GenY and Millennials: Illusion vs. Reality of How Cool You Are

June 15th, 2015

Last week I reposted Gen Y Sounds Like a Bunch of Entitled Whiners (well, not so much anymore). I’m not trying to kick a hornet’s nest but I saw this image on Facebook right after it posted (original link):

beyond_millennials

So understand that this is a survey… and who knows how honest the people were in the survey. Let’s assume with over 6,000 people responding, it’s fairly accurate.

What does this mean?

Millennials think they are good with people… but HR pros (not an authority by any means, they just happen to be in a role where they might kind of see Millennials (or have read an article about them), think that they stink with people skills.

Millennials think they are okay with technology, and HR Pros assume they are excellent at technology.  As an IT person, my position has been this (and the 35% from Millennials kind of agrees): “Being good at multi-tasking video games, netflix, and a smartphone, doesn’t mean you are a technologist.”  I think Millennials understand, better than HR, that being tech-savvy might be more about system and database design, programming, etc. than buying the latest iphone.

Millennials say they are extremely loyal to their employers (I’ll say 82% is extreme, in today’s world!), while HR says NO WAY, no one is loyal. I’m surprised that Millennials think they are so loyal.  I’m not surprised that HR doesn’t think so, because that’s what they hear at every conference, and read in every article.

Millennials think they are not very fun-loving… while HR think they are at least twice as much as Millennials think.  I think Millennials are hard on themselves here… but maybe I’m too old to know :p

Another major discrepancy… Millennials think they are really hard workers.  HR says that is laughable.  Like, guffaw laughable.

I think there are problems on both sides… but if you are a Millennial and want to break out of the brand that is not hard working and not loyal, you better work on your personal brand!

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Speaking Tour This Summer

June 12th, 2015

As you may know, I’m headed on the road this Summer and will be speaking along the way.  Here are the confirmed places I’ll be speaking (will be updated over the next couple of weeks):

Minneapolis: Nothing, surprisingly.

June 30 (Tuesday)  Madison, Wisconsin.

July 7  (Tuesday)   Cincinnati, Ohio. 

July 9   (Thursday)  Rochester, New York. Rochester Works

July 13 (Monday) Columbia, Maryland. POAC. These are typically “sold out” to POAC customers. Presenting at 1pm and again at 3:30pm

July 14 (Tuesday) Vienna, Virginia. McLean Bible Church, the Career Network Ministry.  Free.  I’ll be presenting from 6:30pm to 7:45 and then again at about 8pm.

July 23 (Thursday) Kansas City, Missouri.

If you are seem to be close to any of these, I would love to see you at one of them!

 

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The Ultimate Job Search Spreadsheet

June 11th, 2015

I used a spreadsheet in my job search.  It simply wasn’t enough.  That’s one big reason I started JibberJobber, which is the best alternative to a job search spreadsheet you’ll find.

I’ve seen job search spreadsheets in the last nine years, some are very colorful, some are cool with filters… you can download some for free, or pay someone a few bucks for the one they made.

But the job search spreadsheet didn’t solve some important issues I had, as a job search:

  • The job search spreadsheet doesn’t ping me when I need to follow-up with someone.  A web-based system, like JibberJobber, should.
  • The job search spreadsheet requires a lot of data entry.  When I talked to a recruiter about a job at a company, I had to leave notes about our call on the recruiter, job and company records.  That was a lot of duplicate data entry.  JibberJobber allows you to create one Log Entry, and associate it with multiple records.
  • The job search spreadsheet does not interface with my email.  Job seekers find it easier to send an email than pick up the phone. If I’m sending emails, I don’t want to have to turn around and copy and paste to my spreadsheet.  You can guess that JibberJobber does this nicely.
  • The job search spreadsheet doesn’t make it easy for multiple (lots of) follow-up. Most spreadsheets have a first contact date, and a follow-up date… but what if you communicate with someone 3 times? Or, 30 times?  That’s why we have Log Entries in JibberJobber… to have umpteen+ relevant records of communication. Sure you could do this in Excel, but who wants 30 extra columns of data?
  • The job search spreadsheet is a band-aid.  When I was using mine, and tweaking it, I realized that it was getting messy, and if I had to come back to it in two to five years, I wasn’t sure if I would understand any of it. I wanted something that would provide value to me years later… which is what JibberJobber can do. I’ve had many users who come back for a second, third, or fourth job search, and pick up right where they left off.  But with cooler features, since we are continually enhancing it :)

