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Why You Shouldn’t Message Me On LinkedIn

August 12th, 2014

Last week I was out of the office all week.  Two weeks earlier I was out for an entire week.  I was at camps with my kids and really didn’t have access to anything online.

I dutifully set up my “out of office” messages in my two main email systems, knowing that anyone who sent me an email would have known that I would take a few days to get back to them.  Unfortunately, I got a number of messages through LinkedIn’s messaging system… and those people didn’t get any message to let them know I was unavailable.

They just got radio silence.  Sounds an awful lot like being ignored.  Or that I don’t care to respond.

LinkedIn is cool, for sure.  But it’s not the only tool you should use.  Use email, or the phone, but don’t solely message people through LinkedIn.

If you don’t know someone’s email address, GET IT.  If you have it, USE IT.

The other reason I suggest you don’t use LinkedIn for primary or important messaging (if you aren’t doing important messaging, don’t send the message!) is because messages from LinkedIn don’t get in front of me very often.  A while back Google (Gmail) decided they needed to sift my email into three groups (they could have just named tabs 2 and 3 SPAM, right?):

gmail_buckets

Guess where I spend most of my time?

The “Primary” box.

Guess where your LinkedIn message goes?

NOT the “Primary” box.

Don’t use Gmail, so that’s not an issue?  I suggest you check out your spam or junk folder, and see how many LinkedIn messages are in there.  That should be proof enough that you shouldn’t depend on LinkedIn for sending messages.

Want to get on my radar?  EMAIL ME directly.

Sending me a message through LinkedIn is a gamble.

How about you?

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First thing to do when you get a layoff notice

August 11th, 2014

I was listening to a friend talk about his layoff this weekend…. he had zero days of transition from his last job to his new gig.  He related something like this (in my own words):

“I got laid off two months ago and I immediately started my job search…”

There’s more to his story, but as far as this post is concerned, that is the most important thing I want to share.  Since I lost my job, 8+ years ago, I have met plenty of people who have gotten a layoff notice, and had a few weeks or a few months to prepare for the next job.

I’ve also met plenty of people who have some kind of sweet severance, giving them months of normal income before their income goes away. The story I hear the most is “I’ll start looking for my next job in six months, when I get close to the severance running out.”

Folks, the time to look for a job is (personally I feel like it is ALL THE TIME, but if you hear you are getting laid off, or think you are going to get laid off, START LOOKING…) NOW!

My friend got an eight week notice, and by the end of eight weeks he had a job lined up.

That is a much better transition than I had!

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Job Search Analogy: They Scary Night Hike :s

August 4th, 2014

Friday I drove about an hour away away to a somewhat unknown campground that has become a family favorite.  I took four of my favorite kids and we met up with about 50 neighborhood friends who were going to enjoy a group campground with us.  It was a super fun time with great people and great food.

One of my favorite things to do while camping is to do a “night hike.”  This campground is so safe and secluded that I set of with three or four other adults and thirteen kids for a night hike.  Now, my version of night hike is with teenagers, and the rule is that all flashlights have to be off so our eyes can acclimate, and so we can see the amazing stars in a place void of light pollution.

However, on this hike, the average age of the kids was probably… seven!  Half of them had glow-stick necklaces, and most of them had flashlights.  I asked them to turn off their lights, but it became clear about three steps into the hike that some of the kids were scared, and that no one was going to turn off their lights.

A few minutes into our hike we started hearing whimperings of “I’m scared,” and “let’s go back now.”  Somehow, though, all of the kids were able to hang in there until we got about a half mile away from camp, where we sat on a log and looked at the stars.  We also had a minute of complete silence and then shared what we heard. It’s a profound and humbling experience to get away from the city sights and noises and spend time absorbing the Great Outdoors.

Except, there was one kid who continued to whimper about going back to camp…. he was really quite scared the entire time.  Even though we had more light than we should have, and there were plenty of adults, and walking this little road in the campground was as safe as walking to your bathroom in the middle of the night, this kid was terrified.

I thought about how we, as job seekers, are like that little kid.  I KNOW it is scary.  It is enough to make grown men cry, cause unprecedented anxiety, and all that stuff.

