Fighting Stereotypes In The Job Search

May 20th, 2015

Quick, what are the first stereotypes that come to mind for these five labels:

  1. Software programmer
  2. Republican business owner
  3. Democrat who volunteers time
  4. Person with bad spelling on her resume
  5. Female driver

What are the five things that came to mind?  Perhaps it was:

  1. nerdy, not good with social skills, sometimes rude
  2. greedy capitalist
  3. cat lover who puts cats, trees and stuff like that in front of human needs
  4. unqualified and not smart or caring enough to deserve this job
  5. distracted, aloof

Now, I’m not saying that the people from the first list always, exactly, or ever match the descriptors in the second list.  But….

You see, our world is rife with generalizations, titles, categories, stereotypes.  We like to take something complex and simplify it… and have a name for it.  We like to say “he is ______” and then everyone can say “ooooooh, that explains everything. I get it now.”

It’s like when I was talking to a recruiter and he asked me about my education. I said I got a CIS degree and an MBA, and he said “oh, I know everything about you.  People like you are a dime a dozen.”

Yep, he said that.

Externally I’m sure I just looked at him… internally I was really quite bothered (furious would be too strong of a word).

I had been stereotyped, categories, generalized.

I thought “I’m so much more than that!”  Let me talk with you for a while, whether that’s five minutes of five hours, and you’ll learn that I’m not the dime-a-dozen CIS/MBA kid!

The world is full of quick-thinking categorizers (as a blogger, I’m entitled to make up words.  Wait, did I just generalize all bloggers as pompous word creators?).

I know YOU are a categorizer (which is a lot softer than saying you are biased, a stereotyper, or the very harsh word: a racist).

We all make these quick judgement categorizations in our head.  We meet someone and based on what we take in (see, smell, touch (strength of handshake), etc.) we generalize.

We learn about where they are from and make generalizations.

We hear their job title, or where they went to school, or even what state they live in or are from, and make generalizations.

I LOOK AT YOUR BUMPER STICKERS ON YOUR CAR AND I MAKE GENERALIZATIONS!

Our brains are just wired to think this way.  It’s not necessarily right, it’s not necessarily fair, but it’s the way we all think.

So, how do you fight being stereotyped while you are in a job search?  Because we all know that job seekers are, for one reason or another, pathetic, right?  We know that if you were really “that good” then you wouldn’t have lost your job in the first place… right?

Oops, there I go generalizing again.

Okay, here are my thoughts on fighting the stereotypes:

  1. Accept that people will, and do, stereotype.  The biggest bias I hear about in my travels and at my presentations is that of age discrimination.  Here’s what I’ve learned: if you are “older,” it starts around 35 or 40. If you are “younger” in the professional world, it will last until you are about 30.  But trust me, even those who are between 30 and 40 will have age-based bias and discrimination.  IT JUST HAPPENS.
  2. Understand that you can break out of the stereotype.  Sometimes this is easy, but sometimes you will be fighting stereotypes in someone’s mind that are impossible to fight. It might just take sitting over lunch with someone, while they get to know you, and having the right conversation.  Once they know you as a dynamic human, instead of a prejudged (fill in the blank), then you are breaking out of the stereotype.  However, some will not be broken.  Like the woman who said “I will never hire a women in childbearing years.”  Illegal, for sure.  But something had happened to bias her against hiring someone who might have a kid. Fighting that stereotype with that person is a losing battle.
  3. Breaking out of the stereotype takes consistent work and use of tools.  Tools like a blog, where you can wax eloquent about your virtues, your experience, your value add, etc.  Tools like a strong and appropriate LinkedIn Profile.  Tools like a tagline or value statement.  Tools like a catchy or effective business card.  Tools like your choice of clothes, or how you do your hair or makeup.  Word choice, etc.  How you present yourself should be aligned with what your brand is.  Don’t assume that your resume is your (only) branding tool.
  4. You can control what your brand is.  Did you see how we shifted from “stereotypes” to “branding?”  They are pretty much the same thing.  You either have an unintentional brand, usually based on stereotypes and generalizations, or you have an intentional brand, which is how you want others to perceive you.  You need to think about how you want others to perceive you, and then actively work on your messaging, and help them perceive you that way.

