In my job search I found myself at a workshop, and later, weekly networking meetings, with a kind soul named Sterling. Sterling had been a sales professional and instead of sitting in a Lay-Z-Boy and watching TV, he gave many hours of service to help people find a new job.
One of the things I remember learning from Sterling was what a “step job” is. Many people who met Sterling were looking for their dream job. The stat at the time was that for every $10,000 you needed to make, you should plan on one month of looking. So, if you wanted to make $60,000 a year, your job search should take about six months. Of course, there are way too many factors that play into that, but it was a good way of saying “you are going to be in a job search for a LONG TIME!”
So what do you do during this long time? Of course you don’t go to McGreasy’s and flip burgers… that would be below your dignity, right?
Worse than being below your dignity, the problem with a minimum wage job is that it’s too expensive for a job seeker who is looking for a career-level job. Minimum wage jobs typically have inflexible, bad schedules, and they will only pay a portion of your bills. But I think the dignity issue is the thing that keeps professional-level people out of those jobs in a job search.
But what do you do for money for the six+ months?
That’s where the step job comes in. A step job is not a minimum wage job (unless the numbers work (that is, you can pay your bills with that)), rather a job that is a fraction of what you would have made at your dream job. So, perhaps you take a $40,000 year job in your field, or in a field you have experience in, while you continue your job search.
That might be really hard to do, financially, and it might feel like you are setting yourself back, or “settling,” but there is merit in taking a step job. The most important one, I think, is this:
It’s (supposedly) easier to find a new job while you have a job (rather than being unemployed).
There is a stigma that anyone looking for a job faces. It is that they are broken, lazy, problematic, unqualified, offensive, not productive, dumb… the list goes on. whatever it is, it is multiplied when you are completely unemployed.
Even recruiters, the people we think are tasked with finding real talent, tend to be biased against those who are completely unemployed (sorry recruiters, for the generalization, I know there are some of you who don’t think that way).
The step job helps you identify with the unbroken people – those who have jobs. Sure, you are unemployed, but this is temporary. And during this temporary time, you get an income, you get to be around people, you have a purpose each day (your job), you get to network (if you take advantage of the opportunity)…
What you need to do, unless you are going to settle for your step job and give up hope on a dream job, is work really, really hard in your job search.
Yes, I know it’s hard to do this while working full-time.
But your step job is a step to your next job. Use that step to move forward. You’ll be exhausted, but if you work SMART, you should get closer to the job you want, deserve, and need.
I’m regularly asked what tags people should use in JibberJobber, for Contacts, Companies, and Jobs.
That, really, is up to you. I have things like family, friends, recruiters, prospects, and things that make sense for me. I even have a tag for “service_providers” which I’ll use for my garage door guy, small appliance repair guy, accountant, etc. You know, all of the people I don’t necessarily want to have to call (because calling them usually mean paying money I didn’t plan on paying), but it’s nice to have their numbers at my fingertips.
Two very short questions that can have very long answers!
I’ve written a bunch on blogging, back in the olden days (2006, 2007, 2008). I think that blogging is a terrific tool to help people understand your personal brand. And, there are many ways to do this – there’s not necessarily a “right” way, and what might be right today could change tomorrow.
For example, some people might get value out of blogging regularly, like I do (almost daily). Other people might be able to throw up a few pages, and a few blog posts (note: posts and pages have different purposes, theoretically), and be good. Some people want a lot of readers, other people will be fine if NO ONE reads their blog (except a hiring manager!).
Here are a few thoughts, although this is not a complete response. That could take pages and pages or hours of discussion.
First, how do you start a blog?
Well, you just start blogging I would get a free account on a site like wordpress.com. There are a bunch of wordpress competitors… and many are fine. I recommend wordpress because I know and trust the company enough, and apparently, so do a bunch of people on the internet.
If you want to look a lost more sophisticated, you could spend a nominal amount of money and (1) get your own domain name (usually your own name, like JaneDoe.com), and (2) have that domain point to your blog. This could be your wordpress blog, or you could get a bluehost account and have your own virtual server.. and with a few clicks turn on a more robust version of wordpress. If you know what I’m talking about, consider that. If you don’t, just go to wordpress.com.
