JibberJobber Competition: JibberJobber vs. the Excel Spreadsheet

November 19th, 2014

Yesterday I was talking to a very successful career coach who said that he continues to recommend JibberJobber, but some of his clients say “oh, I’m already using Excel to track my job search…”  He knows the value of JibberJobber over Excel, but he can’t force people to change from Excel to JibberJobber.

I’ve talked to plenty of people over the years who have the same concern.  ”I’ve already started on Excel and I don’t want to transition over,” or something like that.

I realize this can be a hard mental transition (although quite easy to implement).

This reminds me a of a delightful book I just read titled Selling The Wheel.  This is a really fast read, with a story about the guy who supposedly invented the wheel, and was anxious to get rich by selling it.  Max, the inventor of the wheel, was sure that everyone who saw the wheel would want one (or more)… but when he went out to actually sell the wheel, he learned that he had some serious competition. His competition was what people where already using to move things: camels, elephants, slaves, sledges.  Max didn’t realize that, even though his wheel had significant advantages to current ways of doing things, it would be hard for people to switch from the old, comfortable, familiar way, to some newfangled technology.

As I read this story, I totally thought about JibberJobber.  There’s a better way, but some people would rather use old and comfortable.

In this post, I want to share why I was audacious enough to think that a web-based job search organizer (aka, JibberJobber) could really be better than old and comfortable (aka, your Excel job search spreadsheet).

Here are three reasons I think people love Excel so much to track a job search:

Excel is familiar and comfortable.  Everyone has used Excel for something, at work, school or home.  We all understand spreadsheets.  I would argue that most people use 5% of the functionality of a spreadsheet… but that 5% is functional enough to track someone’s phone number and email, and when you talked to them last.  That’s pretty easy to do.

With Excel, you can create anything you want – you have complete control over the columns and rows.  Excel, as a blank slate, let’s you set up whatever you want: more sheets, more columns, more rows, and do whatever you want with them.  This can be, though, a double edged sword. I have heard from coaches over the years that some of their job seeking clients can spend weeks – really, weeks! – tweaking their spreadsheet.  On the surface level, it looks like you are being productive since you are setting up your tools.  Go a little deeper and you’ll find that too often, people who spend days and weeks tweaking are really hiding from the job search.  It’s a lot more comfortable tweaking a spreadsheet by yourself than picking up the phone and perhaps getting rejected.

Excel is a temporary solution, and you won’t need this information after you land your job.  I believed that once I landed my job I could go back to my cozy place and not think about the job search, which included networking. I heard that I would transition every two to five years, but I didn’t want to think about it at all… I knew that my spreadsheet was going in the virtual garbage can. Even if I did pull it up two to five years later it was turning into such a disorganized rats nest I was sure I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tales of it after I landed my next gig.

Transitioning from comfortable/familiar (spreadsheet) to JibberJobber can just seem like it’s too much.  But it isn’t too much, and here’s why:

The transition doesn’t mean you have to take all of your spreadsheet stuff and copy it into JibberJobber.

I’m guessing that you have a lot of data you’ve logged in your spreadsheet.  Some of it is active, some of it is just a placeholder. Not everyone or everything you’ve logged is going to come up again in your networking or job search.

Personally, I would keep the spreadsheet, and refer to it if I had to, but going forward, from this minute on, I would start to use JibberJobber.  Meet someone new?  Put them in JibberJobber (not in the spreadsheet).  Network into someone new at one of your target companies (where the target company is in your spreadsheet)?  Quickly add you target company into JibberJobber (it takes all of 30 seconds, if that), and then put that new contact in.  You don’t have to copy and paste, or transfer over from the spreadsheet… just stop using the spreadsheet and start using JibberJobber, and you’ll find that the main contacts you are networking and communicating with end up in your JibberJobber account.  These are the ones that are on the top of your list, and need more of your attention….

Every once in a while, go back into your spreadsheet to see if there are people who have slipped through the cracks, and reach out to them.  When you do, add them into JibberJobber and remove them from your spreadsheet.  You’ll find that the names and information in your spreadsheet will be whittled away and your JibberJobber database will be rich with real, current information and relationships.

Bonus, this is a lot easier than you might think.  With the Email2Log feature (which is premium, starting at $5/month and up to $9.95/month, depending on how many months you pay for at once), you can add contacts and companies simply by emailing your contacts (which you are already doing), or by forwarding emails to the JibberJobber server.  While we have import tools, the Email2Log is the easiest way to get relevant information into JibberJobber quickly, and with virtually no effort.

Email2Log is the secret weapon to transitioning from your existing tracking system to JibberJobber.

You can import existing files, or sync your Gmail Contacts, but the people you are emailing today, and tomorrow, and this month, are the people who you need most in JibberJobber… at least today. You are probably already emailing them, so the next time you do, add the Email2Log address, and even their company, just by hitting send.

Some people like to import all of their contacts from LinkedIn, but this isn’t critical.  Sure, it gives you the impression that you have a lot of “contacts,” but are you communicating with any of them?  Or does having a big list of people who you think you should know just stress you out, since there is a huge list you are not quite ready to contact, but think you should?

Imagine if you started your job search over today.  What would you do differently?

I ask myself this question with my own business (which is more like being in a job search than I would have guessed).  Sometimes stopping what you have been doing and starting over new gives you a chance to make the changes that you should have made earlier, but just never got around to.

Sure, starting a new system can be a bit daunting. But getting started now doesn’t mean that what you’ve done for the last few months is all for naught.  It was really Phase I of your job search and learning experience.  Now it might be the right time for Phase II.

But what are the BENEFITS of switching to JibberJobber?

Okay, so transitioning isn’t really a big deal… but is it worth it?  Here are some benefits of JibberJobber over an Excel or paper tracking system:

The more you get into it, JibberJobber will be as comfortable as Excel. I know at first it can be confusing.  For many,this is the first time you’ve ever seen what a CRM (customer relationship management) system looks like, and for many, this is the first time you’re doing a very proactive strategic outbound networking campaign.  This whole experience is overwhelming… but the more you do it, the comfortable it will get.  Add a few Contacts and a few Log Entries and you’ll realize how easy and intuitive it really is.  Especially with Email2Log.

JibberJobber won’t waste your time with design tweaks.  Remember the guys tweaking their spreadsheets for weeks (which I call “hiding from your job search”)?  You won’t feel like you need to do this.  We designed JibberJobber for job seekers, and WE have been tweaking for the last 8+ years, so you don’t have to.  Of course there is flexibility, withe Manage Columns on the List Panels, custom reports, user-defined fields, etc.  But those are simple, easy changes you can make when you want to… this allows you to focus on what you need to do (call and meet with people!!), and not fiddle around with technology.

JibberJobber helps you network for many years to come.  Let’s say you use it, then land your job, then in three years you are in a job search again.  You can log into JibberJobber and find all of the information you put in, just as you left it.  It will be easy to understand what you did, when you did it. Whereas my spreadsheet was turning into a confusing rats nest, JibberJobber will be a place that is easy to come back to. I remember an early user landed his dream job, then came back two years later when he was in transition, and said “Jason, it’s like coming home!”  We’ve been around long enough to experience this many times with our users.  We’ve been here every time they’ve been in transition.

Those three benefits address the three reasons people like Excel that I listed at the top of this blog post.  Here are some other benefits:

JibberJobber is your long-term networking tool.  Every job coach and resume writer will tell you to keep networking, even after you’ve landed your job.  It’s a pain to do.  Even if we got into a networking groove when in job search, starting a new job can be consuming.  But we should network, even when we are not in transition.  Even if we are introverts.  Even if this is my dream job, and I’m not going anywhere.  Networking is the new job security.  And JibberJobber is the tool to help you do it.

JibberJobber is a follow-up, network nurturing, and relationship tool. Keith Ferrazzi says “if you want to be better than 95% of your competition, all you have to do is follow-up.”  As I’ve traveled the United States, I’ve talked about the importance and power of NURTURING relationships.  All of this follow-up, nurturing talk is really difficult, though, if you are relying on a stack of business cards, relying on your memory to remember who is who, and what, why and how to follow-up. Take a lesson from sales professionals and use a system (JibberJobber!) to help you follow-up and nurture relationships throughout the rest of your career!

