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Organize Your Job Search: Action Item vs Log Entry

August 20th, 2014

This morning on the weekly user webinar we talked about the difference between Log Entries and Action Items.  It might seem obvious to you, but I’ve been asked about this a lot lately.  So here’s how we see the two:

A Log Entry might be notes on a conversation I had with someone.  For example, let’s say that you call me and we talk for thirty minutes… I’m going to create a Log Entry and store any information that I might want later.  I might say how long we talked (there’s a big difference between a three minute call and a thirty minute call), what we talked about, and what I learned from our call.  I might record specific questions I asked, if I did a good job asking questions.  I might record what your demeanor was, and if you seem to be someone I want to continue a relationship with.

That’s about it… just recording information.

If I found an article about you, or your company, I might create a Log Entry with the link to the article, and maybe even the full text of the article (you never know when things disappear). If I have a thought about you, which turns out to be something I need to record, I might create a Log Entry… even though we didn’t talk or communicate!

I create an Action Item when I need to do something, like “follow-up on the resume I sent in,” or “email John and see how he is doing,” etc.  An Action Item is something I need to do, and I want a reminder of it.  In a job search and in networking it’s easy to list things, whether they are just informational or something to do later, but if we aren’t prompted to do them, we can really fail in our activities.

The way I create an Action Item is to create a Log Entry, and then put a “due date” on it.  For example, I talked to John about xyz (that is the Log Entry), and I need to call him next Friday (that is the Action Item).  Once a Log Entry has an Action Item due date, I have a reminder to follow-up on it.

jj_action_item_new

My favorite way to create Log Entries is the Email2Log feature, which allows me to create a Log Entry just by BCC’ing an email to the server.  Watch the video on this Email2Log blog post to learn more.

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Follow-Up Requires Organization: JibberJobber, the Job Search Organizer

August 19th, 2014

In my Career Management 2.0 presentation I have a slide that prompts me to quote Keith Ferrazzi, saying that “if you want to be better than 95% of [your competition], all you need to do is follow-up.”

He says that 95% of people don’t follow-up.  You can really stand out if you are part of the five out of hundred people who do.

In yesterday’s post (on how to get networking introductions), Hunter Walk’s point #4 is to make sure you follow-up with the person who made the introduction.  In point #5 he says that you should continually follow-up with the people who give you introductions.

Why do 95 out of 100 not do this?

Because we are not organized…..!

You know how it is: we get too many business cards, we try to manage inbox zero (while having 2,000 messages in our inbox), we find out about new people all the time, we go to conferences, we see cool people on LinkedIn that we really want to have a chat with… after a while we are drowning in information overload, where it has accumulates to a point where it’s hard to remember who is who, and why anyone is important.

You think your email inbox is going to manage it all, but finding anything in Outlook will cause great intellectual and emotional distress.  Searching for conversation information, contact information, and information to put the relationship into context will require that you look through 50 emails and try and piece it all together.  It’s really simply undoable.  Even with Gmail, the king of search.  It’s really a matter of using the right tool for the job at hand, and an email client is not a relationship manager.

Unorganized, lost, drowning, we don’t follow-up.  It’s too hard to figure out.

Even job seekers, who are hypersensitive to following-up, and really want to do this relationship thing right, get confused.  It’s embarrassing when you can’t remember who someone is, especially if they totally remember you.  It’s unprofessional to not know what people (especially recruiters) are calling you for. You sound disinterested, and probably like the wrong candidate.

JibberJobber is a job search organizer and a relationship manager for YOU. It is one more piece of the puzzle.  It might be a fundamental piece, and definitely has been the missing piece.  When I think of where JibberJobber fits in, it’s at the center of all of your other tools: job boards, email systems, networking meetings, phone calls, introductions, etc.  All relationships, contacts, and many communications can come back to this central point – like a hub in your networking wheel.

What are you waiting for?  Get organized, follow-up better and more, and get your career management under control with JibberJobber!  To learn how, jump on a user webinar.

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

August 18th, 2014

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

hunter_walk_investor

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

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

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

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

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The New Job Search App

August 14th, 2014

JibberJobber.com is a job search app.  Many, many years ago, close to the 1900′s (2006, to be precise), JibberJobber.com was launched to help people organize a job search.

What does organize a job search mean?  Anyone who’s been in a job search for more than a week knows that it can be a long, harrowing process.  The delusions of grandeur they once had, and the expectations of finding a job faster than the competition, quickly erode as they don’t get interviews, their resumes get lost in the “resume black hole,” and their self esteem erodes to the point where they believe they don’t deserve network introductions.

Forcing yourself to meet new people, listing new companies you learn about, and applying to jobs (whether you do it on their pathetic online submission form, or you send a resume in to someone at the company) takes a lot of work.  Before you know it, you are inundated with “data” from all sides – names of companies, phone numbers, dates of application, when you should follow-up, who introduced you to who, what you need to do today, etc.  You start out organizing all of this with a spreadsheet, and then learn that your “system” is a house of cards… and you start to miss follow-up opportunities.  You need something more, and the career counselors at the school you went to who recommend a paper-based form that you print out and fill in all of the sudden lose credibility.  (yes, this happens all the time. Even in 2014.)