Once you get your blog up, you have the “honor” of writing your first blog post. It’s a weird one, for sure. It might be an introduction to who you are, or your good intentions and plans for the blog… or it might not be introductory at all, it might get right into the meat of your content. But write the first post. And the second post… and keep going. In about two years your writing will have improved to a point where it’s actually pretty good. I thought I was a good writer back in 2006, but I look back at those posts and realize just how poor my writing skills were (or, to be more positive about it, how much I’ve improved in the last nine years!).
Second, what do I blog about?
This is a great question. Better than that, this is the right question to ask.
You can blog about anything… but you shouldn’t blog about anything. I would suggest that you blog about things that will help people understand your professional breadth and depth. The blog is a unique environment where, unlike a resume, you can expand and expand again on your breadth (for example, different skillsets) and your depth (for example, experiences with those skillsets that will exemplify how expert you are at a particular thing, or in a particular field).
Think about how you want others to perceive you. Let’s say you are a senior level product manager. You should brainstorm what the breadth is for a senior level project manager, which might include:
working with highly technical people who are expert in their area (engineers, developers, etc.)
Those are a few of the things that might be your breadth, and these might be the categories of your blog!
Essentially, you have a kind of an outline that you can now work from. Can you write three posts about one of those topics (like negotiating)?
I recommend you brainstorm stories and examples, words of wisdom and things you’ve learned over the years, about any of those areas… and just start writing. You don’t have to do things in groupings, or in order. You can have series of related posts, of course, but you can intersperse non-related posts in-between.
I have other advice, like don’t write very long posts (this is getting long). Instead, break it into two posts. And, I personally think it’s more important to write consistently (1 to 3 to 5 times a week) than to write a really long post once every six months.
Imagine that today you get the pink slip. This might come in the format of an email, a phone call, a face-to-face meeting, a closed-door session with the HR manager, your company doors are locked, whatever it is, it’s time to find a new job.
Or, maybe you pink-slip yourself! You are bored, or you are tired of a toxic boss or work environment, or it’s just time to move to the next level… and it’s time to look for a new job.
The job search is largely a mind game. The actual tactics that go into a job search are not hard, physically (how hard is it to pick up phone and dial a number?).
You can read other articles and posts on steps… but here’s the bottom line:
To do a job search you talk to people. Email, phone, face-to-face. You have the right (read: non-whiny) conversations. You do this again, and again, and again, until you are getting the right introductions to the right people, and you eventually get introductions into the right companies for you (your target companies, or even companies you hadn’t heard of).
That’s how it’s done.
Easy to read about. The “do it” factor, and consistency, are keys.
Last week in Utah there was a crazy wind storm… it caused all kinds of accidents, and blew people’s stuff around their backyards. And, of course, it caused a few Globe Willows to fall down. Globe Willows are called “garbage trees” because of the amount of branches that fall from them… they grow very, very fast, but are also susceptible to having big branches fall in a storm. Last week a friend posted a picture on Facebook of his tree that had fallen towards his house.
I had only had one occasion to use a chainsaw before, and it was pretty fun, so I jumped on the chance to do it again. On Facebook he said he would chop it up best he could… he said he didn’t have a chainsaw, but he had an ax. I’m sure he was joking about using an ax… have you ever used an ax? It’s very hard work, especially on a job like this.
A chainsaw is the tool that can make this a job to do in less than an hour. Using an ax would be a full day of frustrating and tiring work. It is NOT the right tool for this job.
I took my kids over and we had a fun time with two chainsaws. My 14 year old did a lot of the work, and two of my girls got a chance to use the chainsaw… their first experience. We are all more experienced now… and on the way home we got some ice cream cones, and unloaded a van full of firewood.
If we used an ax, we would not have finished even half of the tree, it would have been a lot messier, and I would have been completely worn out. None of that was the case… because we had the right tool.
In your job search, JibberJobber is the chainsaw. Your spreadsheet is the ax.
Yes, the spreadsheet can do the job. But it will require more time, and be more tedious, and take more mental energy, leaving you drained.
