there.
Lisa Gevelber 18:17
I’ve worked a lot of different companies. And I can share a little bit of my own learnings along the way. The first thing I think I look for personally, is growth mindset. And that’s a term that I learned from a professor named Carol Dweck. And she’s done a lot of research on growth mindset. And essentially, what she found is that people who treat the learning journey as part of the process and celebrate the ups and downs of that and realize that that is how you get better do better in life. And what I have found is candidates who approach their work in their life as a learning journey, and realize that sometimes things don’t work out. But actually, those are the moments sometimes you learn the most from make some of the best employees because, you know, when we all have ambition to do big things at work, they’re often things we don’t 100% know how to do. And as matter fact, the funnest projects are usually the ones so crazy and ambitious, that you know, you don’t know how to do it. It’s like this imposter syndrome, you feel, you know, it’s we talked about that in the show. It’s like, what am I doing here? I shouldn’t even be here. But it’s exciting, though, isn’t it? Yeah. And wherever we are, we are for a reason. Right? And so I think embracing the idea that you don’t know and that you have a chance to either experiment and try things or ask questions of people around you or bring in experts or or just recognize that the journey is the learning not necessarily the outcome, I think is really important. So I look for people who have learned things from the past who are eager and active learners and are who are focused on kind of the growth journey that that provides similarly, I look for people who are really self aware. They know what they’re good at, and they know what they’re not good at. And I always tell people, you’re not going to become great by becoming better at your weaknesses, there are really few weaknesses that are actually career limiting. And so you’re actually going to become great by working at the things you are best at. But that implies, you have to know which things are which. And I think that’s a really important thing. And I actually think especially early in folks career, you know, and you can’t just like ask them. So what I advise them to do is think about things that they’ve really enjoyed doing, because we tend to like the things we’re good at. And so if you think of the things you really enjoy doing, you can work backward into, oh, then I must be really good at analyzing data. Or I must be really good at writing a storyline, right, because I’ve really enjoyed doing that. And so I think that’s a good little tip on how to think about what you’re good at. And I think we all do the most impact on the world and have the greatest success when we’re focused on our strengths. And I think part of what I look for in hiring people is Do you know what your strengths are? And are they the strengths that I’m looking for in terms of a job, which, which is different than content knowledge, right. The other thing I’ve found in my career is that you can give people amazing stretch assignments, as long as the way that is stretching, someone plays to their strengths, right? So we can all do bigger things than what we’re doing now. If what that job requires to be successful, kind of plays to strengths we have, could you elaborate on that like plays the strengths that you have? Like, what would be an example of that? Yeah, so let’s say a stretch job involves a ton of complexity and detail orientation, you need someone who’s good at complexity and detail orientation. So even if that job is five times bigger than the budget they’ve ever managed, or the number of people they’ve ever managed, they could probably do it if they’re good at complexity and detail orientation. But they’re probably less likely to be able to good do it if what they’re good at is big picture thinking, or you know, something else that’s not related. So I’ve seen people make incredible leaps in their capacity and ability to take on so much. But usually, the best way to do that is if you know that your strengths play to what that job actually needs.
Chris Villanueva 22:43
Absolutely. Thank you for that answer. That was really enlightening. I have one more question for you, Lisa. Talk about your concluding thoughts and how to find out more about grow with Google. And I mentioned earlier that so many of our, you know, career warriors are making some sort of pivot in their own careers, that doesn’t have to be like, I’m going from, you know, a teacher to a salesperson or I’m going from marketing to not as big as that, but they have to make some sort of pivot. And I’m wondering if you can recall for listeners, where has there been a time in your own career where you’ve had this aha moment where you’ve had to make some sort of pivot to make a change in your own trajectory?
