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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.

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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Don’t ask people to connect on LinkedIn until…

April 21st, 2014

If I can, I like to connect people.  It makes me feel good, and some of my contacts simply must connect with one another – they are that cool or complementary!

I recently made a connection between two people, and I suggested to one of them to NOT invite the person to connect until they actually had a conversation, and started a relationship.

Why?

Too often I see people who will take an introduction, ask the person to connect on LinkedIn, and then… nothing.

Folks, connecting on LinkedIn IS NOT NETWORKING!

Focus on the relationship!

Can you help that person?  Can they help you?  Is there a reason to have a relationship?  Can you nurture the relationship?  Can you get and give value through the years because of a relationship?

Have a conversation.  Then, in a month, or next quarter, have another conversation (or send an email).  And do that regularly.  Over time. Take the relationship from nowhere to somewhere.

The problem with starting out with a LinkedIn invitation is that too often, many times, I see this:

  1. Invitation is extended.
  2. Invitation is accepted.
  3. Relationship doesn’t go anywhere.

The LinkedIn connection is not a relationship, and it is not networking.  It gets in the way.

So, first work on establishing the relationship, and the LinkedIn invitation/connection is something for later. Don’t let it take the place of the relationship.

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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Finding Humor in Your Depressing Job Search (or the bad economy, or whatever)

April 9th, 2014

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:

Sorry– I do not see the humor; if the economy and employment levels were decent…well maybe. But not when so many people are in real pain and suffering after 7 years of this “great recession.”

My reply to her, and the group:

Karen, sorry. This was my story (kind of) 8 years ago, and it turned out to be a massive blessing. I talk to unemployed people (usually JibberJobber users) daily, and I know the pain and hurt and suffering… both because I lived it and because I hear it every day. I choose to use humor in my life to help me get through hard times…. nobody has to, but I’m not going to sit around and mope and be somber, essentially empowering the suffering.

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 1Let’s say that I cope with stress by eating crap.  So, I’m unemployed and stressed, and I eat at McDonald’s three times a day.  Sodas, fries, high-fructose-corn-everything.  I’m coping with my pain and suffering, and while I plop stuff in my mouth, I feel better, for a second or two.  Between meals I throw down some chips, and have a big cup of soda by me at all times.  I indulge, and it’s good to have no rules on my eating.  I think about going on a walk around the block, but my ankles and knees hurt too much… so I’ll do that “later.”What will that do to me?  From personal experience I know that I’ll physically feel like crap, I’ll probably be more moody, and my clothes will get tighter… this only makes me feel moodier and more depressed.  That’s okay, I’ll cope by eating more crap.

Guess how my next face-to-face networking event is going to go?

I will want to be invisible.  And I’ll probably be jaded enough that I’m not going to have the right conversations which could lead to introductions.  People will smell blood.

Coping Strategy 2

Contrast that with eating much healthier, and exercising. Let’s say I have healthy food around me, in abundance (this doesn’t mean I have to have money or a paycheck, I simply make better choices when buying food).  I eat at least one green smoothie a day (the way I make them, they look green but taste like a fruit smoothie), I drink lots of water, and eat things like soaked almonds, brown rice, etc.  Instead of feeling like I can “cheat” to “cope,” I am now addressing a physical/mental/emotional issue by feeding my cells (nutrition) instead of focusing on feeding my belly (satisfaction).

I feel great, physically.  I take time to exercise, whether it is walk around the block or walk a few miles, do yoga, squats, pushups (even against the wall or stairs), etc. My clothes fit better, I sleep better at night, I feel fit and I have more energy. I can think clearer and have more fun networking.  People want to be around me, they even gravitate towards me (or at least I don’t feel like they are trying to get away from me).

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?

 

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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The Chicken List Smackdown Video: Just Place The Call

February 27th, 2014

I saw a link to this website from my business mentor Mark LeBlanc: Just Place The Call!

I’ve written about calling, and the Chicken List (that list of people you are too scared to call) plenty of times… here and here and here and here and here.  I get it, I really do. I’m afraid of the phone, too.  Sometimes I wonder if the person will punch me through the receiver, or take away my first-born, or some other horrific thing.  The phone tends to paralyze job seekers. I’ve heard “the phone weighs five hundred pounds!” or “my tongue weighs a thousand pounds!” I get it all.  I live it, just like you do.