JibberJobber continually improves and adds new career management features. We started out as a simple replacement to the job search spreadsheet… and over the years it made sense to add other functionality.  Like the Job Journal, where you can record past accomplishments that become part of your stories, and the Interview Prep area, where you can wordsmith how you are going to respond to interview questions and networking situations. There is also a coaching interface, which brings more value to the relationship between you and your coach.  As we hear about really cool best-practices in career management, we wonder “should this be built into JibberJobber?”

JibberJobber is the hub for your career and networking information, regardless of any networks that tend to come and go. Find a contact name and email on a job posting?  Or meet someone on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Twitter? Did you  read about them on a press release?  Did someone make a face-to-face introduction to someone you want to follow-up with?  No matter where you get your information from, JibberJobber sits comfortably in the middle, as the hub and information gatherer.  Social networks come and go in popularity (refer to MySpace), but that shouldn’t impact whether your relationships come and go, too.  Have one single hub (JibberJobber!) to store information from disparate sources of information.

We’re constantly thinking of how to make things easier for you. As web users, we continually find coolness on other websites and think “we should do this on JibberJobber!”  Even though we are ancient in Internet years, we are continually trying to improve the value we bring you, and your user experience.  I promise your Excel spreadsheet is not thinking about you the way we are ;)

We’re constantly working on getting data in.  Getting data into any system can be a pain. Sometimes there is no alternative to just typing a name and number in.  But we are continually thinking “how can we take this from 7 clicks to 4 clicks,” or “could we import this data?”  Some of our tweaks have been big (the Gmail synchronization) while some have been small and almost unnoticeable (changing the order of fields on the Add Contact page, so that the first three fields are the main three fields you should have on every Contact).  We’re also thinking of the next phase of Email2Log, and some amazing functionality that we could do with emails you send to the system.

We’re constantly thinking of how to get data out.  This is not just a repository of data, but it’s a tool to help you with the right information, at the right time. This might mean getting Action Item alerts via email or SMS (a premium feature), or showing you what you have going on this week every time you log in, or showing you how many open Action Items you have this week and next week from any page you are on.  Perhaps it is the custom reporting tools and the export functionality that is at your fingertips… whatever it is, we want you to (a) feel like this is YOUR DATA, and it’s not trapped in some system that you don’t own, and (b) can get your data out in a way that is meaningful to you.

The interface with your daily email system and processes makes this a very easy system to use. Email2Log is the “killer app” in JibberJobber.  The idea that you can send emails all day long, and have that create Log Entries, Action Items, Companies, Contacts, and more, is simply awesome.

We want to give you peace of mind.  Recently I got an email from someone who had just started using JibberJobber. He said “I actually slept all through the last night now that I am feeling organized.”  This struck a chord with me and reminded me of the feelings of anxiety you have as a job seeker.  There are so many unknowns, and so many things that are out of your control.  Let us help you get the organizational thing under control, and empower you so that you can have your own peace of mind in this very tumultuous time.

JibberJobber is as inexpensive as you want it to be.  About two years ago we moved most of the features to the free side.  We simply just gave away what others had paid for in the past.  You can upgrade for $9.95 a month, or if you upgrade for a year you get 50% off (so it comes out to $5/month)… and most people do that for the Email2Log (and extra storage).  But if you don’t have any money, then enjoy almost every feature of JibberJobber, including our customer support that we pride ourselves on, at no cost.

JibberJobber makes you a smarter, and more valuable, professional.  A few years ago I was talking to a recruiter who said “If I was hiring someone who needed CRM experience, I would totally want to interview JibberJobber users.”  Did you realize that using JibberJobber was on-the-job training? You are kind of reprogramming your brain to think about relationships, both with people and with data, differently.  Using JibberJobber helps you understand different thinking, different software, different interfaces, and how to think about these complexities differently.  You didn’t know using JibberJobber is actually something you could add to your resume, did you? :)

There are more benefits, but I should stop before this post becomes so long it should have been a book. I hope this has been helpful to you, if you have been wondering about transitioning from your spreadsheet to JibberJobber.

