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JibberJobber for veterans: why?

March 10th, 2014

Last week I talked to a veteran.  The call was exciting and rewarding, and I was again reminded why I give a year of premium to veterans at no cost.

I do this as a thank you.

I was reminded, during the call, of a call I had with a veteran a few years ago.  When he understood that I was offering a year of JibberJobber premium as a “thank you,” he got quiet for a while, then expressed heartfelt gratitude.  He said: “a lot of companies say they support the troops, and put a sticker or flag in their window, and that’s great.  But what you are doing really, really helps us.”

I had goosebumps and found it hard to respond.

After our call I saw this neat story in the news about the race in San Jose where one runner (Erik Wittreich, a former Green Beret) went out of his way during the race to shake the hand of a veteran… a 95 year old veteran, who was cheering on the racers.

erik-wittreich-veteran

It was a touching story.  But this part disturbed me (Bell is the 95 year old veteran):

“They showed a lot of love to me, and they recognized me,” Bell told ABC News. “I liked that.”

Bell was a former Army corporal who trained paratroopers all over the world for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that preceded the CIA.

“I never got recognition in my life,” he told Sulek on Tuesday. “I was a jumper in the OSS. That’s all.”

I think it’s kind of sad that Bell didn’t feel like anyone recognized him.  Maybe he humbly didn’t recognize the Nov 11, July 4, etc. holidays that recognized servicemen and servicewomen.  I’m glad that he had that once-in-a-lifetime experience… what a choice opportunity.

Now let me tell you something special about all of this recognition stuff.  I have been around military, in one way or another, since I was eleven.  I know people that serve, their spouses, their kids, and even their grandkids.  There is something I have learned, over the years, and recently as I talk to veterans who use JibberJobber.

Veterans, in general, do not feel entitled to handouts, help, etc. They do not feel like we (people, stores, companies, restaurants, the government) needs to give them everything.  This is NOT about entitlement.

They do, however, want a chance to show who they are, and to be respected.  Not respected because they are veterans necessarily, but respected as human beings.

How can we, you and me, give them that chance?

When you see special deals and offers for veterans, please do not think that it is an entitlement thing.  What I’ve found is that they are sincerely gracious, but never expecting or demanding.

We can do our veterans a better service by giving them humane respect, and a chance.

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Friction and Communication in the Job Search

January 7th, 2014

I’ve been working with a young graphics artist to clean up JibberJobber.  We’ve been working on “cleaning up” JibberJobber for the last almost-eight years, since we went live.

The problem we have at JibberJobber is the same problem I see on LinkedIn profiles, and company websites.  It’s what I call distraction, or noise.  I have said that every single word, even every character, either adds to or takes away from the message.

Can you imagine if Nike made a mistake and spelled their name Nikee on a few pieces of marketing material?

That would be a huge distraction.  Of course, Nike is well-branded and we are going to forgive them.  We already know who they are, and we trust them (to make shoes that are pretty good). They’ll probably get some awesome PR (like they really need it… not).

You, my friend, are probably NOT well-enough branded to get the same goodness that a spelling error like that gives to a company like that.  I’m not well-enough branded, and neither is JibberJobber.  Distractions and noise for regular people and small companies cause what I call friction.

Marketing friction causes discomfort, confusion and pain right away. The trust level plummets.  The thought is “if they can’t spell a word right, can I trust them with my information, especially my credit card?”  One little typo, or a grammar mistake, can cause this friction.

You’ve heard that your resume should have no spelling errors, right?  Any little spelling error can make an OCD reviewer gag and want to switch careers.  They can’t fathom anyone being so classless as to have an error on their resume. They take that one little error and disqualify you. The more OCD reviewers might disqualify you for life :p.  Regular, kind and even forgiving people might not disqualify you right away.  They might be able to read past a typo or two and understand what your career has been, and what they might get from you if they hire you.

I wouldn’t gamble my future on which type of reviewer is going to see my resume.

The resume error is one example of creating friction in our communication.  Friction also comes from the way we look, the way we dress, our accent, our punctuality, our body language, the grammar or words we choose, etc.  Friction can also come from anything the person we’re talking to might use to discriminate – race, age, religion, etc.

I’m not saying you have to become a vanilla, boring, mainstream person.  What I’m saying is that mistakes in communication can be “the problem.”