But there is something special about the phone. I challenge you to get good at it.  Instead of envying others who seem to do it well, instead of blaming your personality profile and saying if you had a different personality you would do it, JUST PLACE THE CALL.

A mentor in my job search, John, is the one who introduced the Chicken List phrase to me.  His advice was priceless: start calls with the hardest person on your Chicken List.  Get the hard people CROSSED OFF.  Get through those.  Let me add, if you are still alive after those calls, then calling other people will be a breeze!

Check out the Just Place The Call video, and after taking the two minutes and twenty three seconds to watch it, PLACE THE CALL! :)  I haven’t downloaded the 501 Telephone tips from that page but if you do it, and like it, let me know! (apparently, this is their blog, with lots of cool looking blog posts about improving your phone skills)

 

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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10 Tips to Getting the Most out of a JibberJobber Upgrade

February 13th, 2014

I have recently spent hours interviewing JibberJobber users across the world, as well as career coaches and resume writers.  I am very interested in hearing what they think about JibberJobber, and what they would like to see… I’m also completely intrigued at what their experience in the job search is like, and what frustrates them.

These calls are exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.

One thing I’ve learned is that people use JibberJobber quite differently.  Based on the input, I wanted to share tips on how to really get the best out of using the premium JibberJobber level.  (we just lowered the upgrade by 40% from $99 a year to $60 a year… tell me that isn’t awesome. See what you get in the upgrade here)

Tip 1:  Create Contacts and Log Entries using the way-cool Email2Log feature. I was amazed to talk to people who upgraded only because they needed more room for Contacts or Companies.  If you aren’t adding Contacts using Email2Log, you are spending a lot more time than you need to.  There is a blog post and video on how to do it here.  Do you realize you could cut out anywhere from 2 – 10 minutes on adding each Contact with this awesome feature?  Not to mention the emails becoming a Log Entry… all in under a second.  Amazing, and super valuable to anyone.

Tip 2: Enter as many Contacts and Companies as you want.  The free level gives you room for up to 500 Contacts and 500 Companies… and it will take you A LONG TIME to actually meet and talk with that many people.  If you only used JibberJobber to store information and conversations on people you talk to, I bet you don’t need that many records.  But some people like “having everything in one place,” and using JibberJobber as a backup to your other contact systems (like LinkedIn, Gmail Contacts, your iCloud, etc.).  On the premium side you have as much room as you want… some people have loaded more than 100,000 contacts.  I don’t really like that, but so far we aren’t stopping anyone from doing it.

Tip 3: Import, import, import!  There are no tariffs here, folks!  Bulk importing is your friend.  It should be obvious that you can import from a csv or vcard (the two most common formats we hear about).  Most people will import once or twice a year (usually when just starting), but let me recommend that if you go to a networking meeting and get a handful of business cards, you simply type those into a spreadsheet, save it as a csv file, and then do one quick import.  If I have 5 or 10, I might do them by hand, but if I have more I’ll make a csv and import… it is much quicker to do data entry on a spreadsheet than on any webpage…

Tip 4: Schedule follow-up reminders to come to your email and/or your phone (text/sms).  My job search spreadsheet did a pitiful job of helping me remember my todo’s, follow-ups, tasks and action items (which are all the same thing in JibberJobber).  When you create an Action Item, you can see it on the front page of JibberJobber (like all users, free or premium).  As a premium user, you can also schedule these to come to your email or phone (via text/sms).

Guess what – those are all the reasons anyone would upgrade!  We moved the other features to the free side… which means if you don’t upgrade you get a ton of value for free…!

But, upgraded users are still not getting all the value they could… I know, because I talk to them on the phone!  Here are six more tips for anyone who uses JibberJobber, whether you are on the upgraded account or not!