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

Example of an ATS (Applicant Tracking System): ApplicantPro (and how to beat them)

November 14th, 2014

Let’s go a bit deeper on the Applicant Tracking System conversation that we started with Louise Kursmark’s comments.

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:

Sound interesting?  Here’s a 14 minute video from Gillian Kelly, a career pro and outplacement provider in Australia, talking about beating the ATS:

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.

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

Discounted LinkedIn Profile Critique/Consultation

November 13th, 2014

I just sent this out to my LinkedIn Group… to get on that “newsletter” go to this page and find the Join button.

Once again I’m discounting my LinkedIn Profile consultation from $97 to $47 for a limited time.

Many of you know I was “the first” to write a LinkedIn book (now in the fourth edition). In fact, one person wrote his before me, so I was “the second.” I’m cool with that.

What you might not know is that I’m a nerd for communicating on our Profiles. While I have a bit of “cobbler’s kids” syndrome (that is, he made shoes but his kids were barefoot), I do love picking apart other people’s Profiles and seeing where there is opportunity for improvement.

I focus on (1) being found, which is usually about the search engine and showing up on the front page, and (2) being readable in an engaging, interesting way.  What I didn’t say in the newsletter: I also focus on giving you actionable advice…. stuff you can actually do.

I loathe jargon and cliche, and I love helping you stand out in a way that not many do.

If this sounds interesting to you, you can pay at the link below and then send me your profile information. I’ll do a recording of my critique, which might be from 12 minutes to 20+ minutes (depending on how much you have to critique, usually), and then I send you a video file you can watch as often as you want.

https://www.jibberjobber.com/pay.php?amount=47

I have done this for executives, professionals, entry-level, solopreneurs, career coaches, resume writers, branding specialists, outplacement pros (and their candidates (actually, for outplacement firms I offer a higher level, one-on-one service for their candidates))… it’s been a fun opportunity to help so many people.

A few months ago I did a critique for Tom, who I’ve known for years as someone who is very strategic about his career management, networking and branding. He already had a very good profile. After he watched the critique, these are some of the things he wrote to me:

“WOW! You’ve provided a great deal of excellent advise.”

“Fortunately I’m not in transition but I want to be ready for my next move no matter who’s choice it is…”

“EXCELLENT point about the professional headline. I definitely need to add …”

“Yet more excellent feedback about my volunteer work for… “

“You have provided a wealth of information and I thank you for that. It certainly is hard to be objective about myself so you’ve really helped me see many areas that I can improve my profile to help recruiters get to know me not just my skills and experience.”

I don’t normally get depth of feedback from people, but like I said, Tom is purposeful, and there is a reason he has weathered career transitions so well.

I want my JibberJobber users to have short, less painful transitions. Building our brands and nurturing our network is a big part of that. Shall we do this together? Click on the link above and I’ll do my part… :)

Jason Alba
CEO of www.JibberJobber.com
Author of www.ImOnLinkedInNowWhat.com

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

The Ultimate Interview Question #JobSearch

November 12th, 2014

On LinkedIn there is an article proposing the ultimate interview question.  I don’t agree with the author.

Spoiler alert: he says the ultimate interview question is “What did you learn last week?”  The author makes a case for this being the ultimate question… but I’m guessing he is someone who really values learning and curiousity… both great things.  My experience, though, is that most interviewers aren’t even close to ready to ask that question, much less understand great answers to the question.

If I were to interview someone right now, I would ask questions about their skillset (we are a technical company and I need to know you have the breadth/depth of skills for the job) and experience and results (if it’s a sales role, I need to know you’ve been a rainmaker).  My series of questions, and their answers and attitudes, will hopefully help me understand if this person has integrity, will fit into my culture, and of course able to do the job.

But none of the questions I ask would be the ultimate interview question. Most of these questions will sound run-of-the-mill and boring.

The ultimate interview question, I think, will be the one that the job seeker asks.