These are four ideas to get you pointed in the right direction with taking control of how others perceive you.  I know this can be a lot of work, but it should be who you are. In other words, once you understand this stuff, it shouldn’t feel like it’s a lot of work.  It’s just how you act, what you do.

Once you have broken out of the stereotypes, and your brand is louder than those generalizations, you will have an easier time with all-things-career, including networking, interviewing, switching jobs, etc.

 

 

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How To: Set Up Tags in JibberJobber

May 19th, 2015

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.

What are the best tags for you?I don’t know.  But at the beginning of the Getting Started on JibberJobber series I have a video titled Getting Started: Setting Up Tags.  You can watch it below, or see all of the getting started videos here.

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JibberJobber Getting Started Widget!

May 15th, 2015

Last night we did a release that mostly new users will see, but it’s something that everyone can get value out of, even old-timers!

This is a new widget on the homepage which you can easily turn on… simply click on the Manage Widgets icon right under the main menu of the home page:

jibberjobber_manage_widgets

Once there, click the checkmark next to the Getting Started widget, and then click-and-drag the box to the top, like this:

jibberjobber_widgets_getting_started

Then, you’ll see this on your homepage:

jibberjobber_widgets_getting_started_homepage

Most of these will be crossed out if you have already been using JibberJobber for a while, because we automatically detect whether you have done those things or not.  Note that each line is a hyperlink, and it will take you to the page to do the thing, or a page with instructions.

These were the top 11 things we could think of to help you feel better about using JibberJobber, and get more comfortable with it as a tool for your career management!

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job title, keywords or company
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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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Why You Should Work On Your LinkedIn Profile

May 14th, 2015

Today I had a one hour consultation with an executive on his LinkedIn Profile. This is not my $49 profile critique (where I record my critique and send you a link to watch)… this is a $100 one-on-one, about an hour consultation. (if you buy one of these, please put what you are buying in the description!)

There was something I meant to mention to this executive, but I forgot.  I’ll share that with you right now.

During the consultation, I got a feeling of being overwhelmed with everything that he had to do.  While his Profile was pretty good, there was plenty of room for improvement.  I suggested he do a little here, a little there, but not even attempt to do it all in one day or week.  This was the other thing I was going to tell him:

“The process of enhancing your Profile will better prepare you for networking conversations and interviews.  It will help you have a better website, resume, and cover letters.”

Why?

Critically thinking through the things he need to go through would take him to a place that he needed to go to have better marketing communication (written, like a resume, and verbal, like an interview or a network meeting).  This process would bring clarity on what parts of your history become the parts you bring out, as your brand.

You could wing it, like many people do, but going through this process should benefit you in your future communications.

And what you gain from that, I think, is more valuable than the hour we spent on the phone together.

Note: I am not opposed to hiring a professional to write your Profile for you.  I do feel strongly that if you go through the process, even perhaps with the professional writer (many times they do it with you, or they give you forms to fill out), you’ll be better for it.

If you want to get better at LinkedIn, you could buy my LinkedIn course for $50, or you could watch two courses I created on Pluralsight for free.  The courses are:

Here’s how you access these courses, for free (and get JibberJobber upgrade credit for every Jason Alba course you watch):

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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How do I do a Job Search?

May 12th, 2015

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.

Where do you start?

First, read this post: What I Should Have Done In The First 30 Days

Then, do those things!

You should also read these two posts (if they are applicable):

The Spouse’s Role In Your Job Search

Religion’s Role In A Job Search

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.

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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Announcing: JibberJobber Getting Started Videos (or, JibberJobber Tutorials)

May 9th, 2015

I have finally finished putting in the last two videos in this series: Getting Started with JibberJobber.  You can find the entire video series here.  Below are the videos in the series. You don’t have to watch these in order – just watch what you need.