Tip 5: Get REPORTS to help you be accountable.  Whether you are showing the unemployment office that you did in fact make contact with three companies the first week of January, or you have a court-ordered obligation to prove you are in an aggressive job search, you can pull reports to help show what you have been doing.  My favorite way of doing this is in the Log Entries and Action Items report, where you can

Tip 6: See pending Action Items. There are various ways to see Action Items, including the homepage, in your email/phone, on a Company/Contact/Jobs page… but you can also go to the Log Entries and Action Items page and show ONLY pending or open Action Items.

Tip 7:  Keep up with contacts regularly.  One of the newer COOLEST features we added is the ability to create RECURRING (or repeat) Action Items.  I know you can do this on your calendaring system, but the ability to do it on a Contact, Company or Job is priceless.  For example, you meet someone at a networking event and know you want to keep in touch with them monthly or quarterly, or maybe just once a year. Simply create an Action Item and make it recurring monthly, quarterly or annually (or whatever makes sense).  This is really a powerful addition to JibberJobber.  It wasn’t easy to add, but it will add a lot of value to you.

Tip 8: Find relevant job postings and enhance your search.  Not necessarily to apply to (works for some, not all)… but these postings could have a wealth of information for you.  Some people are skeptical that applying online will get you anywhere. What I’m saying is to find relevant postings so you can do research.  Here’s a high level example of what I’m talking about: open ten similar postings side-by-side, and compare them.  Pull out key words and key phrases that you might not have thought about and consider whether you should add those to your marketing (aka, your cover letters, resumes, mini-stories, etc.).  You can do a very cool analysis of keywords and keyphrases with our new analysis tool on the Job Detail page.

Tip 9: Do quick research on Google and LinkedIn.  I was talking to a premium user who was doing a lot of research on LinkedIn before he made contact with people, and he was simply going to LinkedIn, typing the person’s name in the search box, and seeing what he could find.  In JibberJobber there are LinkedIn search icons throughout the system that allows you to do that with one-click.  They are usually by the Google search icon to allow you to search and research on Google.

Tip 10: Access JibberJobber from your phone.  Go to m.JibberJobber.com from any phone and you’ll see a smaller version of JibberJobber.  We will be redoing this in the next few months, so if you have any suggestions or requests, please let us know!

A user recently said there is a lot of magic in JibberJobber.  I wish I could simplify it and say “we do this, and we do it well!”  But it is hard to define the “this” because JibberJobber’s breadth and depth have expanded over the last almost-eight years.  Now we are suffering from what I call Excel Syndrome.  I argue that most people use 5% of Excel’s amazing features, and that is really enough. BUT, there is so much more that they could use.

In talking with my users I’ve realized some of the things I depend on and love are unknown, almost hidden features for them.  That’s why I encourage you to jump on any of the weekly user webinars… otherwise, use the Contact form and give us feedback and ask us questions.  We are just as committed to making JibberJobber more valuable to you as we have been every day since we launched in 2006.

 

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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“You’ve been lied to, suckers. Social media won’t help you find a job.” Laurie Ruettimann, and my response

February 4th, 2014

I love Laurie Reuttimann’s blog, The Cynical Girl. She tells it like it is, no holds barred. I’ve quoted or referenced her over the years. After seeing the title of a recent post I was really interested in seeing what she had to say. In this post I want to share my thoughts/responses with my users and job seekers. Her post is excellent, you can read the whole thing here.  Most of the quotes below are not from her, but HR people.

“You are being lied to by the internet. There is nothing here for you, especially a job.”

I agree with the “you are being lied to,” but I think the bigger issue is that people are looking for the silver bullet, and this new-fangled Internet thingy seems shiny and bullet-y.  So yeah!!  Actually… no :(  The internet is a tool, websites are a tool, and none of this replaces the need to find and nurture real relationships (aka, networking).  Maybe you’ll get a job, or the next few jobs, just by being online, but I’m all about long-term career management, and using the same diluted, saturated tool that everyone else is using, and using it the same way they are using it, is not a good long-term strategy, imo.

