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What do you do with all the business cards?

August 26th, 2014

jennifer_armitstead_headshotI got a link to this post from Jennifer Armitstead’s daily newsletter with job search tips: What do I do after a networking event?

In her post, Jennifer suggests four steps (my comments after the bold):

1. Have a system for dealing with the business cards ASAP.  I think “system” means process…. whether you have technology (like JibberJobber) or not, you need to have a process.  My old process was to put a rubber band around the stack of business cards and put them in my desk…. not to be disturbed for months (when I coudln’t make heads or tails of any card).  I even had a CRM, but it wasn’t a part of my business card process.  What is your “system?”  I suggest it isn’t “hide them in a dark, cold place right away!”

2. Connect with each person on LinkedIn.  I’m on the fence on this one.  Typically, I say that you should be very careful of this being your “first” contact with them.  Obviously, to have gotten the card, you’ve already had a at least one communication. I think when you reach out after the event, though, you are almost starting over.  You should remind them who you are, and maybe what you talked about.  I think you can group your cards into two categories: (1) I don’t really care about this person, but I’m interested in connecting just to see who else I can meet through them, and (2) I really should nurture a relationship with this person.  I encourage you to focus your time on getting cards and having conversations with the #2 people!  Don’t waste too much time on #1 people!  Anyway, as long as you recognize that getting a LinkedIn connection is not the ultimate goal, go ahead and connect with people.  Too often, though, it becomes the final communication. Don’t let that happen.

3. Arrange follow-up meetings, where applicable.  Going back to my #1 person or #2 person, you should hope to have a lot of people you want to follow-up with.  For some this will be a phone call, for others it will be an email, or face-to-face… but start to stay in touch.  The concept of “nurturing a relationship” is that there are multiple touch-points… which means that your follow-up will not be a one-time thing in your relationship.  Start somewhere, and let it grow from there.  Even if you feel uncomfortable making that first phone call (we all do).

4. Add these contacts to your tickler system.  Tickler System must be Jennifer’s hidden code phrase for JibberJobber.  Add these people to JibberJobber.  JibberJobber is your tickler system.  I find it interesting that she says to add them to LinkedIn, which a lot of people think is their contact system, and then says to add them to your tickler system. This is because LinkedIn is NOT your tickler system.  It is a social network that has pros and cons.  A “tickler system” is your roladex… it has private information and notes that you enter and track.  When I was at the FBI they talked about “tickler” files.  This was something that would somehow remind you of something you needed to do later.  It “tickles” you.  I’m not going to beat a dead horse here, but you need to put enough contact info (first name, last name, email, perhaps company) into JibberJobber, and create an Action Item to follow-up with them next week, or each quarter, or whatever, so you can nurture the relationship.

Great tips from Jennifer – are you doing any of them?  Are you purposefully networking?

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Job Security and Career Management: Will This Ever End???

August 25th, 2014

Last week I shared an article on LinkedIn written by Mike Ballard titled Search Strategy – the landscape has changed for job seekers.  On the Job-Hunt group Bonnie made an interesting and appropriate comment:

Jason, it is sad because the process has no end. If one follows even a fraction of the job search advice and recommendations, it is truly a full time job with overtime.

It’s true – if you are in a transition, and are not working right now, then your job search should be a full-time job.  I got beat up on a radio show once by someone saying the average time a person spends on a job search, per week, is 10 hours.  If you have responsibilities (bills, spouse, kids, etc.) then 10 hours a week is not enough.  Especially if you are looking for a job that pays a lot (because it typically takes a long time to land those).

Bonnie continues, listing the things we’re “supposed” to do:

  • Get active on LI.
  • Participate in groups.
  • Research companies and people.
  • Follow leaders on social media.
  • Study about and write personalized resumes and cover letters.
  • Go to networking events.
  • Watch webinars.
  • Read and write blogs.
  • Get an About me page.
  • Google everything.

She listed things that I’ve heard over the last 8+ years… the “experts” will indeed claim you “have to” do these things.  That’s one of the problems with so many “experts.”  You’ll get advice that’s all over the place, and many of them say “you HAVE TO do this(, OR ELSE)!”