I thought, even though he was totally safe, his feelings were real.

I know YOUR feelings are real.  I don’t want to take that away from you.

I also know that you are not alone.  There are people who are with you.  Some of them are wiser and more experienced.  Some of them have been down the road plenty of times.  Some of the people walking with you know what dangers (or lack of dangers) are in the road.  Some of them leave you alone, enough to freak you out, but they would absolutely be there for you if there was real danger, or if you cried out for help.

Everything about the scenario reminded me of my job search.  I felt alone, but I wasn’t. I felt in danger, but I wasn’t.

When we got back to camp, with the lanterns, and lots of adults talking and laughing, the fear was totally gone.

When you land your job, with a paycheck and whatever cool benefits you get, the fear might be totally gone.

But remember, you walked the path.  You did it.  You survived.  You maybe even thrived.  You can help others walk that path, and when the time comes for you to do it again, you can.  You will.  But next time you can do it with a different perspective.  You don’t have to be scared, whimpering, and feeling subject to so many things outside of your control.  Next time, you can do it with knowledge, power, a sense of security, and confidence.

What a cool analogy.  Think of those going through their own “night hike,” and be compassionate towards them.  If you are going through your own, look for mentors, and guides, and people who have a better vision of the road you are on than you do.  While it may seem impossible, learn to trust in them.  Scary, but if they’ve been down that road, they might have just what you need.

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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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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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Job Search Tip: Be “Quick To Forgive”

July 28th, 2014

A while back my wife was in some training and she picked up a phrase that has become oft-repeated in my home.  ”Quick to forgive.”  It’s a powerful concept, easy to accept, perhaps hard to apply.

The power of forgiveness is real.  As a job seeker we feel slighted for many reasons… the people who let us go, the people who don’t help us network, the people who don’t choose to hire us, the people who ________.

Job seekers work with people… and thus we have plenty of opportunity to forgive.

As you let things go, and get over them (or through them), you can put your time, attention and energy into more important things, like the task at hand.  What do you need to do to move forward, instead of why are you staying held back?

Try to create a personal culture of being quick to forgive, and move on with what you need to move on to.

Finally, I can’t talk about forgiveness without suggesting that you get really good at forgiving yourself.  I’m not saying create excuses for not having or achieving what you want, but don’t wallow in self-pity and feelings of failure and inadequacy.  Forgive yourself, take ownership of your issues in the spirit of being willing to improve, but stop harboring unsafe and harmful feelings – towards yourselves, or others.

I can’t imagine how serene life would be if we could be quick to forgive… can you?

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Job Search Advice: Friend Version, Tip 5

July 25th, 2014
I’m out of town this week (Liz will take care of you if you need help, just go to the Contact form)…. here’s a series of five things I’d tell a friend if he/she just started a job search.

Tip 5, Day 5: Internalize the idea that this is the new new: career management is where it is at.

I know being unemployed is the pits.  It’s not really any fun, and you just want to fix the problem (ie, get a job), and make this whole nightmare go away.  I get that.

I encourage you to think a little differently about it, though.

What if you knew that every 18 – 36 months you knew you were going to do something like this?  How would that make you think about your brand, and your relationships, and your continuing education?

What if you could prepare for your next transition, whether it was because you got bored and needed more of a challenge?  Or because your boss was unstable and there was no way you were staying, or because the company imploded like Enron?

Free yourself from depending on your job.  Perhaps you LOVE LOVE LOVE where you are at, and you couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.  That’s great!  Congratulations!  But free yourself from being dependent. Simply prepare for the next transition.  Do things now to make that next transition easier, faster, smoother.

Some people get this.  CxOs know they are in transition about every two years.  Changing jobs is just the way it is.  They prepare for it.  They nurture long-term relationships.  Their attitude is adjusted so they don’t need to have a pity part every two years when it happens.

That is the new reality for more than just CxOs.  I’ve been doing this stuff for more than eight years and I’ve seen a lot of people have to adjust to this new way.

