I’ve written plenty on the so-called “hidden job market.” Check out this quote I found in a document describing how you can set up a job ministry (aka, job club):
“Over 80% of available jobs are never published in public media of any kind.”
I don’t know where that statistic comes from. I don’t know if it is true. But even if it is partly true, the message is that you will not find all of the opportunities out there on job boards, or wherever else you might be looking.
What does this mean?
Job coaches are quick to point out that whatever you can find online will be the low-hanging-fruit for the general population. In other words, EVERYONE and their dog will be applying to the easy-to-find opportunities. This means you become one of many. This means the people sifting through the applicants will have to sift through (a) a lot and (b) a lot of unqualified people. It is tedious, and that is why they bring in the Applicant Tracking System, which by it’s very nature will be flawed.
This is where you enter the discouraging “resume black hole.” You can spend hours and hours each day playing this game. Some call it a numbers came. I call it usually fruitless.
What about the other 80% of opportunities that are unposted? Where are they, and how do you tap into them?
Much of that 80% really comes down to this:
Who knows you, and
What they know about you.
That “simply” comes down to (a) networking and (b) personal branding.
The good news: you can do this!
The not-so-g0od news: it will take work, and can take time. And you need to learn some new skills, get out of your comfort zone, and apply tactics consistently.
Have I lost you yet?
It’s okay, you can go back to the 20% of opps out there, and keep applying all day long. Play that game. Some of you will win it.
For me, I’d rather figure out a solution to my career management that will be valuable both long-term and short-term.
IT IS TIME to take our career management into our own hands. This simply means that networking, and personal branding (or, reputation management), becomes the most important things we can do to help us in this job search, and every job search to ever come.
I’ve seen people who have done this, and I’ve seen the results of their activities. I’ve even seen introverts and old people (read: people who face yucky age discrimination) do this successfully.
I know YOU can do this.
Here’s THE tool to help you with your networking, specifically, managing, nurturing and improving the relationship: JibberJobber.com
There are free trainings you can get on Pluralsight on branding, networking, communication, etc. Pluralsight costs money, but I can get you a 30 day pass. As a bonus, if you watch any of my courses, I’ll upgrade you another seven days on JibberJobber’s Premium level. Watch the video below to see how to get access to the videos, and how to claim your week-long upgrades for watching my courses:
Nine and a half years ago I lost my job. The emotions are so intense that I can recall them as if it were just yesterday. Some things are hard to forget.
I was fairly new in this town, not knowing many people, and feeling quite lost and unsupported. Other people had either grown up around here and had friends from high school who were now in a position to help them network… I didn’t have that. And some people had professional services that their ex-company bought for them, commonly known as “outplacement.” My company would never, ever have paid for outplacement.
So, where do you turn for help, when it seems there is not help for an out of work person with no money to spend? Here are some ideas:
Job Clubs and Job Ministries
Have you ever heard of job clubs, or job ministries? This is one of the greatest secrets in our local communities that should be our first stop. Many (not all) communities have them. If yours doesn’t, look for the nearest one. It might make sense to drive an hour or two to go to one. The value you get out of attending a job club or job ministry goes beyond just sitting in a chair and learning for a speaker. Networking with other job seekers was one of the most important things I did in my job search. Partly because job seekers are well-networked, and partly because I learned that (a) I wasn’t the only one in this pathetic situation, and (b) there were people more qualified and awesome than I was, and they were in transition too (which means, I could stop thinking I was broken, or at fault). Also, at these job clubs, you’ll find volunteers who have been there for years, sometimes decades, who are well-versed in all-things-job-search, and they can help you avoid the inevitable pitfalls you would otherwise fall into.
I have spoken to groups at job clubs over the years and job clubs will always hold a special place in my heart.
Check the state resources
When I went to my local workforce services office, I knew it wasn’t for me. I walked in, they didn’t quite know what to do with someone with my education and skills, and looking for the level of job I was looking for… they sat me down at an old computer from the 1800′s, with a 14 inch monitor that was almost impossible to use, and asked me to do something (I can’t remember… work on a resume, fill out a form… whatever it was, it was a useless cookie-cutter exercise). The services seemed to be geared at entry-level positions, and the staff was accustomed to working with people who were chronically unemployed, hoping they could get an entry level job. Classes on grooming, showing up on time, etc. were not what I needed. I hope that has changed in my state…
But what I’ve seen in other states is mind-boggling. In California the EDD is amazing. I’ve spoken at various EDD events and they are well-attended by higher level professionals who are anxious to network and help others. In Minnesota the state money went to private parties that created environments that reminded me of outplacement offices in Class A facilities (that is, expensive buildings). They were clearly geared towards executives and professionals in transition. In Maryland the state’s Professional Outplacement Assistance Center is amazing, offering excellent job search training and help that you would expect from any for-profit outplacement company… all for free to state residents.
