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Substantiate Yourself (again)

September 16th, 2014

william_arruda_headshotOne of the most powerful concepts I’ve learned since I lost my job is that it’s more powerful to substantiate yourself (and your claims) than to just say what your claims are.

Show, not tell.

I wrote about this here: Substantiate Yourself

My first real job offer was after I started JibberJobber.  No interview, no application, just an OFFER.

Check out William Arruda’s blog post: Don’t Tell People Who You Are, Show Them What You Are About

I love this line:

“As you can imagine, I am now her biggest supporter.  She sits at the top of my list of coaches I recommend to my clients.”

This is so powerful.

What are you doing to back up your claims (said differently, how are you substantiating yourself)?

 

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Interview Follow-up Checklist (Mary Elizabeth Bradford)

September 15th, 2014
career coach, resume expert

career coach, resume expert

Here’s an article on the Careerealism site by my friend Mary Elizabeth Bradford: The Best Interview Follow Up Checklist

Her points (read the article because she has more details):

  1. Find Out The Next Step
  2. Don’t Think The Worst
  3. Use Your Common Sense
  4. Leave A Great Follow Up Voicemail
  5. Send A Thank You Letter
  6. Include A ‘P.S.’ In Your Follow Up Letter
  7. Send A Follow Up List Of Short Testimonials

Note three opportunities to FOLLOW-UP! As you follow-up, focus on potential long-term relationships, not just on a yes/no answer. Of course you want a yes/no answer, but if you change your mentality from “it’s a numbers game,” you’ll leave less casualties on your job search journey and strengthen your network size and depth (of relationships).

Attitude is so powerful, isn’t it?  Just going through the motions without the right attitude will be detrimental (trust me, I did that).

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Why Veterans Aren’t Getting Hired

September 12th, 2014

sultan_camp_headshotI saw this blog post somewhere… I thought it was going to be a junky, unqualified article written by an entry level writer or someone who was writing nine points for SEO… but then I noticed it was written by Sultan Camp. Sultan works with veterans and helps them land their next gig. He’s a military recruiter.  He’s definitely qualified to make these observations, and I know that he shares them in the spirit of helping you NOT make the mistakes he lists.

Congratulations on Your Military Service… Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You

Below are his 9 points – read the article here so you can get all the details.

  1. You Can’t (or Won’t) Accept That You’re Starting Over
  2. You Believe You’re Unique (Just Like Every Other Transitioning Person That Day)
  3. Your Resume Is Longer Than the CEO of Our Company’s (or Shorter Than a Recent College Graduate’s)
  4. You Didn’t Proofread Your Resume
  5. You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile (Or, Even Worse, It’s Not Complete)
  6. You Think Social Media Is For Kids or Sharing War Stories
  7. You Didn’t Prepare For The Interview
  8. You Wrote a Thank You Note (But Only to Say Thank You)
  9. You Don’t Know What You Want to Do

What do you think? Don’t comment based on this list – you have to read his post to see what he’s talking about. And then leave a comment on his post, which already has over 100 comments.

NOTE: JibberJobber gives one year of free premium to veterans.  Just get an account and then use the Contact link to let us know you are a veteran!

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How To: See What I’ve Done This Week (New Homepage Widget)

September 9th, 2014

On a webinar recently someone asked for an easy way to see what I’ve done.  There is the awesome Log Entry and Action Item Report, which allows you to get a bunch of different reports, including “what I’ve done during this period of time.”

But I was thinking of something more simple… actually, something that we have already pretty much done.  Well, we’ve done probably 90% of the work.  This suggestion from the webinar was a nudge to help us understand we needed something else… please welcome a new Homepage Widget called “Log Entries.”  This is basically a report to show me what I’ve done this week.

First, notice that my Homepage has no widgets except one: the Action Item widget:

jibberjobber_widgets

I click on the Manage Widgets link (see arrow, above), and I can see this new widget in the list:

jibberjobber_widgets_log_entries

I click on the checkbox, then click on save, and I am now showing this widget, which shows me what I have put in, this week, as a Log Entry, on the homepage!

jibberjobber_widgets_log_entries_homepage

Remember, I can drag those widgets around and reorder them, either on the homepage or on that manage widgets box.  For me, these are the two widgets I’ll have up all the time.

Pretty cool, huh?

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Thea Kelley on Informational Interviews

September 2nd, 2014

thea_kelleyI love informational interviews.

Maybe you didn’t get that:

I LOVE INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS!

If there is any shortcut in a job search, it is doing informational interviews well.  If you are looking for a “silver bullet,” look no further.  This is it.

