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.
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!
The monthly Ask The Experts calls were some of the funnest interviews I’ve done since I started JibberJobber. Below is a list of past interviews – I know there is an overabundance of information coming your way, but I strongly suggest you add these recordings to your schedule. There are a ton of great ideas, suggestions and perspectives that can help you in job search and career management.
My question to you is: WHO do you think I should interview next?
It’s time to start up the next round… and I want to hear from YOU who I should invite to be on the show. Leave a comment with names and the “why,” or shoot me an email (which is on the Contact Us page (or just use the Contact Us form)) with suggestions.
I’m reading David Bradford’s book Up Your Game, and on page 41 he talks about using a contact manager.
David is the consummate networker who has also had a terrific career. He’s a grandpa living in Utah and just recently was the CEO of HireVue, and before that, CEO of the amazing Fusion-IO. He is active on social media and has a big, giving heart.
Back to the “contact manager” concept. In the olden days (well, actually, even today) most people had not heard of a “contact manager.” Everyone had heard of a Roladex, which is an old-fashioned device that sat on your desk, and allowed you to quickly flip through cards that had your contacts’ information on them so you could find their phone number and call them. Here’s a modern-looking roladex (image courtesy wikipedia):
According to what I’ve found online, ACT! was the first digital contact manager – that is, a contact manager on a computer. It was 1986 (where were YOU in 1986??) and ACT! would be the first of hundreds. There were a few others that you probably haven’t heard of, the one I briefly used was Goldmine. Today you have likely heard of the massive $5B/annual company Salesforce.com. Perhaps there are thousands of CRM systems now.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management… and this software has mostly been designed for sales professionals. Some of them LOVE the software, and live-and-die on CRM, and others abhor CRM (because they are people people, and not software nerds).
The Roladex, and the little black book of contacts, were for anyone trying to keep track of their friend/family, etc.
CRM was really mostly for salespeople. Who else would pay that much for software that was that hard to use, when all you really wanted was a place to write down a phone number?
When David wrote about using a “contact manager” in his book, I got excited. He is not using it as a sales professional, he’s using it as a real contact manager! He’s using it to keep track of who is is meeting, what their important phone information is, when he communicates with them, and when he needs to follow-up.
Let me break that down, and make this a “how to” post. This is more of a “how to get value out of a contact manager” than how to use any bells and whistles. And just for fun, I’m going to use “JibberJobber” instead of “contact manager.”
First, store your contacts in JibberJobber.
You can store all of them, but you don’t need to. Don’t get stressed that one system (perhaps your email contact list) has contacts that are not in JibberJobber, or that LinkedIn doesn’t have all of the same contacts as you have in JibberJobber. Recognize that these are different systems with different purposes. The purpose of your contact manager (JibberJobber) is not to have the contacts everwhere else, but to serve as a central repository of IMPORTANT contacts that you are, can or want to nurture. If someone comes into your life through LinkedIn, eventually they’ll probably end up in JibberJobber.
Second, record information about those contacts.
When you first enter a contact, you likely won’t have all of the information you could put in about them. I usually start with just the first name, last name, and email address. As my relationship progresses, or as we exchange more and more emails, I will find out other information, like a work address or phone number, which might be in their official work email. Just collect this information as you get it, and gradually enter it into JibberJobber. Don’t stress about not having it to begin with…
Third, record important communication as “log entries.”
When you reach out to someone, or respond to them, log it into JibberJobber. I don’t do this all the time, but as I’m starting a relationship I’ll log any communication just to put a timeframe around how fast or slow our relationship is forming. Once I have a strong relationship with someone, I find myself logging communications less, but the quality of what I’m logging increases. For example, we meet at a networking event and I send you an email. I’ll log that email, even though it’s not going to have anything more substantial than “nice to meet you – let’s get on a call next week.” A few years later I’m not going to log every email we exchange, but if there is something big, or important, then I’ll log that. Don’t beat yourself up for not logging everything… you’ll get used to what you really want to track and what you don’t need to.
Fourth, indicate when you need to follow-up with your contacts.
This might be one of the hardest things to do, and track, for people who are starting to get serious about networking. Why? Because the more you network, the more follow-up you can do! And it feels rotten to meet people, start a relationship, and then forget when to follow-up, or who they were, or why you should follow-up, etc. In JibberJobber, you’ll create “action items,” which is basically a due date on a log entry. You can even create recurring action items, which means you can say “Ping Johnny every quarter,” to help you nurture relationships over the long-term.
Keith Ferrazzi says that if you want to be better than 95% of your competition, all you have to do is follow-up. We know this, but there’s a reason why 95 out of 100 people don’t do it: it’s hard to manage!
Let JibberJobber be your contact manager and your follow-up tool.