  • Introduction (1)
  • Overwhelmed? Watch this! (1.5)
  • Homepage & Widgets (2)
  • Setting Up Tags (3)
  • Email2Log Setup (4)
  • Email2Log Advanced (5)
  • Log Entries and Action Items (6)
  • Verifying Action Items and Log Entries Got In (7)
  • Log Entries and Action Item List Panel (8)
  • Optimizing the List Panel (9)
  • Managing Duplicates (10)
  • Exporting from LinkedIn (11)
  • Importing from a CSV File (12)
  • Recurring Action Items (13)
  • Calendar Views (14)
  • Interview Prep (15)
  • Job Description Analysis (16)
  • Events on Jobs (17)
  • The Job Journal (18)
  • Account and Preferences (19)

This should help you understand how to use JibberJobber more – enjoy!

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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JibberJobber Limits: 500 Contacts and 500 Companies… What Does This Mean?

May 7th, 2015

In a recent Forbes article that recommended JibberJobber, there is a line about the limit of 500 Contacts and 500 Companies in JibberJobber on the free side. Let me explain what you should know about this limit. You can see the small list of reasons to upgrade here.  It’s a small list because EVERYTHING ELSE is in the free version… that means the free version is super cool, super powerful.

When you upgrade, or when you are on the free upgrade (14 days from when you sign up, or 7 additional days each time you watch the Orientation, or 7 additional days every time you watch one of my Pluralsight courses… seriously, you could be on a free upgrade forever!), you can add or import more than 500 Contacts and 500 Companies.

For example, let’s say I sign up today, starting my 14 days of Premium trial… I can import my hundreds or thousands of LinkedIn contacts. Or I can import from my Outlook contact book, or any other address book I’ve used (as long as it exports to a csv file), even though it is over the 500 limit.

When you are on a Premium “trial,” you have a full Premium account.  That’s why you can go over the 500 limit.

Let’s say you get to the end of the trial and have decided to not upgrade.  Note: the upgrade is $9.95 a month, or $60 for a year (which comes out to $5/month).  If you go to the regular level, we DO NOT hide your Contacts, or impede you from accessing them, including them in reports, editing or associating them, creating Log Entries and Action Items… in other words, once they are in, they are in.

If you are a “regular” user (which means you haven’t upgraded), you cannot add any more Contacts if you are over the 500 limit.  It’s as simple as that.  You can’t import more (you won’t have access to the import page, since importing is one of the four reasons to upgrade), and you can’t add any more Contacts manually…

It’s as simple as that.

What this means is that JibberJobber is a very robust tool for you whether you have upgraded or not.  If you have more than 500 Contacts you want to track, then put them all in in the first 14 days.  If you want to import again, but not pay the $5 or $10/month, then just watch one of my Pluralsight courses, or come to the JibberJobber orientation, and earn free Premium.

I should clarify that once you go to the regular/free level, you always have access to most of the features (except the four listed on the Why Upgrade page), and all of your data.  We never lock you out of your data.  You put it in, it’s yours to access and use forever.

JibberJobber is a long-term career management and relationship management tool… not a temporary bandaid for the job search.

I hope that helps clarify the 500 Contacts / 500 Companies question :)

 

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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Nothing Says “Welcome to the Real World” Like an Influx of New Graduates (congrats anyways)

May 4th, 2015

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but when I saw this headline this weekend my first thought wasn’t “congratulations!!!!”  If one school graduates almost 6k people in May… how many new grads are getting dumped into our economy?

2015_new_graduates

To the almost 6,000 new graduates (from undergrad to PhD)… welcome to the “real world.”  This is the real world your professors and adjuncts talked about for years… you see, there was this illusion that you were not in the real world while in school.

At least that is what I was told: “when you enter the real world…”

What a load of bull.

Here’s the deal: you’ve been in the real world for a long time.  And you made a business decision.  For many of you, the degree will be instrumental in helping you get your first or next job.  For many of you, it will settle in sometime in the next year that the degree was not helpful at all.  Looking at the years to pay off your student loans, you’ll wonder if the decision you made was a good one.  Yes, going to college was a decision… it was a business decision.  The college sold you a package, you paid for it (mostly likely financing it, like a business might). Now is not the time to have buyer’s remorse!

