I recently got an email from a friend who just got laid off… and thought I would share how I would coach this person to write it differently. I know this person, trust this person, and would help this person as much as I can… which is a little different than those out-of-the-blue, cold-contact from strangers emails you get from LinkedIn. I’m sure you’ve either sent something similar, or you’ve gotten something like this. First, the email:
I was delighted to get this email since it was from a friend I hadn’t heard from in at least a couple of years, probably more. The email was good, but it was definitely lacking. Here’s what I recommend:
(1) Keep my first name there just like you have it (and don’t put “dear”). This makes it personal and I know I’m not on a bulk email, althought if I were on a bulk email from this person, it would be okay (because of our past relationship and trust).
(2) Keep the first sentence, which puts it at the friend-level, before anything else.
(3) I’m glad to cut to the chase and hear that you are looking for a new gig (or, opportunities). Immediately my attention is gotten and kept. Good.
(4) The sentence that you got let go, and keeping it from sounding bitter, is perfect. Nothing more to say. Don’t lay blame, don’t assume blame, don’t sound jaded… just state that much and let’s move on to the purpose of this communication.
(5) Good… let me know how I can help you… is essentially tapping into the hidden job market.
(6) Okay… now this is where you lost me. You see… I don’t know what your current skill-set is. It has been a long time since we worked together. But honestly, even if we worked together yesterday, I think you should explicitly state what your skill-set is. I don’t know if you want me to focus on your software skills, or your customer skills, or your product management skills, or your project management skills, or your management skills. Or, you could be interested in some other skill-set that I don’t associate with you, but others might. I need you to explicitely spell this out, and I would do it concisely (not all of your skills, but the ones you are most interested in) in another paragraph (just to keep a good amount of white space in this email).
Here’s what I would include in this email, which I think will immensely help others help you (which is what you want to do, right?):
The first part of this short paragraph expands their vision of where I want to end up, and what I want to do. The last two questions are yes/no questions… easy for them to answer.
(7) I was a little on the fence about this, but this totally fits this guy’s personality.
(8)Get ending… but….
(9) I would LOVE to get a link to your LinkedIn Profile, at a minimum, and perhaps a personal website or blog where I can read up on you, your projects, etc. Give me some meat so I can “stalk” you for a few minutes, and perhaps jog my memory of all of your professional coolness so I feel confident in recommending you.
So that’s about it… a real world email from someone looking for help, and two main things I would add.
I have some video courses you can watch to bring you up to speed on some of these things. Remember, watch a full course, at no cost, and you get an additional 7 days of premium on JibberJobber. Video explaining this here.
Pluralsight courses I recommend related to this post:
Informational Interviews (once you get introductions, this is your next step)
Effective Email Communication
Designing a Killer Job Search Strategy
Developing a Killer Personal Brand
LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile
LinkedIn: Proactive Strategies
Resumes and Self-marketing for Software Developers
Career Management 2.0
To watch these for free, and get 7 days JibberJobber premium for each course you watch, watch this video:
This is a course on what to do with your resume… how to use it to self-market, and basic understanding of the resume as a marketing tool.
Remember, for any Jason Alba course you watch on Pluralsight, and as many times as you watch it, you can get an additional 7 days of JibberJobber Premium… no limit! Follow these steps (or scroll down and watch the new video below the image to see exactly how to watch this for free, and get additional Premium on JibberJobber!).
Here’s Pluralsight’s announcement on Facebook:
Not sure if I’ve had anything on Facebook associated to me with that many likes!
I got this email from a sales professional last week:
My initial response was, YES, definitely do this.
I’ve been marketing myself, as a job seeker, and then my business, for 9+ years. What I’ve learned is that if you do not put yourself in front of people, they forget about you. You are responsible for getting and staying in front of your audience.
I’ve also learned that the initial contact is just barely breaking the ice. They key is to get in front of them regularly, as appropriate. That is one reason why you have CRM systems. If your company doesn’t provide a CRM system to you, then use JibberJobber. If your company does provide a CRM to you, but you are making great friendships and professional contacts that you want to take to your next job, then use JibberJobber
Here are my specific thoughts and reactions to this person’s questions:
Is this going to be okay with your company/boss? I can’t imagine a sales professional getting into trouble for sending this type of email, but you might want to check with your boss. They might know something about a customer they fired (that you shouldn’t get in touch with), or they might point you to some tools or queries to make what you want to do easier.
Should it be one bulk email (BCC, of course!) or multiple individual emails? Pros and cons of both. I would say it depends on a few things… where are you sending it from? If you send from a Gmail or Verizon or a personal account (which I wouldn’t recommend), they have daily sending limits. Going over those limits might get you in trouble (ie, getting locked out of sending email for 24 hours). If you bulk send from your work account, and your email server is on blacklists, count on maybe 5% of your emails getting through (I don’t know the percentage, but just assume hardly any get through). The idea of doing one bulk email is nice because it’s faster, but I’m not convinced it’s that reliable.
