Have you noticed one of the categories of this blog (to the left) is “UNsocial Networking?” It’s towards the bottom of the list of categories. But what in the world does that mean?
I created that tag with a chuckle…. after all how, how can you be unsocial and network at the same time?
Indeed, I’m not suggesting that you should be unsocial. I wanted to make a distinction between old-fashioned, non-technology-based networking, and “social networking.”
While computer-based social networking is not going away, I think that we’ve gotten away from basic principles of relationships, hiding behind screens and canned messages and false relationships. Sure, a lot of good does and can happen online… I’m even an advocate of using any tools at our disposal to accomplish what we need to (see my post on Career Management from yesterday).
I did, however, single out UNsocial networking because I want to focus on those principle-based strategies and tactics. Let’s really focus on relationships, nurturing relationships, helping others, etc. Pick up some old books, whether it is How to Win Friends and Influence People or any of Harvey Mackay’s networking books. Learn about relationships beyond being Friends on Facebook or Connections on LinkedIn. Don’t let those become the goal… lest you find your network is nothing but a house of cards.
Over the last few years I’ve given hundreds of presentations titled Career Management 2.0. I’ve done webinars which people from around the world have tapped into, to listen to Career Management 2.0.
I’ve thought about this for years. Career Management replaces “job security.” I’m sure career experts can give you a five, seven, or even twenty-one point list of what Career Management means… if I had to, I could come up with long list, too.
But here’s the bottom line: I’ve boiled Career Management down to two things:
Networking, which includes growing your network and nurturing individual relationships, and
Personal Branding, which is simply how others would define you (or, whatever elegant definition you want to give).
I can (and do) talk for hours about this stuff. I’m passionate about it. When I lost my job in January of 2006 I still believed in job security. I didn’t think that a guy like me would have a problem finding a new job. I did “all the right things,” and so somehow, someone owed job security to me.
Of course I was wrong. And along my journey, I finally realized that the power I was looking for was only that which I would create. Where I needed to start is listed above… and it’s the exact same two things I still focus on today.
As we close the year out, take some time to let this settle in. What have you done to strengthen your network this year? What will you do next year?
What have you done to strengthen your brand this year? What will you do next year?
If this is top-of-mind, you’ll have a fun career. Transitions will come and go, but they’ll be much less painful, and shorter, if you internalize Career Management.
A common question I’ll hear is “I’m on JibberJobber, Now What???”
Okay, not in those exact words… but one day there might be a book with that very title! (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out my first book title: I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???)
Anyway, we’ve put together various resources on how to get up and running with JibberJobber. There is a getting started guide on Slideshare here. Because I continue to hear the question, though, I’ve decided to use the Focus Fridays as an opportunity to record video of how to get started… you can see the series here, or see individual videos at the links below (this will be outdated as early as this Friday, so to see the most current videos, click here):
Many of you know I have tried to blog every work day since I started this blog, almost nine years ago. That makes for a lot of blog posts over the years!
I got to the point where I couldn’t really focus on anything until I had my blog post written. Many of them are from the heart. Many of them share what others might consider “secrets” of a successful job hunt.
In the last couple of years I’ve missed a day here, and even a week there. I started to miss consistently. I would usually miss if (a) I was on the road, or (b) I was working on a heavy deadline. The way I dealt with travel or deadlines before was to write a blog post before the big event, and then schedule it to post on the right day. Not too hard.
I finally realized, though, that writing blog posts was not my primary business. Of course, I always knew that, but I was letting that become Priority Numero Uno…. and neglecting other things I needed to take care of.
I wonder if you are doing the same thing.
There are some things that we gravitate towards… things that are comfortable, or fun, or easy. But those things might not be the right things to spend our time on.
I invite you to make a list of the important things to work on, and the things you are working on, and see if they are the same things. Otherwise, adjust your time and priorities. Don’t spend time on things that will get you no return.
One of the things I love about Mark LeBlanc’s stuff is he says to work on three High Value Activities each day. Consistently doing that is a super high priority. Are you working on any high value activities each day?
On this morning’s Focus Friday webinar I was astounded to read a comment from Paul in Minnesota about how many levels of connections he reached before he landed his job.
Some context: on many of my webinars, I’ve repeated one of the greatest things I learned in my own job search, which is that you find your job leads from your third and fourth degree contacts, not from your first and second degree contacts. This is such a profound concept…. the idea that as we develop relationships with people, we continually ask for introductions. More often than not, you won’t have your first or second degree contact. Unfortunately, the way LinkedIn works, they mess up how we track this. But in JibberJobber we can track down to the nth degree.