When you are more organized, you are in more control.  No longer does the recruiter at the other end of the phone hear you respond to their call with this: “Sorry, what company?  I don’t remember applying there.”  Put yourself in the place of the recruiter… when you say that you sound disinterested.  Lost.  Disorganized.  Not exactly what they were hoping they would hear when they called to see if you were still interested in the company they are recruiting for.

Imagine if you said “can you hold on a minute?  I need to find my notes…” and then you do a quick search for (a) the recruiter’s name, or (b) the company name, or (c) the job title you applied to, or (d) anything else that quickly comes to mind.  This quick search, and the results, can get your mind in the right place to have the right conversation.  Even if it is a company you don’t remember applying to.

When you are organized, you are managing your job search.  Too many job seekers let their job search manage them.

JibberJobber is the app you want when you start a job search.  Get started on the right foot, organized from the beginning.  Don’t try to create your own organizational system, wasting days or months setting up a spreadsheet, or switching from one system to another.  Jump in, get and stay organized, and be in control.  While we aren’t new to the world, we are new to job seekers.  If you have a friend who is in a job search, let him or her know about JibberJobber.  As one of my early users said, JibberJobber is my virtual assistant.  You don’t have to go it alone – leverage JibberJobber as one of the most useful apps in your job search.

Bonus: you probably realize that this won’t be your last job search… if you start using JibberJobber, you’ll have your own personal tool that holds all of this rich data (contact info, job titles, past discussions, etc.) for the next job search.  And the next job search.  And every job search from here on.  How empowering is it to not have to start from the beginning every single time!

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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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LinkedIn Messaging Part II: The Dangers of Asynchronous Communication (including email)

August 13th, 2014

Yesterday I wrote a post titled Why You Shouldn’t Message Me On LinkedIn. The main argument was LinkedIn’s lack of auto-reply feature, which means that even if I set up a vacation message in my email, I can’t do that in my LinkedIn messaging system (aka, inbox). Note to LinkedIn: if you are going to “fix” that, please let me also create an “email signature”…!

Anyway, in the comments, Lamar asks about sending gmail messages, and getting those bounce back. He argues that his gmail activity is less reliable then sending messages via LinkedIn…

SO WHAT IS THE RIGHT ANSWER?  

Let me clarify that I’m not solely talking about technological success (whether the message you sent was actually received in the person’s inbox).  I’m talking about whether the reader will actually see the message.  Having something sent to the mailbox, but filed in spam or junk, is a failure.  In my opinion, sending something to someone’s Gmail account and having it not be in the Primary tab is a failure.  I use the Gmail corporate service for my JibberJobber email, and I find that too often my @JibberJobber emails are not received by the recipient, because their email spam filters don’t like Gmail’s DNS servers (and perhaps other things that Gmail is doing).  That is lame and unfortunate… Gmail should clean that up. BUT, there are too many factors (like the 3rd party email blacklists, which sometimes are created by some shady guy with no ethics and a chip on his shoulder, working in a poorly lit apartment with energy drinks and empty pizza boxes strewn around his lonely room).  Nothing you can do about that.  Too bad corporations give his input any value :(

In communicating with a human being, though, the real issue comes down to asynchronous communication.

Has anyone ever said something like “why didn’t you do that think I asked you to do?  I texted you!

Um, maybe because I didn’t get the text?!?!

But I texted you!

Sounds like a weak argument, doesn’t it?

When you really need communication to happen, you need to confirm it happened.  Just because you texted someone doesn’t mean that (a) their phone registered the text, and (b) they say the text.

One definition of asynchronous is “not occurring at the same time.”  That, my friends, is text, email, LinkedIn messaging, etc.

In a face-to-face conversation (or phone call, chat, etc.) you have someone who says something, and someone else who can respond immediately.  Even if it is through body language, the response, or the conversation, is “occurring at the same time.”

If you want to know if someone heard you, you can ask “did you hear me?”

If you want to know if someone saw your text/email/message, you could ask them.  Or you could wait for them to respond.  But you can’t assume that any asynchronous communication is going to be received and read (much less responded to) immediately.

Check out this quote, in an article talking about asynchronous communication:

“Sometimes people have to wait hours, days, and even weeks to get a response to a message or feedback…”

It really doesn’t matter what method of asynchronous communication you use, there will always be the element of a gamble (did the user get the message??).

In yesterday’s post, I recommended you not send me a message through LinkedIn, if you really want to get a response from me (or have me see your message).  But really, any other method, except face-to-face, will have similar risks.  I just find that my email is much more reliable than the LinkedIn messaging system, and how my email system interacts with it.

Which gamble are you going to take?

And how can you ensure your communications are being received and responded to?

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Why You Shouldn’t Message Me On LinkedIn

August 12th, 2014

Last week I was out of the office all week.  Two weeks earlier I was out for an entire week.  I was at camps with my kids and really didn’t have access to anything online.