I used to work with a software developer who is brilliant.  He was the go-to guy that all of the other developers would get help from when they were stuck.  He understood computer stuff, whether it was hardware, software, networking, PCs, servers, etc. like no one else I have known.  But the guy couldn’t spell very well.  If he didn’t have someone proof his resume I’m sure it would have ended up in the trash bin, because there would be multiple spelling errors.

Isn’t it sad that people can’t get past certain criteria to see the brilliance of who we are? It’s the world we live in.

Here is the take-away from this post: What can YOU do to decrease the friction you may be introducing in your communication with others?

 

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Understanding the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems)

November 7th, 2013

There is a lot of buzz about how to get your resume through an ATS (aka: applicant tracking system).  An ATS is to a recruiter what JibberJobber is to a job seeker.  It is a tracking system.

Before I go on, if you don’t think you need JibberJobber to keep track of your job search, realize that HR and recruiters are using some kind of ATS or tracking system to keep track of you.  Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight – get on JibberJobber!

So here’s a great article on ATS systems: Ensuring Your Résumé Avoids Applicant Tracking System Pitfalls

In yesterday’s Ask The Expert call with The Recruiting Animal, Animal said he doesn’t use an ATS, and that is really something that internal recruiters are going to use.  In other words, getting your resume through an ATS is not going to be an issue for ALL recruiters.

Check out Arnie’s article:)

 

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Awesome, Empowering Thought from Leah Harris

September 23rd, 2013

leah_harris_headshotI saw this article on my local news website a while back.  It tells a little about a keynote speaker, Leah Harris, at a conference of professionals that was sponsored by the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

The article is short and interesting.  But this one paragraph JUMPED out at me:

After years of considering her life in terms of her diagnoses of borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and suicide attempts, Harris said she realized there was tremendous power in redefining herself as someone who had dreams and ambitions.

I absolutely loved this.  She has titles that easily categorize and group and define her: borderline, OCD, suicidal (or, having been suicidal).  But her empowerment came when “she realized there was tremendous power in redefining herself as someone who had dreams and ambitions.

I love, love, love this!

In 2008 I wrote a blog post titled I Lost More Than My Job 2 Years Ago, where I talk about losing my identity, which I had encapsulated in my little professional job title, printed on my business card.

Losing a job title makes you a nobody, kind of.  At least, if you’ve been using a title to define yourself for many years, like Leah talks about, losing that title, or switching it to “unemployed,” can be very debilitating.

I tell people that I eventually lost hope, but one day I got my hope back.  It was when I came up with the idea for JibberJobber.  It was when I found dreams and ambitions!

When you lose sight of who you are because you listen to titles and stereotypes that try and define who you are (that’s profound, reread that), step back and REDEFINE YOURSELF as someone who has DREAMS and AMBITIONS!

This is so empowering!  Please share this with someone who needs to hear it!

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Who are the Villains in your Job Search?

June 24th, 2013

Last week I went to a writing conference to expand my skills as a writer.  The conference was full of aspiring novel authors. I was easily twice the age of everyone else in the room.  The first session (which was fabulous) was all about THE VILLAIN!  What makes a good villain, what kinds of villains are there (there are a bunch!), how do villains act, how does the author resolve the villain, what is the purpose of the villain, etc.

As the instructor was talking about villains I began to wonder who the villains were in my job search.  Who were the people, and what were the things, that kept me from getting out of my status as “unemployed.”  I would love to know who YOU think your villains are… here were some of mine:

Myself.  Not going to hide this one. I was not prepared for a real job search. I had been working and preparing to be a professional manager, strategist, technologist, not a networking, interviewing, job seeker.  I treated my job search like a wound that should be healed instead of thinking about career management as a way of life for the future.  I got in my way many times.

Job Boards.  They stole time from me.  I felt productive and felt like I was playing the numbers game.  There is no numbers game.  You don’t have to get through 1,000 applications to get a yes.  You have to get the right info to the right people to get an interview.

Recruiters.  All but one lied to me.  They took my resume, smiled (or replied “thank you,”) and planned to do NOTHING with the resume.  They didn’t tell me I shouldn’t even approach recruiters hoping they would find me a job.  Finally, one recruiter said “you’ll find a job for yourself before I find a job for you.”  And that helped me understand the role of recruiters in my job search, which was dramatically different than what I thought the role was.