Anyway, Paul wrote this comment on our webinar today, in response to talking about the free vs. premium levels of JibberJobber (note that we were talking about the email2log feature… which is premium, but the tracking to of referrals is in the free level):
I’ve heard this type of gratitude for JibberJobber before… and I love hearing it (especially on a Friday, what a great way to end my work week ). But what floored my was what Paul was doing: 22 Levels?
That is so awesome! That is how an effective job search is done! Talk to people, ask for referrals, do informational interviews….!
In the article, Martin (who you may have heard of before – he has authored a number of best selling career books (in the Knock em Dead series)), has a section titled: Build A Career Management Database From Your Social Networking Leads
I want to share some of what he wrote, and my thoughts:
>> Building a career management database on your desktop now, and nurturing it over the long haul, is a critical component of your long-term survival and financial security.
Yep, that’s what we have been preaching for almost nine years now. But don’t build it on your “desktop.” In the last nine years how many PCs have you gone through? How many files, folders, programs, etc. have you lost by switching from one computer to another? Instead of building this critical component of your long-term survival and financial security” on your desktop, build your long-term database in JibberJobber. It’s an absolute no-brainer. The desktop is not the place to put your critical component (aka, your career management database).
>> In addition to job postings, you should create folders for target companies that gather together all the insights you unearth about that company and your contacts within it when they are not already captured as networking contacts on your social media sites. You should capture the same information about recruitment firms and your contacts within them.
Absolutely. Most job seekers start their tracking system thinking they need to track information about the jobs they are applying for, and hoping to interview for. This is important, but I would suggest that it’s more important to track (1) relationships and communication with network contacts, and (2) information you gather about potential target companies.
Here’s one point I disagree with… Martin says to track information about “your contacts … when they are not already captured as networking contacts on your social media sites.”
I think that a social network site, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Xing, etc. is a great place to find contacts, research contacts, gather information… but it IS NOT the place to track information such as when you met them, what conversations you’ve had with them, when you were supposed to follow-up with them, how strong your relationship is, who introduced you to them, who they introduced you to, etc. These are all things that you aren’t going to do in a social networking tool, but you can do all of them in JibberJobber.
JibberJobber is like a hub for collecting and tracking information that you glean from other sources, whether from various social sites, news articles, job postings (which sometimes have names and email addresses), face to face meetings, etc. Don’t let the whimsical features of a social platform decided whether you can or cannot track this stuff the right way – use the social tools to collect information, and then go to JibberJobber to record everything you want to track.
>> Additions to your professional knowledge base should be made at the time they accrue. For example, when you establish contact with recruiters who work in your industry, save all details about the person and the company in a document, and store the document within the appropriate folder at the end of your day. If you don’t capture the information for retrieval as you gather it, you’ll remember it for a couple of days, but you’ll have long forgotten everything when next you need it a year or two down the road.
That is absolutely right. Don’t worry if you haven’t been tracking this information… or if in the future you forget to track something here or there. You aren’t going to track 100% of everything you come across. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss stuff. But the more you track, the more valuable your tracking tool (aka, JibberJobber) becomes to you.
>> Organize yourself to capture information today that you can use throughout your work life and you create an important foundation for your future security.
Absolutely. This is why you should use JibberJobber. Remember, JibberJobber is not a job search band-aid… that is, you scrap it when you land your next gig. JibberJobber is a long term career management tool that will be with you during your twelve to fifteen transitions!
Martin says: “…statistics predict between twelve and fifteen job and career changes throughout your work life. Carefully storing and organizing the professionally relevant intelligence you capture during this job search will supply your next transition with a starting point far superior to anything you have at your fingertips today.“
Organizing. Far Superior. Good stuff. If you aren’t serious about using JibberJobber yet, this article should be the little nudge you’ve needed.
In the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a time when families and friends get together, gratitude is shared, and food is consumed.
I want to share my gratitude for YOU today. Almost nine years ago I was kicked in the teeth, aka laid off. I went through a pitiful, depressing job search. I went from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel.
Then one day, I got the idea for what would eventually become JibberJobber. It was risky and scary, but it gave me a purpose and hope. It changed my demeanor, my attitude and my outlook.
Since 2006 we’ve helped a few people in their job search. We’ve been recommended by coaches and career experts. I’ve spoken across the U.S. (and in Turkey, which makes me an “international speaker”). JibberJobber has been recommended or endorsed by big news and tiny bloggers.
Here we are, almost nine years later, still making progress, still helping a few people. And we appreciate every single one of you.
Recently, I was chatting with my developer about an issue a user was having. I said that this user was important to me (“a big deal”), and he said:
“Oh dude… C’mon… They are ALL a big deal to you…”
I loved that. In fact, you are a big deal to me. No matter how new or old you are, whether you are on the free or the upgrade side, you are all a big deal to me. You are all a big deal to all of us at JibberJobber.
