Valerie Gonyea is one of my favorite people… she recently posted this on Facebook:
In the comment thread, she continued:
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.
Without going into the technicalities of how search works (Google owns the entire space, and makes changes at will that can (do) bring a company to their knees), let’s go into what it means to have a personal relationship manager.
In the olden days, the late 1900′s, someone figured out that salespeople could use a software system to help them manage and organize relationships with prospects and customers. This system would help them stay focused on what they needed to do to close more deals (and make more money). The system would allow them to search for their contacts, get reminders of when they needed to follow-up with them, etc.
A few weeks into my job search, in 2006, I realized that I, as a job seeker, needed a similar system. I was applying to a lot of companies and it was really frustrating trying to keep track of that with a spreadsheet. I was finally starting to “network,” and meeting new people just added to the level of complexity. A job seeker should be one of the busiest salespeople around… and they really need an industrial strength system to help them keep track of everything, especially when they need to (or have an opportunity to) follow-up.
This need eventually became JibberJobber, and for more than eight years, as we’ve continued to work on the system and learn about your needs, I’ve come to realize that JibberJobber is not a job search organizer. It is much more than that. It is a system to help you manage and organize any of your relationships. I use JibberJobber to:
- organize and manage my jobs (I do contract work, speaking, selling stuff, etc.), and I need to follow-up and keep track of where those opportunities are, as well as push reminders in front of me. This is what a job seeker needs, and is exactly what a contractor/freelancer needs.
- organize my personal stuff, like rotating the tires on the car, making house or car or credit card payments, keeping track of the garage door and appliance repairman numbers, dates of service, costs, and maintenance coming up.
- keep track of personal relationships, including family and extended family, and things like birthdays, important dates to them, important conversations, etc.
I’m not keeping track of EVERYTHING in JibberJobber. Very personal things are not getting logged (use a journal (book) for that)… mundane or normal conversations are not getting logged, unless there is an important follow-up date I need to be aware of.
JibberJobber starts as a job search organizer for a lot of people, but then becomes a tool to help them with their life management.
No, of course you don’t NEED something like this… but it sure helps take the stress off of trying to remember everything.
Not in a job search? As long as you are alive, I bet you could benefit from a JibberJobber account. It can easily be your own personal relationship manager!
Chris Russell is a job seeker’s advocate. I met him before I started JibberJobber, and in a way, he introduced JibberJobber to the world (in a blog interview he did back in 2006).
He has a great LinkedIn article/post titled Keyword Tips for Every Job Posting.
His first and last tips are my favorite… are you optimizing your marketing material so it is seen by others?
I’m not talking about business cards… I’m talking about a card that people want to give to others, on your behalf, or for your benefit.
Of course, this could be your business card, but if you have a traditional, boring business card, it’s likely people will just file or lose your card.
What could you do to help people become your evangelist? What is exciting about you, or a program you offer?
WAIT… did I just say “a program you offer”… ???
YES, you, a non-business owner, can have a “program.” You can have a weekly or monthly radio show (free on blogtalkradio.com). You can do a one-time webinar to share “Ten Things People In Our Industry Need To Know For 2015″ (or “learn from our mistakes from 2013,” etc.). YOU are an expert in something, aren’t you? Why not do one of these things, which are NO COST to you?
It gives people something to talk about, and keep you top-of-mind, like I blogged about a couple of days ago.
My first attempt at this was my Pink Slip (I just re-ordered 5,000 of these):
For my new video game class (which is a lot more about personal empowerment and less about becoming a video game nerd), I had these designed (and just ordered 5,000 of these):
I prefer to have something like this that people can say “wow, that is cool, can I have more of those to pass out to my friends,” rather than a boring business card that will get lost in the pile of other boring business cards.
Are you making it easy for your contacts to talk about you?
My call with Fred Coon was awesome. There were a lot of gems throughout this call. I have two regrets:
- We didn’t have more time. It seems like Fred just skimmed the surface on an 8-step plan… I think we could have talked for hours more. BUT, what he was able to share in 90 minutes was a great foundation for anyone.
- I asked Fred, impromptu, to provide a little banjo music in the back while I wrapped it up. He did, I wrapped up, and I mistakenly stopped the recording when I was done instead of when he was done. I’ve never been banjo’d before… it was very cool
Below is our conversation. I encourage you to take notes, and if you want, let us know what impacted you most, and the minute mark of that impactful moment, so we can get to it easier.
Enjoy! (vimeo provides a full screen option comes on after you click play, but there is no visual… you can put this on while you do something else (like take notes?))
LinkedIn Questions: Shady connections, responding to bad “recommendations,” and contacting via email vs. through LinkedInApril 23rd, 2014
A JibberJobber user recently emailed me a few questions about LinkedIn and said I could share my responses with you. His questions/text is in bold:
I have been consulting for a while, and am now looking for a permanent job. I have a few questions that stop me from moving forward, and I bet it does the same to your clients and readers.