You see, I’ve got my list of questions I’m going to ask the final 10, or 5, or 2 candidates… and after a while all the answers will sound the same. Once I get it down to the best of my list, you will all be admirable.  Each of you will have your own strengths, and some weaknesses, but overall, any of you might be the right hire.

If you really want to knock my socks off, and show me that you CARE, and WANT this job, then don’t wait for me to ask the ultimate interview question.  You should bring your own question.  Show me that you’ve done your research.  Show me that you understand my company, customers, competition, challenges, etc.  Show me, with your question(s), that you are a smart thinker, and anxious to attack some problems.

I want to hire someone who is, as my college programming professor said, “high speed, low drag.”  That means they aren’t going to sit around waiting for me to give them direction.  Show me that you are ready to take initiative, and you don’t need me to hand feed you your tasks.

Having laid that foundation, what are some great questions you could ask in an interview?  I’m not sure there is one question that will show all of those things… it will depend on the company, industry, culture, and how the interview is going (and how interested/engaged the interviewers are)… but what are some ideas of questions you might ask to position yourself as the right person to hire?

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

JibberJobber to Organize a Job Search AND to Help Entrepreneurs Launch a Business!

November 7th, 2014

Here is a great question from A.A.:

I am a job seeker and I am developing a business. My business is very different from the job I am doing. I want to use jibberjobber to track both but I am not sure if it is possible to separate them within one profile. Can you advise?

The short answer is, yes, definitely use one JibberJobber account to track both of these endeavors.

Technically, I would use tags to help you keep the two separated.  So, when you add a new contact, tag them as job_search or business.  Or, you can tag them as both job_search and business.

I’ve found, over the years, that many of my personal and professional relationships are not constrained to just one bucket.  For example, this last week I reached out to two long-term friends to ask for professional, business-related introductions.

Also, I did not tag either of these friends as friends, personal, business, referral, or anything like that. Perhaps I should, but for now I simply have just created a Log Entry for each of the requests, and their responses.

When their contacts reach out to me, I simply use the Referred By field to keep track of who introduced me to who… that has proved to be invaluable over the years.

In addition to that scenario, I track personal things in JibberJobber, such as who I call when I need an appliance fixed, or when my garage door breaks.  I don’t like having to track those types of people, but I do like having one place to store names and numbers, and even track when they service my stuff, and how much I pay them.

JibberJobber has become my central information hub… it started out as a job search tool, and for me very quickly evolved to a small business CRM and a personal business tracker.

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

10 Job Search Tricks, When Time Magazine Recommended JibberJobber

November 6th, 2014

Remember a couple of weeks ago when there was a Time Magazine article recommending JibberJobber?  I shared this with my team and one of my programmers wrote back and said “hey, we do two of the other ten things, too!”

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.

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

Break Down Expert Job Search Advice (say NO to the ATS!)

November 5th, 2014

louise_kursmark_headshotLet’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.

Again, this is networking.  And this hints to informational interviews as well!

>> 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!

 

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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What Is an ATS? Should You Care? #jobsearch #resume

November 4th, 2014

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

louise_kursmark_headshotATS – 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!

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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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How To: Email2Log and the “Log End Line” (to help organize your job search)

October 30th, 2014

This post is to document the power and importance of the “Log End Line” when using the Email2Log.  You don’t *have to* use the Log End Line, but a few scenarios came up recently where I really understood how (1) powerful it is and how (2) important it is.

This blog post is kind of long, but it’s a lot of pictures, and it’s meant to be comprehensive coverage of the Log End Line.

Note that the Log End Line is optional (you don’t have to use it), but I hope that after you go through this post you’ll know why you should use it (at least sometimes).

What is the Log End Line and Where do I set it up?

The Log End Line is one of the three fields you fill out in order to activate the Email2Log feature (remember, this is a premium feature).  Mouse over Logs, then click on Email2Log:

jibberjobber_email2log_log_end_line

Then, you’ll see the form, where the third field is for the Log End Line:

jibberjobber_email2log_log_end_line_setup

You can put anything you want as the Log End Line.  I do not recommend putting anything that any normal human being might put in an email, like —————–, ____________________, ==================, *****************, or other such characters.  Those might be normal separators that anyone could type in, and it would effectively mess up what you are trying to do with the Email2Log.