Sending individual emails is more reliable, I think, and you might do 20 – 50 each day. This will even help you manage the responses, over days, instead of all in the first day or two. But it will obviously take more time. The real question is how many emails are you sending? If it’s 10,000, do bulk and go from there. If it’s just a few hundred, send a few dozen each day until you finish.
About the “personal touch,” you can easily do that with individual emails… but you can also do it in bulk. There are programs you can use (like mailchimp, and even outlook) that can merge names with a general body of text…
What information should the email have? The number one purpose of this email is to introduce yourself. In doing that, you’ll reinforce the branding of your company (in other words, remind the customer that your company exists and has stuff for them). You should give them contact information… work and cell # (that’s how salespeople roll, right?). Keep the email short… don’t go into new products, etc. I would let them know I’m the new rep, I’m excited to be there, and I’m easy to reach (and I’m responsive). I want them to know that I’m their partner and want to help their projects be successful. I will include a one-liner about my company, like “we manufacture the best widgets for the _______.” so people can remember where I fit into their life. And, as overwhelming as this might sound, I invite them to call me in the next week (or two) and tell me what projects they are working on, what they have coming up, any issues from past projects with our stuff, etc.
I want this email to start the relationship, and invite them to let us take it to the next level. That might be a emails, it might be a phone call, it might be a face-to-face… but let me introduce you to me and let’s start a relationship.
How often should I follow-up? What should the follow-up have? Make sure this first email is not the last email. As a customer I know I need multiple communications before I trust you, and I need you to hit me at or around the right time (or, when I’m in the market to buy your stuff). I suggest doing a blast, en bulk, each month. This can be short, it can talk about new products, or it can talk about case studies where your products/services helped other customers. The last thing would be the most interesting read for me. It keeps me engaged (because it’s fun to read), and shows me that you understand that my success is important to me, and it’s also important to you. I’m not just a customer to help you meet your quota, but you really care. The key? MONTHLY.
How do I justify future follow-ups? What if I have nothing new to say or report? Then create something. Talk to your customers and ask them if they could share some of their wins with your list. If you don’t get those stories, then create information that will help others… suggestions, tips, best practices, industry news, etc. Don’t write too much – we all suffer from information overload, and you don’t want to be that email that I’m sure to delete.
Is that it? Will I be successful with this strategy? I don’t think so. I think you need to have an integrated sales/marketing approach… that is, pick up the phone. Meet customers in person. Don’t just rely on email. But you already knew that.
Now, get your email constructed, proof it for type-os and grammar, and make sure the messaging is exactly what your customers should understand, and then send it.
I’m excited to finally get this project to a point where I can announce it – I’ve been thinking about it for way too long, and this week I finally made it a priority! This should help a lot of people “get started” on JibberJobber. If you recommend JibberJobber to friends, family, job clubs, etc., point them here! You get here by clicking on Videos, and then it’s right up at the top.
Since October of last year the Focus Friday calls have been structured so that they were in order for someone new to get off on the right foot. I’ve taken those videos and removed the Q&A, and reduced the time to considerably less than what is in the Focus Friday series… and put them in the right order.
When you come to the Getting Startedpage you’ll see them numbered so it’s easy to keep track of where you left off. You can also see which videos you have seen.
Confused about what to do next in JibberJobber? Start watching the short videos, in order.
Want help on specific functionality in JibberJobber? Scroll through the list of topics and pick the one that will help you get unstuck.
As of right now, the videos are (each week we should add another topic):
Getting Started: Introduction (1)
Getting Started: Overwhelmed? Watch this! (1.5)
Getting Started: Homepage & Widgets (2)
Getting Started: Setting Up Tags (3)
Getting Started: Log Entries and Action Items (6)
Getting Started: Verifying Action Items and Log Entries Got In (7)
Getting Started: Log Entries and Action Item List Panel (8)
Getting Started: Optimizing the List Panel (9)
Getting Started: Managing Duplicates (10)
Getting Started: Exporting from LinkedIn (11)
Getting Started: Importing from a CSV File (12)
Getting Started: Recurring Action Items (13)
Getting Started: Calendar Views (14)
Getting Started: Interview Prep (15)
Getting Started: Job Description Analysis (16)
Getting Started: Events on Jobs (17)
Getting Started: The Job Journal (18)
The “viewed” shows whether you have watched it or not:
Do you have requests for other topics? Let me know!