I was delighted that my developer, without any prompting, replied that way. This is the culture that I have always wanted to create in my company. It’s about people. Customers (you), my team, etc.
People matter. You matter. And I’m grateful for you. Now, I’m off to eat some turkey
Thom Allen was one of the earliest friends I met when I moved to Utah. I’ve networked with Thom over the years and we’ve consistently had a funny conversation: “Thom, explain to me again exactly what you do?”
Thom would always tell me something cool.. but the more I learned about Thom, the contracts he had, his professional passions, the less I understood about him. I guarantee that some of you, reading this blog post, have the same issues communicating your personal brand. Let’s take Thom’s blog post and talk about some of it:
Speaking of the first person Thom met at a particular networking event, he says: “In the software development world, Alistair is the rock star God of the agile methodology.” I love that Thom writes it that way. He makes it clear that Alistair doesn’t have a branding problem, unless of course Alistair doesn’t want to be known as the “rock star God of the agile method” in the entire software dev world. That’s a powerful statement and observation, and something that some of us want to shoot for: a very high level of clarity and accuracy of how others talk about us.
Thom writes, “At the end [of my conversation with Alistair], he started to ask me what I did. First sign the night was going to be rocky.”
Uh-oh. If you are going to a networking event, and you aren’t prepared to answer the most common question you’ll hear, multiple times, during that meeting, you got a problem. It’s definitely going to be rocky.
Thom says that he shook hands with various guests, “many who I knew,” and Thom writes “Most asked me again, what I did. I wondered where these people had been. Why don’t they remember?”
Thom continues with his networking story, and says he was surprised that he was introduced to a small group of networkers as he was “connected to everyone.” He writes “it feels unnatural when someone says that about me.” He later asked that same friend “why do I have such a hard time getting people to remember what I do?” The friend’s response was awesome:
“Because no one really knows what you do! Most people think you do everything, but no one knows what you do. You’re always vague.”
Thom talks about having an elevator pitch, which is something that he says he told others to do, but he hadn’t taken his own advice.
Look, I think most elevator pitches stink. When I present, I say 99.999% of elevator pitches I hear stink. BUT, not having a pitch allows others to misinterpret who you are. Why didn’t Thom do that? The same reason many of us don’t. He writes:
“I guess my failure to successfully convey what I do stems from years of not wanting to be defined by my work. So I kept it vague. But as a business owner I can’t do that anymore. I need to clearly define what I do. There’s no way I can network without being able to convey what I do. It’s not the part I want to be, but it’s the part that I need to be.”
YOU need to get here! You need to have enough frustration that you choose to finally narrow your brand messaging down so people (including yourself!) understand it, and can even easily communicate it to others. Yes, you can have a breadth of passions and interests. But at some point you also have to help people understand what they should understand about you.
I’m a sucker for a good job search story. Enter a LinkedIn article by Liz Ryan, where she shares an awesome, inspiring letter from one of her job seeker clients, and then her reply. Please read the entire thing – it’s kind of long but if you are in a job search, this will give you a boost that you just can’t get enough of!
Doug’s story is our story… your story, my story. We think that if we do a great job, we’ll have security (“I thought I was going to retire from that job.”). We think that we can send out hundreds of resumes, because it’s a “numbers game,” and eventually someone is going to interview us and hire us. We are absolutely appalled at the resume black hole and the salt-in-the-wound auto-responders. Finally, when something comes along that gives us a semblance of control, we gravitate towards that. We thirst for control, since we feel like we’ve been thrust into this dark fantasy world where we have NO control. Doug talks about “Pain Letters” and a “consulting business card.” It’s a great letter – read it here.
Liz responds with two awesome follow-up assignments that EVERY job seeker should do. The first is to get on LinkedIn, and get a good profile. The second assignment is awesome:
This is such a powerful assignment. I don’t even want to call it a recommendation because I think that devalues it. It’s not a suggestion… this is a must-do assignment.
I have heard from hundreds of coaches and career professionals that they all say something like this: “when you land your next job, you need to continue networking!”
And the job seekers says “Yes, of course, I’ll never let my network get stagnant again!” You feel repentant, you are humbled, and even though you don’t like networking, you swear you won’t fall behind on your relationships again.
BUT YOU DO. You get busy onboarding yourself at your next job. You can take a breather and release the stress of being unemployed. You get to play a bit, and of course you don’t have to go to any networking events. Whatever resolution you had gets swept away in the new routines.
YOu aren’t bad… you just need some ideas on how to network moving forward. And Liz’s assignment, to reach out to every person you met in your job search (and the people you knew before that, who you were in touch with during your job search), is THE TACTIC that you need to pursue.
Awesome stuff. Click the image to read the whole thing: