Ask The Experts: David Safeer

March 2nd, 2015

david_safeer_headshot_mediumDavid Safeer is not a career coach or career professional. He is a professional who started using JibberJobber a few years ago.  I’ve emailed him a number of times over the years and always found him to be really nice, and from his LinkedIn Profile, I can tell he is quite accomplished.

In this hour+ conversation, we talked about a bunch of things, and there were some big AHA! moments for me.  Here are some of my notes with times… enjoy!

0:00 — introduction

3:00 – who is David Safeer… his background and professional career
6:00 topic of branding, and rebranding… at a corporate and a personal level
8:20 personal rebranding: “it’s one of the mot difficult things that I have had to do…”
9:45 on getting laid off and shifting directions
10:30 on becoming a freelancer or business owner
12:20 the reality of entrepreneurship – it is freaking scary, and it is really hard!
13:20 pausing and figuring out what you really want to do (instead of panicking in the job search)
14:10 “I didn’t have the confidence in myself”… what should I charge, etc.
16:00 on starting his own business – a lot of work, thought, etc.
18:20 what happened to his company when the recession hit :(
19:45 during this process, he learned about JibberJobber (through a network contact)
20:30 on closing a business right, or wrong… and learning from it
22:00 the emotions of closing a business, starting a job search…. where was David at? “The toughest couple of years of my life, emotionally.”
24:10 – how to get through very difficult emotional times in the job search (value of a coach — this is awesome!)
25:00 is it worth it to hire a coach?  Especially when money is so tight?
25:30 BNI – networking groups… great advice
26:20 – “anyone who doesn’t know how to network, should learn how to!”
26:35 “Capital N Networker”
27:30 “I dont’ remember his name, but I’m going to get on JibberJobber and find him!”
27:50 Tree View “Absolutely amazing”
29:40 “networking forced me out of the house….”
29:45 what do you do at a one-to-one meeting?  Lunch…?  But then what?!
30:45 could you be a Capital N Networker?
31:40 having connections on LinkedIn vs having relationships with people and where he is at on the Quantity vs. Quality debate…
32:00 going to network meetings… are we being effective, or is this superficial??
33:30 network meetings – are they fun, or are they stressful?
35:30 his trick when entering a network meeting….
36:00 how I feel about networking at conferences… (you guys aren’t alone!)
36:30 when networking gets fun and rewarding
38:10 what is a third degree contact… and how is it different in JibberJobber than a social network?  And how and why this impacts the tree view.
39:50 figuring out who to thank for your clients, leads, etc.
40:30 how to thank people who introduced you to contacts
41:00 put BNI in as a contact, so he could track everyone he met through an organization (I would recommend using Tags for that instead of associating to a Company)
42:00 FASCINATING discussion of how to rank people based on (a) do you know people, and (b)  will you make those introductions— not for measuring personal relationships, or if they are a good person.  This is something he did about 18 months ago… “it was emotionally difficult to me to move someone down from a five star to a three).
43:40 “I had to network UP and ACROSS” – very cool and insightful “that’s when I started making real progress”
44:35 “you need to figure out who are the right people to network with”
45:20 he defines what a five star is (this is BRILLIANT!)
46:45 would you ever have lunch with a 2 star contact? Yes, absolutely… (find out why)
48:00 this new ranking system has “made a huge shift in my productivity”
48:15 using a “cookbook methodology” (or a system)
50:00 “having the RIGHT conversations with the RIGHT people.”
52:00 “it’s really tough to put a friend in a 1 or a 2″ but he’s using ranking not as “how strong is my relationship with that person”
57:00 are you using Email2Log?  Surprisingly, no.l  Why?  Listen here …
59:20 if your audience doesn’t “get it,” is it their fault or your fault?  Chastisement from my business coach
62:00ish final thoughts and advice
65:00 Functional Resume WOW!  Everyone says to stay away from functional resumes… but he says they are valuable!  This is really insightful!
66:20ish – is Functional Resume for everybody? Perhaps not… !
67:35 on finding target companies, and why that didn’t work for him (at an executive level)
68:15 “networking is by far the most effective way to do this”

 

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Sometimes, the grass really is greener

February 10th, 2015

Today I walked by my neighbor’s horses and thought “I gotta get my camera!”  I missed the shot, but the one below was good enough to show my point.  THE SHOT was when the black horse, which is in the background on the right, was looking at the brown horse enjoying his food.  It was an awesome contrast to see the brown one enjoying life, and the black one looking utterly bored on his no-greens side.

jibberjobber_blog_greener_grass

I talk to people all the time who wonder how green the grass is on the other side of the fence.  Sometimes it is, many times it isn’t.

Instead of focusing on that, though, let’s focus on the non-green side… the right side.  We’re not talking about jumping from greenish to super-green… in this situation we’re talking about the difference between bleak, scarce, horrible to life-sustaining.

Sometimes the opportunities are better, but looking at where we are, we’re discrediting ourselves.

Of course, there will be another field with greener grass… but sometimes the change you need to make IS definitely to the other pasture, where the grass is green enough.

Companies have already drawn defined loyalty for us… we don’t need to worry too much about crossing a company.  Heck, the person who feels crossed will likely not be there in three years…

As I have always said to my employees, you have to do what’s best for you and your family.  And sometimes that means leaving my field and going to something better.

* This doesn’t apply to my team right now – I want them to stay around for many more years :) :)

 

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20 Things To Do In A Job Search (or, I just lost my job!)

February 2nd, 2015

alison_doyle_headshotMy friend and sometimes neighbor Alison Doyle wrote a great post titled TOP 20 THINGS TO DO IF YOU LOSE YOUR JOB

As I was readying through Alison’s post I thought “this is like a mini book!”

Her list is a little different than my list (What I Should Have Done In The First 30 Days), but if I were to advise you on your new job search, I would have you print out her list and work on (or check off) every single thing she includes.

Click here to see her post, then print it off, and work on every single one of them!

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Kicking Off The New Year with Your Career (Video)

January 30th, 2015

A couple of years ago I was my own guest on my Ask The Expert call.  All of these are free.  You can watch this January 2013 recording below.  To see this full screen, simply click the little icon by the volume which will make it full screen.

AskTheExpert Jason Alba Jan2013 Vimeo from Jason Alba on Vimeo.

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JibberJobber Certification Course 1/2 done!

January 29th, 2015

This week we finished our third course for the JibberJobber certification program for career professionals.

If you are a career professional, you can still sign up.. all courses are being recorded, and you can listen/watch at your own pace.

The schedule is here.

The “why” is here.

It is my hope that career professionals who earn this certification can bring more value to their client relationships…!

If you are ready to move forward, you can pay here… in the description box, let me know it is for the career pro certification program.

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“I’m part of a mass layoff. What rights do I have?”

January 21st, 2015

I saw this Q&A on The Globe and Mail and thought I’d respond here.  Original article: I’m part of a mass layoff. What rights do I have?

What rights do you have?

You have the right to move on. I give you permission to move on.  Unless you are in a unique situation, a lawsuit is probably not going to get you anywhere, except a few thousands of dollars poorer, and hundreds of hours down the drain. I have no experience in this, it’s just what I’ve gathered over the years.

You have the right to move on. Don’t stew over how unjust it was that YOU got laid off.  Whether you were the rainmaker who made millions of dollars for the company in sales, or the brilliant R&D person who designed the product that made billions of dollars for the company, it’s over.  Your “agreement,” if you will, was that you would go to work, do stuff, and get paid to do it.  Unless you had ownership in the company, that’s really the extent of it.  Join the club of the many thousands (millions?) of people who made someone else rich and didn’t get more than a thank you printed on a pink piece of paper.

You have the right to move on.  Yes, your severance sucks (if you even have one). This is probably justified by how the company structures their finances/bankrupcy… if there is a mass layoff, it’s because there are problems.  Sometimes, even though they still have cash, they can structure things in such a way that lets them start over… but part of starting over is cutting things and people and contracts and vendors and debtors.  You just happen to be one of the things they don’t want around when they start over.  Looking for a piece of the action?  There is no action. Know of the fraud and deceit, and want to expose it?  Get a blog and write what you know.   But as far as getting a cash payout… it’s probably better to just move on.

You have the right to move on.  It’s time to take care of Numero Uno (which is YOU and your family/dependents).  For years you spent your time taking care of your company, your customers, your products, your domain/jurisdiction, and neglecting YOURSELF.  That’s what I did… and when I was out on my own I found I was a decrepit, neglected soul.  Actually, I was quite rich in relationships and life, but as far as my career health, I was chronically ill and ill-prepared.  It would take years of healing.  Start that healing now, and don’t ever neglect your career health again.

You have the right to move on. If you are a little older, you probably grew up thinking a “career” was this thing where you had maybe two or three jobs over a thirty or forty year span, and then retired at a fairly comfortable level, probably travelling a bit, enjoying the finer things of life, etc.  I need you to move on from this mentality.  Maybe those days will come back (some argue that the economic cycle will put us back at a point where companies do indeed value long-term employees), but for now we need to MOVE ON.  Think more about how you add value to any given industry, or a group of companies.  Think about what you can do so companies will say “I need you to solve this problem!”  And then realize that you solving a problem doesn’t constitute marrying the company… it is simply an engagement to solve the problem.  And then you will very likely be allowed (invited, asked, forced) to move on to the next problem at some other company.  What used to be Job Security, where the company had all the power, has shifted to what I call “income security,” where YOU have more control over what you do, how you prepare, where you go, how you bring income into your household, etc.  Shifting power to yourself vs. allowing others to have all power over your job/career/income is so freeing!

You have the right to move on.  Let me say that you can and maybe should whine and mope around for a little while… but not too long. Don’t let it get to toxic.  Put a limit on how long and how deep you go, and then allow yourself to move on.  That means that, for the most part, you stop the pity party and get to work.  Allow yourself to be human, but don’t wallow in destructive thinking or behavior.  You don’t have time to wallow.  You need to start working on YOU, your relationships, your branding, etc.

I’m no lawyer.  I’m no expert in what you are entitled to.  But having gone through this, and watching/helping people go through this over the last 9 years, I know a thing or two about what rights you have.

You have the right… to move on!  And not even look in the rear view mirror!

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Paul in Minnesota: 22 Levels Deep…!

December 5th, 2014

On this morning’s Focus Friday webinar I was astounded to read a comment from Paul in Minnesota about how many levels of connections he reached before he landed his job.

Some context: on many of my webinars, I’ve repeated one of the greatest things I learned in my own job search, which is that you find your job leads from your third and fourth degree contacts, not from your first and second degree contacts.  This is such a profound concept…. the idea that as we develop relationships with people, we continually ask for introductions.  More often than not, you won’t have your first or second degree contact. Unfortunately, the way LinkedIn works, they mess up how we track this.  But in JibberJobber we can track down to the nth degree.

Anyway, Paul wrote this comment on our webinar today, in response to talking about the free vs. premium levels of JibberJobber (note that we were talking about the email2log feature… which is premium, but the tracking to of referrals is in the free level):

“[The upgrade is] totally worth it.  I would say it’s the best investment for  your job search. I got down to 22 levels of contacts before I landed my position and JibberJobber was the tool that helped me keep track. (No way I could have done this on my own).

I’ve heard this type of gratitude for JibberJobber before… and I love hearing it (especially on a Friday, what a great way to end my work week :) ).  But what floored my was what Paul was doing: 22 Levels?

That is so awesome! That is how an effective job search is done!  Talk to people, ask for referrals, do informational interviews….!

Great job Paul! An inspiration to us all!

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Martin Yate: Build A Career Management Database From Your Social Networking Leads (stay organized)

December 3rd, 2014

martin_yate_headshotI recently read this article posted on LinkedIn by Martin Yate: IS YOUR USE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING FOR JOB SEARCH PRODUCTIVE?

In the article, Martin (who you may have heard of before – he has authored a number of best selling career books (in the Knock em Dead series)), has a section titled: Build A Career Management Database From Your Social Networking Leads

I want to share some of what he wrote, and my thoughts:

>> Building a career management database on your desktop now, and nurturing it over the long haul, is a critical component of your long-term survival and financial security.

Yep, that’s what we have been preaching for almost nine years now.  But don’t build it on your “desktop.”  In the last nine years how many PCs have you gone through?  How many files, folders, programs, etc. have you lost by switching from one computer to another?  Instead of building this critical component of your long-term survival and financial security” on your desktop, build your long-term database in JibberJobber.  It’s an absolute no-brainer.  The desktop is not the place to put your critical component (aka, your career management database).

>> In addition to job postings, you should create folders for target companies that gather together all the insights you unearth about that company and your contacts within it when they are not already captured as networking contacts on your social media sites. You should capture the same information about recruitment firms and your contacts within them.

Absolutely.  Most job seekers start their tracking system thinking they need to track information about the jobs they are applying for, and hoping to interview for.  This is important, but I would suggest that it’s more important to track (1) relationships and communication with network contacts, and (2) information you gather about potential target companies.

Again, don’t use “folders.”  Use JibberJobber.

Here’s one point I disagree with… Martin says to track information about “your contacts … when they are not already captured as networking contacts on your social media sites.”

I think that a social network site, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Xing, etc. is a great place to find contacts, research contacts, gather information… but it IS NOT the place to track information such as when you met them, what conversations you’ve had with them, when you were supposed to follow-up with them, how strong your relationship is, who introduced you to them, who they introduced you to, etc.  These are all things that you aren’t going to do in a social networking tool, but you can do all of them in JibberJobber.

JibberJobber is like a hub for collecting and tracking information that you glean from other sources, whether from various social sites, news articles, job postings (which sometimes have names and email addresses), face to face meetings, etc.  Don’t let the whimsical features of a social platform decided whether you can or cannot track this stuff the right way – use the social tools to collect information, and then go to JibberJobber to record everything you want to track.

>> Additions to your professional knowledge base should be made at the time they accrue. For example, when you establish contact with recruiters who work in your industry, save all details about the person and the company in a document, and store the document within the appropriate folder at the end of your day. If you don’t capture the information for retrieval as you gather it, you’ll remember it for a couple of days, but you’ll have long forgotten everything when next you need it a year or two down the road.

That is absolutely right.  Don’t worry if you haven’t been tracking this information… or if in the future you forget to track something here or there.  You aren’t going to track 100% of everything you come across.  Don’t beat yourself up if you miss stuff.  But the more you track, the more valuable your tracking tool (aka, JibberJobber) becomes to you.

>> Organize yourself to capture information today that you can use throughout your work life and you create an important foundation for your future security.

Absolutely.  This is why you should use JibberJobber.  Remember, JibberJobber is not a job search band-aid… that is, you scrap it when you land your next gig. JibberJobber is a long term career management tool that will be with you during your twelve to fifteen transitions!

 Martin says: “…statistics predict between twelve and fifteen job and career changes throughout your work life. Carefully storing and organizing the professionally relevant intelligence you capture during this job search will supply your next transition with a starting point far superior to anything you have at your fingertips today.

Organizing.  Far Superior.  Good stuff.  If you aren’t serious about using JibberJobber yet, this article should be the little nudge you’ve needed.

 

 

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Thank YOU!

November 27th, 2014

In the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving.  It’s a time when families and friends get together, gratitude is shared, and food is consumed.

I want to share my gratitude for YOU today.  Almost nine years ago I was kicked in the teeth, aka laid off.  I went through a pitiful, depressing job search.  I went from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel.

Then one day, I got the idea for what would eventually become JibberJobber.  It was risky and scary, but it gave me a purpose and hope.  It changed my demeanor, my attitude and my outlook.

Since 2006 we’ve helped a few people in their job search.  We’ve been recommended by coaches and career experts.  I’ve spoken across the U.S. (and in Turkey, which makes me an “international speaker”). JibberJobber has been recommended or endorsed by big news and tiny bloggers.

Here we are, almost nine years later, still making progress, still helping a few people.  And we appreciate every single one of you.

Recently, I was chatting with my developer about an issue a user was having.  I said that this user was important to me (“a big deal”), and he said:

“Oh dude… C’mon… They are ALL a big deal to you…”

I loved that.  In fact, you are a big deal to me.  No matter how new or old you are, whether you are on the free or the upgrade side, you are all a big deal to me. You are all a big deal to all of us at JibberJobber.

I was delighted that my developer, without any prompting, replied that way.  This is the culture that I have always wanted to create in my company.  It’s about people.  Customers (you), my team, etc.

People matter. You matter. And I’m grateful for you.  Now, I’m off to eat some turkey :)

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Is “What Do You Do?” a Question That Haunts You?

November 26th, 2014

thom_allen_headshot_linkedinThom Allen was one of the earliest friends I met when I moved to Utah.  I’ve networked with Thom over the years and we’ve consistently had a funny conversation: “Thom, explain to me again exactly what you do?”

This blog post was inspired by Thom’s 2009 blog post: A Question That Haunts Me Wherever I Go

Thom would always tell me something cool.. but the more I learned about Thom, the contracts he had, his professional passions, the less I understood about him.  I guarantee that some of you, reading this blog post, have the same issues communicating your personal brand.  Let’s take Thom’s blog post and talk about some of it:

Speaking of the first person Thom met at a particular networking event, he says: “In the software development world, Alistair is the rock star God of the agile methodology.”  I love that Thom writes it that way.  He makes it clear that Alistair doesn’t have a branding problem, unless of course Alistair doesn’t want to be known as the “rock star God of the agile method” in the entire software dev world.  That’s a powerful statement and observation, and something that some of us want to shoot for: a very high level of clarity and accuracy of how others talk about us.

Thom writes, “At the end [of my conversation with Alistair], he started to ask me what I did. First sign the night was going to be rocky.

Uh-oh.  If you are going to a networking event, and you aren’t prepared to answer the most common question you’ll hear, multiple times, during that meeting, you got a problem.  It’s definitely going to be rocky.

Thom says that he shook hands with various guests, “many who I knew,” and Thom writes “Most asked me again, what I did. I wondered where these people had been. Why don’t they remember?

Does this sound familiar to you?  I hear this frequently. It’s why I wrote the post Why Tell Your Network What You Do When They Already Know What You Do?

Thom continues with his networking story, and says he was surprised that he was introduced to a small group of networkers as he was “connected to everyone.”  He writes “it feels unnatural when someone says that about me.” He later asked that same friend “why do I have such a hard time getting people to remember what I do? The friend’s response was awesome:

“Because no one really knows what you do! Most people think you do everything, but no one knows what you do. You’re always vague.”

Thom talks about having an elevator pitch, which is something that he says he told others to do, but he hadn’t taken his own advice.

Look, I think most elevator pitches stink.  When I present, I say 99.999% of elevator pitches I hear stink.  BUT, not having a pitch allows others to misinterpret who you are.  Why didn’t Thom do that?  The same reason many of us don’t. He writes:

“I guess my failure to successfully convey what I do stems from years of not wanting to be defined by my work. So I kept it vague. But as a business owner I can’t do that anymore. I need to clearly define what I do. There’s no way I can network without being able to convey what I do. It’s not the part I want to be, but it’s the part that I need to  be.”

YOU need to get here! You need to have enough frustration that you choose to finally narrow your brand messaging down so people (including yourself!) understand it, and can even easily communicate it to others.  Yes, you can have a breadth of passions and interests.  But at some point you also have to help people understand what they should understand about you.

Are you ready yet?

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