When you contact someone on LinkedIn, and they are linked to a person “who will not sing your praises,” what do you do? I am stopped by concern of this.
I don’t really care who people are connected to. Being connected doesn’t mean there is a strong relationship, or even a growing relationship, or that my connection is even interested in having a professional relationship with that person. If I’m going to connect or communicate with someone I see/meet/etc. on LinkedIn, I am not going to go through their network to see who my frenemies are that they are connected to. I know there is a potential for awkwardness.
Recently I’ve been re-networking into an organization that for some lame reason had branded me as something bad, and cautioned them to not look at or consider JibberJobber. This is an isolated situation, in only one branch of the organization, but I was surprised that the feelings and perceptions are still there. I’ve tried to move forward without assuming that any of those previous contacts are in touch, have a relationship where they would ask for referrals or information, etc. I would say that you either ignore the connection to the person who would not sing your praises, or you just move on to another contact.
You won’t know until you reach out to your target. Maybe they have no idea what’s going on, don’t care, or better yet, realize that the person who “doesn’t sing your praises” is a jerk, creep, narcissist, or otherwise not to have their opinion trusted.
I was Linked to a boss I had for 2 or 3 months. He has a reputation of just being a terrible person. I was far from the person that took the most demeaning treatment from him. I “de-linked” him as I would rather not be associated with him. But he gets around and is very well known in the business. How do I handle this? Do I just go on hoping other people think the same and/or don’t ask him for a reference?
I wouldn’t put any thought into it. You are too busy moving forward to worry about this guy who probably doesn’t have anything bad to say about you. It was a short period of time, and maybe he thinks favorably of you? I know that might seem impossible, but read my post on working with narcissists here. These people are real gems, aren’t they?
If this person has this reputation, a lot of people will disregard his input. His brand is that of someone who never has anything nice to say about anyone. What that means is if he says something mean, that is par for the course. If he can squeak out something positive, then that is a HUGE compliment. Don’t spend any time working on this person, just move forward.
If someone says “yeah but, so-and-so said you are _________,” you might need a very short, non-bitter response like “I worked with that person for two months. There were a lot of problems in his department, and he wasn’t ever close enough to me or my projects to know my work ethic or output. I can provide you with some character references that are much more qualified to weigh in on this than him.” Or something like that. You don’t want to be a deer in the headlights with some negative or false accusation, but you don’t want to come out fighting and tearing him down (which will only make you look bad).
Most people will say something nice about me, or not much at all. Maybe I am going to get an average or below average comment from 1 out of 20 of my connections. How do you handle this?
I would go to the main people who I know would say something nice about me, and work with them to get LinkedIn Recommendations, and ask if they would be a reference for me. I would not worry about the 1 out of 20 that would not.
Let’s say you had 19 out of 20 that would say bad stuff about you – don’t pursue them. Just work on the ones that will be favorable. And, interestingly, time has a way of changing and softening things. For example, someone you worked with ten years ago might have a different, even favorable, perspective, and have forgotten petty office stuff. Even if you are holding on to those things, they might have forgotten about them through time or their own personal life changes (layoffs, job searches, deaths, etc.) or because they have realized that THEY shouldered as much of the problem as you have.
Finally is it better to contact a person via email, if you have their email (or can figure it out), or through LinkedIn?
I ALWAYS try to connect via email first, instead of through LinkedIn.
Sometimes LinkedIn communications add some extra barriers to responding. For example, if you message me on LinkedIn, can I respond back by clicking the reply button? Not always. I sometimes have to click on the respond button, login to LinkedIn, and send a message from there. That is not in my email sent folder, which is really lame. I don’t want to be forced to message you through a system that I don’t really like.
Bottom line, I would email them. If they don’t respond in a reasonable timeframe, I assume the email really was bad, and then I connect with them on LinkedIn (and say “can we get on a call or can I email you about _____?” My end goal is not to connect with them, but to start a relationship and communication that can grow to something bigger (like a long-term relationship, introduction, informational interview, etc.).
I hope these responses help. I’m not the “final answer” on the above, this is all swayed by my experience. It sounds like you have elements of fear that are holding you back, but let me assure you that (a) most job seekers do, and (b) most of the time, the fear is unfounded, and (c) as you move forward your fear can melt away. Also, I think many times we assume things that are just not accurate… don’t let your assumptions paralyze you. Job seekers are not in a position where they can tolerate being paralyzed for too long.
Any other ideas to add to this?
This question comes up all the time when I do presentations on LinkedIn. There are a few different options, depending on the message you want to give (“I need your help…!” OR “I have expertise in this, and oh yeah, I might be open to looking at other opportunities” and everything in-between).