Thea Kelley is a savvy career services professional and friend.  She recently wrote this post: Informational Interviews: 10 Tips for Success.  Her model for an informational interview is more formal than mine is, and I say never, ever do number 3 on her list… but everything else is pretty solid.

Come up with your own system, and your own rules, but DO these!  It’s fun, it can be immensely productive, and it can really help you get closer to someone who will have a big impact in your job search.

One thing she is missing, and it’s one of the most important parts of the interview, is asking for introductions to others.  ”Do you know anyone else in this company (or, this industry) that I should talk to?”  Or, “Can you introduce me to any (insert job title here) here (at this company)?”  Or, ask for introductions within the industry….

You go to build trust, which is her #1, and with that trust you should get to a point where they feel comfortable saying “sure, I’ll introduce you to one of my coworkers,” or someone they met at the association luncheon, or someone they know online, or someone at one of your target companies.

And then do it again, with that person.

Have real conversations… it’s not all about getting introductions, but that’s a big reason you are there.

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Being Prepared and Being Lucky: Vazquez Sounds

September 1st, 2014

I am a fan of Vazquez Sounds, out of Mexico.  This is a group of two brothers and their little sister, all talented musicians with a music producer dad.  They put up a video on Youtube and, well, the rest is history.  They seem really, really cool, and I like their music.  Here’s a really cool video worth your eight minutes. I didn’t plan on sharing this with you until I got to 6:55, when one of the brothers was talking about being surprised by their success.  He says they weren’t expecting any success, but it came.  His advice?

“… you have to be prepared… because you never know when the boom may come…”

The boom = success

You have to be prepared because you never know when the recruiter will call.

You have to be prepared because you never know when your contact will be ready to make an introduction.

You have to be prepared because you never know when you will have that critical lunch appointment.

You have to be prepared because you never know when you’ll have a chance to interview.

You have to be prepared because you never know when you’ll have a chance to interview.

Are you prepared?  Or are you wallowing in misery and self-defeating thoughts?

Watch this video – and see the parallels of your journey to a fulfilling and successful career:

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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.

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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JibberJobber Enhancements: Last Night’s Release and Updates

August 22nd, 2014

Last night my team did a release, which means they updated JibberJobber with new and improved “stuff.”  I’ve been talking about this release for a long time, but it got stuck in the QA process as my QA team has been intent on releases without bugs.

Just minutes after the release an outplacement firm in Australia emailed me and said “Nice work – looks great!”  This is just minutes after the release… it was pretty cool that someone noticed that quick! I asked him what he noticed, and it is exactly what I want to blog about today.  Below this list of enhancements that will impact you is a list from my QA team, reporting what has been fixed/released.

Thing One: Action Item Notifier (on top-left of every screen)

This is an enhancement that really enriches your experience with JibberJobber.  Now, on every page, you’ll be able to see how many Action Items you have pending in the next two weeks.  This makes JibberJobber more of a follow-up tool.  I talk about “follow-up” and “nurturing relationships” a lot… and we’ve provided tools and reports for you to see what you have coming up, but this is the most blatant, in-your-face enhancement to show you exactly what you have so things don’t slip through the cracks.  You’ve probably already noticed this, when you login, on the top-left:

jibberjobber_action_item_notifier

The “6″ means that I have six Action Items coming up in the next two weeks.  Click on that little icon and you will see those six Action Items in this view:

jibberjobber_action_item_notifier_2

Here are some things to help you get more value out of this widget:

#1 – this allows you to click and drag to resize this view.

#2 – this closes (or, hides) the widget.

#3 – notices each Action Item is listed with a checkbox to the left… that way you can close multiple Action Items at once, or you can print one report with all that you have checked. (NOTE: You can close or edit each one… when you mouse over an Action Item, icons will appear on the right to close or edit)

#4 – these are the actions you can take for each of the checked Action Items. For example, click on three of them, then click the close icon (the clock), and those three will be closed.  Easy.

This enhancement should make your JibberJobber experience much richer!

Thing Two: The Log Entry and Action Item screen is cleaned up. 

We removed some of the superfluous wording and white space, and made it more compact.  This should make it easier to add a Log Entry.  This was a small, marginal change, but I think the impact will be big, and make it easier for you to create Log Entries and Action Items.

Notice we moved much of the “stuff” (create an Action Item, associate this to other Contacts, Companies and Jobs, etc.) to the bottom.  It works pretty much the same, but it’s just cleaner.

jibberjobber_log_entry_action_item_window

To create a Log Entry, simply put in a date, the title, and the details/comments.  To create an Action Item, or associate Contacts, Companies and/or Jobs, simply click on the icons on the bottom.  Cleaner, more intuitive, easier.

