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Book Review: Ultimate Job Hunting Secrets

October 31st, 2006

Ultimate Job Hunting Secrets by C.M. RussellYesterday I said I’d comment on “the other” book that I’d highly recommend to a job seeker. Don’t worry, I’m not turning into a book review blogger! But this deserves your attention.

I have known C.M. Russell since May, when he did a little 5 question interview on me and JibberJobber. That was a great experience for me and helped establish some credibility for JibberJobber. And I was fortunate enough to get a copy of his book, autographed, and need to weigh in – you know by now that I can’t read something without commenting on it!

C.M. is one of the foremost experts in this space and has looked at it from various angles. These angles include a job seeker, a resume writer, an owner of various job boards (he still owns and operates these) and a blogger (with various blogs in this space). He’s definitely an authority, and qualified to write this.

I was very pleased to see that it was a relatively small book. I think I’m measuring this against a job search book that I got from the library earlier this year which was very long. Look, I’m in a job search, not doing research for a PhD. I don’t want to spend a month reading what I need to do. Give me it to me quick and directly. And that’s exactly what C.M.’s book does. One thing I worry about is that I would have made this a “quick read” and perhaps not internalized much of what is in this book. I caution you to actually read each sentence and seriously think about it – he doesn’t mince words, and I support 99% of what’s in here (the other 1%? I’m still chewing on it).

The first three pages is a summary of what I took at least 6 weeks to learn. If I could have had just the first 3 pages of this book when I first got laid off then this last year would be very different. (Lucky for me, I was a job search loser, so JibberJobber got the attention it needed in order to really be powerful for you and me ;) )

Throughout the rest of the book I read about the personal marketing newsletter (he had his in there), saw a personal response from Jack Trout, learned about the qualifying letter, changed my thoughts on using faxes, learned how to make an e-mail way more effective, and read examples of questions that I should ask when in an interview. There’s much more, these are just some of the things that jumped out at me.

He put these little “Job Search Secret” boxes throughout the book with specific tips and suggestions that I found very helpful. There are two things about this book that I kept thinking as I read it:

1. Lots of “clever” in this book, backed up with real examples. I’ve been learning about the job search almost all year, and he had a bunch of little ideas and examples of things that I really hadn’t thought about.

2. He’s very heavy on real, useful and current technology. I appreciate reading a book that actually talks about certain social network sites and other current tools. C.M.’s business is based around technology for the job seeker so he really knows this area. But instead of just talking about it he gives real links, screenshots, etc. I found this quite helpful in that regard.

Not to sound like a broken record player this week but I highly recommend this book. It’s inexpensive and won’t take a ton of time to read – but don’t judge this book by its size. There is a lot of wisdom in here.

P.S. … page 112 is just bad ;) I hope in his next version he can take that out and put in a page on JibberJobber. Heck, maybe he should put in a whole chapter on JibberJobber!

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Book Review: Between Jobs

October 30th, 2006

Between Jobs: Recover, Rethink, RebuildFriday I opened my snail-mailbox (I have no idea how that is actually written) and found a book by career coach Billie Sucher. And it was autographed with this message “Here’s to new beginnings!” Very cool. I was a little nervous about getting this book and reviewing it because, well, what if it sucked?

I’ll tell you right now, it doesn’t suck, and it is one of two books that I’d highly recommend (more on the second tomorrow) – indeed, if I had the money I’d give both of these books to anyone in a job conundrum – unemployed, underemployed, unhappily employed, etc…

First, the title and subtitle: Between Jobs: Recover, Rethink, Rebuild. Its definitely something I can relate to – but I LOVE how she sets the tone with the recover from this “loss”, rethink your career and future, and rebuild – its time to act now and move on!

Next, the format. At the bottom of the cover it says “501 Proven Strategies For Success”… is this in the same format as Tom Peter’s Wow book? Yep! I love this format because you don’t have to put a ton of time and critical analysis into it… basically you get 501 ideas, tips, etc. that you can read when you want. Read one a day and think about it, or read several pages of any chapter… whatever you need.

Billie starts the book with 10 questions for you to help you deal with being “between jobs” and asks you to contemplate the questions before, during and after reading the book. I love how she begins each chapter with a quote from a “job loss survivor.” I hated reading articles on how to find jobs by people that had never been through a real job loss, and these little quotes make this book that much more heart-felt.