Is there an ultimate job search spreadsheet?  If you are looking for a band-aid with limited functionality and not much room for growth, about anything will do.  It will work great for the first week or two, but as you network more, and apply to more companies, you’ll probably get more frustrated.

Why not forgo the frustration? Just sign up on JibberJobber.  The free side allows you to pretty much everything.  The premium side, which is $9.95 a month (or get 50% off if you buy a year for $60) is pretty amazing (here’s what you get on the premium side – yes, everything else is really on the free side).

Then, if you really want spreadsheets, just export your data in a multitude of ways to a spreadsheet :p

 

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When Was The Last Time You Invested In Your Career?

June 10th, 2015

Martin Buckland, a career professional in Canada, asks a very important question in a LinkedIn article: When Was The Last Time You Invested In Your Career?  In his blog post he asks 10 questions about your career, which are mostly job search related.  I want to go a different direction.

In the olden days, investing in your career meant going to college and having a degree.  Today, there’s a phase I’ve heard called “micro-degrees.”  People are saying that the good old college education is no good, and that it’s only going to get worse over time.  It’s why sites like Pluralsight are so important – because we can get current, relevant information to help us become more skilled, on our own time, for a ridiculously low price compared to a 4+ year education.

We did that because there was loyalty from a company, and long-term employment with a company, and even retirement benefits.  That seems to be a thing of the 1900′s, though.

So we need to think like independent contractors, which means we have to stay current, which means we have to study our trade regularly, which means we have to invest in our career.

That’s one reason why I’m so excited to put Pluralsight in front of you. If that doesn’t work, find an alternative, even if it means reading lots of books.  For now, invest in your job search and career learning through my courses on Pluralsight, at no cost, AND get a week of JibberJobber each time you watch one of my courses.  Here’s a short video showing you how:

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Gen Y Sounds Like a Bunch of Entitled Whiners (well, not so much anymore)

June 9th, 2015

Back in 2008 there was a lot of talk about how powerful and amazing Gen Y (aka, millennials) are.  The topic dominated HR and recruiter conference agendas. How do you find, attract and retain this moving force?  Especially as the ancient Baby Boomers were leaving the market?

I called phooey on the whole thing with this blog post: Gen Y Sounds Like A Bunch Of Entitled Whiners

Without belaboring that whole point, remember that I am not a fan of discrimination.  I recently wrote Fighting Stereotypes in the Job Search, which is a post I think Millennials should read, unless they want the brand of millennials to be louder than the individual’s personal brand.

Seems like the talk about how much Millennials are going to change the workforce, including doing away with archaic email and only communicating through text, is shifting. The recession didn’t help.  Not getting jobs didn’t help.  Apparently they aren’t even as entrepreneurial as everyone said (Fast Company article: MILLENNIALS SHOCKED TO LEARN THEIR GENERATION ISN’T AS ENTREPRENEURIAL AS THEY THOUGHT, even though this Forbes article says they are the “true entrepreneur generation“).

Unfortunately, too many millennials are still stuck with the haughty reputation.  Creating their own brand (aka, reputation) is important, as they find the job market to be a lot harder than they thought it would be.  Which puts them in the same boat as every other generation that is stereotyped.  What to do from here?  Read this fighting stereotypes post. And get to work.  You can see my Developing a Killer Personal Brand course on Pluralsight… just watch this short video to see how to access it (and get free upgrades on JibberJobber):

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Using LinkedIn “Wrong?” Ahem…

June 8th, 2015

This month there is an article titled You’re Probably Using LinkedIn Wrong — And That Could Cost You Your Next Job.

