The Principle-Based Job Search

February 29th, 2012

Warning: this turned out to be a harshly-worded rant.  I would tone it down, but I’m passionate about the message.

In my speaking and my writing I’ve been known to refer to a “principle-based job search.”

Every once in a while someone asks what the heck I’m talking about.  I’ll tell you :)

When I was in my job search I did what I thought was right.  I spent time on my resume (doing it wrong), I spent tons of time applying to jobs online, I spent time avoiding networking events, because I was too good for that (I was convinced my resume would show how amazing I was).

My job search was NOT principle-based.  It was based on assumptions, and whims, and outdated information.

Eventually, I went to a two-day job search workshop, and I learned about the principles involved in a job search.

And my entire job search, and my efforts, changed.  It was a much-needed change.  It was principle-based, goal-oriented (not “get a job,” but daily and weekly goals that moved me in the right direction).

I think one of the biggest reasons job seekers are not finding jobs (or, alternative income streams) is because they are doing the EASY stuff:

  • “I applied to 20 jobs this week and heard nothing!” Dude, seriously, isn’t everyone telling you to NOT use the job boards?
  • “I don’t have time to go to a networking meeting.” Of course you don’t  You are focusing 90% of your time on what works for 5% of people (like I did.  Look how that turned out for me.).
  • “I don’t need help – I know what I’m doing.” Yep.  Just like I did.  For weeks I was spinning wheels.
  • “To get unemployment insurance I only need to meet two new companies a week.  The state says that’s a job search, so I’m doing alright.” No, you are just playing the game to get the crappy little pittance the state gives out to those who apply.  You are telling me you will blame the state, and their standard, for your prolonged job search?

I’m reminded of Staple’s “Easy Button” campaign.

I see too many job seekers who I want it easy. They don’t want to spend too much time. They don’t want to get out of their comfort zone.  They don’t want to do something hard or unusual (book recommendation: Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters).  They don’t want to accept much responsibility for their actions or reactions (instead focusing blame on things outside their control, like THE ECONOMY!).

Let me put it this way.

JOB SEARCH IS NOT EASY.

CAREER MANAGEMENT IS NOT EASY.

Get over the easy button idea.

Get to work!  Roll up your sleeves!  Brush your teeth and put on nice clothes and get out of the freaking house, and go to networking events!  Pick up the phone!  You are not allergic to making phone calls!  Get informational interviews!

DO THE RIGHT, PRINCIPLE-BASED STUFF!

And then, get better at it.

Get better at networking.

Get better at communicating.

Get better at informational interviews.

Get better at picking up the phone.

I got news for you: This is the new normal.  Even after you land your dream job, you need to continue most of the job search stuff you are doing now, because your next transition could be right around the corner.

So get good at it, and get serious about it.

This, my friends, is called career management.

You’ll know you have “arrived” when you actually enjoy doing it.

</rant>

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Eric Shannon on How To Land A Job At A Great Company (The Complete Job Search Guide – Free)

February 27th, 2012

Check out this awesome blog post, article, or almost e-book by Eric Shannon:

I’ve known Eric for years, through our blogs and writing.  He is the real deal.  This article/post is long – almost 5,000 words.  That is about 25% of my first book… !  And about the length of 10 blog posts!

But don’t let the size get in your way.  This resource is awesome.  Print it out, highlight it, make notes, and work from it.

Many job seekers lack direction and strategy – if that describes you, this is what you need!

Eric Shannon, who has been giving the unemployed community for years, hit is out of the park with this one – thank you Eric! And of course, thanks for recommending JibberJobber in the post!

Here’s more about him:

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Favorite Friday: Sense of Urgency in a Job Search

February 27th, 2012

How could I have forgotten about this post?  It is an amazing concept.  In a nutshell, my sense of urgency as a job seeker is very different than yours as a hiring manager or recruiter.

To me, NOW means YESTERDAY!  As in, “I want a job YESTERDAY!”

In a corporate setting, NOW might mean next quarter.  As in, “I need to hire someone by the end of next quarter.”

Definitely a mismatch!

I blogged about this on July 27, 2006, after a job I had applied to wrote back (2 months later) and asked if I was still interested.  Read the entire post here: Sense of Urgency.

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Download Free Personal Branding Book by Chip Hartman (of ETP fame)

February 22nd, 2012

Chip Hartman has done it again.  This book is an excellent resource.  And it’s a free download.  You don’t even have to give your name and email address to get it.

Build Your Brand is a 54 page ebook that is kind of a Part II to The Basics of Personal Branding (also a free ebook - download it here).

I have gone through the book and enthusiastically give my stamp of approval.  Much of what I talk about in my keynote presentations is included in this book.  Chip breaks it down in a great way, and the methods he presents should really help you put your brand together well, and understand what to do with it once you have it put together.

I think both of these are going to be resources that even personal branding experts use and rely on to help their clients.  These are excellent personal branding resources.

Chip is a friend I’ve only met once in person, many years ago at a dinner in New Jersey.  He’s… well… awesome.

He does writing, editing, layout and that kind of stuff as a freelancer.  If you have any writing/layout projects, give him a holler (his email and phone number are on the first page of the book).  If you want to know how good he is, just download his free ebook and you can judge for yourself.

Oh and Chip, thanks for including me in the acknowledgement section of the book… it’s an honor :)

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Small Choices, Big Consequences

February 21st, 2012

Remember when the Internet first became popular, many years ago?

Did we have any idea what changes were in our future?

We enjoyed what we had then, and looked forward to things that were to come.

We consumed information differently, and we bought things differently.  It changed our world, changed our lives, and changed the world.

We loved it.

We were excited about it.

That is, we loved it IF we weren’t a travel agent.

What’s that, you ask?  That was a title/role that was very popular, somewhat coveted, fun and rewarded, and utterly destroyed by the internet.

Oh well, too bad for them.  Just a casualty.

Then, the Internet started infringing on other industries and jobs.

What has the Internet done to the car sales, especially the used car sales, industry?  What about the movie industry, the newspaper industry, the post office, the ________, the ______, the ______ … the list can go on and on and on.

I’m going to say in general we didn’t care about the changes in those industries when it happened.  As consumers (of products, services, information) we were glad to see the changes, which enriched our lives.  As long as the downsizing, industry slaughter and casualties didn’t affect us directly, it was all for the good of society, and we could enjoy and be detached from the painful side of change.

Fast forward to today.  I’m not saying the Internet is responsible for any economic downfall, but it caused change and shifting in what our normal used to be.  And really, we voted for it.  With each click, and purchase, we voted for the change.  And now, we’re starting to realize what this change means to us, personally.

It’s the same thing with Wal-Mart.  I like Wal-Mart.  I shop there regularly.  It’s one of the first places I go to find something because they’ll usually have it.  There’s a Super Wal-Mart close to my house.  But every time I spend money there there, it hurts any local store.  (there aren’t many local stores around anymore… most of them are just smaller, or more niche, versions of Wal-Mart)

Its argued that buying at Wal-Mart hurts the U.S. economy, since most everything (gross exaggeration, I know) is manufactured outside of the U.S.  but we don’t think about that too much, when we drop $20 on something.  How could our $20 help, or hurt, the U.S. economy?  It can’t, can it?  Unless, of course, all those $20 bills add up to hundreds of millions, and billions… then it can hurt.

But my $20 can’t hurt.  Plus, it would take too much time and gas to go to two or three other stores just to find what I need.  Wal-Mart is… convenient!

What’s convenient now might be a killer down the road.  Speaking of killer….

What about McDonalds?  Just dropping by the drive-through can’t hurt, can it?  It’s just one meal… how can that have an impact on my body?  I’m hungry and need to feel my belly.

I drive by a McDonalds every time I leave my tiny town.  The last time I drove by I was with my kids and we were talking about nutrition.  I wondered if anything on the MickeyD’s menu had any nutritional value (or, any value that wasn’t outweighed by the horrific ingredients).

But it’s convenient, and cheap, to eat at McDonald’s.  Just this once.  Not a big deal.  It can’t hurt that bad, can it?

I was talking to a nutritionalist a few weeks ago.  She said one of the most addictive and harmful things her clients eat is french fries.  She said McDonalds rolls their fries in sugar, which makes them more addictive.  And her clients are on them like crack addicts are on crack.  Here’s a google search with more info on rolling fries in sugar.

What’s the point of all of this?

Change is inevitable.  No one can stop the Internet, even as it changes industries (ie travel), products (ie books), services (ie phone services).

Instead of getting in the steamroller’s path and then whining about being destroyed, how can you move, and then look for new opportunities?

Also, small decisions that we make will have an impact on the future we live in, and create for our children.

Attitudes, habits, ethics, our language, how and where we shop, will have more of an impact than we think.

My message for the last six years has been a message of “you CAN take control of your career, and your future.”  Today’s post is more macro, bigger than your career… you CAN take control of how you live, and what you get out of life.

You can even start today.

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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Pick up the phone… and a candid apology

February 16th, 2012
JibberJobber and all our sites (LinkedIn blog, Jason Alba, the video system, etc.) where down for a few hours this morning.  I’m not sure why it was down, but we finally got it up, and are looking into the root problems to avoid this in the future.  No data was lost, affected, etc.  (in the case they would have been, we would have used the backups to get your data back).  My sincere apologies.

PICK UP THE PHONE.

I’ve blogged about picking up the phone before.  In this post I talk about even calling the people you are afraid to call: Get Out Your Chicken List and Make a Call.

On Recruiting Blogs, James Nathan writes a post called Hello phone, my old friend.  He talks about how recruiters “have grown up in a world dominated by email, and on-line recruitment systems.”

We, as job seekers, have somewhat grown up in a world of online applications and job boards, right?

