“Outsourcing the job of job search may feel calm, as you are head-down, performing the assigned tasks. However, this method of career management can derail you–and your career–if not kept in check. You must commandeer your own job search. Strategically enlist people, tools and processes to help arrive at your personally prescribed destination …”
Yes, you can outsource it. But don’t do it blindly. Don’t stay hands-off.
And when she says “strategically enlist tools,” let me recommend JibberJobber as THE tool to help you organize and manage your job search.
You may not be military-trained, but that shouldn’t stop you from understanding and following the 10 steps. This is more than a cute article with some cute ideas… I strongly urge you to follow each of the steps, in order.
Except, of course, Step 5, which says to use a spreadsheet for your contacts. Obviously you would use JibberJobber. You can start with a spreadsheet, but as you network more you’ll find the spreadsheet becomes a rats nest of information, and soon it becomes unusable.
This is a list worth being on… JibberJobber has been on many lists over the last 10 years, but some of those lists that say they are “here are the best” are really “here are all of the sites we could find”… being on a list made up by someone who is just trying to list everything out there was not flattering.
This list is different. Hannah Morgan, The Career Sherpa, put together 43 Best Job Search Websites 2016, and included JibberJobber. Hannah is a career practitioner, subject matter expert, and a thought leader. To have her vet and include JibberJobber is meaningful.
I’ve been on the phone with recruiters lately, and one of them really made me think differently about job descriptions.
Actually, I have already thought differently about job descriptions (my thoughts: they stink)… he helped me understand what they should be. And then I read this post from 2010 on Ask The Headhunter, by Nick Corcodilos: Now THIS is a job description.
You know what? It’s not a job description. I don’t get a detailed idea of what I’d do in that job. But I do get a great idea of what it would like to be to work there, and with that team, and by the end of what Nick was talking about I’m thinking I HAVE TO WORK HERE!
Not really, because I’m busy running JibberJobber, but I seriously was thinking how freaking cool it would be to work there.
My head is in job descriptions, and how to make them better for job seekers, which should make the hiring process just a little smoother for everyone. We’ll see if anyone out there trying to do this gets traction. Nick’s post is 5 years old… and I haven’t seen anyone do anything as cool as Joey’s.
You might feel like you have made some pretty big mistakes, too. And, it’s okay. You can recover.
Last year I was camping with some friends, one of which is a specialty pharmacist. His specialty is working with emergency room and NICU doctors. Talk about high-stress, fast-paced! I asked him what he has seen in his job that has amazed him the most about medicine, or the human body. After a minute to reflect, he replied:
“I’m amazed at the body’s ability to heal itself.”
This, coming from someone who has seen people coming back from near-death trauma.
Our careers can actually heal, too. As a job seeker we feel like we are getting a black eye, or have introduced something that is irreparably harmful. It will forever impact our brand, reputation, or marketability. In reality, though, our careers can heal. We can heal.
Just stick with it, continue to do good things, and this will pass like water under a bridge. I know it might not feel like that now, but it can later.
Nine and a half years ago I lost my job. The emotions are so intense that I can recall them as if it were just yesterday. Some things are hard to forget.
I was fairly new in this town, not knowing many people, and feeling quite lost and unsupported. Other people had either grown up around here and had friends from high school who were now in a position to help them network… I didn’t have that. And some people had professional services that their ex-company bought for them, commonly known as “outplacement.” My company would never, ever have paid for outplacement.
So, where do you turn for help, when it seems there is not help for an out of work person with no money to spend? Here are some ideas:
Job Clubs and Job Ministries
Have you ever heard of job clubs, or job ministries? This is one of the greatest secrets in our local communities that should be our first stop. Many (not all) communities have them. If yours doesn’t, look for the nearest one. It might make sense to drive an hour or two to go to one. The value you get out of attending a job club or job ministry goes beyond just sitting in a chair and learning for a speaker. Networking with other job seekers was one of the most important things I did in my job search. Partly because job seekers are well-networked, and partly because I learned that (a) I wasn’t the only one in this pathetic situation, and (b) there were people more qualified and awesome than I was, and they were in transition too (which means, I could stop thinking I was broken, or at fault). Also, at these job clubs, you’ll find volunteers who have been there for years, sometimes decades, who are well-versed in all-things-job-search, and they can help you avoid the inevitable pitfalls you would otherwise fall into.
I have spoken to groups at job clubs over the years and job clubs will always hold a special place in my heart.
Check the state resources
When I went to my local workforce services office, I knew it wasn’t for me. I walked in, they didn’t quite know what to do with someone with my education and skills, and looking for the level of job I was looking for… they sat me down at an old computer from the 1800’s, with a 14 inch monitor that was almost impossible to use, and asked me to do something (I can’t remember… work on a resume, fill out a form… whatever it was, it was a useless cookie-cutter exercise). The services seemed to be geared at entry-level positions, and the staff was accustomed to working with people who were chronically unemployed, hoping they could get an entry level job. Classes on grooming, showing up on time, etc. were not what I needed. I hope that has changed in my state…
But what I’ve seen in other states is mind-boggling. In California the EDD is amazing. I’ve spoken at various EDD events and they are well-attended by higher level professionals who are anxious to network and help others. In Minnesota the state money went to private parties that created environments that reminded me of outplacement offices in Class A facilities (that is, expensive buildings). They were clearly geared towards executives and professionals in transition. In Maryland the state’s Professional Outplacement Assistance Center is amazing, offering excellent job search training and help that you would expect from any for-profit outplacement company… all for free to state residents.
Give your state offices a chance… you might be surprised to know they have services that fit your needs (better than they fit mine, almost 10 years ago).