Give your state offices a chance… you might be surprised to know they have services that fit your needs (better than they fit mine, almost 10 years ago).
University career center
One of my programming professors would tell us to never go to the career center. They were a waste of time, not effective, and didn’t even know how to help people going into the IT. Unfortunately, that colored how I would think of career centers. When I lost my job they weren’t even on my radar. Finally, though, someone suggested I reach out to them. Unfortunately, they weren’t really designed to help someone like me who had been in a professional capacity for a while. HOWEVER, I’ve spoken at a few universities since then, working with career services, and I’ve seen some great programs and counselors and directors who are awesome.
Not all schools have resources that will or can help you, and sometimes they charge a small fee for alumni who have been gone from the school for a certain period, but it’s worth a phone call to see if they can be a resource to you.
If they can’t help you, call your alma mater’s alumni office… sometimes they offer career services that the career center doesn’t know about (because a lot of career centers focus on helping their undergrads and new grads).
Find one person who can be your accountability partner
Of utmost importance to any job seeker is a weekly accountability partner. This is someone, typically NOT YOUR SPOUSE, who you will meet with once a week and report on what you have done, and what you will do the following week. I can’t emphasize how important this is, even for self-motivated individuals! Just knowing that you’ll have to sit down with someone, look them in the eye, and say “no, um, I didn’t do all those things… I got caught up finishing a game of Sudoku on Tuesday that went a couple of hours longer than it should have…” or “I haven’t called that person yet” thinking (I’m too afraid – they might say… NO! to me). An accountability coach should help you (a) do what you think you should do, and just as important (b) make sure you aren’t implementing ineffective job search tactics (which is what I spent way too much time doing in my job search).
Who can do this? Perhaps someone you met at a job club. Perhaps someone you met at church. Perhaps someone who lives by you. Maybe it’s a brother, cousin, nephew, or a current or past mentor. You are simply looking for someone who will spend 20 to 30 minutes with you once a week (it can even be on the phone), who will ask you the hard questions (“WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THAT THING?”), and help keep you on task. INVALUABLE.
Get some money from family or friends to hire a coach and a resume writer
Finally, even if you don’t have any money, don’t discount the idea of hiring someone to help you, even if it means you borrow money from family or friends. There are some very affordable, very good coaches and resume writers who can make sure you are doing the right things. The reason I love good coaches and resume writers is because they are in the trenches with their clients, and they have been-there, done-that, and know how to best help you make progress. If I would have found a thousand bucks to find a good coach and a resume writer I would have been pointed in the right direction, not wasted months and months poking around trying to make up my own systems, etc. I know a thousand bucks seems like a lot of money when you don’t know how you’ll pay rent in three months from now… but a coach could make the difference between having a job within those three months, or continuing to spin your wheels and growing more and more hopeless.
What do you think? Good ideas? Have you exhausted them? What other resources have I missed?
We have been working on a new feature in JibberJobber to help YOU feel more confident about JibberJobber, and use the right features to help you accomplish your goals.
Because too many people login to JibberJobber with a hope that we can help them, but they get to the front page and think “uh-oh… I don’t know were to start! This looks too complicated?”
And then they go back to their 1900′s solution of a very ineffective spreadsheet, thinking that the sophistication of JibberJobber is reserved for people who are smarter than they are.
Over the years we’ve been introducing various things to help you get up running on JibberJobber, and feel like this is YOUR system, and it WILL work for you. The latest thing we’re rolling out is a 30 day email series to help YOU.
The technology is in place. The emails have been written. We’ve tested it internally and are ready to have you give us your feedback.
Whether you have logged in 3,000 times, or you haven’t ever signed up on JibberJobber, would you please sign up on this email series, and then let us know how it goes?
We want any and all feedback, including:
Are you getting the emails in your inbox (or, are they going to your spam folder?)
Does the formatting in the email look okay, or does it look messed up? (in other words, is it clean?)
Do you feel you are getting the emails are weird times of the day?
Are the messages too short? (our goal is to have SHORT messages that you can act on each day, and not feel like it’s too much to (a) read or (b) do)
Are the messages written well? Are there any typos, grammar issues, etc.?
Do the daily tasks seem like they are too much? Or too little?
