The Hardships of Layoffs (“It’s Just a Business Decisions” with Real Impact)

March 24th, 2015

“It’s just a business decision.”

You’ve heard that before, right?  The message is “we don’t hate you… it’s not about you or your personality or your skills… it’s just bottom line dollars and the health of the company.  And, by laying you off, we can still have a company where we employ others… so while this is hard, at least we aren’t causing everyone to lose their jobs.”

I get, and in general, agree with, that message.

However, there’s an interesting side-effect of the layoffs that seem to be unprecedented…. or at least different than what happened in the 60′s and 70′s, when (I’m guessing) the notion of job security was really made part of the thread of the idea of careers.

Check out the first line from this article from Bay Today (a newspaper):

“A young man who just bought a house, and whose wife just gave birth to a child is among 21 more layoffs announced today at Ontario Northland.”

Does Ontario Northland have any obligation to protect someone who “just bought a house”?  Or someone who “just gave birth to a child”?

Usually those factors are not decision-makers/breakers on whether someone should keep their job or not… but is a company somehow responsible for their soon-to-be past employees, and the life-changing decisions they have made?

Initially, my response is “no.”  I think of the board meetings I’ve been in where I know the board members would have sympathy/empathy, but they would be clear that the company is not responsible for helping you make your house payments.  After all, that was a personal choice… probably not dictated by the company.

After my initial response wore off, I remembered when I got my first real, out-of-college, career job.  I bought a house and a newer car, and was immediately burdened with a debt load that I wasn’t used to.  We could handle it, with my new salary, but it was a lot of money going out the door!  If I lost my job then I would have been in a world of hurt.

It would have been my fault, but, as I’m writing this my impression is that when a company hires us, they give us a life-changing event.  Usually it’s a step up, financially and professionally.  There are expectations of us bringing our best to the job, and them “taking care of” us.  There is an idea that they’ll pay us enough to do our job so that we don’t have to sleep on the streets, or worry about how we are going to pay our bills.

But if companies don’t take their role seriously, and have more loyalty towards employees, and they continue to dispatch employees like they are simple pawns, people will have a harder time making other life-changing decisions, like purchasing a home, settling into a community, getting married, having kids, etc.

Maybe I’m off my rocker on this one, but this morning as I read this line about the young man who just bought his first house, and his wife who just gave birth, I wonder how different things would be if there were a different kind of loyalty towards employees so making life-changing decisions was less stressful.  Like I think it was just a few decades ago.

But maybe I’m just naive. 

 

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Even Experts Have a Hard Time With Personal Branding

March 23rd, 2015

I saw this post from my Arizona friend Pamela Slim (Escape from Cubicle Nation):

pamela_slim_facebook_post

 

You have to understand, Pamela Slim is a rockstar.  She has authored multiple books on careers… she lists her customers as Google, Dell, Harvard, etc. and she is a TED speaker.  On Pam’s speaking page there is a section at the bottom titled Crafting the Story of Your Personal Brand.  In that section she has these two bullet points:

  • Creating a full-color, full-contact communication plan
  • Sharing your story with the world in a way that gets results

Why am I sharing this with you?  Because there is a fact that is often-times overlooked: developing your personal brand message is HARD.  Even experts, people who live and breath this stuff, find it hard!

Did you know that for 2 years I could not give you a one-liner about JibberJobber?  It probably took another year before I could give you a one-liner about myself!

Why?

The same reason it is hard for you:

You don’t want to mess this up.

What if you say too much?  What if you say too little?  We are so complex, how could we possibly put all of our awesomeness in one line??

Sometimes we come up with something really cute, clever, or catchy. That usually has cliche or jargon, which does nothing more than confuse our brand.

Sometimes we get into analysis paralysis, and don’t come up with anything (which is another way to mess up our brand).

As important, you need to understand that our brand statements can and should be FLUID.  I’m sure that Pam has half a dozen taglines that she has used over the years…. but “bumbling through” this conference, with this type of audience, at this stage in her company and career, made her rethink each of those taglines she has used.

It’s okay to change your tagline.  It’s okay to let your tagline grow with you.

If it’s hard, that means you are thinking about it. Keep thinking… keep trying. If someone like Pamela Slim needs to rework her personal branding statements, and she gets stuck and confused, then please know that this is hard stuff.

Keep working on it, and come up with something that is true to you, and easy for others to understand and communicate!

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Is Technology Hindering Your Job Search and Networking?

March 20th, 2015

There was an interesting article in the news last month titled: Technology inhibits millennial job performance, according to managers

I don’t think this is just a millennial thing…. people texting someone while you are talking to them, or spending too much time on Facebook while neglecting family and friends… this is our new normal.  The disrespect we have for others because we got beeped or buzzed, and heaven forbid we ignore a call or text or facebook message or whatever… even while we blatantly ignore the person we are spending time with, is unfortunate.