Thing Three: more use of the width of your monitor

This is the first of a few changes to use more of your monitor.  A while back we did a UI “enhancement” which left, for some wide monitors, a few inches of white space on each side.  I hated that… JibberJobber needs space!  So we opened up the List Panels and then extend from one end to another, without inches of wasted white space.  There is still more to do here, and we’re working on it.  This was just the first step.

Other Things: This is the list from my QA team. It might not make sense to you, but it’s all important stuff.

  • Import contacts (bug with companies): there was an issue when you imported Contacts, with Companies, but the Companies didn’t import and associate right.  This should be fixed.
  • Bug of custom fields on Jobs (reported by Chris R)
  • Bug on IE uploading images: apparently Internet Explorer was having issues with the super cool way we bring in images on a Contact or Company.
  • Bug on email2log (when was adding the secret email as other contact): Sometimes when you used the Email2Log feature, JibberJobber would create a new record for your own ultra-secretive email address… which was not supposed to happen.  This is now resolved.
  • Bug on email2log (about formatting): In a prior release we kind of goofed up… some of your Log Entries created by the Email2Log feature stripped spaces between paragraphs.  This made the Log Entry look all bunched up.  This is now fixed.
  • Change of wording to Coach Dashboard: We are going to change a lot of the functionality here, but for now we needed to change this from My Coach Landing Page to Coach Dashboard.  Very small change but will make it more intuitive. This is for anyone who coaches others, or is an accountability partner.
  • “Log Entries and Action Items Report” To remember the session variables: when you customize the Log Entries and Action Item report, we didn’t save your preferences… we are now.
  • Allow edit on Log Entry view in the shadow box: when you opened a Log Entry to “view,” there wasn’t much more you could do than view or print.  Now you can easily edit it from right there.
  • Pre-populate fields correctly when I add a Contact after a search: on my weekly webinars I noticed that if I did a search for a Contact that doesn’t exist, like searching for “Fiiiiiirst Naaaaame,” I would click “add Contact” and then it would enter it in all lower-case.  This was a pain because I’d have to change the first letter to upper-chase each time.  Bleh.  This is now fixed.  Another really small enhancement, but you can see the level of detail we’re going for.
  • New interface on import contacts from file: We spent a lot of time cleaning this up and making it more intuitive.  It’s still not the most intuitive thing in the world, but it’s getting closer.  
  • Bug with payments of one year with Paypal: we had a problem with people who upgraded for one year on Paypal… the system wasn’t recognizing the upgrade and they sometimes emailed us (before we could manually upgrade them) asking “WHAT THE HECK?”  This was an issue of trust… if you pay us money, and you don’t get upgraded, what else won’t work??  Fixing this non-high-profile bug allows you to trust us more.
  • Minor wordings and change of tool tips throughout the system: when you mouse over things, we cleaned up the little messages you see.
This release represents “about 25-30 work orders,” and I’m sure we came up with another 50 things to fix, clean, or change since we started this last project :)

Have things you would like to see?  Let us know!

 

what where
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Want a Job? Build Your Portfolio!

August 21st, 2014

In my email signature I have a link to the new Video Game Design and Entrepreneur class I’m starting in a couple of weeks.  It’s going to be awesome, and a lot of fun.  (by the way, the youngest student is 7, the oldest is in his 60s… it might be just the class for you, too)

Today I was on a call with a business associate who noticed the line in my signature.  Her son will be in college soon and is looking at graphic arts programs…. she asked for any advise I had on breaking into the video game world (not programming, but with graphics).  This is actually a great question, and we had a fun conversation.

The gist of the conversation was this: to get into that space, or any space, really, you should build a portfolio.

How powerful would it be to go to a potential employer and have the same credentials as the other people on the shortlist: a degree, a portfolio from school, etc., but also have a portfolio of video games that are on the market and available for download?  If you want to get into a video game design firm, and you have at least one game that you have designed, and people have downloaded it (and even rated it), isn’t that a great way to show your passion and skill level?

She mentioned that he didn’t want to do programming, his passion was in design.  I suggested that going through the course would give him an additional breadth that would help him break down walls with programmers.  I know a lot of programmers who don’t like working with graphics artists because of the way the two roles work.

Think about this with your own career and job search.   What have you done so that a company you are interested in can understand your skills and professional passion?

Artists have known this for years… having a portfolio is just the way it is.

Can accountants (who are in transition) have a portfolio?

How can you substantiate, or allow others to visualize, your skill set?  What do you got that is more impressive than a list of credentials?

(I think I know the answer for any profession, but what do you think?)

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