Our example (see the red dotted line in the image above) is a series of characters that most people aren’t ever going to type… it’s kind of hard to type that string.  That’s what I’ve been using for years. You can simply copy and paste that into the Log End Line textbox, if you want.

How and when do I use the Log End Line?

I include my Log End Line in every email that I send.  My email signature looks like this:

 jibberjobber_jason-alba-email-signature_log_end_line

Every email client I know of allows you to create an email signature.  This way you don’t have to retype it every time you send an email. (As a side-note, I’m really big on signatures and think they are powerful personal branding tools!)

I never delete this, as it simply looks like a natural line separator between the body (which goes above) and the rest of the email signature.  So it doesn’t detract or distract.

The main idea behind, and most common use of, the Log End Line is that anything after the Log End Line IS NOT included in a Log Entry created when you use Email2Log.  To say it in a more technical way, the Log Entry created will be truncated after the Log End Line.  More on that in the next section.

Tip: some advanced users will put the Log End Line under their email signature, and then change the font to white, so it isn’t seen by email recipients. I don’t do that, but I think it’s kind of clever :)

What does the Log End Line do? (Part 1: Power)

The power of the Log End Line is that it truncates your email so you aren’t creating long Log Entries with a bunch of unwanted text.  Use the Log End Line to smartly cut the Log Entry so that you only have what you want, and not all the superfluous stuff.  For example, in this image you can see I have NOT edited my Log End Line, which means that ONLY my reply will be in the Log Entry created by Email2Log.

jibberjobber-email2log-logendline_1

However, the original message is really something I want to include in my Log Entry (it gives my reply context, and it includes a phone number and location for this contact – that’s good stuff).  Therefore, with this email I would actually delete two characters (I do two simply because it keeps the Log End Line symmetric… I could delete just one and it would have the same effect).  Here’s what the new one looks like, less two characters.. note that this ENTIRE email is going to go into the Log Entry:

jibberjobber-email2log-logendline_2

Is it hard to see the difference between the two?  That subtlety is exactly what I want … I don’t want you to think “oh, something is different… WHY?”

Tip: If I want to include some stuff below my email signature, but not EVERYTHING below my email signature, I will copy the entire Log End Line and paste it where I want to truncate (for example, after your name or your email signature, in the case that there is stuff your email signature (like a disclosure, or more of the email thread), and then I will go to my original Log End Line, above my signature, and then delete two characters.

This ability to truncate your Log Entry, simply by putting a string of characters (aka, the Log End Line) in your email, is POWERFUL!

What does the Log End Line do? (Part 2: Importance)

Did you know you could put some special lines into your email and multiple the power of your Email2Log Log Entry?  For example, with a few lines in the email I could make the Log Entry an Action Item, and I could associate it to other Contacts, Companies and Jobs.  This is really cool.  My email might include these special lines:

jibberjobber-email2log-logendline_more-variables

Some important information about each of these lines (which are all optional):

startdate:

This creates an Action Item.  You can put in a date, like 12/12/2014 or you can put in something like + 1 week or + 3 months, etc.  Sometimes you’ll know the date for the Action Items, sometimes the date doesn’t matter (“ah, remind me in a few months”).

contacts: (or, contact:)

You need to have at least one email address.  You can have more, separated by commas.  If you put in either of the examples below, it will (a) associate this Log Entry to an existing Contact with the same email address, or if it can’t find that email address on any of your Contacts, it will create a new Contact record. The key is that it is looking for and matching based on an email address, not on a name.  Examples of what this line might look like:

contacts:email@address.com  <– no FirstName or LastName required – I’m assuming this is an existing Contact in my system, and it’s only going to associate the Log Entry, not create a new Contact record.  If it doesn’t find the record, though, it will create a new Contact record and the FirstName will be the email address (so put the name!)

contacts:”Jason Alba” <email@address.com> <– this is FirstName LastName (no comma)

contacts:”Alba, Jason” <email@address.com>  <– this is LastName, First Name (the comma makes all the difference!)