I think that it’s a good idea to be active on LinkedIn, although I don’t agree with what the article says. In my experience, the main thing you should do is improve your LinkedIn Profile.  I have never seen a Profile that is awesome (or, that couldn’t use some help).  If I were to grade Profiles, most of them would get a C-.  IMO it’s more important to fix your Profile than put up weekly status updates.  You can get access to my LinkedIn Profile course (titled LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile) for free on Pluralsight, just login through JibberJobber, and watch the video below to see how to access it (and get free JibberJobber upgrades).

I am writing this post because I don’t want you to think that if you are not putting in status updates, you’re using LinkedIn wrong.  Trust me, recruiters are smart enough to figure out your skills and competencies, even if you aren’t posting an update weekly.

If you want to know what to do on LinkedIn, check out my other course (for free on Pluralsight): LinkedIn: Proactive Strategies.

If you think I’m off my rocker, read the comments on the post.

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LinkedIn Groups: Valuable or a Waste of Time?

June 5th, 2015

I’ve been an advocate of LinkedIn Groups for a while, especially since they took away Answers.

This week I saw a message on Facebook that surprised me.  Michael Stelzner is one of the smartest entrepreneurs I’ve met, very savvy with social media, very likable, creative, and he’s been successful with his business ventures.  This message, from him, surprised me:

michael_stelzner_linkedin_groups

42,000 members in a LinkedIn Group… that’s pretty sizable. I think the only reason to shut it down is that it’s not bringing value to his business.  I’m guessing this is because:

  • As a Group Admin, when he sends out “announcements,” no one is acting on his call to action.  Note: Announcements are so powerful, if you own a Group and are not sending out Announcements, you are missing the main value of owning a LinkedIn Group.
  • There is too much spam.  This is a problem on many LinkedIn Groups, and something that people have complained about since the beginning. In his comments to that Facebook post he adds: “Actually we have staff dedicated to moderating our LinkedIn group and this is not a knock on LI, just the groups. In fact we have one of the cleanest groups out there as far as spam, but we have to remove 100s of comments a week that are self serving.”

On a semi-related note, LinkedIn has taken steps to reduce spam, kind of, but the implementation of the Site Wide Account Management (SWAM) is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen.  It allows one Group admin to say you are a spammer, and then you cannot post on any group.  To give one Group Manager that much power is nothing short of stupid.

Anyway, the idea that someone like Michael pulled the plug on a Group that big makes me question who is getting value out of their Groups.  Is it too hard to manage (taking too many resources)?  Is there no return value?

If you think this is overkill, and you have a Group and want to get more value out of it, check out this article: Introducing The Moderator’s Field Guide for LinkedIn Groups

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Getting a Better LinkedIn Profile Image

June 4th, 2015

You might have seen this post that was all over Facebook a week or two ago: New Research Study Breaks Down “The Perfect Profile Photo”

I thought it was going to be fluffy, but it’s really, really good.  I agree with almost everything, except I think you should zoom in more on the head, rather than have a belly-button-and-up shot.  That’s just my gut reaction… they are the ones with the data.  I’ll still recommend zoom in, though. I think their examples of “zoomed in (face only) is perhaps TOO zoomed in.

Anyway, great article, very informative, and it proves you can have an effective Profile image without paying big bucks … although I will say that a professional photographer with experience in profile images can do wonders.

I like how the breakdown in this post is trying to determine how different characteristics of a photo will impact how the viewer perceives your competency, how likable you are, and how influential you are.

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Informational Interviews, or Informational Meetings

June 3rd, 2015

Have you ever heard of these?  Let me put this into perspective:

If I was in a job search right now, I would spend about 80% of my time trying to get, and doing, informational interviews.  I could only do that because I would use JibberJobber to manage the administration of who I meet, when to follow-up, etc.  Otherwise I’d spend about 60% of my time doing that, and the 20% difference monkeying around with the spreadsheet trying to keep track of it all.