So then we’re on to content. I remember at the beginning of my job search I’d get some books on techniques, resumes, interviewing, etc. Some of them were HUGE, and hard to make it through. And I could find the same information on the internet, regurgitated in various fashions. What was at first interesting later became cliche, and then contributed to the overall discouragement of the job search. Billie has 8 chapters wrapping up the 501 strategies, and a final chapter with quotes from the job loss survivors. It is not preachy, wordy, overly-verbose (like some of my blog posts ;) ) or out of line.

As I related to just about evey single point in her book I realized that this is a collection of the “best-of-the-best” tips out there… from your dad, your counselor, your coach, HR, or whoever. This is the collection that I’d recommend to anyone either in college or a professional that just lost their job. Here are some examples of some points I liked (with the chapters in bold) – note there are 501 of these, I just pulled out some that jumped out at me – but this book is full of wisdom:

  • Getting a Grip: Let go of your old job. Give yourself some time, and then begin the journey.
  • Putting the Pieces Together: Don’t be afraid of or reject these two words: “Starting Over.” Each day brings the opportunity to begin again.
  • Packaging the Product: A messy, cluttered resume should not be sent to anyone, including your mother.
  • Building Bridges: Don’t ask your professional references for a job.
  • Completing the Application Form: Include “reason for leaving” if asked to do so on the application, however, choose your words carefully. “Fired” or “terminated” can be replaced with “will explain.” Words such as “downsized, reorganization, work force reduction and restructuring” can be used if applicable to your situation.
  • Presenting Yourself in the Interview: Respond only to the question asked. Save the minute details. If the employer wants more information, they will ask.
  • Negotiating the Best Deal: Be prepared to explain your value and what makes you stand out from other applicants with the same or comparable credentials.
  • The Best is Yet to Come: Be willing to “pay your dues” and prove yourself.

Awesome book – I highly recommend it, even if you find this review to be lacking (I don’t think I ever got an A in elementary school for book reports! ;) ).

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Your Map with Their Pictures!!!

October 28th, 2006

GoogleMaps with profile images!This last week when we allowed you to add an image to your contact’s profile was well recieved. But check this out… now that profile image can be on the maps (it is up to you, as a user preference)! See this image on the right? It is a shot of my map (ok, the demo account’s map) with two network contacts (see their images? Its Garth Brooks and Miss Piggy!) and the red marker on Mr. Demo’s house. This is in the free version!

I wonder what Mike Pegg, the world’s expert on GoogleMaps, would think about this feature? I’ve been on his site poking around and saw customized graphics for these markers, but didn’t see anyone that allows YOU, the user, to have your own meaningful graphics!

This became available just a few hours ago and I’ll all giddy about it… it is too cool! Job seekers and professionals have the opportunity to be empowered like never before! But that’s enough writing for a Saturday – enjoy your weekend!

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M&Ms and Breast Cancer

October 27th, 2006

A little bit off-topic but something good to end the week on: chocolate and service.

I have a friend down the street that got breast cancer last year – she was treated and supposedly everything is fine now. But it was very scary for her family and for her friends (like us). I’ve never donated to any cancer research or anything like that probably because I’m lazy and it I guess it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do (like, say… buy some candy ;) ) Plus I’m a little distrusting of some “non-profits” because I want to know that 100% (or close to it) goes to the actual cause.

So I picked up on this post by a blog buddy (and it has been picked up by his blog buddy, also a very talented recruiter blogger), and I thought I’d pass it on. It doesn’t get easier than this:

Sometime this month (hey, Halloween is in 4 days!!) go to the store and buy the M&Ms that have the pink ribbon on the package. A portion of that purchase goes to the fight against breast cancer. It can’t be easier than that.

If you want to donate more, buy this for all of your halloween candy. If you don’t eat M&Ms then buy the peanut M&Ms and mail them to my house! I’m a peanut M&M junkie!!

(and for all the skeptics out there, here’s the official page: M&M press release)

s_healthline_com.pngFind great medical information on breast cancer, diabetes or pregnancy on-line. We are the best medical search engine on the Internet, please visit us at Healthline.com.
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This recruiter’s input made me do a double-take

October 27th, 2006

Dave is one of my fav recruiters in the Salt Lake City area even though he doesn’t blog (I know, non-bloggers are cool to ;) ). He changed my job search when he told me “Jason, you will find a job for yourself faster than I’ll find a job for you.” It was then that I realized that I didn’t know how recruiters worked, and thought I could depend on them to find me a job. Thankfully I stopped chasing the 30 recruiters that I had initiated contact with and began to devise a different strategy.