HR.  How can you make a list of job search villains without including HR?  I find HR to be distracted, unempowered, unknowledgeable (especially with indepth job openings, like programmers), and not fun to talk to at all.  They are gatekeepers and their job is to keep you out.  Everyone, including HR professionals, tell you to AVOID HR in your job search.

Interviewers. I found interviewers to be highly unsophisticated (read: not trained in interviewing), or apathetic, or rude and pompous.  The worst interview I had was buy an ex-microsoft guy who was working at a startup who acted like he owned the entire world.  I needed the job, thought it would be great to get mentored under someone of his experience, but he led me on through various lies and finally emailed me that they had hired someone else (which was a lie).  This guy was a creep and I was too wounded to know that I should have run away.  Instead, I let it hurt me more and I went to a dark place for a while after that experience.

Alright, enough about my problems… WHO or WHAT are the villains in your job search today?  And how will you resolve them?

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Julie Walraven on Age Discrimination vs. Poor Job Search Strategy

May 23rd, 2013

Hands down the biggest issue I hear about from around the world is age discrimination.

Sometimes, though, your age is the least of your problems.

Julie Walraven wrote Is It Age Discrimination Or Your Job Search Strategies?

Go read it.  If age is your problem, read the post carefully.

Age discrimination is real. It is out there.  BUT, someone who will discriminate based on age will also discriminate on other things, including height, weight, color, religion, race, number of teeth, how you smile, etc.  You just can’t win with everyone.

Maybe you need to focus more on strategies and tactics, and mastering those, rather than blaming your age.

I know Tim and Dick and Nick and many other job seeker advocates would agree.  Don’t throw in the towel and admit defeat because you are old (whether that is 40 or 60 or 70 or 80).  Focus on what you CAN influence and change!

Read Julie’s post here.

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Nick Corcodilos on old people in the job search

May 14th, 2013

Old being 50.

I know, I know.  That’s not old.

But it is old enough to have discrimination.

Read what Nick says here: Over The Hill At 50?

Nick was recently an expert on my Ask The Expert webinar.  You can find his video in the Ask The Expert archive.

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Affirmative Action and Diversity Recruiting a la Recruiting Animal #discrimination

May 2nd, 2013

I like the Recruiting Animal.  A lot of people find him offensive but he brings out real issues and doesn’t let you hide behind rhetoric.  You can hear his show on Wednesdays.

Here’s something he wrote on Facebook earlier this month (I’m posting with his permission):

Yesterday, on The Recruiting Animal Show my guest was Chris Fields.

He wrote a blog posting in which he declared: “We all know that diversity helps make everything better.”

I challenged him on this. How is a Greek programmer better than an Italian programmer? How is a woman programmer better than a man?

What about a Dutch accountant? Better than a Russian accountant?

He hadn’t thought the issue through and all he could say was, “The teams I’ve worked on have always been better when they were diverse. I don’t want to work on a team full of me.”

But, in fact, he also said that people are naturally attracted to people like themselves. That’s why every minority needs affirmative action.

Because most of the hiring managers are going to be from the majority population and they are naturally going to favour people like themselves. Inotherwords, everyone in the world is, by nature, averse to diversity.

So, if people like people like themselves, how can teams be better when they are diverse? Chris didn’t tell us that either. He wants to come back on the show. And maybe he’ll have answers then.

When Ed Newman was a guest (here’s a less-than-three-minute clip), he said that diversity programs are just to prevent the standard bias in hiring. But they don’t promote innovation through the hiring of diverse thinkers.

There are a lot of things to hate about affirmative action, whether you are a minority or not.

It is an ingrained part of HR and hiring… so for now, how do you get around any decisions based on discriminatory hiring and focus on talents, skills, deliverables, etc?

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Is Your Tooth A Little Crooked (and other first impressions)

April 4th, 2013

Yesterday someone deleted their JibberJobber account and said that JibberJobber was “really dated.”

I emailed the person back asking for more information, hoping that it wasn’t because of the layout and colors (less than a year ago we redid the layout), but I knew it is impossible to please everyone.

He said he only spend 15 minutes on JibberJobber, and found links to Monster and articles that were 5+ years old.

