Do your work upfront! Too many job seekers have very vague requests for help. Most vague requests are about as helpful as this: “I’m looking for a job.” Geesh! Can you tell me ANYTHING about you, what you’re looking for, what you want to do, etc.? I can’t help you if I don’t know if you want to be a lifeguard at the local rec center, or a CEO of a multi-national company! When you do your homework, you’ll know how I might be able to help you… and you’ll be able to have a better conversation. Ignore this at your own peril (or, extended job search).
DO NOT name drop… without permission. Hunter is kind of a big deal… and I’m sure has this happen all the time. If someone didn’t say “tell them I sent you,” then DON’T TELL THEM THEY SENT YOU! You can say “oh yeah, I know Jason…. I just read his blog post and ….” But don’t say “Jason sent you.” You will ruin your credibility and likely come across as a liar, perhaps ruining two relationships with one unfortunate white lie.
Don’t ask your contact for too much. If you want an introduction, make it super-easy for your contact to facilitate the introduction. This means you write something they could forward… why the introduction is happening, etc. Make it easy for them to forward something without thinking too much.
Follow-up with the person who made the introduction for you. It’s critical that you do this, if you want to improve relationships and get more introductions. When someone follows-up with me, no matter how good the meeting went (even if it didn’t happen), I can trust that the person I’m introducing will respect my contacts. I want to help more. If I don’t know what you are doing with my introductions, I am not inclined to give you more.
Keep the person posted about what’s going on. If you trust someone enough to ask for an introduction, and they trust you enough to do the introduction, why not keep them abreast of what’s going on, even outside of that introduction? Keep them posted perhaps monthly or quarterly…. stay on their radar. I wrote about this using a job seeker newsletter, which is a monthly email that I personally think every job seeker should have.
Too many people want to finish the job search and never, ever do it again. But the truth is, we will do it again… regularly. We need to figure out how to make this type of stuff be part of our DNA… how we work, how we communicate, etc. Whether you are looking for a job, funding, or customers, this is basic communication and networking stuff we need to internalize.
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?))
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.
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?
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)
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)
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!
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.