But we only have so much time.  Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses.  Some of us will gravitate towards research (quiet, peaceful, stressless) while a very small group of others will actually pick up the phone and network.  The extroverts will be fine to go to network meetings, others would rather stay in their pajamas, stay home and read and write blog posts.  What’s the answer?  What’s the best strategy?

I don’t know – I think it depends on YOU, your market, what you are looking for, etc.  There are too many variables to say that everyone must do the same things… you need to figure out what your job search strategy should look like, and determine what from “the list” from experts, you keep, and what you throw away.

For example, I would put a Twitter strategy at the bottom of the list of tactics for most people (unless you are in marketing, and even then it’s questionable).

I would suggest you don’t spend too much time reading blog posts, because that can take a lot of time, and get too comfortable.  Most people aren’t ready to start writing blog posts… they need to do a lot of other stuff first, before they write blog posts.

Just because an “expert” said you MUST do it doesn’t mean that you should spend time on it.  Figure out what is best for you to do, and what will get closer to landing a job, and spend your time there.

I wasted a LOT of time in my job search doing the wrong things.  Eventually I pulled back, evaluated tactics and paybacks, and regrouped.  Here’s a blog post outlining what I did wrong, and what I should have done: Job Search Tips: What I Should Have Done In The First 30 Days

Should you do it all?  NO!  Figure out your job search strategy, throw enough “me time” stuff in there to keep sane (like exercise, meditation, etc.), and take this step-by-step.  And quickly stop doing things that are a waste of time (or, that don’t get you closer to landing the job you want/need).

I know it’s overwhelming.  At some point, you have to turn the experts off and just start doing the right things to land your job.

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How To Get a Networking Introduction (insight from Hunter Walk)

August 18th, 2014

One of the bigger problems I see with job seekers is that they don’t know how to get networking introductions.

hunter_walk_investor

On LinkedIn, Hunter Walk wrote this article: Why Most VCs Won’t Intro You To Other VCs (Unless You Follow These Steps). He wrote it for entrepreneurs looking for money from VCs, but every single point he makes is something a job seeker should understand and internalize. In my own words (read his post here):

  1. Do your work upfront!  Too many job seekers have very vague requests for help. Most vague requests are about as helpful as this: “I’m looking for a job.”  Geesh!  Can you tell me ANYTHING about you, what you’re looking for, what you want to do, etc.?  I can’t help you if I don’t know if you want to be a lifeguard at the local rec center, or a CEO of a multi-national company!  When you do your homework, you’ll know how I might be able to help you… and you’ll be able to have a better conversation.    Ignore this at your own peril (or, extended job search).
  2. DO NOT name drop… without permission.  Hunter is kind of a big deal… and I’m sure has this happen all the time.  If someone didn’t say “tell them I sent you,” then DON’T TELL THEM THEY SENT YOU!  You can say “oh yeah, I know Jason…. I just read his blog post and ….”  But don’t say “Jason sent you.”  You will ruin your credibility and likely come across as a liar, perhaps ruining two relationships with one unfortunate white lie.
  3. Don’t ask your contact for too much.  If you want an introduction, make it super-easy for your contact to facilitate the introduction. This means you write something they could forward… why the introduction is happening, etc.  Make it easy for them to forward something without thinking too much.
  4. Follow-up with the person who made the introduction for you.  It’s critical that you do this, if you want to improve relationships and get more introductions.  When someone follows-up with me, no matter how good the meeting went (even if it didn’t happen), I can trust that the person I’m introducing will respect my contacts.  I want to help more.  If I don’t know what you are doing with my introductions, I am not inclined to give you more.
  5. Keep the person posted about what’s going on.  If you trust someone enough to ask for an introduction, and they trust you enough to do the introduction, why not keep them abreast of what’s going on, even outside of that introduction?  Keep them posted perhaps monthly or quarterly…. stay on their radar.  I wrote about this using a job seeker newsletter, which is a monthly email that I personally think every job seeker should have.