The focus is not on sales, rather on relationships.
Are you ready to get serious about this yet? Jump on a User Orientation webinar, and let’s start by taking baby steps together.
Last week I was doing a LinkedIn consultation with a professional who had taken time (a couple of years?) off to care for her father. She has had a fantastic, awesome career, but didn’t know how to explain her years off. She asked me how to explain this, and I reached out to career professionals in the Career Directors LinkedIn Group for advice. The experience these professionals have is broad and deep, which is why I like getting input from different professionals. Below is what I learned. I hope this can help you if you are in this situation:
Hi Jason – I would also use a sabbatical statement such as the ones Don provided. I also might just insert a statement such as:
“Took two-year leave to serve as caretaker for parent. Stayed current on industry trends and learning to remain fully prepared for next corporate challenge.”
Employers want to know that your knowledge is up-to-date as far as their needs, and that your skills aren’t rusty. There are plenty of free online courses to help even those very immersed in their caretaker roles.
Jason — I don’t think it requires a big explanation. I would either put “Family sabbatical,” “Personal Sabbatical” or “Professional Sabbatical” without adding anything else in either resume or cover letter. It just accounts for the time. And I only use years, not months/years.
There are millions and millions of Baby Boomers taking care of parents (myself included). And over the past several years I have worked with many people who have relocated, quit their jobs or took part-time work to handle what their parents need.
It is very common now and nothing your client should be nervous about. You never know that maybe the person reading would have given their eye teeth to be able to take time off work rather than feeling guilty that their job was keeping them from doing it..
I moved my mother with Alzheimer’s into assisted living in January. I was at part-time work until about the end of July because none of her affairs were in order. And I’m still dealing with two attorneys, etc. even though I’m close to full time work now. I would have had to quit a corporate job.
But in the first half of the year there was absolutely no way I could have been doing anything related to my work for keeping up with my industry or anything else. I was up to 3 am, 5 am and more trying to sell my mother’s home and everything else. I would not have been able to even think about online coursework because it frankly was not my top priority and I was exhausted.
And I wouldn’t include “fully resolved” because I think it then puts the reader in a slightly awkward position of assuming that mom or dad actually died.
Jason, I try to be as straightforward as possible, composing a quote based on the client’s circumstance. Also, I usually refer to it as a “professional leave” or “career break” because I feel the word “sabbatical” has some nuances that don’t necessarily apply to every situation.
I place the quote under the Professional Experience heading.
2012 to Oct. 2014: “I took a professional leave to attend to my terminally ill brother; following his passing, I engaged in a variety of professional development opportunities to maintain credentials and volunteer roles to keep abreast of industry trends.”
You get the gist. It may be wordy and it may be slightly shocking, but on the other hand, it leaves nothing to the imagination of the reader. Plus, the dates will (ideally) be captured by ATS.
Thanks to Don, Mary, Irene and Christine for sharing their thoughts – if you have a different idea, please share it in the comments below!
The good thing about most JibberJobber users is that they have already “ditched” their job…. so that part is taken care of And they are intensely focused on finding a career… let’s join the webinar tonight to make sure we are doing the right things so the career we are chasing is one we’ll love!
I get Liz Handlin’s newsletter. She gave me permission to post this from her newsletter… I thought it was interesting. Liz says these are her questions and his answers over coffee (learn more about Jeff Browning here):
Liz says “Jeff may see more resumes than any other recruiter in Texas so his perspective on what a resume should say and how it should look is crucial information for job seekers.”
A relationship management tool. Not JibberJobber, because JibberJobber is not optimized for what they need to do (many people in the office accessing records, people “owning” a contact, or even one conversation, etc.).
And job seekers shouldn’t use a normal CRM because it is not optimized for a job seeker. It’s probably 80 to 90% good enough, but there are things that job seekers need to do that CRM doesn’t address. And most job seekers don’t need the sales pipeline stuff that is forefront of most CRM tools.
My point is, though, that if you want to WIN, and crush the competition (well, VCs want to do that, I’m not saying you want to CRUSH anyone), you need to be more serious and purposeful about your networking, tracking, follow-up, etc.
Check out this part, under the subtitle: It’s all about the ecosystem
Manage relationships. MANAGE RELATIONSHIPS! It is an astonishingly simple idea, isn’t it? Job seekers do it on the band-aid called Excel… which eventually gets ripped off and thrown away (and all of that great information is lost!).
I want to empower YOU to disrupt your job search by using this astonishingly simple idea, which is handed to you on a silver platter called JibberJobber.
Are you serious about your job search?
Are you serious about your career?
Then get serious about JibberJobber, which is the tool to use from now until the end of your career, to help you manage relationships.
Read the article for more inspiration… and get on a webinar to learn how to use JibberJobber better. It is time!