Read his post.  My favorite part is this:

When I was a very new consultant, I was sent to meet one of the company’s top billing temps consultants and he taught me a very simple lesson. He said “listen, its really simple. You pick up the phone, and money comes out of it”.

You pick up the phone, and money comes out of it.

Was there ever a statement, so well put, so simple or so true.

The same thing applies to you, as the job seeker.  Or you, as owner of Me, Inc.  Or you, as a consultant.

Hide behind email and online applications all you want… but you need to simply get on the phone.  Money might come out of it.  Or a job.  Or a gig.

Afraid of the phone?

Figure out how to get over it.  I’d love to hear how YOU got over your fear of the phone (or, how you are getting through your fear of the phone).  Leave a comment below…

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Happy Valentine’s Day: Love your loved one today (show it!)

February 14th, 2012

Six years ago I was in a world of hurt. I was about six weeks into my job search, and it was NOT going how I planned it.

I put everything off so I could find my job.  Most regretably, I put off my health (big mistake), and I put off my family relationships (bigger mistake).

I implore you to not neglect these two things in your job search.

I think I thought it would be for a relatively short time, which turned into months, and it was not good.

Today, Valentine’s Day, I invite you to make a bigger, better effort at fulfilling your loved ones and letting them know you love them.  Whether it is a spouse, child, parent, sibling, etc., express it.  Not just now and today, but every day.

Invest in the relationship, express, and do not let the relationship whither until you land.  It might be too late.

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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Free Teleseminar on Wed morning with me and John Hadley: How to Accelerate Your Job Search

February 13th, 2012

John Hadley, a career coach in the NY/NJ area, asked me to be his guest on a teleseminar titled How to Accelerate Your Job Search.  I’ve been receiving Johns newsletter for years and almost spoke for him in person last year when I was in his area… I was excited to be able to do this teleseminar with him.

You can sign up for it here.

It is on Wednesday morning at 10:30 am MST (that is 12:30 Eastern, 11:30 Central, 9:30 Pacific).

There is no cost.  John is asking his newsletter subscribers: “If you could ask Jason Alba just one question, what would it be?”

I’ll be anxious to see what questions come up…. I’m guessing this will be much less technical than I usually do, and there will be a lot of general, basic job search questions… we’ll see :)

Want to join? Sign up here. I’m not sure if it will be recorded and made available later.

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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Favorite Friday: Your LinkedIn Professional Headline Probably Sucks

February 10th, 2012

If you’ve ever seen me speak then you know that I’m… well… opinionated :p  My opinion is that most people throw together a sketchy LinkedIn Profile, and hardly give any thought to the Professional Headline.  Thus, most LinkedIn Professional Headlines simply stink.  That’s why I wrote:

July 14, 2010: LinkedIn Professional Headline: Yours Probably Sucks. (92 comments… this is on my LinkedIn blog: Im On LinkedIn – Now What???)

One of the amazing things from this post is that a reader and friend (whom I’ve never met in person) jumped in to do the critiques.  And he was brilliant.  I was so comfortable with is critiques that I let him run with it.  And he did… tirelessly!

Read my short post about why I think your LinkedIn Professional Headline stinks, and then sift through the comments to see what others have put, and how Peter Osborne helps them become better.

NOTE: I have since closed comments on there because I continue to get people who want help with it, and I don’t have the time to keep up with it.  However, I do LinkedIn Profile Critiques (which includes the Professional Headline) for only $99.  Here’s an example of what the critique looks like.  If you want me to critique your LinkedIn Profile,  let me know.

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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Oracle Buys Taleo for almost $2B. I miss Cheesman!

February 9th, 2012

A few years ago I read a blog every single day.  It was written by Joel Cheesman, who was the unofficial watchdog of the employment and career software and recruiting space.  He was sharp, witty, and uncensored.

He called things like they were, without any sugar coating.  If I heard of some big news in the papers, I’d see what Cheesman had to say about it.  His opinion was worth 1ox anything I’d read in other articles. But he moved on… :(

I miss him.  I would love to know what he thinks about Oracle buying Taleo for $1.9 billion. You can read about it on ZDNet or eWeek or TechCrunch (or many other places).

Here’s what I think: this takes it more levels away from the job seeker.

Job seekers across the country have told me how much they HATE Taleo and Brassring.  Don’t know what those are?

If you have ever had to apply for a job on a company website, it is likely powered by Taleo or Brassring.

I remember my frustration with this 6 years ago… the process was ridiculous.  I would upload my resume, and then I had to fill out a form what basically was copy-and-paste from my resume.  It could take an hour to fill out the form.  And sometimes it crashed during the process.

You know how frustrating it is to be in a job search.  And apply to jobs.  And all the frustration that goes with that.  Now, imagine spending an hour applying, only to have the system crash, and you have to start over.

I think my record was spending 2.5 hours trying to apply to a job.

I wanted to pull my hair out by the end of that time!

Will Oracle fix it?  I doubt it… but there is plenty of opportunity for a smart entrepreneur to make software that is much, much better than the competition… :)

Oh Cheeshead, where are you to comment?

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