“One HR professional told me, ‘If you have time to be on Facebook, you are not fully engaged at your job. I don’t want you.’ “

I can’t agree with this, partially because of the comment below about Facebook.  I don’t spend much time on Facebook anymore, except as a quick way to see what’s going on with my friends and family.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time unfriending a lot of people, even quote-unquote-friends.  This comment from the HR professional makes him/her sound like an old-fashioned, out-of-touch, stodgy person who has no friends or family worth staying in touch with.  But I know some people love to get updates and are fulfilled by staying in touch through Facebook.  Some people rely on Facebook messaging as much, or more, as they rely on their email.  I’m not talking about frilly stuff, I’m talking about scheduling piano and dance lessons, kid get-togethers, etc. Who’s the stodgy HR pro to tell anyone they can’t communicate on Facebook?  This generalized statement sounds a bit too much to me.

“Don’t have a personal brand. ‘If you have a personal brand, you aren’t dedicated to the company brand.’ ” 

This statement sounds like it comes from an HR pro that hears the phrase “personal branding” with a lot of bias, and hype.  First of all, I teach that everyone has a brand (including the stodgy HR person from the last comment).  EVERYONE has a brand. Your brand is either intentional or unintentional, but you have a brand.  I agree that if you work for a company, whether you are an employee or a contractor, that you need to make it clear that you are dedicated to the company brand, to some degree.  However, to aborb the company’s brand and have it be yours can suck pretty bad when some HR person calls you into a dimly lit room to lay you off… and you now you are stuck having neglected your own personal career management because you were “dedicated to the company brand.”  When the company is not dedicated to YOU, how can you be dedicated to it to the point of neglecting your career?  Ask the 15,000-ish Dell employees you just got laid off how they feel about that.

“Don’t believe in the false promise of a social network. ‘I like to hire people I know. After that, people who are recommended to me. I want to know you or know someone who knows you. That’s how I hold people accountable for hires.’ ”

I agree with this statement, however, the HR person hires other HR people.  You need to read more into this statement and generalize it so that you understand that you must develop a relationship, not with the HR person, but with the hiring manager!  So how do you get to know the hiring manager?  Meet them!  Do an “informational interview” (but never call it that), or go to the network meetings they go to, or volunteer where they volunteer, etc.  And how do you get recommended to the hiring manager?  You meet people they work with, and you have a brand (that is, you make it easy for people to understand who you are, and perceive you the right way!).  You can accomplish some of this, even much of this, through social networks.  Yes, I do believe that.  But don’t use your social strategy to get out of real, face-to-face, human interactions. Use it as a tool to do what it’s good for and to facilitate finding those meetings that you go to.

“Don’t use Facebook to connect. ‘I’m there to watch my kids.’ ”

I agree with this.  Like I said, I have loved unfriending people on Facebook because my posts and family’s posts are really part of a life that I don’t need broadcast to professional acquaintances.  Here’s an example… would you go to the hiring manager’s house to talk to them?  Would you go to their church to talk to them?  Would you go to the same vacation place to talk to them? I’m sure some people would, but my point is there are some places that are appropriate for prospecting and business meetings, and other places (especially those that are a lot more personal), are inappropriate. Respect those boundaries (which will be different for different people).

“Don’t depend on LinkedIn to connect. ‘I go in there about once a month to clean it out.’ ”

I love this statement because it backs up what I’ve been following for years – look at what Compete.com says about LinkedIn, and how often people go there.  Not that often!  I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade… like someone who wrote a book on LinkedIn, or does training on LinkedIn… because I still think LinkedIn is a great tool.  But “depending on LinkedIn to connect” (or “to” anything else) is like depending on a hammer to build a house.  Perhaps you can, if you have enough time and are stubborn enough, but it is a lot easier to build a house with all the right tools instead of just one tool that is optimized for a few tasks.  Use LinkedIn as a tool, and figure out what other tools you should use!  And, the HR pro who goes into LinkedIn about once a month shows what a horrible networker he/she is.  I’m guessing that once this person is in transition, he or she will be beefing up their LinkedIn profile, presence, groups and network.

“Skip Twitter. ‘I am the world’s biggest Kai Ryssdal fan. Can I listen to NPR on Twitter?’ ”

I have fallen out of love with Twitter over the years.  When it got more mainstream it seemed to have gotten more sleazy.  It’s just not a place I spend time.  The issue, though, is this: is your target audience spending time there?  Are people who might refer you to their boss spending time there?  Can you “brand” yourself there, to help those people understand what your expertise and interests are?   Just because HR people don’t hang out on Twitter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  I’m not saying that you should, I’m saying to determine who is there and see if it is the right place for you to spend time and effort.