I wondered what he was talking about, and where he saw a link recommending Monster.  As you know, I’m not a big fan of job boards in a job search strategy.  On the Ask the Expert call this week Nick Corcodilos shared that Monster accounted for about 1.3% of jobs found, but companies spent more than $1B on it.  And I’m sure job seekers spend way more than 1.3% of their time on Monster.  I only promote Monster as a place to do “competitive intelligence research,” not as a place to waste time getting sucked into the resume black hole.

Where did he find a link promoting Monster??

Finally, we figured it out.  In the user-curated Library.  This is where JibberJobber users share links, books and articles that they have found useful in their job search.  Monster was at the top of the “job board” category, which is at the top of the Links page.

And that was it.  This person, who has a decent title at a huge company, judged JibberJobber and said it is dated, because there is a link to Monster.

Again, we can’t please everyone.  Earlier that day I was on the weekly user webinar and I got a lot of very positive feedback about JibberJobber, the job search organizer.

Look folks, I’m not in the business of providing links to you to Monster and Craigs List.  I figure you are an adult and you can find all the links you want.  We put the library in for job seekers to share gems they find online.  When I was in my job search I think 90% of the advice articles where garbage.  But if I found a gem (here’s one that is in the library: How to Write a Strong Value Proposition (by Jill Konrath)), I wanted to save it for me and share it with others.

If you judge JibberJobber by what others put in there… I can’t really help you.

This morning I’ve spent time cleaning out the library.  That means deleting useless junk, and adding descriptions to good stuff.

Here’s why I am sharing this with you.  You will have people JUDGE you based on completely trivial, non-important, irrelevant things.

Like what?

When I was a hiring manager I judged on (I’m not saying it was right to do this, but I think it is human nature.  If you think less of me, sorry.  But I guarantee others are judging you on the same, or similar):

Hair style. The girl who had the biggest hair I’ve seen in an interview… her hair was such a distraction (and the thing I remembered most) that, well, she didn’t get the job.  But she did make it into this blog post!

Short skirts. I don’t know if this girl thought a short skirt would be a benefit to her interview but the entire time my mind kept thinking one thing: SHE WON’T FIT INTO THIS COMPANY CULTURE.  It was a conservative company, and her skirt was too short when she was standing (much less when she was sitting).  Do I remember her interview responses?  No, and that obviously didn’t matter.  She didn’t make the short-list.

The suit. I remember interviewing a dozen university students for three internship positions.  ONE person wore a suit.  The rest didn’t take the time to dress up enough.  What should have been normal (dressing up) really stood out and made a favorable impression.

There are other things like choice of words, chewing gum and stuff I’m sure they didn’t think about when they were preparing for the interview.

But they got JUDGED on those things.

Here’s the truth: I was looking for someone who would make me look awesome.  Someone who would do a great job, fit into the company culture, be fun to work with and have around, and not be an embarrassment (in other words, someone we didn’t have to keep in a back room, away from the front desk where visitors might see him/her).

As an interviewer, I’m the JUDGE.  And a JUDGE makes JUDGEMENTS.  The judgement could be on your answer and how clever or experienced you are, but it usually can’t get there until the other things (big hair, gum smacking, choice of language, clothes) are non-issues.

I’m kind of sad that one person decided not to use JibberJobber because the Library (a very, very minor part of JibberJobber – I don’t even show that on the user webinar!) had a link to Monster.

But he was the judge.

Be careful, my friends, to not let something in your appearance or brand or first impression be “the monster” that keeps you from going to the next step in the process.

(Monster is now deleted from my Library :) )

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Why Discrimination Won’t End: Stupid Article about Social Media Manager Age Limit

December 18th, 2012

I don’t want to focus on this ridiculous article: Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25, or the 600+ comments on the article, most of them probably blasting the author.

I want to focus on a reality and truth:

YOU are being discriminated against.  Period.

As long as there are articles like this (and the many thousands of people who think like the author, but don’t have a platform or the time or guts to write about it), discrimination will exist.

I think this article had a backfire effect, which is to show young recent-grads as entitled, out-of-touch, and having poor judgement skills.

How do you defeat discrimination?  You can call for legislation (yeah, that will work – not), or you can figure out how to deal with it.

How do you communicate that the reason you are being discriminated against is not a liability?  Head-on and tactfully.

How do you do it? This is not a pink elephant… this is front-and-center, and probably the biggest concern my audiences across the U.S. worry about.

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