Too many people want to finish the job search and never, ever do it again.  But the truth is, we will do it again… regularly.  We need to figure out how to make this type of stuff be part of our DNA… how we work, how we communicate, etc.  Whether you are looking for a job, funding, or customers, this is basic communication and networking stuff we need to internalize.

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JibberJobber and Long Term Career Management

August 15th, 2014

On my Focus Friday call this morning, which was 10 minutes of focus and 20 minutes of awesome Q&A (thanks everyone!), Norm made this comment:

I noticed in your latest blog post that you focus on JibberJobber as ‘job search tool’ vs. ‘career management.’

I Think it’s important to let people know that it’s good for both (not just for when you’re job searching).  If you’re savvy, you should ALWAYS be thinking about your next job.

Yes, Norm is 1,000% right.  I’ve seen it over and over again.  The people who are secure in their job lose it.  The people who have recently found their dream job lose it.  The people who are in a job they don’t really like, but the money and benefits are too good, lose it.

A SVP in HR in a huge, huge company told me a few years ago that they try to impress upon everyone in their company something to this effect: “within four years you won’t be here anymore.”  Whether that is up to the company, or the employee, we need to start thinking about career management.

That’s why JibberJobber is such an important, critical part of the new normal with regard to your career.

Ready to get serious yet?  Join us on a webinar, or just Contact Us and let us know how we can help you get up and running.

If you are a career professional, let us know how we can help you, and let’s get on a one-on-0ne call.

what where
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JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). Free for life with an optional upgrade.

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The Real Hidden Job Market Exists: Valerie Gonyea’s Experience

July 29th, 2014

Valerie Gonyea is one of my favorite people… she recently posted this on Facebook:

valerie_gonyea_headshotSo, lemme tell ya a little story about the hidden job market. It does, in fact, exist. You just have to believe…and not in that airy fairy kinda way…more like in the clap-your-hands kinda way. Because it does take action on your part…you do have to reach out and network and ask and offer in return, etc.I can’t get into why (it doesn’t really matter), but I have chosen to move on from one of my clients. But before I did that, I wanted to be able to make up for the loss of billable hours. I reached out to only and exactly TWO people in my network. One of them talked to the CEO of the company about me and…whaddya know…the CEO and the CFO had just started to come to the conclusion that they needed some help. Someone exactly like me…and not full time…maybe just 1-2 days per week…which just so happens to be exactly the amount of time I was going to give up.

A VERY cool company, run by VERY cool people…everything is setup as online as possible. I am thrilled!

So, if you’re looking to move on someday, make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and a strong network infrastructure and then go WORK IT!

In the comment thread, she continued:

Oh, and another follow up to the story…instead of just following up with a normal thank you note, I followed up with a LinkedIn invitation thank you note…they both accepted…and it gave me the opportunity to bring them to my profile that had all of my recommendations on it :)

The hidden job market has been defined as job opportunities that exist but aren’t posted for the public to know about them.  In other words, once it’s online, or on a job board, it is not “hidden.” In this example, this opporunity came when “the CEO and the CFO had just started to come to the conclusion that they needed some help.”  Who knew about it?  NO ONE.  It was “hidden.”   No one could have known about it because the to CxOs had just started to come to the conclusion… this was far from being posted online, and far away from them going to a recruiter to find talent.

Valerie “tapped into the hidden job market” (which is what we all want to do) by, as she said, working it.  She reached out, and I’m sure she let the two people she reached out to know who she was (what kind of work she does) and what she was looking for.  She did it in a clear enough way that they could communicate that to their network… and it worked.

Will you talk to only and exactly two people?  Probably not… some people talk to two hundred plus people…. but talking is where it is at.  Valerie probably had NO competition in the decision-making phase… contrast that with the idea of being one of hundreds of resumes submitted online.

Think differently about where you spend your time.  This concept would have changed the way my job search went entirely.