Do you think this would help someone who is trying to make heads or tails of getting started and getting value out of JibberJobber?
We hope to roll this out to the masses soon, but I would love to get some candid feedback from you before we do… Please send any feedback to me (Jason@JibberJobber.com) or through the Contact Us system.
Here’s how you do it (this will be more automated, and less hidden, once we are ready to roll it out to everyone):
Login to JibberJobber
Click on Account from the main menu
Click on the tab “Mailing Lists”
Click on the only one on that page: New User: First 30 Days Jumpstart
Click the blue Save button.
You should get the first email the day you sign up, and then each morning for the next 29 days you should get the next one in the series.
My newest Pluralsight course is live, and you can get access to it for free (if you watch it, you’ll get another week of JibberJobber premium added to your account – see the video at the bottom of this post to learn how to get free access).
How to Get Your Next Promotion is designed to help individuals be more proactive about their careers. As a hiring manager, and a manager of developers, I would love for my employees to take this course. Why? Because this course encourages them to be more serious about improving themselves so they are promotable. That self-improvement will only help my team be more successful.
Obviously, this course is totally applicable for job seekers as well as those who are currently employed.
Description and modules: This course is designed to help you whether you are interviewing for your next promotion this week, or you are planning on a promotion in the next year or two. The modules are:
Your Career: Where You Are and Where You Want to Go (31 mins)
The Plan: How to Get There (28 mins)
Soft Skills: How to Prepare for Your Next Role (28 mins)
Hard Skills: How to Prepare for Your Next Role (20 mins)
Where Do We Go from Here? (17 mins)
Want access to this, and my 20 other courses? Want to get a week of JibberJobber premium every time you watch any of my courses? Check this video out:
In this blog post I dissect the page to add a new Contact, manually, in JibberJobber. I find myself adding Contacts more using Email2Log, but I do come into here regularly. Here’s what you need to know:
At the very top you’ll see the three most important fields… when I create a new Contact I always want to have a first and last name, and an email address. Having an email address allows me to use the Email2Log feature later, without creating duplicate Contacts. Note that you can create multiple email addresses for each Contact, which comes in handy.
Add the image of the person by uploading a file from your computer or from a URL. The way I do this from a URL is to right-click on the image and then choose the option to get the URL of the image. You’ll paste that into a box on JibberJobber, and we’ll go out and grab the image from the website (that’s pretty cool!).
The Referred By allows you to indicate who introduced you to this new Contact. This allows you to build the “Tree View” which is really cool!
Categories and Tags allow you to group your Contacts so you can later say “show me all of my friends,” or “show me all of the hiring managers” or something similar. We tend to favor Tags around here, since you can have multiple tags on each Contact.
Rank Contacts to know how strong the relationship is with each person in your network. This comes straight out of Never Eat Alone (Keith Ferrazzi), where Keith says you should know how strong the relationships are with each person.
Most of these fields are intuitive. Note that you can add a Company or Job and if it’s already in your account in JibberJobber, we will associate this Contact to that record. You can also have multiple Jobs and Companies associated to a Company. If the Job or Company records don’t exist, type it in and then click either button to add those records (which will also associate the Contact to that/those records).
The Initial Contact is when you first met the person. I find myself clicking the Today button more than I thought I would, but you can back-date this easily.
The Source field allows you to put where you met this person (online, on LinkedIn, at a networking event, through an email introduction, etc.). It’s basically a help to put this Contact record into context, to remind you who this person is.
If you put the day and month of the birthday in, you can get email reminders of your Contacts when they have birthdays coming up.
Notes is where you put general information about the Contact, but NOT Log Entry stuff. The differnce is this: Graduated from UCLA vs. We had lunch and talked about A, B, and C.
If you are looking for more fields, then just add your own. That’s what the Custom Fields are for… you can add as many as you want (although after 9+ years, I don’t have a whole lot that I actually use).
What does that mean? It means that we, who sometimes feel like pawns in the big picture, must work within a broken system. And that, I think, is okay.
How do we work within this broken system?
First, we must understand that it is broken, and understand some of the broken components.
We don’t have to understand all of the broken components… but it’s good to know what we are up against. In the classic The Art of War, Tsu writes “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” I don’t think any job seeker needs to read up on the broken parts of a job search… they’ll learn about many of them in the first month or two. But just accepting that things are broken might help you know that (a) you are not broken, and (b) doing the right principle-based things are wrong.
Next, we must ensure that we are doing current best practices, based on principles, not some advice from someone who hasn’t looked for a job in twenty years.