Put your effort into networking, not into forcing your tools to work.
The night before we did this job, we went to a friend’s house to borrow his chainsaw. He said “most people want to push down on the branch they are cutting. Don’t do that… let the chainsaw do the work.”
If you are muscling through a spreadsheet, you will have to “push down” and do a lot of work. You’ll get tired, and wear yourself out. Or, more realistically in a job search, you’ll become less organized, and spend too much time making the tool work.
It’s your choice. You can even use a steak knife or garden shears to do this job…. but in a job search you don’t have to go for the wrong tool. Simply get an account on JibberJobber. It’s like a free chainsaw.
This is a course on what to do with your resume… how to use it to self-market, and basic understanding of the resume as a marketing tool.
Remember, for any Jason Alba course you watch on Pluralsight, and as many times as you watch it, you can get an additional 7 days of JibberJobber Premium… no limit! Follow these steps (or scroll down and watch the new video below the image to see exactly how to watch this for free, and get additional Premium on JibberJobber!).
Here’s Pluralsight’s announcement on Facebook:
Not sure if I’ve had anything on Facebook associated to me with that many likes!
I’m excited to finally get this project to a point where I can announce it – I’ve been thinking about it for way too long, and this week I finally made it a priority! This should help a lot of people “get started” on JibberJobber. If you recommend JibberJobber to friends, family, job clubs, etc., point them here! You get here by clicking on Videos, and then it’s right up at the top.
Since October of last year the Focus Friday calls have been structured so that they were in order for someone new to get off on the right foot. I’ve taken those videos and removed the Q&A, and reduced the time to considerably less than what is in the Focus Friday series… and put them in the right order.
When you come to the Getting Startedpage you’ll see them numbered so it’s easy to keep track of where you left off. You can also see which videos you have seen.
Confused about what to do next in JibberJobber? Start watching the short videos, in order.
Want help on specific functionality in JibberJobber? Scroll through the list of topics and pick the one that will help you get unstuck.
As of right now, the videos are (each week we should add another topic):
Getting Started: Introduction (1)
Getting Started: Overwhelmed? Watch this! (1.5)
Getting Started: Homepage & Widgets (2)
Getting Started: Setting Up Tags (3)
Getting Started: Log Entries and Action Items (6)
Getting Started: Verifying Action Items and Log Entries Got In (7)
Getting Started: Log Entries and Action Item List Panel (8)
Getting Started: Optimizing the List Panel (9)
Getting Started: Managing Duplicates (10)
Getting Started: Exporting from LinkedIn (11)
Getting Started: Importing from a CSV File (12)
Getting Started: Recurring Action Items (13)
Getting Started: Calendar Views (14)
Getting Started: Interview Prep (15)
Getting Started: Job Description Analysis (16)
Getting Started: Events on Jobs (17)
Getting Started: The Job Journal (18)
The “viewed” shows whether you have watched it or not:
Do you have requests for other topics? Let me know!
Because I’ve heard that JibberJobber is too confusing, and there are too many things you can do. I’ve tried to figure out how to create a visualization of the what and why, and a few nights ago I finally figured it out. Without further ado, check it out:
My response to that article is one single, easy hack:
If using JibberJobber is too hard, then you can do what they suggest, creating your own organizational system with a bunch of tools put together. Here are some of their points, from the link above, to help you know what your organizational system should do:
Keep track of companies (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Keep track of applications (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track company name (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track application status (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track job titles (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track application deadline (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track application submitted date (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track contact at company, with name, title and email (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track when you did an informational interview (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track when you last contacted the company so you can send a follow-up email (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track all of this in “one place” even though you have a lot of it in your email inbox (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Document all meeting notes (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Track everyone you spoke with, or want to speak with (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Follow-up (which is the “critical factor for success”) (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Schedule email follow-up reminders (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
Keep your important docs, like cover letters, resumes, etc. in one place that’s easy to find/access (Check! You can do this in JibberJobber)
There’s plenty more that you could do… in JibberJobber. One reason we designed JibberJobber is so that you don’t have to monkey around with all kinds of folders and other apps… just do it all in one place. Kind of has an appeal to it, doesn’t it?