It goes further than disregard for others.  In the article they talk about how we’ve become bad at inter-personal relationships because we spend so much time on technology that we aren’t skilled at interacting with real people, face-to-face.

So, I’ll let you read the article if you really want to get into that, and I have an invitation for you.  It is not to go on a media fast, or a social media fast, or to turn your phone off at a certain time, or stop checking emails after hours, or any of those things. Instead of those things that you already know to do, and expect someone like me to challenge you to do, here’s my invitation:

Go to an in-person networking meeting once a week this year.

It could be the same group of people, or it could be different meetings… but each week dress up, get out of the house, leave your phone in your pocket, and MEET and TALK WITH other people!  Look in their eyes!  Shake hands, laugh, and have real conversations!

Magic can happen when you get away from your technology… I challenge you to do this.  Imagine how much better you’ll be at in-person interviews if you haven’t spent the last 500 hours behind technology, barely LOL-ing in real life, with other people!

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Diane Darling’s Open Letter to LinkedIn (regarding search limits)

March 19th, 2015

The search limits on LinkedIn have really stirred the pot… especially for college career center pros who do LinkedIn trainings.  You might not have heard about it, but I blogged about it here:

How To Get Around the Ridiculous LinkedIn Search Limitations

Diane Darling’s open letter to LinkedIn about this issue is here. She said she hit her quota in 8 days, and then asked LinkedIn to please consider the sensitive budgets that career offices have. I think the only answer for LinkedIn is to remove these limits, and make LinkedIn usable again.  This is one of the most disrespectful things that LinkedIn has ever done to their users.  I think Diane is right asking for a break, but instead of just representing the career offices, I think she should represent the job seekers, who will undoubtedly get up against these limits too early.

Diane’s workarounds, and my comments:

>> “Google vs. LinkedIn - I’m now suggesting people download their LinkedIn connections so they can use Google to search instead of LinkedIn.”

Actually, there are two suggestions here.

The first is Google vs. LinkedIn, which I address in my post on the work-around. That is, use Google to search on LinkedIn’s database, and not use up any of the quota.

The other thing Diane is suggestion is completely different: download your first degree contacts…!  I recommend you do this at least once a year, simply to have a backup of your first degree contacts!  You then have the name, title, company name, and email address of each of your contacts as a backup.  This can come in handy in a variety of scenarios (like, you get booted out of LinkedIn, or worse, your employer steals your account and the connections).

>> CRM vs. LinkedIn - I’m also teaching people to import Linked Inconnections to a CRM (I suggest Insightly) so they don’t have to go to LinkedIn to look up people (I teach ways to use LinkedIn as a CRM but will have to change that.)

I have been a long-time proponent of having your own CRM, and not using LinkedIn as a CRM.  I think that using LinkedIn as a CRM is a bad, bad move.  Aside from my observation that it just isn’t a CRM (even though they acquired a CRM startup a few years back), the policies that a social network have to have and enforce are different than the policies needed for a CRM.  For example, if you do something against their Terms of Service, like put your email address in your name field (yes, even though people do it, it’s against the rules), would you want your access to LinkedIn (social network + CRM??) to be taken away?  Yes, I’ve had people contact me because their LinkedIn account has been disabled for this violation, or other super minor violations, or for things they had no idea were violations.

In other words, if you use LinkedIn as a CRM, be prepared to have problems that have to do with their policy issues.

Furthermore, what if they take away features (like LinkedIn Answers and Events)?  Or if they decide to move certain CRM features behind the paywall (like the search limit)?  Do you trust LinkedIn enough with your CRM data and functionality that you’ll hope and bet that they won’t disrespect you, as a user?

I certainly recommend you use a different CRM for CRM stuff, and use LinkedIn as a social network (to find others, and to be found by others).  I think they are two very different tools with different value propositions.

You might not know, but JibberJobber is technically a CRM.  CRM historically stands for Customer Relationship Manager. I like to think of JiberJobber as a Career Relationship Manager.  Instead of focusing on sales, we focus on relationships.  We focus on helping you network into companies and opportunities.

Because most of our users start when they are in transition, we’ve priced it so that it’s very affordable.  You can use the free account forever (meaning, we don’t delete your account or data if you don’t pay), and there is an optional upgrade level that comes out to $5/month when you pay by the year (otherwise, it is $9.95/month).  A couple of years ago we even moved most of the Premium features to the free level… it’s all about making these tools accessible to you, whether you are on the free account or have invested $5/month in your career.

If you haven’t checked it out, look at the youtube video on the homepage of JibberJobber.com (a bit dated… we’ve changed the UI a few times since we posted that video), or join one of our orientation webinars.

Still use LinkedIn to find and be found, but definitely use a CRM to keep track of and organize the what and how of your networking!

This is important stuff.  Since we can’t rely on the old fashioned “job security” anymore, we need to be more vigilant in our career management!