I dutifully set up my “out of office” messages in my two main email systems, knowing that anyone who sent me an email would have known that I would take a few days to get back to them.  Unfortunately, I got a number of messages through LinkedIn’s messaging system… and those people didn’t get any message to let them know I was unavailable.

They just got radio silence.  Sounds an awful lot like being ignored.  Or that I don’t care to respond.

LinkedIn is cool, for sure.  But it’s not the only tool you should use.  Use email, or the phone, but don’t solely message people through LinkedIn.

If you don’t know someone’s email address, GET IT.  If you have it, USE IT.

The other reason I suggest you don’t use LinkedIn for primary or important messaging (if you aren’t doing important messaging, don’t send the message!) is because messages from LinkedIn don’t get in front of me very often.  A while back Google (Gmail) decided they needed to sift my email into three groups (they could have just named tabs 2 and 3 SPAM, right?):

gmail_buckets

Guess where I spend most of my time?

The “Primary” box.

Guess where your LinkedIn message goes?

NOT the “Primary” box.

Don’t use Gmail, so that’s not an issue?  I suggest you check out your spam or junk folder, and see how many LinkedIn messages are in there.  That should be proof enough that you shouldn’t depend on LinkedIn for sending messages.

Want to get on my radar?  EMAIL ME directly.

Sending me a message through LinkedIn is a gamble.

How about you?

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First thing to do when you get a layoff notice

August 11th, 2014

I was listening to a friend talk about his layoff this weekend…. he had zero days of transition from his last job to his new gig.  He related something like this (in my own words):

“I got laid off two months ago and I immediately started my job search…”

There’s more to his story, but as far as this post is concerned, that is the most important thing I want to share.  Since I lost my job, 8+ years ago, I have met plenty of people who have gotten a layoff notice, and had a few weeks or a few months to prepare for the next job.

I’ve also met plenty of people who have some kind of sweet severance, giving them months of normal income before their income goes away. The story I hear the most is “I’ll start looking for my next job in six months, when I get close to the severance running out.”

Folks, the time to look for a job is (personally I feel like it is ALL THE TIME, but if you hear you are getting laid off, or think you are going to get laid off, START LOOKING…) NOW!

My friend got an eight week notice, and by the end of eight weeks he had a job lined up.

That is a much better transition than I had!

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LinkedIn Videos update: 4 new videos on writing “Posts” (aka, articles)

July 30th, 2014

I just sent the message below to members of my JibberJobber group on LinkedIn.  If you are not a member, click here to join.  (this is slightly edited for this blog post)

Today I finished creating and editing four new videos to help you understand the (fairly) new Posts feature in LinkedIn. This used to be the “influencer” privilege, which very few people had access to. I think everyone has the feature now, though…. hence the addition to the LinkedIn for Job Seekers streaming video series.These four videos are a part of the LinkedIn for Job Seekers Fourth Edition series… if you have any questions about LinkedIn, go to this page and see what the videos.  The new video clips are:

  • Posts: Introduction (and writing your first post)
  • Posts: Rich text and formatting to your articles
  • Posts: Two important tips to have better articles
  • Posts: Conclusion and wrap-up

If you have a request for additional videos for this series, let me know.

The series is priced at $50. To get access, first get a JibberJobber account, then go here, and you’ll be able to purchase the streaming version.

If you want $11 off, get the one year upgrade on JibberJobber (only $60), and then add the LinkedIn videos for only $39 more.

IF YOU ARE A COACH, work in outplacement, or at a career center, and you are licensing this series already, your clients should have access to them. (if you, or they, have problems, refer them to the Contact Us page, or to Liz)

If you want information on bulk purchasing, and you are a coach, resume writer, in outplacement, a recruiter, etc, please use the Contact form to ask for more information.

Thank you, and have a great day!

Jason Alba
CEO – www.JibberJobber.com
Author – I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???

Let us know if you have any questions!

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

July 29th, 2014

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

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

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

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

In the comment thread, she continued:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Job Search Tip: Be “Quick To Forgive”

July 28th, 2014

A while back my wife was in some training and she picked up a phrase that has become oft-repeated in my home.  ”Quick to forgive.”  It’s a powerful concept, easy to accept, perhaps hard to apply.

The power of forgiveness is real.  As a job seeker we feel slighted for many reasons… the people who let us go, the people who don’t help us network, the people who don’t choose to hire us, the people who ________.

Job seekers work with people… and thus we have plenty of opportunity to forgive.

As you let things go, and get over them (or through them), you can put your time, attention and energy into more important things, like the task at hand.  What do you need to do to move forward, instead of why are you staying held back?

Try to create a personal culture of being quick to forgive, and move on with what you need to move on to.

Finally, I can’t talk about forgiveness without suggesting that you get really good at forgiving yourself.  I’m not saying create excuses for not having or achieving what you want, but don’t wallow in self-pity and feelings of failure and inadequacy.  Forgive yourself, take ownership of your issues in the spirit of being willing to improve, but stop harboring unsafe and harmful feelings – towards yourselves, or others.

I can’t imagine how serene life would be if we could be quick to forgive… can you?

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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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