So don’t get discouraged that over 2 million people will earn degrees this year (1.8M undergrads alone, according to NACE).  Don’t be discouraged that there will many many hundreds of thousands of people who will get laid off, otherwise lose their jobs (companies dissolving), change companies, etc. Don’t become disheartened because many jobs have bounced out of your country to other, cheaper countries (and sometimes bounced back).  It’s not that you aren’t more talented or qualified for a career-level job, it’s just that, well, I guess, this is the real world.

Here’s something I learned, after having gotten a degree in CIS and an MBA, and having had job titles including manager and general manager: your education is about to begin.

Most of the facts and stuff you learned at school can be filed into the trivial pursuit box in your brain.  You won’t use much of it.

What you will use is the collection of skills that helped you get that degree.  Hopefully you worked hard, and pushed yourself beyond what you thought you could achieve.  Hopefully you learned about negotiation and persuasion, two key skills when working with others.  Did you learn anything about time management, while you juggled classes and work and social responsibilities? Did you learn about leadership, and how to be a follower, and team-player? Did you learn how to communicate effectively, whether that is written, verbal, etc.?  I hope you learned how to research, learn new things, find practical applications, and just dig in and study.

Those are the skills that you’ll need to tap into now.

You see, once you land your job, no one really cares where or what you studied.  They want to know what you can do, and if you’ll carry your weight.  That’s about it.  The other stuff is fun, but trivial.

Maybe your degree will matter for a little while, but the romance of it all will wear off.  If you are a crappy worker, no one will care (but they will think that your alma mater puts out crappy people – so now you have the burden of not tarnishing the brand of the school that you paid so much money to).  If you are an exceptional worker, people won’t care where you went to school, or what your GPA was.

I know, there are certain companies and industries that do care.  But those companies and industries probably don’t offer much more “job security” than any other company. If you can’t do the job, are distracting, inflict their culture with garbage and pompousness, then you’ll find yourself polishing up your resume.

I don’t mean for this to be a discouraging letter.  I just want to welcome you to the real world.  This is a world where what you can do, and how you communicate your brand, and how you nurture personal and professional relationships, is the new job security.  Or as I like to call it, the new career management.

And of the 2,000,000+ people who will graduate like you did this year, I guarantee that most will not get it.  I’ve seen this for years… they’ll take years, or decades, to figure out personal branding and networking.  If you want to have an easier career path, it’s time to transition into taking personal responsibility for your career, and get serious about your future.

The great thing about this is, if you start now, you won’t have to get student loans for this next phase of your education.

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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Entrepreneur-thinking is the New Job Security

May 1st, 2015

I meant to write five blog posts this week about being an entrepreneur.  Many of my users are looking for a job, but they are also looking for security, and thinking about starting their own business.

So I wrote two posts about being an entrepreneur… but I need to wrap up my thoughts before the weekend on this entrepreneur stuff. (my two posts: When an Entrepreneur Quits and Has to Find a Job, Funding Your Business: The Four F’s and A Novel Idea)

We all know job security is gone.

I’m not saying that entrepreneurship is the new job security, I’m saying that thinking like an entrepreneur is the new job security.

I think having a job is simply one revenue stream.  It might be your only revenue stream, or it might be your biggest of multiple revenue streams.  But it’s just one revenue stream.  In the olden days, when there was such a thing as job security, you would not worry about whether you were going to have a paycheck come in the next two weeks… it would automatically come.

Entrepreneurs don’t usually think that way.  They are always concerned about the top line (revenue), the bottom line (profit, or how much might end up in your pocket), and cash flow (when you can pay your own bills).

Today, we need to think about top line income (how much money we bring into our household), bottom line (how much we get to keep after taxes and all of the bills), and cash flow (when the money hits our account, and how that matches up with our bills).

We need to have the financial mindset that entrepreneurs have.  This means:

We think about our revenue streams more than we had to before.

We think about our pipeline… who are the prospects that we are courting (or should be courting).

We think about our current income streams, and how long we’ll have them.

We look at our competition and the market, and try to make decisions based on where things are headed.