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Trap Interview Questions with Ford Myers

March 18th, 2015

You know, when you are in a job interview, the question the interviewer asks might not really be the question they want you to answer.  Or, to put it another way, they might ask a question just to see if you have… issues.

Here’s a great youtube video where Ford Myers addresses the why’s and how to answer specific questions in a job search interview:

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Pluralsight Videos and JibberJobber Upgrades, 30 Days Clarification

March 17th, 2015

I need to clarify something about this 30 days thing.

The offer to watch my videos on Pluralsight for 30 days is, hopefully, indefinite.  That is, the offer doesn’t end at the end of this month.  Hopefully Pluralsight let’s me share these videos (and their entire library) with JibberJobber users for 30 days this month, and next month, and next year, etc.

In other words, you don’t have to do this before March 31!

The 30 days means that from the time you sign up on Pluralsight, through JibberJobber, you get a 30 day window to watch all the videos you want.  If you sign up today, you get 30 days from today.  If you sign up on October 1st, you get 30 days from October 1st.

So, sign up when you are ready, and consume all of the learning you want from Pluralsight over the next 30 days.  And when you are in a position to recommend online learning at your company, recommend Pluralsight :)

And, this means you can share this great offer with your job clubs, your friends, family members, etc. So, share!

List of Jason Alba courses that get you an addition 7 days of JibberJobber Premium

Step-by-step, with pictures, guide of how to get your 30 days from Pluralsight (NO credit card required)

what where
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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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

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More JibberJobber Certified Career Professionals

March 16th, 2015

Last month I introduced the first four certified career professionals… and today we add two more professionals to the list:

Carrie Luber: Messenger Associates (Syracuse, NY)

Ann Brody: Career Solutions (Chicago)

Congratulations, and welcome to the list!

Shahrzad ArastehCareer Consulting Services (Maryland)

Jennifer BradleyJBradley & Associates (California)

Robyn FeldbergAbundant Success Career Services (Texas)

Kelly McClellandTransition Time Coach (Florida)

what where
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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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

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Is Networking a Waste of Time?

March 13th, 2015

A few weeks ago I saw a post on Facebook from career pro and friend Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter with this image:

networking_waste_of_time_JibberJobber

I thought this was interesting because for me, 99% of my networking was indeed a waste of time.

I was doing it wrong.  I had a sour attitude.  I’m sure I repelled people.

It felt like a waste of time.  At that time in my life, it was indeed a waste of time.

I needed to fix myself, and my thinking, and my attitude.  I needed to learn how to network, and figure out what I was doing wrong.

Reading Never Eat Alone (Ferrazzi) helped.  If you have a few minutes, read this Harvard Business Review article: 99% of Networking Is a Waste of 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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Pluralsight Courses That Will Earn You Another 7 Days Premium on JibberJobber

March 12th, 2015

I was recently asked for a list of the courses that you can watch on Pluralsight that will earn you another seven days of JibberJobber Premium.  The list is below, but as new courses come out you’ll find all of my courses here: Jason Alba Pluralsight courses. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get free JibberJobber upgrade for watching my Pluralsight courses.

I wrote a book on LinkedIn back in 2007, which is now in the 4th edition.  I’ve done hundreds of LinkedIn trainings around the U.S. and virtually around the world since then.  This is the latest and greatest on using LinkedIn:

These courses are specific to job seekers. If I were in a job search right now, they would be required watching:

This is a ten thousand foot view of career management, and a great course to get calibrated on how to think about your career, and what we used to call “job security”:

Stephen Covey said “begin with the end in mind.”  Once you land your job you will start your first 30/60/90 days of work.  This course presents the idea that you should onboard yourself at your new company (it is NOT about HR forms and processes):

This could have been under the Developing a Killer Personal Brand… but I’m breaking it out to be in it’s own entrepreneurial/marketing section:

These are my courses on communications (note there are a bunch of courses on presentations, but they aren’t mine):

Here are my management/leadership courses:

If you are already a JibberJobber user, you should be more interested in the weekly User Orientation… this video below is for people who aren’t on or don’t care about JibberJobber:

There are a bunch of other awesome courses, including courses to help you get into the high tech field, as well as other soft skill courses.  Any Jason Alba course will get you another seven days of premium on JibberJobber.  When you get your 30 day code through your JibberJobber account (just login to JibberJobber and you’ll see a link directly below the main menu), you have access to the entire Pluralsight library for 30 days.

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

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

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What to do the day you are fired (or, laid off)

March 11th, 2015

jeri-hird-dutcherNot everyone who loses there job is fired… so let’s just say that if you lose your job, because you walked away or someone pushed you away or the company went Enron… what do you do?

This can be a very emotional and stressful day, for sure.

You must read Jeri Hird Dutcher’s post: Fired! What to do that day

Jeri shares some very candid and important DO THIS tips as well as some DO NOT DO THIS tips.

Don’t underestimate the flood of weird emotions and thoughts you’ll have.  Jeri’s post is spot on.

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

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

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