In yesterday’s post one of my readers made a comment about whether they should deactivate their Monster profile… since I’m no expert I threw it to the recruiters. I got two great replies, one from Carl Chapman (in two parts – check the comments) and an e-mail from Dave. Here’s his e-mail, it is very very very interesting (I learned a lot from this e-mail)… I bolded what I wanted to and my comments are in red:

“Tim,

Jason has asked me to comment on the “leave it on Monster” take it off approach. A good recruiter extracts the best of the best. Their value, to the companies looking for people, is to find people the companies can not find on their own. In my opinion some of the best recruiters are not going to Monster or other boards because any company can hire an internal recruiter to do that kind of work for much less money than outside recruiters charge. Instead, many recruiters choose to work their network (hm, sounds like a good strategy for everyone – even job seekers!). On the other hand, not every company out there can fork out the subscription prices to get into the Monster resume databases, so recruiters can pluck candidates off of Monster and the companies have no idea that is where they found them. Lots of what I call ‘internet recruiters‘ do this!

I hate to talk down about ‘internet recruiters’. After all, they fill lots of positions. Many are slinging resumes as fast as they can and are hoping that something will stick. I personally am not interested in playing with that crowd.

If I am working with you, and I know you are on Monster or other job boards, I am less inclined to work ‘for you’. Because I know that any other recruiter that has a Monster subscription can get to you just as easy and may have already shot your paperwork to who knows how many companies.

The absolute ideal situation is for a recruiter to find a candidate with very marketable skills (this was my prob, I think, in that I was kind of a dime-a-dozen guy here in Salt Lake — it wasn’t until May 15 when JibberJobber went live that people said “wow, that’s what you know how to do? You need to talk to … ” And that’s when I started to get interviews!) that is just beginning to start their search. The recruiter asks for exclusivity (what??? I never would have guessed, and would have been very reluctant, but you can see in yesterday’s comments that Carl said the same thing!) to work with that candidate for a couple of weeks before they post anything on any job board or send their resume to any other recruiter. My committment to you is equal to your committment to me. If your resume is with every recruiter in town and on every job board out there, no thanks. Here is the reason why.

Now it becomes a horse race. Who can talk to you first, tell you about the company and position, and then get your permission to send your resume to the company. In many instances, large national staffing firms have quotas to hit. They need to send ‘x’ number of resumes to companies per week/day. (yep, and my worst recruiting experience was with a large staffing firm where I was definitely a number)

Not all get permission from the candidates to send in the resumes. On many occasions I have talked to a candidate, described the company, position, needs, told them who the company is if qualified and interested etc. Received permission to send over the resume, done so, only to find out from the company that ‘xyz’ recruiting firm sent the same resume in a week ago. Candidate didn’t know that, I didn’t know that, everyone is now surprised etc. (so, no big deal you think, right? WRONG. Whether you hate or love recruiters and their function in this world, they have busted their butts to get this far and have put forth a serious, professional effort – and this is a slap in the face to them.) Often companies are less inclined to interview the candidate too if they have received the same candidate from several different recruiters. (luckily most of the 30 recruiters that I sent my resume to were losers, so that wasn’t an issue for me!) They don’t want to have to deal with whose candidate it really is. This kind of scenario does not happen nearly as often with non-job-board resumes/candidate.

Thus, my preference is to make committments to the candidates to call ‘x’ number of companies in my network, talk to my contacts about that particular candidate, if they will remove their resume from all job boards, give me 10-15 days to work what magic I can with my network and then put it back out on the boards if they want to. (I haven’t heard that this is a common practice but hey, if you are in need I guarantee you want someone like Dave to tap into his huge network for you. What power recruiter do you have a relationship with? None? Better get one! Just don’t forget the part about “highly marketable talent”)

Always keep in mind that candidates do not pay the recruiters a dime. The recruiters are making their money from the companies looking for us to fill a certain position. I want to get my companies the best candidates possible and often times companies, like people, want what they can’t have. Follow me here. If they know you are on every job board known to man and that you are on file with numerous recruiters, the companies then will worry about how long you will stay employed by them. They may feel as though the next job that comes around that pays a little more, has a little stronger benefits package and you will be out the door, onto your next gig.

If I have a candidate that I am presenting I may say to my client that ‘Mr. Smith’ is working with me confidentially, he has not posted his resume anywhere, he is gainfully employed and been with his current employer for ‘x’ years, he does not want his current company to know he is looking and has asked me to confidentially approach my network in his behalf. Let me take a couple of minutes and tell you about his background and also what his confidential references have told me about him. (People want what they can’t have.) That goes much further then presenting a candidate who is on file with every recruiter in town, and is posted on every board out there. Or has already had their resume submitted to the same company by a half a dozen recruiters working the same position.