We think about our product (aka, ourselves): are our skills outdated?  What can we do to be more market-worthy?

We think about our relationships, and who in our network could help us, and how we can help them.

The stuff I wake up thinking about is the stuff that every person who needs to make money should think about.  Your degree ain’t going to cut it, nor is it going to be the thing that gets or keeps you that job.  I got a CIS undergrad and an MBA, neither of which (a) saved me from getting laid off, and (b) helped me get another job.

What is it that will provide you INCOME security?

How are you positioning yourself to create income security?

Those are two of today’s new career questions that we need to get serious about.

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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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Funding Your Business: The Four F’s and A Novel Idea

April 29th, 2015

When I started JibberJobber I learned a little about how venture capitalists and angel investors fund businesses.  It was a fascinating journey into a world that seemed exciting and a little dirty/sleazy.  I learned about the Four F’s… have you heard about these?  These are the four sources of funding that an entrepreneur should look at before they go to a VC or an angel.  They are:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Fools
  • 401k

I used two of these sources to fund the early days of my business.  It was necessary, and I’m forever grateful to have had those sources of funding to help JibberJobber get onto it’s own two feet.

But it bugged me that that is what I needed to do. I had this novel idea that my business should have been funded by… get this… people paying for it!  That’s what you might call “self-funding.”  Many companies are not self-funding… they rely on continual investments to fund their payroll, rent, parties, etc.  Companies like Amazon, who seems to own the retail world, did this for years.

Anything wrong with self-funding?

For most of you, starting your own business, getting funding from VCs or angels isn’t the right route, and you might not be able to tap into the Four F’s.  So how do you fund your venture (aka, pay your rent and buy food) in the early days?

The answer sits in understanding the basic nature of your business, and whether you are offering products (that you are creating) or services.

JibberJobber is a product, which meant that we spent months to develop it before we went live.  A book is a product… you spend months writing and editing and preparing for the publisher, and then you have one, or a thousand, or a million.  Your job is to take this *thing* and market it.

A service might be something where you charge an hourly rate to do something, like an hour of consulting, a day of speaking, doing a haircut, writing a resume, mowing a lawn.  Typically, you can start doing a service, for money, right now, today, without any investment.  I have plenty of ideas of things you can do in exchange for money today.

Is one better than the other?  A product can require a significant investment up-front, with the idea that you could sell it when it’s made, or you could sell the company if you prove it successful.  Expect to continue to invest in R&D.  The payout could be crazy.  The failure could be ruinous.

A service might take no money to start, and you could get gobs of money per hour immediately (for example, consulting for $250/hour, or speaking for $5k an engagement).  But you might not be able to sell your company later, no matter how good it performs, because for a while, YOUR ARE THE PRODUCT.

When I started JibberJobber I had illusions of grandeur about how much money I was going to make.  All the while, I required investment from family and my 401k.  It took a couple of years before my company was in the black.  A COUPLE OF YEARS.  That was not in the business plan!

The same month I started JibberJobber, I had a friend, also laid off, who started a business, but his was a consulting business.  He was billing clients in week 1, and every week since then.  Where I was burning through lots of money, he had very low overhead and was bringing in more per hour than he had ever done.

Who was the fool?  Was it me, for not self-funding, or was it him, for going down a path that would not have a big payday (acquisition) in the end?

I’d say neither were the fool.  But looking back on it now, I wish that I would have figured out how to consult for one to two hours per day back in the early days.  That would have been a way to self-fund.

I know a guy who was starting a business while working at the grocery store at nights stocking shelves.  Glamorous?  Hardly.  But it worked for him and his family.  It was his way of finding funding for his venture.

Let’s wrap this up… funding a business can be hard.  But there are many, many options.  You don’t have to just hope to get on Shark Tank, or get laughed out of one hundred VC offices. Be creative.  Many of the businesses that we enjoy today were started in someone’s basement, garage, or even bathtub (ecolabs).  Without funding. With a dream and hope and elbow-grease.

Just don’t be too proud to consult for a couple of hours a day, or to work at the grocery store at night.  Eventually, your own little business will be self-funding.

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.

Sign Up Now! »

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