 

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Never Going to be a Pathetic Job Seeker? On Food Stamps? Read This (and weep)

July 10th, 2014

darlena_cunha_headshotStop what you are doing and read this fantastic story: This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps

This was written by Darlena Cunha (blog, twitter).

It’s her story.  It’s kind of my story (sans Mercedes, but with plenty of humility), and the story of many others.  It can very easily be your story.

It’s a story of humiliation, reliance, and resilience.  On her very own blog she writes (about this story):

The lesson is: believe in yourself. Do your thing. Eventually, someone will see you. Eventually, the story will be told. Keep walking. Never stop.

You are worth it.

Yes, you are definitely worth it. Even if you have to be on food stamps, or otherwise ask for help.

Keep walking, never stop, and please be kind and gentle with those in need.

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A Real Curriculum for Career Management at the University Level

July 3rd, 2014

elliot_lasson_headshotCheck out this post by Elliot Lasson, Executive Director of JobLink of Maryland: How Common is Your Core?

Elliot makes great points about the education we get, what is required to graduate, and electives.  He says that students should HAVE TO go through a career course. I know this is required at some schools (who I’ve worked with), but it’s by no means required everywhere.  I would suggest that in too many classes it’s seen as a lame freshman course, with no meat (substance) and no teeth (or authority).

Check out the bottom of the post to see what Elliot suggests would be covered in the 16 weeks.  You might have better ideas (mine would be to focus more on long-term career management, not just immediate job search skills), but the main idea is that this should really happen.  It would have provided me more value than some of the other required classes I had to take to graduate.

Bonus: his other idea is the next required class would be for programming.  I think this is a really intriguing idea… ! What do you think?

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Get Useful Resume Feedback

June 26th, 2014

Nine times out of ten, when someone asks me to look at their resume, I’m assuming it’s because they want me to make an introduction, or help them find a job.  I don’t assume it’s because they really want my feedback on their resume.

Maybe you have truer intentions, and only want feedback on the resume, but the truth is, I’m not the person to give it to you.  My brain and resumes don’t mix very well.  They are too formal, with boundaries that I think are dumb.  I can point out glaring issues, but so can most people.  Why are you taking up my time (and potential help) by asking me for something that doesn’t make sense.

It’s like asking your neighbors to check your oil in your car.  You can do it, you can learn to do it, or you can find someone qualified to do it.  But you don’t ask all of your neighbors to check your oil, right?

If you really want my help with your job search, find out how I can help you, and then ask for that!  It might be networking, introductions, sitting down and giving you ideas, participating in a mock interview, or a host of other things.  But don’t let the first request be “will you look at my resume?”

Here’s a post I wrote about this last year: What do you do with a Killer Resume?

Here’s a recent post from Thea Kelley, a resume expert, titled How to Get Useful Resume Feedback

There comes a time when you have to stop hiding behind “I’m working on my resume” and realize you simply need to have the right conversations with the right people.  And you don’t need to use your resume to do that.

 

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Keyword Tips For Resumes (cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, etc.)

June 13th, 2014

chris_russell_headshotChris Russell is a job seeker’s advocate. I met him before I started JibberJobber, and in a way, he introduced JibberJobber to the world (in a blog interview he did back in 2006).

He has a great LinkedIn article/post titled Keyword Tips for Every Job Posting.

His first and last tips are my favorite… are you optimizing your marketing material so it is seen by others?

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How To Get A Job Without A Degree

June 2nd, 2014

Nick_corcodilos‘Tis the season for all the new graduates to finally hang up their backpack and enter the “real world.”  Either move back in with mom and dad (ugh) or prove your independence… and get a real job! Exciting times.

What about people who, for one reason or another, didn’t get a degree, and are competing against people with degrees?

Nick Corcodilos has a great post (Desperate: No degree, can’t get interviews!) about how to do this.  Read the question from his reader, then his answer, and then read the comments…

There is plenty of discrimination out there… not having a degree isn’t the end of the world (I know it seems like it).

Nick’s suggestion is not the “easy button,” but what is?  This stuff takes WORK!  Now, get to work…

what where
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