Develop a relationship with a recruiter. Find out how long they have been in the business. Ask them how many people with your kind of skills they have placed. Exchange committments with them if you believe in them. Follow up and hold the recruiter accountable if they are making calls in your behalf (… don’t wait for them to follow up with you – you need to be on top of this). They are more than likely only going to make a number of calls in your behalf if you are not out there ‘on Monster’ for the whole world to see.”

Wow… this was quite different than the response I thought I’d get. Thanks Tim for bringing up the issue, and thanks Dave and Carl for great responses.

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the Proactive-Reactive Search

October 26th, 2006

So here’s the deal. In my executive network meetings there’s a lot of talk about looking for a company, not a job. It makes a lot of sense and lots of experts talk about it. So we will sit around and talk about companies that we’re interested in, someone will bring up a new company and see if anyone knows anything about it and stuff like that. It is a great brainstorm session on companies that people are looking at getting into. There is little-to-no discussion of any particular job title because it is more important for this high-power group to talk about CxO issues around the company.

But yesterday I get a call from a headhunter (yep, my profile is on Monster where all you recruiters can still find it) asking me if I’m interested in a VP of IT position, salary range is $100k-$130k (which I think is pretty good for the Salt Lake area). I asked her who the company was but she said she couldn’t tell me, only that it was about $200M.
I’m moving forward with JibberJobber so I tell her I’m not interested but I’d be happy to think about who I know that might be qualified.

So, here’s where the proactive-reactive thing comes into play. If I’m looking for a company-not-a-job, and I don’t even know what company this is, should I tell her I’m interested? That would mean I’m switching to looking for a job :( I’m confused. My take is, have a proactive strategy where you look for the company, but don’t overlook a reactive strategy where you take care of things that fall in your lap. Here’s why:

  1. Interviewing is a great exercise. Whether you are actively looking for a job, happily employed or somewhere inbetween, it is a great way to keep some skills up and get in the proper frame of mind. If you have the opportunity, go to the interview!
  2. Let’s assume this company turns out to NOT be one of your target companies. Maybe your target companies is a bad list, and in the interview process you find out that this is a really really cool company! Don’t cross it off the list just because it isn’t on your list.
  3. Meeting this recruiter and the hiring manager would be a great way to expand your network! Think about it, recruiters are power connectors and they need to know who you are. The hiring manager would be someone that you *should* know, and have in your network, and this is a great way to begin a relationship with him/her.

If it just flat-out isn’t going to work out (like in my case) then open up your network to the recruiter. That puts you at the top of their list and they will remember that, and you never know when they can reciprocate.

So, be proactive-reactive! But don’t self-combust ;)

I know this seems like common sense but when you are on the front-line of the job search it is easier than you would think to maintain a myopic perspective of what you should be doing, and overlook something like this.

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Seth on Fear and Imagination

October 25th, 2006

or lack thereof… he is talking about “two things that kill marketing creativity” and this directly applies to your profession (in marketing or not), your job search and your personal brand. Go read this post and figure out how it applies to YOU, and do something specific about it today.

And… I wanted to save this information for later but I can’t hold it in anymore ;) Seth responded to an invitation to my blog carnival and OF COURSE has great information to share. The carnival is coming up in a week and a half and I have lots of other awesome participants… too exciting. Its open for you, if you want to join the fun… otherwise expect some good reading on the 6th!


Search for Indianapolis jobs at JobCentral.

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On Resume Writers and Career Coaches

October 25th, 2006

CM Russell on TV - it must be true!I’ve been getting backlogged on my blogging and this morning decided to tie in a few different posts into one summarized version. Note that I really don’t care for posts that say “go read this” and “go check that out” as I am too opinionated to just leave it at that. But there is a series of posts that my friend and author CM Russell has put up from a conference that he just attended, and I want to point you to the ones I’ve found most useful… and of course put my 2 cents in there!