“This (social media) is the future….. But the future is not here.” 

I LOVE this quote from Laurie.  I don’t agree with it because it has been around for years (Facebook is ten years old, have ya heard?).  If you were trying to network into HR for your next job, perhaps I would agree with the statement (although there are HR people who like and spend time on social networks for professional reason).  But most of you are not trying to network into HR, you are trying to avoid HR as you get in front of a hiring manager, or someone who will recommend you to a hiring manager.  Ignore social tools at your own risk.  I bet your competition is not.

“Most people still find jobs through career websites, employee referrals and job boards.” 

This statement is too generalized for me.  I know it is true for some levels (minimum wage vs. $100+k salary), and for some industries (fast food vs. hard sciences) and some professions (entry level front desk admin vs product manager), but I am not sure I believe that “most people” find a job though any particular thing.  I remember a few years ago, after I got on the high horse of social media, I met with a guy who got a great job at a great company.  ”How did you land this killer job?” I asked, knowing it was through networking, branding and LinkedIn.  ”I applied to an opening on Monster.com,” he said.  Touché. Monster still works.

“So if you’re spending more than an hour/day on the internet with your job search, you are doing it wrong.”

 I can’t agree with this, either.  Some people only have an hour a day, others spend ten hours a day on their job search.  Some days you’ll spend hours just doing legitimate research. Some days you’ll spend an hour just applying to an opening through the horrid (usually broken) application system, because you talked to the manager and things are going well but they still said “oh, please apply online so you are in the system.”  And, “the internet” has a lot more useful tools than just Twitter… you might spend an hour on JibberJobber, or reviewing a dozen job postings to prepare for an interview you have coming up, etc.

“Get up. Get out. Get off the internet. Get yourself back to work!”

I totally agree.  In contrast to my thought in the last comment, I see too many people who hide behind the internet (email, social, soduko) and try to not do real job search stuff.  You need to know when it’s time to step away from the computer and do other things.  Again, use all the right tools for all the right reasons, don’t just keeping hammering when you need a saw or screwdriver.

One thought that keeps coming back to me, with all of these comments, is the advice that you hear at job clubs and from career counselors/coaches: GET AROUND HR!  Take their advice for what it is worth, but you also need to understand who is doing the hiring.  If HR has a small part in the hiring process, find out who has a big part.  And, I’ve worked with HR people before.  None of them were involved in hiring… they were involved in benefits, legal, etc.  But if they say “I’m an HR pro” and they are not involved in hiring, you might not give their advice as much credibility as someone who actually does hiring.

 

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! »

Critical Job Search & Social Media Thoughts from a Recruiter (Steve Levy)

January 30th, 2014

Since before I started JibberJobber there was this blogger/recruiter out there named Steve Levy.  I became friends with Steve online, then we roomed together at a conference, and we’ve had phone calls thoughout the years.

I recently asked him for some input on a project I’m working on and he replied back with a link to a blog post that really answered all my questions. It had been a while since I had read Steve’s stuff and I found myself looking through a bunch of his blog posts.  I LOVED this one since it really summed up a lot of high-value tips for job seekers with regard to social media:

Random Social Media Thoughts for #Jobseekers

He really sums it up. If you are new to this stuff, read it and use most of it as your roadmap.  If this is “old hat,” read it and compare what he says with what you are doing.

I don’t want to spoil anything but his last line is absolutely critical to understand:

Job search – like recruiting – is a contact sport. For all the press given social media, in recruiting we like to say that the two most important social media tools are the telephone and the handshake.

Awesome stuff.

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! »

Favorite Friday: The Power of Your Network To Your Company/Employer

December 20th, 2013

One of my favorite concepts, which I was recently reminded of, comes from Phil801 who wrote a blog post back in 2006 titled Social Networks and Corporations.  I wrote a post with my thoughts about it here, on July 5, 2006: What’s your value-add? (Robert Merrill write a follow-up post here, from a recruiter’s perspective)

Here’s the idea: if you have a network, can you bring value to a company or employer (or project or client) by bringing your network in?  Imagine these two scenarios:

Scenario 1:  Your company has a problem which is perplexing everyone on the team.  Everyone has been so busy working for the company that they don’t have any contacts they can comfortably tap into, and they keep trying to solve the problem without getting outside help.