I had well-intentioned people tell me what to do, give me advice, print off pages of job postings… but hardly any of these people encouraged me to network, helped me understand how to network, or work on my brand (or, reputation management). I spent most of my time spinning wheels, doing things that a career coach (or someone in-the-know) knows I should not have done. Where are you spending your time? What tactics and techniques are you banking on? If they aren’t principle-based, then you better do some reading. Or go to a career center (university, state-based, in a church basement, whatever) and talk to someone who is current!
Next, we must focus on consistent work.
This is one of the hardest things. It’s easy to do hard stuff for a few hours, or a few days. But as time goes on, and bills pile up, and rejection after rejection reinforces a message, it gets harder and harder to consistently do the right things. You lose HOPE (“Why try?”). Mark Leblanc sent me a postcard that says “consistency trumps commitment.” A big part of his awesome system is that you do three things that move you closer to your objectives EVERY SINGLE DAY. These three things can be small, but they must be things that move you closer.
I’ve had days where I do my three things before 8 am. Want to know what happens? I have a way more productive day. I typically do more during the day. I don’t have nagging feelings of “I need to do those things!” I get them done, bite by bite, early in the morning, day after day, month after month.
Consistency is they key, doing the right things each day. I’ve tried it both ways: doing small things consistently or doing something big every once in a while. Doing small things consistently is much better.
Next, we must become accountable to someone.
This might be the most important thing to do. I thought I was accountable to myself, my bank statements, my mortgage and other creditors, and my wife. An accountability partner (or coach, or whatever you want to call this person) will help you understand what’s broken, and what to ignore and what to focus on (see the first point above). The coach will help you focus on consistently doing principle-based best practices that are current (see the other to points).
Perhaps most important thing with an appropriate accountability partner is that you are reporting to this person each and every week. You are honest with yourself and your coach. Just knowing that there’s someone who is going to ask if you really did that thing, and what you are going to do next week, and did you call that person you have been too afraid to call… this is someone offering you moral support, telling you that YES you can do it, and YES you are on the right track… that is invaluable!
Look, you aren’t going to fix the broken system. I’m not going to fix the broken system. But that doesn’t mean we can’t figure out how to work within the system. Let’s work with what we got and dictate our results, instead of sitting back waiting for things to get better.
So here’s the deal: Facebook is different than LinkedIn, which is different than Twitter, which is different than your resume, which is different than…
Imagine going to a network meeting and, when you get hte chance to stand up, you say:
“My name is Jason Alba. I’m a ______ and I’m looking for a job in _______. I’m especially looking for introductions to ______ or ______ and ______.”
Would that be appropriate?
Well, if it’s a job club, then YES, it would probably be appropriate. But if it’s a home and garden show, and you are just mingling with vendors, it would probably seem really out of place.
The idea is context. Who is your audience, and what types of messaging or communication or conversation seems right for the meeting?
Take this concept online, and consider what message you are sending out on LinkedIn (“here are my professional competencies”) and Twitter (“I’m hungry, where’s the taco truck?”) and Facebook.
What kind of message is appropriate on Facebook?
Let’s first consider who you are connected to on Facebook. Typically friends, and some associates, and maybe some professional acquaintances. What kind of message is “appropriate” to put in front of them? I have a little different approach than what I’ve heard from others (which is, LinkedIn is for professional, Facebook is for personal (only)). Consider this: do your Facebook Friends have any ability to help you find a new job? I’m not talking about looking up openings, I’m talking about knowing someone who might know someone (aka, help you network).
I’ve seen this numerous times over the last few years: someone posts that they are now out of work, and looking for a new job.
It’s a casual mention, not going into detail, but the comments on that one post start to pile up.
Comments come from family and friends who seem like they wouldn’t be able to help. Some of them are out of the workforce (retirement or homemakers), others are in completely different fields, and some are just teenagers who surely wouldn’t know anyone.
But every grandma on there has a daughter or son who might know someone (or, be that someone!). Every teen has parents and/or aunts or uncles, or other adults they have a relationship with that might be able to help.
See what we are doing?
We’re bypassing the idea of “you are in my target company, thus, you are the ‘right’ person,” and going straight for the heart of what networking is.
Reconsider your messaging so that, instead of saying “does anyone have a job for me,” you simply say “I need help… here’s what I’m looking for, here’s how you can help me.”
And the “here’s what I’m looking for” is usually not “a job in xyz industry.” Usually it’s an introduction to someone who does this type of thing.