Note that CM is a veteran observer of this industry. He has written the book on the job search, he owns and operates a number of job boards, he has a number of blogs that he operates for you, the job seeker (passive or active), recruiters, etc. His perspective is very broad which makes him one of the foremost experts in this arena. I’m very pleased to see that he went to this conference (I wish I could have gone) and explored this quirky world a little. So here is my 2 cents (note, there are 4 links IN BOLD that I’m highly recommending… go to the rest if you want but definitely check out the bolded links):

First, here is a recording of career coach Barbara Safani’s (here’s her blog) presentation where she picks apart various social networking sites. It is a very interesting presentation and I like at the end how she says something like “and if all of this is very confusing you can use JibberJobber to help keep track of it all.” I was wondering how she was going to tie JibberJobber into her social networking analysis but this made me smile with pride :) [note: she has another podcast interview here, I haven't listened to it yet but plan on listening to it today - I really like Barbara and have been following her blog posts]

Second, here is a post from a newspaper about the black hole when you apply to posted positions. I found this very useful and it rang true… I had applied to about 75 different places and only got 2 real replies. What is up with corporate HR and recruiters when they can’t even send an e-mail saying “we got it, thanks, we’ll let you know.” I’m not talking about the lame automated reply but something with a human touch. It is very discouraging… and if you, the executive, are used to people jumping when you say jump, you better get ready for this humility shock! Anyway, the article talks about the power of networking and other things… it is a good read for sure.

Third, here is another one of my favorite people, resume writer Louise Kursmark, talking about things that resume writers talk about :p I found this interview to be very informational and it answered a lot of questions for me about resumes (including “what can someone expect to pay for this service“), etc. I highly recommend you take the time to listen to this one, no matter what stage you are in.

Fourth, CM wraps it up (I think – we’ll see if there is more tomorrow) with his assessment of resume writers. I love how he describes many of them, and has an absolute endorsement for their profession: “if you are thinking about writing your own resume, forget it.” I echo that, money permitting – but understand that some hidden mistakes on MY resume kept me out of lots of interviews, and I didn’t realize it until I had applied to over 100 jobs!

So I have to mention these other two interviews… just for fun. One is from a rep from a paper company how he is talking (pleading?) about how the paper resume isn’t going away (it made me think of asking Santa Claus if Christmas is going away). I don’t buy into his statistics and internal studies which makes it sound like having his cotton, heavy weight paper will have a major impact on you geting you the job… you’ll have to hear it for yourself (6 mins). The other one was with a salary negotion expert (here’s Jack Chapman’s website)- it didn’t capture my attention much because I think that 6 mins just wasn’t enough time to get real meat in the interview (I’d like to see a series of podcasts on this issue). But you may want to check them out – they are short.

So there you go, I hope that these links (in bold) provide value to you as an active or passive job seeker! I feel its worth the time to sharpen your saw on this stuff, that’s the only reason I’m writing on it. Have a productive day!

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Making JibberJobber better for YOU

October 24th, 2006

As promised almost two weeks ago, we have some good enhancements to the system (just updated like 20 minutes ago). The beauty of having a web-based system is that we can roll changes out pretty easily… here is a run-down of things that will interest you (there are some small polish enhancement, not listed here):

  1. Addition of a birthday field on a network contact – I know, how could we have missed that? Its there now!
  2. Addition of another phone field so now you have work and home phones… and I had to make an executive decision that is sure to tick off at least 50% of the users… all of the “PHONE” data is now HOME phone… sorry if this is a problem, but hopefully the new field will make it worth it!
  3. You can add your contact’s picture now! This is so cool for me because, as I’ve mentioned, I’m horrible with names/faces.
  4. And finally, various enhancements to the data importing. You can now CREATE a company when you import a contact, and various other things. Some of the contact fields weren’t even options to import before and they are now… just stuff like that. I’ll probably do a “how to” on this to wrap it up. Oh, one quick note, had an issue with a Mac user because of the way the Mac creates its files… and we figured out how to fix it so it imports normal… cool, eh? (you know, Mac users are smarter than the rest of us (no, I don’t have a Mac))

That’s it for now. Great stuff coming from the dev team in the next 60 days… if you have any requests please pass them on to me! And if you don’t have your own account yet stop delaying and take charge of your own career! Get a free account (did I mention it was free?)!!

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follow-up comment on last post

October 24th, 2006

I can’t let this go… Andreas wrote a follow-up to my last post and found a commercial for Skittles where a guy has an amazingly creepy personal brand – and shows it off in an interview. Its worth the 60 seconds to watch. Then he goes on with a personal story about a job interview he was in and only could answer with 3 responses (it was in Spanish and he doesn’t speak Spanish). It was a 30 minute interview (ever get the feeling the interviewer on the other side of the table hasn’t a clue what’s going on?) – and has some sage wisdom at the end. Check it out here!

Too funny to let this hide in his comment on my last post ;)

P.S. no comment on the “huge video project” — more on that later :p

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