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Want a Job? Build Your Portfolio!

August 21st, 2014

In my email signature I have a link to the new Video Game Design and Entrepreneur class I’m starting in a couple of weeks.  It’s going to be awesome, and a lot of fun.  (by the way, the youngest student is 7, the oldest is in his 60s… it might be just the class for you, too)

Today I was on a call with a business associate who noticed the line in my signature.  Her son will be in college soon and is looking at graphic arts programs…. she asked for any advise I had on breaking into the video game world (not programming, but with graphics).  This is actually a great question, and we had a fun conversation.

The gist of the conversation was this: to get into that space, or any space, really, you should build a portfolio.

How powerful would it be to go to a potential employer and have the same credentials as the other people on the shortlist: a degree, a portfolio from school, etc., but also have a portfolio of video games that are on the market and available for download?  If you want to get into a video game design firm, and you have at least one game that you have designed, and people have downloaded it (and even rated it), isn’t that a great way to show your passion and skill level?

She mentioned that he didn’t want to do programming, his passion was in design.  I suggested that going through the course would give him an additional breadth that would help him break down walls with programmers.  I know a lot of programmers who don’t like working with graphics artists because of the way the two roles work.

Think about this with your own career and job search.   What have you done so that a company you are interested in can understand your skills and professional passion?

Artists have known this for years… having a portfolio is just the way it is.

Can accountants (who are in transition) have a portfolio?

How can you substantiate, or allow others to visualize, your skill set?  What do you got that is more impressive than a list of credentials?

(I think I know the answer for any profession, but what do you think?)

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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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LinkedIn Videos update: 4 new videos on writing “Posts” (aka, articles)

July 30th, 2014

I just sent the message below to members of my JibberJobber group on LinkedIn.  If you are not a member, click here to join.  (this is slightly edited for this blog post)

Today I finished creating and editing four new videos to help you understand the (fairly) new Posts feature in LinkedIn. This used to be the “influencer” privilege, which very few people had access to. I think everyone has the feature now, though…. hence the addition to the LinkedIn for Job Seekers streaming video series.These four videos are a part of the LinkedIn for Job Seekers Fourth Edition series… if you have any questions about LinkedIn, go to this page and see what the videos.  The new video clips are:

  • Posts: Introduction (and writing your first post)
  • Posts: Rich text and formatting to your articles
  • Posts: Two important tips to have better articles
  • Posts: Conclusion and wrap-up

If you have a request for additional videos for this series, let me know.

The series is priced at $50. To get access, first get a JibberJobber account, then go here, and you’ll be able to purchase the streaming version.

If you want $11 off, get the one year upgrade on JibberJobber (only $60), and then add the LinkedIn videos for only $39 more.

IF YOU ARE A COACH, work in outplacement, or at a career center, and you are licensing this series already, your clients should have access to them. (if you, or they, have problems, refer them to the Contact Us page, or to Liz)

If you want information on bulk purchasing, and you are a coach, resume writer, in outplacement, a recruiter, etc, please use the Contact form to ask for more information.

Thank you, and have a great day!

Jason Alba
CEO – www.JibberJobber.com
Author – I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???

Let us know if you have any questions!

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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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The Real Hidden Job Market Exists: Valerie Gonyea’s Experience

July 29th, 2014

Valerie Gonyea is one of my favorite people… she recently posted this on Facebook:

valerie_gonyea_headshotSo, lemme tell ya a little story about the hidden job market. It does, in fact, exist. You just have to believe…and not in that airy fairy kinda way…more like in the clap-your-hands kinda way. Because it does take action on your part…you do have to reach out and network and ask and offer in return, etc.I can’t get into why (it doesn’t really matter), but I have chosen to move on from one of my clients. But before I did that, I wanted to be able to make up for the loss of billable hours. I reached out to only and exactly TWO people in my network. One of them talked to the CEO of the company about me and…whaddya know…the CEO and the CFO had just started to come to the conclusion that they needed some help. Someone exactly like me…and not full time…maybe just 1-2 days per week…which just so happens to be exactly the amount of time I was going to give up.

A VERY cool company, run by VERY cool people…everything is setup as online as possible. I am thrilled!

So, if you’re looking to move on someday, make sure you have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile and a strong network infrastructure and then go WORK IT!

In the comment thread, she continued:

Oh, and another follow up to the story…instead of just following up with a normal thank you note, I followed up with a LinkedIn invitation thank you note…they both accepted…and it gave me the opportunity to bring them to my profile that had all of my recommendations on it :)

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.

 

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Finding a Personal Relationship Manager (You’ve Found It!)

June 23rd, 2014

I’ve had people say they looked on google for a personal relationship manager and JibberJobber didn’t come up… “why is that?” they ask.

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!

 

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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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Keyword Tips For Resumes (cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, etc.)

June 13th, 2014

chris_russell_headshotChris 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?

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Do You Have Pass Along Cards?

June 12th, 2014

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):

pink_slip_smaller

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):

video_game_design_class_passalong_cards

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?

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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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Ask The Expert: Fred Coon, Outplacement and Job Search Expert

April 25th, 2014

My call with Fred Coon was awesome.  There were a lot of gems throughout this call.  I have two regrets:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?))

See past Ask The Expert recordings here.

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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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LinkedIn Questions: Shady connections, responding to bad “recommendations,” and contacting via email vs. through LinkedIn

April 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.

question_mark_blog_smallWhen 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.

question_mark_blog_smallI 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).

question_mark_blog_smallMost 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.

question_mark_blog_smallFinally 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?

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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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What to put on your LinkedIn Profile when you are in transition

April 22nd, 2014

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.

nick_jenkins_linkedin_available1

 

Next, the Current Title.  He makes it very clear that he is actively looking.

nick_jenkins_linkedin_available2

 

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.

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Favorite Friday: LinkedIn Professional Headline: Yours probably sucks

April 11th, 2014

This is from July 2010, on my LinkedIn blog.  It is a really short post about that uber-important branding statement next to your picture on your LinkedIn Profile.

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:

So many times I see LinkedIn Professional Headlines that … well, suck.

Yours probably sucks (unless you got my LinkedIn book or my LinkedIn DVD, as I talk about this quite a bit in those).

Here’s a quick test:

(a) Does your LinkedIn Professional Headline have your TITLE?

(b) Does your LinkedIn Professional Headline have the name of your company?

If it has either of these you have a great chance of having a sucky professional headline.

Why do I say this?

  1. The title doesn’t tell me a whole lot. If it’s a big title in a small company I’m not impressed. If it’s a regular title in a company or industry I’m not familiar with, I might not really know WHAT YOU DO.
  2. Beyond that, though, your title doesn’t tell me WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). I don’t care that you are a CEO, or analyst, or any of that other stuff. If I SHOULD care, I can find that in the rest of your LinkedIn Profile, right?
  3. Use your Professional headline as a change to educate me on why I should care about you. Title/company doesn’t do it.
  4. With regard to the company, most companies I see out there have cute names… that mean nothing to me. They are not branded enough to tell me anything. Thus, putting the name of a no-name company in your headline does not help me understand your value proposition… IT ONLY TAKES UP SPACE.

How’s your LinkedIn Professional Headline?

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