Most people are not going to know about a particular opening in xyz industry, but a lot of people will think “I wonder if I know anyone who can help this person?”
Bottom line: Facebook can be an excellent place to do a job search. You just have to rethink what your question is, and how you get that in front of your Facebook Friends.
(oh yeah, this is not a one-time post… keep this in front of your connections!)
I sent this to the JibberJobber LinkedIn Group yesterday:
Hey all, this message clarifies some things about Pluralsight courses and JibberJobber upgrades.
JibberJobber is owned by me. Pluralsight is not. That shapes what we are able to offer to you Please share this with others – there are many people who could benefit from what I share below.
You have a free-for-life account on JibberJobber. There is an optional upgrade. Most people upgrade for the killer app: Email2Log. This integrates your email activities with your JibberJobber database. It’s super duper cool.
Pluralsight has given us access codes that we can give to each of you so you get 30 days of unlimited content viewing on Pluralsight.com. There are over 4,000 courses, most of them technical (programming, design, etc.).I have about 20 courses that are related to your career (informational interviews, LinkedIn, job search, career management, branding, etc.).
Each time you watch one of my courses on Pluralsight.com you can report it on JibberJobber and get an additional week of JibberJobber Premium. For example, you watch the Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile course, you can go into JibberJobber and say you watched it and get 7 more days. If you watch it again, get another 7 days. If you watch it 5 times, you get 35 days! There is not limit to this. You don’t pay for JibberJobber, but you get weeks and weeks and months and months of free upgrades. You don’t pay for Pluralsight, either… you don’t even put in a credit card number!
After 30 days, you will have the option to continue your Pluralsight account. If you are in a technical field (IT, programming, project management, product management, etc.) I think it makes a lot of sense. The price is $30/month. However, if you only went there for the Jason Alba videos, there’s no obligation to pay after 30 days. They don’t even send you a bunch of harassing emails to try to get you to upgrade.
I can’t extend your 30 days for you, on Pluralsight. I don’t have the authority or power to do that. If you get past your 30 days, you can pay $30 for another 30 days. That’s actually pretty inexpensive for what you get.
My advice is to take advantage of every minute you have during the 30 days. Watch all of my videos. Watch them 3 times each. Get your fill. Take notes. Watch them again. If you do that, you will have “sharpened your saw” (Covey’s 7th habit), and you will be ready to move forward. If you choose to pay for an account on your own, make learning a scheduled part of your day so you get the full benefit of your Pluralsight account.
Again, please share this with others, as there are many people who could use either the online courses and training, or the awesome JibberJobber organizational functionality. Or, both.
Finally, you should know that if you watch any of my videos on Pluralsight, I get a very small kickback (even if you never pay them). I get compensated because I have provided them content, and I have introduced you to their platform. It’s a win-win for all of us.
A few years ago I found myself jet-setting around the U.S., speaking at job clubs, universities, non-profits, etc. I thought my message was sharing (a) strategies and (b) tactics to help you take control of your career.
Susan Joyce (brilliant owner of Job-Hunt.org) was at a a presentation in Massachusetts and said “your next book should be titled On Purpose Branding” (or perhaps Purposeful Branding), since that was a big part of my presentation.
I love hearing what others think my message is, because it helps me clarify what I want my message to be. After Susan gave me this feedback I found myself using on purpose and purposeful a lot more. I find myself thinking about doing things on purpose, instead of letting them happen to me.
Going to college, without any idea why, and choosing an easy major, might be a good example of letting things just happen to you.
Getting a job that is comfortable, but doesn’t provide you with a career path, or even a good income, is an example of letting things just happen to you.
Doing a job search without a smart strategy for 2015, but spending more time on job boards and reading blogs and playing online sudoku, is an example of not being purposeful.
Fake networking, the kind that is painful and doesn’t get you anywhere, just to turn in metrics at the end of the day or week (“I talked to three people today!”), is an example of letting things happen to you.
Purposeful, on the other hand, is knowing what you are after, and doing what it takes to OWN the results.
Instead of “there are too many things out of my control, so there’s really nothing I can do,” you say to yourself “Today I’m going to do A, B, and C, and that will help me get what I need to get! I can do this!”
Purposeful actions show that you still hope. You hope there is a better future, you hope that what you do will have an impact, and you hope that you can make a difference in the world, or at least get back to paying all of your bills and having some fun money at the end of the month.
If your job search lacks hope, or is not purposeful, you better talk to someone. Mine lacked both, and all I did was spun my wheels and got deeper and deeper into a bad place.