Recently I was talking to Nick Jenkins, a senior operations manager based out of Austin, Texas. Nick has deep experience with the telecom industry but, as we were talking, he was explaining his passion to move to a few other industries (still within technology), including mobile stuff, cloud computing, etc. Nick likes being in the leading edge tech space, which is what he navigated over the last 15 years in telecom.
As we were talking I had a thought: Your LinkedIn profile tells me you are actively looking, but nothing in your profile tells me you are not married to the telecom industry. In fact, everything there indicates you kind of want to stay there. What if you let me know you are open to non-telecom stuff?
I shared this idea with Nick and here’s what he changed to clarify his position (being available for new opportunities, and what he is open to). I think this is the best way to communicate this stuff.
First, the Professional Headline. Nick’s main message here is “I’m a professional! Here are my passions and what I bring to the table!” Instead of focusing on “I’m looking for new work,” which is NOT his brand, he focuses on what he wants you to think of when you think about him.
Next, the Current Title. He makes it very clear that he is actively looking.
Now, when I got on the phone with him, this was all that he had done. I listened to what he was looking for, and open to, and then I compared that with his profile… and therein was the problem: Without having a conversation with him to know he was looking for a career even outside of telecom (or inside of telecom, but not limited to telecom), you probably wouldn’t know that he was open to it. I suggested that he use the job experience are and tell people more about what he is looking for. His summary is the typical “here are my strengths,”… but nowhere did he say “I’m open to non-telecom opportunities.”
(Next,) So instead of leaving the job description part of “Experienced Leader and Communicator” blank, he filled it in. You can click over to his account to read it.
The takeaway for me was that I assumed, based on his profile, something that was wrong. After talking with him I understood more, and I encouraged him to share that on his Profile (to remove bad assumptions).
I challenge you to state what you do or want to do, and then read through your profile and see if they are aligned.
The post took a life of it’s own when people started asking for feedback on their headlines. Fortunately, Peter Osborne jumped in to respond to people… I finally had to close the comments before it became a full-time job!
Here’s the post - click here to read the excellent comments:
Here’s some fallout from my 2014 April Fools prank (where I laid myself off, even though I’m the sole owner of JibberJobber)…. on my LinkedIn Group I got this message:
My reply to her, and the group:
No one has to educate me on the real pain and suffering of job seekers. You see, I was there, but that was during an awesome economy. During a crappy economy (like that of the last seven (give or take) years, if you can’t get a job you can at least blame the economy. People might say “when the economy picks up…” But when you are out of work during a great economy, and can’t hardly land an interview or an offer, there is seemingly nothing to blame but you. That means a lot of self-finger-pointing, wondering how messed up you really are… which leads to unnecessary and unhelpful pain and suffering in abundance.
The bigger issue, for me, is coping with challenges and trials. How do you do it? I tend to gravitate towards humor. Not always, of course… but I’ve been doing this long enough (8+ years, since I got laid off in January of 2006), to know that there will indeed be an end to unemployment. That might be because you get a dream job, or you get a “step job” (that is a job that is a stepping stone as you continue to look for your dream job), or you start your own business, or you adjust your expenses and simply retire. I’ve seen this happen many times over the last few years.
I’m convinced that dealing with our temporary situation in a healthy way is critical to getting out of our healthy situation. Let me give you two examples:
Coping Strategy 1: eating what my tongue wants me to eat, without boundaries, and my stomach feeling satisfied a lot.
Coping Strategy 2: eating to provide nutrition to my cells, as abundantly as I want, with the right foods.
The question: what are the fruits of either strategy? Which strategy is better for the short-term, and which is better for the long-term?
So let’s go back to my humor thing. For me, I gravitate towards humor. Finding humor in things helps me put things in a different perspective that is, many times, easier to understand. It helps people I work with find perspective, also. When I’m in front of 100 job seekers, you better believe there is a lot of laughing. Probably some tears, too, because I get very raw and real. But there is humor throughout the presentation. We don’t get enough laughing when we are in a job search, and no one wants to touch our delicate situation with a ten foot pole… but I do. Because even after eight years, I still consider myself a job seeker. I am you. I am with you. And I know there is a time to let your frustrations out, and I’ll be a shoulder you can cry on, or an ear you can vent to, but I’m not going to go in front of my audience and start crying and venting for the entire time.
Laughing releases good brain chemicals (practically natural narcotics). Why not let job seekers laugh?
Maybe my coping strategy (laughing and humor) is different than your coping strategy (medication, nutrition, hobbies, reading and movies (escapism), soduko, doing the dishes, lifting weights, running, etc.). I’m not going to list them and say which are better than others, but I will say this: LOOK AT THE FRUIT. What are the results of your coping strategy?
Does it put you in a worse place, or does it prepare you to do the hard things that you need to do in your job search?