contacts:”Jason Alba” <email@address.com>, john@doe.com  <– this has more than one contact, separated by comma (note, whether I put in one or multiple contacts, I always use contacts instead of contact… just my habit)

companies: (or, company)

Separate Companies by commas (which means, if you have any commas in your Company records, you should remove them, or this feature gets mixed up).  Like Contacts, JibberJobber will try to find an existing Company record and associate the Log Entry to that record, but if it can’t, it will create a new Company record. (yes, this is new, this week!  Before this week it would not create a new Company record.)

jobs: (or, job)

Like Contacts and Companies, JibberJobber will try to find an existing Job record and associate the Log Entry to that record. If it can’t find a match, it will create a new Job record. This is also new, as of this week!  Before this week it would not create a new Job record.)

Commas are powerful!  Just like companies:, you can add multiple jobs on this line (you rarely will, but you might), and separate them with commas.  If you have commas in your Job records, remove them or this feature gets mixed up).

NOTE: if you have 10 jobs with the same name, the Log Entry will be associated with all of them.  This is a nut we need to crack, but for now I would recommend that you have different names for each job, if you want to use this feature.  You might do this: Project Manager 1, Project Manager 2, etc. or this: Project Manager – ebay 1, Project Manager – ebay 2, etc.  Sorry about this, and hopefully we’ll figure out a more elegant solution.

That is advanced Email2Log stuff… what does it have to do with the Log End Line?

If you put those special lines (to create an Action Item, or associate the Log Entry to Contacts, Companies or Jobs), you HAVE TO put it after the Log End Line.

So, this isn’t going to work, because there is no Log End Line:

jibberjobber-email2log-logendline_more-variables-no-Log_end_line

This will work, because there is a Log End Line:

jibberjobber-email2log-logendline_more-variables-Log_end_line

So, the Log End Line becomes important because it allows you to insert these other special commands in your email.  Essentially, when JibberJobber gets the email, it says everything before the Log End Line can become the Log Entry, and everything after the Log End Line (1) won’t, but if there are any special lines (like you see in yellow, above), it WILL create an Action Item date, and associate the Log Entry to other Contacts, Companies and Jobs.

When would you do this?

Scenario 1: If I have a panel interview at my target company, I’m going to send a follow-up email to the people on the panel, and use the Email2Log feature to log it.  I’m not going to include my recruiter in the To or CC, but I might want to associate the Log Entry to her record… so I’ll put the contacts:____ with her email address.  I’ll also put the Companies and Jobs lines in so that the Log Entry will also be associated to the target company, and the job I just interviewed at.

Scenario 2: If I send an email to you, but then I forget to do the Email2Log, I can forward the sent email to JibberJobber, and put contacts:______ in the body, below the Log End Line.  For example, this will create a Log Entry, but it isn’t going to be associated to anything (because the contacts line is NOT below a Log End Line):

jibberjobber-email2log-logendline_notworking

This one, however, WILL create the Log Entry and associate it to the right Contact because the contacts: line is after the Log End Line:

jibberjobber-email2log-logendline_working

Whew… I know this is a long blog post, but I wanted to get this all documented in one place.

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Feel free to leave them in the Comments below, or use the Contact Us form or email us directly :)

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

Ask The Experts: Who Do You Want To Hear From?

October 24th, 2014

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.

Here are past interviews:

Fred Coon: Stewart Cooper Coon Outplacement

Robert Merrill: Internal Tech Recruiter

The Recruiting Animal

Dan Schawbel: Personal Branding and Millenials

Mark LeBlanc: Business Growth Coach

Dave Perry: Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters

Jack Chapman: Salary Negotiation

Jason Alba: 51 Alternatives to a Real Job

Dick Bolles: What Color Is Your Parachute

Nick Corcodilos: Ask The Headhunter

Tim Tyrell-Smith: Tim’s Strategy

Jason Alba: CEO of JibberJobber

Karen Huller: Resume Writer and Career Coach

Charlotte Weeks: Weeks Career Services

Jon Sosa: Aries Career Development

Kim Mohuiddin: Movin’ On Up Resumes

 

 

 

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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.

Sign Up Now! »

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