University career center
One of my programming professors would tell us to never go to the career center. They were a waste of time, not effective, and didn’t even know how to help people going into the IT. Unfortunately, that colored how I would think of career centers. When I lost my job they weren’t even on my radar. Finally, though, someone suggested I reach out to them. Unfortunately, they weren’t really designed to help someone like me who had been in a professional capacity for a while. HOWEVER, I’ve spoken at a few universities since then, working with career services, and I’ve seen some great programs and counselors and directors who are awesome.
Not all schools have resources that will or can help you, and sometimes they charge a small fee for alumni who have been gone from the school for a certain period, but it’s worth a phone call to see if they can be a resource to you.
If they can’t help you, call your alma mater’s alumni office… sometimes they offer career services that the career center doesn’t know about (because a lot of career centers focus on helping their undergrads and new grads).
Find one person who can be your accountability partner
Of utmost importance to any job seeker is a weekly accountability partner. This is someone, typically NOT YOUR SPOUSE, who you will meet with once a week and report on what you have done, and what you will do the following week. I can’t emphasize how important this is, even for self-motivated individuals! Just knowing that you’ll have to sit down with someone, look them in the eye, and say “no, um, I didn’t do all those things… I got caught up finishing a game of Sudoku on Tuesday that went a couple of hours longer than it should have…” or “I haven’t called that person yet” thinking (I’m too afraid – they might say… NO! to me). An accountability coach should help you (a) do what you think you should do, and just as important (b) make sure you aren’t implementing ineffective job search tactics (which is what I spent way too much time doing in my job search).
Who can do this? Perhaps someone you met at a job club. Perhaps someone you met at church. Perhaps someone who lives by you. Maybe it’s a brother, cousin, nephew, or a current or past mentor. You are simply looking for someone who will spend 20 to 30 minutes with you once a week (it can even be on the phone), who will ask you the hard questions (“WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THAT THING?”), and help keep you on task. INVALUABLE.
Get some money from family or friends to hire a coach and a resume writer
Finally, even if you don’t have any money, don’t discount the idea of hiring someone to help you, even if it means you borrow money from family or friends. There are some very affordable, very good coaches and resume writers who can make sure you are doing the right things. The reason I love good coaches and resume writers is because they are in the trenches with their clients, and they have been-there, done-that, and know how to best help you make progress. If I would have found a thousand bucks to find a good coach and a resume writer I would have been pointed in the right direction, not wasted months and months poking around trying to make up my own systems, etc. I know a thousand bucks seems like a lot of money when you don’t know how you’ll pay rent in three months from now… but a coach could make the difference between having a job within those three months, or continuing to spin your wheels and growing more and more hopeless.
What do you think? Good ideas? Have you exhausted them? What other resources have I missed?
A few years ago I found myself jet-setting around the U.S., speaking at job clubs, universities, non-profits, etc. I thought my message was sharing (a) strategies and (b) tactics to help you take control of your career.
Susan Joyce (brilliant owner of Job-Hunt.org) was at a a presentation in Massachusetts and said “your next book should be titled On Purpose Branding” (or perhaps Purposeful Branding), since that was a big part of my presentation.
I love hearing what others think my message is, because it helps me clarify what I want my message to be. After Susan gave me this feedback I found myself using on purpose and purposeful a lot more. I find myself thinking about doing things on purpose, instead of letting them happen to me.
Going to college, without any idea why, and choosing an easy major, might be a good example of letting things just happen to you.
Getting a job that is comfortable, but doesn’t provide you with a career path, or even a good income, is an example of letting things just happen to you.
Doing a job search without a smart strategy for 2015, but spending more time on job boards and reading blogs and playing online sudoku, is an example of not being purposeful.
Fake networking, the kind that is painful and doesn’t get you anywhere, just to turn in metrics at the end of the day or week (“I talked to three people today!”), is an example of letting things happen to you.
Purposeful, on the other hand, is knowing what you are after, and doing what it takes to OWN the results.
Instead of “there are too many things out of my control, so there’s really nothing I can do,” you say to yourself “Today I’m going to do A, B, and C, and that will help me get what I need to get! I can do this!”
Purposeful actions show that you still hope. You hope there is a better future, you hope that what you do will have an impact, and you hope that you can make a difference in the world, or at least get back to paying all of your bills and having some fun money at the end of the month.
If your job search lacks hope, or is not purposeful, you better talk to someone. Mine lacked both, and all I did was spun my wheels and got deeper and deeper into a bad place.
I was reading an interview on TheJobInnerview.com with Lou Adler. Lou is well-known in the recruiting space. You can read his interview at the link… but here’s a snippet that caught my eye:
Okay, three things that are common in people that Lou, a hiring expert, hires:
Don’t mislead or fabricate
Good asker of solid and insightful questions.
Seriously, of all of the attributes of successful hires, 1/3 of them is stating that the people DON’T LIE?
I get the other two… be confident, be smart… hm, maybe there were other things, like able to communicate their expertise, good hygiene, heck, even if he said they were all college-educated I wouldn’t be surprised.
But the fact that Lou felt like adding such a negative, horrible thing makes me wonder how prevalent this issue of lying (aka, misleading or fabricating) really is!
Seriously, if that is what we are coming to, we have issues.
Checklist for doing well in today’s interview:
__ Act confident (but not overly confident
__ Try really hard to not lie or embellish
__ Ask smart questions at the end
As Homer Simpson would say: “Doh!!”
All I know is I hope Lou’s experience, and response, isn’t influenced by anyone who uses JibberJobber! We’re smarter than that!