Scenario 2: Same problem but your team has been trained to expand their network and nurture relationships with their contacts.  This is a part of the culture at your organization, and no one (read: bosses, management) feels threatened that you are spending time with others in the industry outside of your company.

Here’s my proposition for you: DO NOT WAIT FOR AN EMPLOYER TO MAKE IT OKAY TO HAVE A STRONG, NURTURED NETWORK!!

Maybe your employer doesn’t “get” networking.  Maybe they are threatened by you having industry contacts.  In my case, I think I didn’t network when I had a job because it seemed wrong (like I was cheating on my employer).  I think it would have been fine, but I had a lot of hangups and assumptions.

I wish, oh how I wish, I would have gotten past my misunderstandings and issues and networked.  Real relationships would have helped me in my last company, through my job search, and in my current role as business owner.

Career Management 2.0 is the new reality, and networking and relationships is a HUGE part of it.  Even if your company doesn’t “let you” do it on company time, do it on your own time, and bring value to your company!

#FavoriteFriday: What’s your value-add?

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job title, keywords or company
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Social Networking vs. UnSocial Networking

December 19th, 2013

Many years ago, when I was setting up the categories for this blog, I created a category called “UNsocial Networking.”  I’m sure I giggled when I put it into the list of categories, because really, how can you network in an unsocial way?  Networking IS social!

But the term “social networking” has been hijacked by websites that facilitate networking online.  For example, when someone says social networking they are clearly talking about Facebook or LinkedIn or something like that.

If someone simply says “networking” they are talking about something that scares the pants off of most people, right?  We’re still quite intimidated by the concept of networking, especially if we think of it as a certain thing that we need to do to make sales, find a job, etc.

I would like to define unsocial networking (surely a phrase that will not catch on outside of this blog) as the natural, unscary part of networking.

Developing real relationships.  Having real conversations.  Emailing people.  Following-up with people.

I’m not talking about the used-car-salesman schmoozing.  I’m referring to the simple human interactions that we already do.  I’m not even necessarily talking about a purposeful, strategic and planned networking activity, tactic or strategy. I’m talking about simply talking to someone.

Unsocial networking isn’t scary (unless you have social anxiety, and even then, one-on-ones can be comfortable and not scary).  It is what we as humans do.

Check out the UNsocial Networking category for posts related to regular, natural networking :)

And now, step away from the computer and go do some unsocial networking!

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

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What can a poor job seeker give?

December 10th, 2013

When I was in transition (the classy way of saying I was out of work) I felt like my hands were tied.  The experts talked about giving to our network, not receiving, but I didn’t know what I could give.

I couldn’t really take anyone to lunch… how could I justify the expense of me eating out AND paying for someone else?  That was money I didn’t feel like I had, when there were other expenses at home that needed to be taken care of.

I couldn’t really do anything I wanted to do, as far as giving.

I felt like a big mooch.  It was like the “giving” part of networking was only for those who had enough money to really give.  That wasn’t me.

After my networking epiphany, when it all started to make sense, I realized I had the only thing a job seeker would die to get.  It wasn’t the comfort food and false sense of normalcy that going to a restaurant would provide.  It was introductions.

By this time I had started to “get” networking. I was enjoying it.  I was even seeing success, which I wasn’t seeing from my previous pathetic networking attempts.

Because of this, my network was growing and strengthening.  And I finally realized the job seekers I was networking with would appreciate introductions to my contacts.  Introducing contacts to one another put me in an interesting position, and my relationships strengthened… the more I met, the more I introduced, the more I grew.  I started to see success, and I was helping other people. I became, as Keith Ferrazzi dubbed, a “power connector.”  It was win-win-win.

And it didn’t cost me anything.

If you are holding back because you don’t have enough money, I encourage you to think about giving introductions to your contacts.

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

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