It’s worse when you get older… start now, invest in your career, and the inevitable changes.  Embrace the challenge.  And when you are in your next role, and can settle in and be comfortable, don’t stop your career management.

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Job Search Advice: Friend Version, Tip 4

July 24th, 2014
I’m out of town this week (Liz will take care of you if you need help, just go to the Contact form)…. here’s a series of five things I’d tell a friend if he/she just started a job search.

Tip 4, Day 4: Learn what networking is, why to do it, and how to do it.

I was too good to network.  If you would just read my resume, you would know I was the right person to hire, and we really wouldn’t have to waste time with all that networking crap.

WRONG.

Networking is more important the higher up your job level is, and in certain industries.  Need to replace a minimum wage burger flipping job?  No worries, just go apply.  Need to replace a professional-level job?  That’s harder.  Get networking.

BUT, don’t do it the way most people do, at a superficial level.  Pick up Keith Ferrazzi’s books (Never Eat Alone, etc.) and become a student of his.  Learn to love the conversations, the relationships, and “giving.”  Learn how to have the right conversations, and achieve your purposes (establishing a relationship, reinforcing your brand, getting introductions, etc.).

Also, you must understand that the goal of networking is not just to meet a bunch of people – that is too vague.  Understand that as you meet people, they are likely not the people who will know of an opening for you, but they should be able to introduce you to someone, who can introduce you to someone, who can introduce you to someone, who might be able to hire you. The idea is that you are drilling down, getting closer and closer to the right person at the right company… but that only comes when people trust you, and you communicate the right things at the right time.

Obviously, as you do this you’ll need a CRM to keep track of all of these relationships, introductions, and conversations.  Sure, go ahead with Excel.  When that doesn’t work, get an account on JibberJobber :)

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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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Job Search Advice: Friend Version, Tip 3

July 23rd, 2014
I’m out of town this week (Liz will take care of you if you need help, just go to the Contact form)…. here’s a series of five things I’d tell a friend if he/she just started a job search.

Tip 3, Day 3: Use technology as a too, but don’t let it become your excuse.

There is no doubt that I, as the founder of JibberJobber, will encourage you to get an account on JibberJobber.  I’ll also encourage you to get on LinkedIn, and use other technology as a tool.

But do not get sucked into the idea that using technology is your job search.  You still need to have real human connections and conversations.  Hiding behind a job tracking spreadsheet, tweeking this sheet and adding that column and creating this formula and color coding those cells… don’t go there.  You could spend weeks doing that, in the name of your job search.

In reality, you are simply hiding behind technology, because you are too chicken to do what needs to be done.

Call people on the phone, every day. Go to network meetings, meet people, and ask them to lunch (or for more time, even if it’s just in the lobby or foyer).  Relationships… humans.  Playing the “will you connect with me” game on LinkedIn is not only a waste of time, it can mislead you and make you think you are really “networking,” when you are just making a superficial connection that doesn’t go any further than “sure, let’s connect.”

Technology is a tool – and tools are important – but there is WORK to be done.

Do that work (the work you are afraid to d0).  Embrace it.

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Job Search Advice: Friend Version, Tip 2

July 22nd, 2014
I’m out of town this week (Liz will take care of you if you need help, just go to the Contact form)…. here’s a series of five things I’d tell a friend if he/she just started a job search.

Tip 2, Day 2: Find someone to be accountable to.

If you can find and afford a professional coach, good for you.  You are lucky. Use them.  Don’t tell them what to do, just fit into their system, and DO what they say to do.

If you can’t afford one, then find someone who you will be accountable to every single week.  Don’t skip reporting any week.  This person needs to be strong enough to “hold your feet to the fire,” which means they will ask you “did you do that thing you said you were going to do?  Why not?  Okay, well what are you going to do this week?  If you don’t do that, then ________.”

Accountability is such a critical component of your job search.  I know it’s embarrassing to invite someone into this part of your life… a part that feels like a failure.  BUT, bring them in, and let them help you.

You don’t have to do this alone.  Having someone who you’ll be accountable to can be a huge, huge part of your success.  Respect them, respect their time, and be completely honest with them.

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