This is the single most important tactic I can think of, for job seekers.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read Barb Poole’s LinkedIn article: Using Informational Meetings to Outpace Your Competition.

I agree with everything Barb wrote. I would like to suggest this additional tidbit:

Do not come across as a job seeker. When you go into these meetings, you want to be a peer or colleague of the person you are meeting with.  Job seeker usually means “needy.” Worse, the way you start your relationship is they have power, you need help.  If you are a peer/colleague, you are equal.

Something I learned many years ago is that even though we are in a job search, we are still professionals.  Not professional job seekers, mind you, but professional marketers, or executives, or whatever our last title(s) were.  Job seeker is a temporary status, not who we are.

Let me cut this blog post short, right here, so you can read Barb’s article, and then email some people to ask for these meetings.  It’s that important.

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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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The Truth About Resume Writers

June 1st, 2015

I didn’t hire a resume writer when I was in a job search.  Why?  Because I couldn’t afford it.

And, because I was smart enough to write my own resume.  Heck, I had worked my way through a CIS degree, and an MBA, and by that point, had had a great career.  SELF MADE.  I was smart, motivated, etc.

Why should I hire someone, for hundreds of dollars, to write a one or two page resume?

One or two pages.  Bleh. I had written papers in college that were many times that length.

So I wrote my own resume, and I spun my wheels in a depressing job search, when the economy was strong.  I got nowhere.  And I didn’t understand why.

I didn’t understand that an experienced resume writer would have been able to help me understand why.

What I’ve come to learn is that a “resume writer,” many times, is much more than a resume writer.  Let me rewrite that: A resume writer is much more than a typist.

When you hire a resume writer, you are hiring someone who is in your corner, rooting for you, cheering you on, and sometimes, coaching you.  I’m not saying they are a coach, but if you email them and say “I am not getting anywhere… what am I doing wrong?”, they might put on their coaching hat and say something like “my other clients are doing this thing, have you tried that?”

If I had hired a resume writer, I know that writer would have said “Jason, you are doing this thing wrong… fix it!”

Resume writers are in the trenches with you.  And they have been in the trenches hundreds, maybe thousands, of times.  They have seen many successes, and many failures.  They learn from job seekers that have gone before you.  Many have seen the cycles of great economy/cruddy economy.  They have an understanding of the past, and a vision of the future, and can be your lighthouse helping you navigate a seemingly hopeless and dangerous journey.

Resume writers get a thrill when you email them and say you landed a job.  They share that huge win with their Facebook friends (I’m friends with many on Facebook, and see these messages shared regularly).  It’s a second payday for them.  Sure, they charge money, and they should.  This is not charity work. They are experts at what they do. More important, they bring value to you…. and they should be rewarded for that.  Their first payday is when you pay them money.  Their second payday is when you say “I landed!!”  Honestly, I’m not sure which is worth more to a resume writer.  In many cases, the second payday is more meaningful.

Think I’m blowing smoke yet?  I’m not. I know these people.  I’ve been to conferences with them. I email them.  I have broken bread with them.  They genuinely care about your success, as much as they care about being experts in their field.  They want to bring their best game to you, so you can move forward in your career.

Recently I saw a Facebook message from my friend in Wisconsin, Julie Walraven.  This message shows her passion and excitement, and level of concern that she puts into her client relationship.  This message could just have easily been shared by Charlotte Weeks in Chicago, or Adrian Kelly in Australia, or Dawn Bugni in North Carolina or Shahrzad Arasteh in Maryland or Kelly McClelland in Florida or Robyn Feldberg in Texas or Ann Brody in Chicago or Carrie Luber in New York or… the list could go on and on.  These career professionals are not mere typists (although they do that very well).  Here’s Julie’s Facebook post:

julie_walraven_resume_writer

Find the right resume writer, career coach, or career counselor, and I guarantee they will echo this same enthusiasm and commitment to your success.

 

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