Lisa Gevelber 23:19
Oh, gosh, I made so many, so many different pivots along the way. You know, many, many years ago, I was lucky to start my career at Procter and Gamble, and I learned a lot of amazing things at p&g. You know, I was one of those people who made it through college without learning to write, which is unfortunate, but p&g taught me to write because they make all their big decisions. Kind of on an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper. They’re notorious for this like PNG memo style writing. And, you know, when I got to p&g I really was terrible at this, like, Absolutely 100% Terrible. My bosses would like red ink, all of my attempts, which stinks, right? It’s frustrating. It’s embarrassing. Like, it’s just not fun at all. But I doubled down and knew it was important to learn. And so I listened to them. I looked at how they marked things up, I practiced over and over again with all of their feedback. And I became actually really good at this skill of effective communication on paper. And that is the skill that has actually made me successful. Earlier I said, there are very few career limiting weaknesses. I will tell you not being able to communicate effectively on paper, which even includes in an email is a career limiting skill. It really is one of those things you just have to be able to do in the world of work today. And so if you’re not good at it, like invest, find someone to help you practice. That’s the way we get good at these things. But anyway, one of the big pivots I made as well. I was at Procter and Gamble. I worked on a bunch of brands that had been established for many, many years, and were already well loved by consumers and large businesses, but then at one point, I had the opportunity to go and work in an area where we were building new categories of products. This is things now that we all know like for breweries, or Swiffer, but those didn’t exist actually, a few decades ago. And I went into that job. And I thought, oh, my gosh, I didn’t know this about myself. But what I really like to do is build from scratch, I’ve been managing these big businesses that already existed, but I’m having the most fun trying to build from nothing. And so more or less quit my job at p&g and moved to Silicon Valley without a job. But with this understanding of myself that I like building things, and at that time, my belief was the place that one could have the most opportunity of building things was in Silicon Valley. So I literally packed a bag without a job, moved in and lived on my friend’s couch, looking for ways to try to apply all those good things that I had learned at p&g into something new. And this idea of building kind of from scratch. And I have spent most of the rest of my career in one way or another building new things. You know, I launched the first software as a service, one of the first software as a service products for businesses in the world. I launched the QuickBooks Online Edition, back in 2000, when broadband penetration was like 25%, which was like, crazy, crazy idea back then, you know, we used to buy software in a box on the shelf at Staples. That was the way like the world the world worked. And so I got to, you know, build from scratch, you know, businesses at Intuit like books online edition. And I really love that I went to a few startups, I was a super early employee at a few startups. And then at Google, I’ve built a few things I built grow with Google, think with Google, which is our website on consumer insights and trends that serves millions of marketers around the world. And, you know, all of that came from this kind of insight about myself that I like building, and I’m actually a reasonably good builder. And so if you had asked me back when I started at p&g, would you live in Silicon Valley? And you know, go build new businesses? And are you gonna work on software, I’d have been like, I don’t even know how to think about software. I don’t, I don’t understand that world. But when you understand yourself, I think it opens a lot of doors for things that you never imagined you could do. And you know, I’ve had so much fun in my career, I’ve been so fortunate to work with amazing people, and to learn a lot of new things. And a lot of that trajectory just came from this personal insight along the way about what I really enjoyed doing and what I was kind of good at doing.
Chris Villanueva 27:35
And that’s why we have this podcast to hear those types of stories. That’s a common theme we’ve heard, even from our past, in our top career coaches have joined us on the show, it’s like taking those sorts of risks. But knowing where you need to be is key. And I think hearing that story, like pack your bags and move without a job. I think that’s the great example of taking that calculated risk that got you to where you are today. And so I thank you for joining us here on the show and sharing that insight with listeners because I think somebody needed to hear your message and that story. And so I think this is going to really resonate with listeners
Lisa Gevelber 28:08
Thank you so much for having me, I really want to encourage folks out there, there’s lots of resources on the growth Google website, too, if they want to learn something new, we have all kinds of resources for job seekers how to interview how to write a resume, our website is grow with Google’s. So it’s just grow.google.com. And we have also these career certificates that we talked briefly about. So if you’re interested in one of the fields that we teach, whether it’s data analytics, or project management or user experience, design, or IT support, check those out as well. You can find them all on the growth Google site and wishing everyone much much success in their learning journeys and in their careers.
Chris Villanueva 28:50
Absolutely. And for your listeners, I’ll make sure to link that within description. I’m pretty good about that. And I’ll make sure to include the link grow.google.com/certificates. So you can find out more about that. And you know, I could have just posted this link in a blog somewhere. But I think it’s especially cool to hear this from the person who started it. So Lisa, I appreciate you coming on the show and sharing more about why skills are so essential and more about the growth Google program. Is there anything you would like to leave listeners with any last final words of advice?
Lisa Gevelber 29:21
Just believe in yourself. Everyone has a capability to learn. Like I said, I was a terrible writer. It ended up being one of the things that I has helped me most in my career. And I was painful along the way. But stick with it. Hang in there. And you know, good luck to everyone.
Chris Villanueva 29:37
Perfect. Alright, listeners. This wraps up episode 265 of the career warrior podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. This was our mega episode of the month. And once again, we’re releasing these bi weekly now. So make sure to go back listen to old episodes if you haven’t done so already. And I’ll see you two weeks from now on Monday morning. Thanks so much for tuning in. See you next time career warrior podcast. And before you go remember, if you’re not seeing the results you want in your job search, our highly trained team of professional resume writers here at Let’s Eat, Grandma can help head on over to letseatgrandma.com/podcast to get a free resume critique and $70 off any one of our resume writing packages. We talk all the time on the show about the importance of being targeted in your job search and with our unique writing process and focus on individual attention. You’ll get a resume cover letter and LinkedIn profile that are highly customized and tailored to your goals to help you get hired faster. Again, head on over to letseatgrandma.com/podcast. Thanks, I’ll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai