Yesterday I was talking to a very successful career coach who said that he continues to recommend JibberJobber, but some of his clients say “oh, I’m already using Excel to track my job search…” He knows the value of JibberJobber over Excel, but he can’t force people to change from Excel to JibberJobber.
I’ve talked to plenty of people over the years who have the same concern. ”I’ve already started on Excel and I don’t want to transition over,” or something like that.
I realize this can be a hard mental transition (although quite easy to implement).
This reminds me a of a delightful book I just read titled Selling The Wheel. This is a really fast read, with a story about the guy who supposedly invented the wheel, and was anxious to get rich by selling it. Max, the inventor of the wheel, was sure that everyone who saw the wheel would want one (or more)… but when he went out to actually sell the wheel, he learned that he had some serious competition. His competition was what people where already using to move things: camels, elephants, slaves, sledges. Max didn’t realize that, even though his wheel had significant advantages to current ways of doing things, it would be hard for people to switch from the old, comfortable, familiar way, to some newfangled technology.
As I read this story, I totally thought about JibberJobber. There’s a better way, but some people would rather use old and comfortable.
In this post, I want to share why I was audacious enough to think that a web-based job search organizer (aka, JibberJobber) could really be better than old and comfortable (aka, your Excel job search spreadsheet).
Here are three reasons I think people love Excel so much to track a job search:
Excel is familiar and comfortable. Everyone has used Excel for something, at work, school or home. We all understand spreadsheets. I would argue that most people use 5% of the functionality of a spreadsheet… but that 5% is functional enough to track someone’s phone number and email, and when you talked to them last. That’s pretty easy to do.
With Excel, you can create anything you want – you have complete control over the columns and rows. Excel, as a blank slate, let’s you set up whatever you want: more sheets, more columns, more rows, and do whatever you want with them. This can be, though, a double edged sword. I have heard from coaches over the years that some of their job seeking clients can spend weeks – really, weeks! – tweaking their spreadsheet. On the surface level, it looks like you are being productive since you are setting up your tools. Go a little deeper and you’ll find that too often, people who spend days and weeks tweaking are really hiding from the job search. It’s a lot more comfortable tweaking a spreadsheet by yourself than picking up the phone and perhaps getting rejected.
Excel is a temporary solution, and you won’t need this information after you land your job. I believed that once I landed my job I could go back to my cozy place and not think about the job search, which included networking. I heard that I would transition every two to five years, but I didn’t want to think about it at all… I knew that my spreadsheet was going in the virtual garbage can. Even if I did pull it up two to five years later it was turning into such a disorganized rats nest I was sure I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tales of it after I landed my next gig.
Transitioning from comfortable/familiar (spreadsheet) to JibberJobber can just seem like it’s too much. But it isn’t too much, and here’s why:
The transition doesn’t mean you have to take all of your spreadsheet stuff and copy it into JibberJobber.
I’m guessing that you have a lot of data you’ve logged in your spreadsheet. Some of it is active, some of it is just a placeholder. Not everyone or everything you’ve logged is going to come up again in your networking or job search.
Personally, I would keep the spreadsheet, and refer to it if I had to, but going forward, from this minute on, I would start to use JibberJobber. Meet someone new? Put them in JibberJobber (not in the spreadsheet). Network into someone new at one of your target companies (where the target company is in your spreadsheet)? Quickly add you target company into JibberJobber (it takes all of 30 seconds, if that), and then put that new contact in. You don’t have to copy and paste, or transfer over from the spreadsheet… just stop using the spreadsheet and start using JibberJobber, and you’ll find that the main contacts you are networking and communicating with end up in your JibberJobber account. These are the ones that are on the top of your list, and need more of your attention….
Every once in a while, go back into your spreadsheet to see if there are people who have slipped through the cracks, and reach out to them. When you do, add them into JibberJobber and remove them from your spreadsheet. You’ll find that the names and information in your spreadsheet will be whittled away and your JibberJobber database will be rich with real, current information and relationships.
Bonus, this is a lot easier than you might think. With the Email2Log feature (which is premium, starting at $5/month and up to $9.95/month, depending on how many months you pay for at once), you can add contacts and companies simply by emailing your contacts (which you are already doing), or by forwarding emails to the JibberJobber server. While we have import tools, the Email2Log is the easiest way to get relevant information into JibberJobber quickly, and with virtually no effort.
Email2Log is the secret weapon to transitioning from your existing tracking system to JibberJobber.
You can import existing files, or sync your Gmail Contacts, but the people you are emailing today, and tomorrow, and this month, are the people who you need most in JibberJobber… at least today. You are probably already emailing them, so the next time you do, add the Email2Log address, and even their company, just by hitting send.
Some people like to import all of their contacts from LinkedIn, but this isn’t critical. Sure, it gives you the impression that you have a lot of “contacts,” but are you communicating with any of them? Or does having a big list of people who you think you should know just stress you out, since there is a huge list you are not quite ready to contact, but think you should?
Imagine if you started your job search over today. What would you do differently?
I ask myself this question with my own business (which is more like being in a job search than I would have guessed). Sometimes stopping what you have been doing and starting over new gives you a chance to make the changes that you should have made earlier, but just never got around to.
Sure, starting a new system can be a bit daunting. But getting started now doesn’t mean that what you’ve done for the last few months is all for naught. It was really Phase I of your job search and learning experience. Now it might be the right time for Phase II.
But what are the BENEFITS of switching to JibberJobber?
Okay, so transitioning isn’t really a big deal… but is it worth it? Here are some benefits of JibberJobber over an Excel or paper tracking system:
The more you get into it, JibberJobber will be as comfortable as Excel. I know at first it can be confusing. For many,this is the first time you’ve ever seen what a CRM (customer relationship management) system looks like, and for many, this is the first time you’re doing a very proactive strategic outbound networking campaign. This whole experience is overwhelming… but the more you do it, the comfortable it will get. Add a few Contacts and a few Log Entries and you’ll realize how easy and intuitive it really is. Especially with Email2Log.
JibberJobber won’t waste your time with design tweaks. Remember the guys tweaking their spreadsheets for weeks (which I call “hiding from your job search”)? You won’t feel like you need to do this. We designed JibberJobber for job seekers, and WE have been tweaking for the last 8+ years, so you don’t have to. Of course there is flexibility, withe Manage Columns on the List Panels, custom reports, user-defined fields, etc. But those are simple, easy changes you can make when you want to… this allows you to focus on what you need to do (call and meet with people!!), and not fiddle around with technology.
JibberJobber helps you network for many years to come. Let’s say you use it, then land your job, then in three years you are in a job search again. You can log into JibberJobber and find all of the information you put in, just as you left it. It will be easy to understand what you did, when you did it. Whereas my spreadsheet was turning into a confusing rats nest, JibberJobber will be a place that is easy to come back to. I remember an early user landed his dream job, then came back two years later when he was in transition, and said “Jason, it’s like coming home!” We’ve been around long enough to experience this many times with our users. We’ve been here every time they’ve been in transition.
Those three benefits address the three reasons people like Excel that I listed at the top of this blog post. Here are some other benefits:
JibberJobber is your long-term networking tool. Every job coach and resume writer will tell you to keep networking, even after you’ve landed your job. It’s a pain to do. Even if we got into a networking groove when in job search, starting a new job can be consuming. But we should network, even when we are not in transition. Even if we are introverts. Even if this is my dream job, and I’m not going anywhere. Networking is the new job security. And JibberJobber is the tool to help you do it.
JibberJobber is a follow-up, network nurturing, and relationship tool. Keith Ferrazzi says “if you want to be better than 95% of your competition, all you have to do is follow-up.” As I’ve traveled the United States, I’ve talked about the importance and power of NURTURING relationships. All of this follow-up, nurturing talk is really difficult, though, if you are relying on a stack of business cards, relying on your memory to remember who is who, and what, why and how to follow-up. Take a lesson from sales professionals and use a system (JibberJobber!) to help you follow-up and nurture relationships throughout the rest of your career!
JibberJobber continually improves and adds new career management features. We started out as a simple replacement to the job search spreadsheet… and over the years it made sense to add other functionality. Like the Job Journal, where you can record past accomplishments that become part of your stories, and the Interview Prep area, where you can wordsmith how you are going to respond to interview questions and networking situations. There is also a coaching interface, which brings more value to the relationship between you and your coach. As we hear about really cool best-practices in career management, we wonder “should this be built into JibberJobber?”
JibberJobber is the hub for your career and networking information, regardless of any networks that tend to come and go. Find a contact name and email on a job posting? Or meet someone on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Twitter? Did you read about them on a press release? Did someone make a face-to-face introduction to someone you want to follow-up with? No matter where you get your information from, JibberJobber sits comfortably in the middle, as the hub and information gatherer. Social networks come and go in popularity (refer to MySpace), but that shouldn’t impact whether your relationships come and go, too. Have one single hub (JibberJobber!) to store information from disparate sources of information.
We’re constantly thinking of how to make things easier for you. As web users, we continually find coolness on other websites and think “we should do this on JibberJobber!” Even though we are ancient in Internet years, we are continually trying to improve the value we bring you, and your user experience. I promise your Excel spreadsheet is not thinking about you the way we are
We’re constantly working on getting data in. Getting data into any system can be a pain. Sometimes there is no alternative to just typing a name and number in. But we are continually thinking “how can we take this from 7 clicks to 4 clicks,” or “could we import this data?” Some of our tweaks have been big (the Gmail synchronization) while some have been small and almost unnoticeable (changing the order of fields on the Add Contact page, so that the first three fields are the main three fields you should have on every Contact). We’re also thinking of the next phase of Email2Log, and some amazing functionality that we could do with emails you send to the system.
We’re constantly thinking of how to get data out. This is not just a repository of data, but it’s a tool to help you with the right information, at the right time. This might mean getting Action Item alerts via email or SMS (a premium feature), or showing you what you have going on this week every time you log in, or showing you how many open Action Items you have this week and next week from any page you are on. Perhaps it is the custom reporting tools and the export functionality that is at your fingertips… whatever it is, we want you to (a) feel like this is YOUR DATA, and it’s not trapped in some system that you don’t own, and (b) can get your data out in a way that is meaningful to you.
The interface with your daily email system and processes makes this a very easy system to use. Email2Log is the “killer app” in JibberJobber. The idea that you can send emails all day long, and have that create Log Entries, Action Items, Companies, Contacts, and more, is simply awesome.
We want to give you peace of mind. Recently I got an email from someone who had just started using JibberJobber. He said “I actually slept all through the last night now that I am feeling organized.” This struck a chord with me and reminded me of the feelings of anxiety you have as a job seeker. There are so many unknowns, and so many things that are out of your control. Let us help you get the organizational thing under control, and empower you so that you can have your own peace of mind in this very tumultuous time.
JibberJobber is as inexpensive as you want it to be. About two years ago we moved most of the features to the free side. We simply just gave away what others had paid for in the past. You can upgrade for $9.95 a month, or if you upgrade for a year you get 50% off (so it comes out to $5/month)… and most people do that for the Email2Log (and extra storage). But if you don’t have any money, then enjoy almost every feature of JibberJobber, including our customer support that we pride ourselves on, at no cost.
JibberJobber makes you a smarter, and more valuable, professional. A few years ago I was talking to a recruiter who said “If I was hiring someone who needed CRM experience, I would totally want to interview JibberJobber users.” Did you realize that using JibberJobber was on-the-job training? You are kind of reprogramming your brain to think about relationships, both with people and with data, differently. Using JibberJobber helps you understand different thinking, different software, different interfaces, and how to think about these complexities differently. You didn’t know using JibberJobber is actually something you could add to your resume, did you?
There are more benefits, but I should stop before this post becomes so long it should have been a book. I hope this has been helpful to you, if you have been wondering about transitioning from your spreadsheet to JibberJobber.
A few years ago I went to lunch with some people from my last company. It was a joyous event of asking about this old friend and that old friend, this boss and that boss. It was cool to see my buddies again, and hear the normal old gossip from a place I had so many good memories from.
I remember driving away from the restaurant feeling sad. The feelings of getting laid off years earlier were right on the surface again, and I longed for those good ol’ days, where life was simple, paychecks were secure, I had health insurance, and I wasn’t worried about money all the freaking time.
While it was good to reconnect, it was also depressing, because I was the one who was voted off the island. I was the one who they didn’t trust to do the job.
Recently, I’ve talked to people from three different companies… these are people who have been where they are for years… they have the simple life, secure paychecks, health insurance, and friends at work. They are in leadership or management positions where they can even impact the culture of their office.
They. Have. Problems.
Problems to the point where they are saying “yeah, I’m looking at other options.” Or, “I’m getting ready to look for another job.” Or, “I’m working on my own business on the side.”
Early in my job search I was jealous of people who were working, but I didn’t have to dig too far to find out they were miserable. Dead-end job, bored, bad bosses, dying industry, rumors of layoffs and downsizing, lack of passion for what they do, etc.
I looked at my abnormal career path of being an entrepreneur, and how hard this is in many ways, and longed for the way things were.
But recently, I found out that they way things are, in organizations I used to be involved in, are not what I would want anymore. Even with the quote-security-unquote, the culture, the limits, the problems, are absolutely NOT what I want.
Folks, a layoff can be a time of career cleansing. It can hurt, and it can be embarrassing, and it can change your life, but it can be a great opportunity to reset your career.
Where you on the wrong path?
Where you working with toxic people (but too tied to the paycheck/benefits/retirement to leave)?
Where you simply just not happy (even if you were in denial)?
Getting laid off is a great time to reset, rebuild, reevaluate.
I invite you to take some time to let this happen. Let yourself be open to the idea that that job is in the past, move on, and see what direction you are going to go in the future. This is YOUR future. You are a FREE AGENT. The choice is YOURS.
When I see stuff like this it reminds me of when I first learned about it, when I was a job seeker, thinking how unfair it was that I had my stupid Excel spreadsheet to track my job search, and the people I was sending my resume to and interviewing with had sophisticated software. No more! Now the playing field is leveled, since you can use JibberJobber…. !
Want to see what an ATS is/does/looks like? I found this company while poking around the internet and started digging around. I went to the Tour link and saw this 1:30 video. If you are wondering what HR and recruiters might be using to figure out if you are worthy of an interview. Here’s the video:
Remember, this does not apply to every company you apply to. Some will use an ATS, some will not (even if they have it). My recommendation is still to network into the company before you play the “resume black hole” game. That’s not a fun game.
Many of you know I was “the first” to write a LinkedIn book (now in the fourth edition). In fact, one person wrote his before me, so I was “the second.” I’m cool with that.
What you might not know is that I’m a nerd for communicating on our Profiles. While I have a bit of “cobbler’s kids” syndrome (that is, he made shoes but his kids were barefoot), I do love picking apart other people’s Profiles and seeing where there is opportunity for improvement.
I focus on (1) being found, which is usually about the search engine and showing up on the front page, and (2) being readable in an engaging, interesting way. What I didn’t say in the newsletter: I also focus on giving you actionable advice…. stuff you can actually do.
I loathe jargon and cliche, and I love helping you stand out in a way that not many do.
If this sounds interesting to you, you can pay at the link below and then send me your profile information. I’ll do a recording of my critique, which might be from 12 minutes to 20+ minutes (depending on how much you have to critique, usually), and then I send you a video file you can watch as often as you want.
I have done this for executives, professionals, entry-level, solopreneurs, career coaches, resume writers, branding specialists, outplacement pros (and their candidates (actually, for outplacement firms I offer a higher level, one-on-one service for their candidates))… it’s been a fun opportunity to help so many people.
A few months ago I did a critique for Tom, who I’ve known for years as someone who is very strategic about his career management, networking and branding. He already had a very good profile. After he watched the critique, these are some of the things he wrote to me:
“WOW! You’ve provided a great deal of excellent advise.”
“Fortunately I’m not in transition but I want to be ready for my next move no matter who’s choice it is…”
“EXCELLENT point about the professional headline. I definitely need to add …”
“Yet more excellent feedback about my volunteer work for… “
“You have provided a wealth of information and I thank you for that. It certainly is hard to be objective about myself so you’ve really helped me see many areas that I can improve my profile to help recruiters get to know me not just my skills and experience.”
I don’t normally get depth of feedback from people, but like I said, Tom is purposeful, and there is a reason he has weathered career transitions so well.
I want my JibberJobber users to have short, less painful transitions. Building our brands and nurturing our network is a big part of that. Shall we do this together? Click on the link above and I’ll do my part…
On LinkedIn there is an article proposing the ultimate interview question. I don’t agree with the author.
Spoiler alert: he says the ultimate interview question is “What did you learn last week?” The author makes a case for this being the ultimate question… but I’m guessing he is someone who really values learning and curiousity… both great things. My experience, though, is that most interviewers aren’t even close to ready to ask that question, much less understand great answers to the question.
If I were to interview someone right now, I would ask questions about their skillset (we are a technical company and I need to know you have the breadth/depth of skills for the job) and experience and results (if it’s a sales role, I need to know you’ve been a rainmaker). My series of questions, and their answers and attitudes, will hopefully help me understand if this person has integrity, will fit into my culture, and of course able to do the job.
But none of the questions I ask would be the ultimate interview question. Most of these questions will sound run-of-the-mill and boring.
The ultimate interview question, I think, will be the one that the job seeker asks.
You see, I’ve got my list of questions I’m going to ask the final 10, or 5, or 2 candidates… and after a while all the answers will sound the same. Once I get it down to the best of my list, you will all be admirable. Each of you will have your own strengths, and some weaknesses, but overall, any of you might be the right hire.
If you really want to knock my socks off, and show me that you CARE, and WANT this job, then don’t wait for me to ask the ultimate interview question. You should bring your own question. Show me that you’ve done your research. Show me that you understand my company, customers, competition, challenges, etc. Show me, with your question(s), that you are a smart thinker, and anxious to attack some problems.
I want to hire someone who is, as my college programming professor said, “high speed, low drag.” That means they aren’t going to sit around waiting for me to give them direction. Show me that you are ready to take initiative, and you don’t need me to hand feed you your tasks.
Having laid that foundation, what are some great questions you could ask in an interview? I’m not sure there is one question that will show all of those things… it will depend on the company, industry, culture, and how the interview is going (and how interested/engaged the interviewers are)… but what are some ideas of questions you might ask to position yourself as the right person to hire?
This weekend I had an interesting dialog on the Execunet LinkedIn Group about what you can or can’t say to job seekers. At one point in the dialog this comment was made:
I’m not going to go into any of the conversation, but this line struck me as interesting. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most guys don’t color their hair. So, when they are at “that age,” and in a job search, and the hair is going to give it away… doesn’t it make sense to color the hair?
So, this is not a blog post where I’m going to tell you what to do. I think YOU need to make your own decision. Here are two of my opinions, and then I want to hear what you think in the comments.
Jason Alba Opinion 1: Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you have always wanted to do it, or if you are doing it for reasons other than the impression during a job search. In other words, if you are doing it to hide your age, usually in preparation for an interview, then do not do it. I think it’s like when you look at someone’s LinkedIn Profile, then when you meet them they are twenty years older… there’s just something weird there.
Jason Alba Opinion 2: If you choose to color your hair, for whatever reason, have it done professionally. Especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s really easy to do this wrong, and have it look horrible.
So… that’s my opinion. I’m keeping it short because I want YOU to add your comments.
The short answer is, yes, definitely use one JibberJobber account to track both of these endeavors.
Technically, I would use tags to help you keep the two separated. So, when you add a new contact, tag them as job_search or business. Or, you can tag them as both job_search and business.
I’ve found, over the years, that many of my personal and professional relationships are not constrained to just one bucket. For example, this last week I reached out to two long-term friends to ask for professional, business-related introductions.
Also, I did not tag either of these friends as friends, personal, business, referral, or anything like that. Perhaps I should, but for now I simply have just created a Log Entry for each of the requests, and their responses.
When their contacts reach out to me, I simply use the Referred By field to keep track of who introduced me to who… that has proved to be invaluable over the years.
In addition to that scenario, I track personal things in JibberJobber, such as who I call when I need an appliance fixed, or when my garage door breaks. I don’t like having to track those types of people, but I do like having one place to store names and numbers, and even track when they service my stuff, and how much I pay them.
JibberJobber has become my central information hub… it started out as a job search tool, and for me very quickly evolved to a small business CRM and a personal business tracker.
My team is very proud of the breadth and depth of what they have developed!
Let me share a bit more of what we do.
The article says:
2. Use JibberJobber to Keep Track of Information You Collect During Your Job Search.
This is a great observation, even though it’s something I don’t talk about enough. But here’s how it works. If you find information about a target company, contact, job opportunity, etc., and it might come in handy later, while you network or interview, you should collect the information. Store it in JibberJobber, obviously.
Here are the other two from the list of ten:
8. Use Insightly to Manage and Organize Business Cards You Collect.
This function is usually referred to as “customer relationship management” (or, CRM). This is what I normally talk about… and how most people describe JibberJobber: as a CRM! So, I don’t want to talk anything away from Insightly, but I will suggest that JibberJobber is a great CRM designed especially for job seekers. The job search process, networking into target companies, etc. is what we are all about. Our free version is highly functional and quite awesome. For a small optional fee you could have everything we have to offer. (quick note on Insightly: their free version has 2,500 records, which is NOT the same as 2,500 contacts and/or companies. Every note, email, etc. (stuff we would call Log Entries) counts as a record… which will add up). I’m sure they have an awesome system, but my point is, we now hit two of the ten points of the Time article.
9. Use Contactually to Create an Automatic Follow-up System
Ah, the brilliance of a follow-up system! I remember the phone call when I was talking to a user and he said “JibberJobber is my follow-up system!” Ever since then I’ve thought about that… he didn’t refer to it as his organizational system, or tracking system, or CRM… but a follow-up system. BRILLIANT.
I had been talking about the power of follow-up in my presentations, but never referred to JibberJobber as a follow-up system. But I do now. Keith Ferrazzi said “if you want to be more successful than 95% of your competition, all you need to do is follow-up.” I didn’t match that concept with JibberJobber until my user said it was his follow-up system. That is why we have introduced some of the features we have recently: to help you follow-up. Time recommends Contactually, which is actually another CRM… it has some special tools to help you reconnect with people, or prompt you to reconnect with people. JibberJobber will move into that realm, but the reason why my dev team said we do this is because of our “Recurring Action Items,” which is basically scheduling an Action Item to recur multiple times (like, “email Jason once a quarter.”) We’ll have more functionality like what Contactually does down the road. (you’ll find that all CRM systems leap-frog each other with features… one day you are ahead, the next day you are behind… )
As a job seeker, you won’t want to get THREE CRM tools. Pick one. More importantly, USE IT! Picking “the best” CRM, but not using it is really a waste of time and energy.
Get it? USE JibberJobber! Don’t just sign up, but actually use it. Your entire career could depend on it.
Let’s dig into the post from yesterday, and dissect some of Louise Kursmark’s advice. It’s a short article, but there’s simple stuff that every job seeker needs to be doing. Lines from her post are in bold, my comments are not bold, and indented.
>> I think that obsession(with gaming the ATS systems) is a distraction from the real work of job search.
Again, you are hiding from the job search. There is no silver bullet. ATS is one tiny aspect of the job search, don’t become obsessed with gaming it.
>> Even if your resume is a perfect match for the job posting, you have a very small chance of being chosen for an interview.
Why? Because statistically, jobs posted online are not real jobs that are begging real people to apply. Some (probably those from big companies) have already been filled with internal candidates, but are posted just to satisfy regulations or policy. Others are, unfortunately, and without integrity, fake jobs that are luring people in just to collect names and numbers. Sometimes they are just feeling out the market, and seeing what’s out there. But for the real ones… have you heard how many people apply to openings? It’s way to many, really. And those that are getting through are not necessarily the right candidates. Many right candidates are getting weeded out through errors in the logic of the automated system. They don’t call it the “resume black hole” for nothing.
>> … it’s easy to spend a lot of fruitless time trying to rise to the top of a very large pool.
Lots and lots of people are playing this losing game. Why throw your hat into a system that is proven to be so ineffective and discouraging, and really, one that doesn’t really work? Especially when there are more effective ways to land a job.
>> My advice: Have a keyword-rich, simply formatted resume that stands a reasonable chance of making it through the ATS.
And here is the simple truth about what you need for a resume. Keyword rich and simple format. That’s it. Do that, then MOVE ON to the next part of your job search strategy!
>> Then, spend less time applying to posted openings and more time getting referrals into the companies you’re interested in.
Get out of the resume black hole and go compete in a different space… the competition is much easier, and nicer, because too many people are afraid to network, or are doing it entirely wrong. Be the person who learns to love it (you don’t have to be an extrovert to love networking), and do it RIGHT! Also, to Louise’s points, do this purposefully and strategically, not haphazardly.
>> Use your network to find a connection, ask for an introduction, and start a dialogue.
This, my friends, is networking. This is more effective than going to network meetings, being nervous or shy, and then going home thinking “I networked!” You may have, but what Louise is suggesting is to do it right, and go deeper, and be relationship-focused.
>> Rather than applying for a job, have a conversation about the company’s needs and how someone with your background might be able to help.
>> Become a real person rather than a piece of paper or collection of keywords.
You do this by focusing on conversations, relationships and real networking, rather than throwing your resume into the black hole…
>> Even if you don’t (get interviews), you’ve built another strand in your web of connections that will ultimately lead you to your next job.
Building these strands, or let’s go further and say this fabric, is what I call career management. It is having strong relationships over time, not just during this hard transition, and it is helping people understand who you are (and how they can help you)… it is long-term. It is the new “job security,” and it’s all in your control. It’s why I say you need to use JibberJobber, forever! (yes, a little fanatical there, but I get to do that on my own blog )
>> And isn’t it more satisfying to have a colleague-to-colleague business discussion than to be judged (and rejected) based on a mysterious set of keyword qualifications?
You know who has control over the keywords? NOT YOU! You have control over, which means influence on, your relationships and communication, but not on the arbitrary keywords that someone chose. And you don’t have control over who else applies, or how their resumes compare to yours in the ATS black box logic. Work on what you can control… !
I love Louise’s no-nonsense advice… thanks again for letting me share it!
For a few years the new buzz word in training for resume writers is how to write a resume to get through the ATS system.
ATS is “applicant tracking system,” which is kind of like JibberJobber for the recruiter. They aren’t tracking a relationship with YOU as much as they are tracking specific job openings, who applies, and who gets to have an interview with a human.
I guess that is tracking you, kind of. But only as far as that specific opportunity goes. There is no relationship nurturing going on… it’s all about filling open jobs, and weeding out the high percentage of people who shouldn’t have applied in the first place.
You can imagine how resume writers want to write a resume that will get through the ATS, and eventually get to the live person. I haven’t completely wrapped my brain around the technology, but I’ve understood that most jobs people are hired for are with companies that are smaller, and might not even know what ATS means. I’ve focused my advice more on networking into a job than on monkeying around with your resume to get it better (which I call “hiding from your job search,” since you can do that for days and weeks and not really get any closer to getting an interview).
But I keep my ears open to what the experts are saying, and am always looking for any information I can share with you. When I saw this article on LinkedIn from Louise Kursmark, I knew it would have important information. I think this is a super-important perspective because she is a well-known resume writer who has trained hundreds, maybe thousands, of resume writers. Louise gave me permission to repost her article here (original post)… I hope this helps you with your job search strategy today!
ATS: I Couldn’t Care Less
ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems – cause a lot of twitter and chatter among job seekers and resume writers. I might even call it an obsession about finding the keywords, mimicking the job posting, and designing the document to get through the automated screener.
Personally, I think that obsession is a distraction from the real work of job search.
Even if your resume is a perfect match for the job posting, you have a very small chance of being chosen for an interview. That’s because your resume is one of dozens or even hundreds competing for just a handful of top slots. It’s likely at least a few other candidates will have qualifications that are slightly stronger or a background that’s just a bit closer to the ideal specified by the recruiter or employer.
So it’s easy to spend a lot of fruitless time trying to rise to the top of a very large pool. And when you don’t, you feel frustrated, discouraged, maybe even depressed and angry.
My advice: Have a keyword-rich, simply formatted resume that stands a reasonable chance of making it through the ATS. Then, spend less time applying to posted openings and more time getting referrals into the companies you’re interested in.
Use your network to find a connection, ask for an introduction, and start a dialogue. Rather than applying for a job, have a conversation about the company’s needs and how someone with your background might be able to help. Become a real person rather than a piece of paper or collection of keywords.
Chances are very good that you’ll be able to parlay many of those conversations into actual interviews for real jobs. Even if you don’t, you’ve built another strand in your web of connections that will ultimately lead you to your next job.
And isn’t it more satisfying to have a colleague-to-colleague business discussion than to be judged (and rejected) based on a mysterious set of keyword qualifications?
Thank you, Louise, for a real perspective and great advice! There really is no way around doing some of the hard work in the job search!