Because I’ve heard that JibberJobber is too confusing, and there are too many things you can do. I’ve tried to figure out how to create a visualization of the what and why, and a few nights ago I finally figured it out. Without further ado, check it out:
Last week two people asked how to save a Job that is “closed,” instead of just deleting it. This is actually pretty important… sometimes a closed Job has a job description you don’t want to lose, or you don’t want to lose the Log Entries (aka, history) and communications you had as you worked on that Job. BUT, you also don’t want to see it on the Jobs List Panel.
First, you can change the STATUS of a Job from the Detail Page or the List Panel. Below is a picture of doing it from the List Panel (mouse over the cell, and when it turns gray, double click on it to edit the value). Notice that you can change it from Open to Closed, Cancelled, or Held. Use the icon at #1 if you don’t see the Status field… you’ll be able to show that field on your List Panel.
You can easily filter which jobs show up on the List Panel, by Status, by changing the drop-down on the left side of the screen:
One thing you don’t want to do is work really hard, collect great information (aka intelligence), and then lose because, for example, a Job was closed. You don’t have to – keep it all for future reference!
Monday night we released some of the projects our team has been working on. They barely took a breath to release it while continuing on some other things… here are some of the things we pushed out on Monday night:
1. We continue to tweak the interface for Pluralsight videos… We put a help icon in the white box right under the menu, and if you turned that off, you can still get to Pluralsight stuff by mousing over Tools, and then find Pluralsight Videos. This takes you to all of the pages you would want to see (list of videos, your private code, the Tracker, etc.). The whole idea is to make this easier for you to get access to the videos, and report what you have watched so you get an additional week of JibberJobber per course watched.
2. We cleaned up the Tree View… including:
We cleaned up this line… took out 1/2 of the words.
We cleaned up this line… took out about 1/2 of the words.
We changed the icon from a paper looking thing that was hard to see/read to this easy-to-read circle.
We highlight the name of the person that you clicked on the tree from, so it’s easy to see where that person falls.
We moved some of the links to the far right, so it cleans up the left side of the screen.
See a theme? CLEANER
3. Along those lines, we cleaned up the Interview Prep main page, which was just too busy. Not going to highlight every change, but each arrow represents where we cleaned up (I even forgot an arrow right under the title)… the idea is to reduce clutter and not make you feel like you have too read a bunch of stuff before you do something in JibberJobber!
4. We made the page numbers on the bottom of the general search cleaner, and easier to read. Basically all of the numbers are bigger, and the page you are on is much bigger (and not a link). This will make navigating through the search results easier. CLEANER!
5. We updated the About Us page so people wouldn’t hate so much. Really, someone emailed a while back angry that the About Us page was written wrong. Angry. Seriously. Well, of course, it’s not a bad idea to make changes… and so I finally spent some time rewriting the page…. you can now see information about JibberJobber, and a bit of our history. And this rewrite cleans up some of the cobwebs that frankly needed to be removed from that page. CLEAN-UP
We also did some new admin, behind-the scenes stuff that you won’t see or notice, but that will have an impact on how we work… so yeah! We are deep into two big projects right now, but will continue to try and clean JibberJobber to make your experience more delightful and intuitive.
My response to that article is one single, easy hack:
If using JibberJobber is too hard, then you can do what they suggest, creating your own organizational system with a bunch of tools put together. Here are some of their points, from the link above, to help you know what your organizational system should do:
Keep track of companies (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Keep track of applications (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track company name (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track application status (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track job titles (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track application deadline (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track application submitted date (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track contact at company, with name, title and email (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track when you did an informational interview (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track when you last contacted the company so you can send a follow-up email (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track all of this in “one place” even though you have a lot of it in your email inbox (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Document all meeting notes (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track everyone you spoke with, or want to speak with (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Follow-up (which is the “critical factor for success”) (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Schedule email follow-up reminders (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Keep your important docs, like cover letters, resumes, etc. in one place that’s easy to find/access (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
There’s plenty more that you could do… in JibberJobber. One reason we designed JibberJobber is so that you don’t have to monkey around with all kinds of folders and other apps… just do it all in one place. Kind of has an appeal to it, doesn’t it?
“Jason was a keynote speaker to the Executive Network Group of Greater Chicago, which is a group of six figure individuals who are in job transition. He spoke about his own job search stories and focused on JibberJobber.com, which he founded. Jason is an excellent speaker with a wry sense of humor that keeps his sessions lively and entertaining, as well as informative. JibberJobber is one of the best online tools for individuals in job search and we recommend it to our 250 members.”
That was pretty cool
I reached out to Chris because Chicago is on our list of places to travel through this summer, as we head to D.C. and back… here’s the list of places I hope to speak. If you know of any job clubs that would be okay with me speaking, let me know!