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Fred Coon: Ask The Expert, April 22

April 10th, 2014

On April 22, we’ll have Fred Coon as our Ask The Expert guest.  Fred owns Stewart, Cooper, Coon, an outplacement firm based out of Arizona, with clients world-wide.

Over the years I’ve chatted with Fred at conferences, over meals, on a bus, and on the phone.  Fred is a great thinker, very astute, and continually looking for strategies and tactics that work.  Just as important, he puts all of these things together to create plans for his job seeking clients and tracks their progress, and overall success, so he can further refine his systems and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work.

In this Ask The Expert we’ll drill down into some of his systems, ideas, strategies, and experience, to learn from someone who not only has been doing this for a long time, but is always looking out on the horizon to make sure what he is doing is the best.

Register here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/938296386

fred_coon_largeHeres’ a link to one of Fred’s books, Ready… Aim… Hired!

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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?

 

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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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JibberJobber Updates: A New Landing Page, Multi-Associations, and more… !

April 7th, 2014

Last night we rolled out some enhancements to JibberJobber.  This affects all users – free and premium.  I’m explaining the main things here, and at the bottom you can see a 6 minute video on what we did.

The first thing you’ll notice is the new landing page.  After almost eight years, we finally did something I’ve wanted to do, well, eight years ago!  You can now customize your landing page to what you want.  In this image you see my new screenshot, with only three things: the calendar up upcoming things, the job search on Indeed, and a quick-add box so I can add Contacts, Companies, etc. from that box (this is a really cool widget):

jibberjobber_update_landing_page_april_2014

#1 shows you how to add widgets you have taken off, and reorder them…

#2 shows you how to reorder widgets… simply click on this blue icon and drag it to where you want the widget to be…

#3 shows you how to remove a widget from the homepage.  If you remove it, and want it back later, simply click Manage Widgets and you can add it back.

The next major enhancement is what we call “multi-associate.”  This gives me the ability to have multipler:

  • Contacts and Companies on a Job
  • Contacts and Jobs on a Company
  • Jobs and Companies on a Contact

In other words, let’s say your friend is working at two companies, and worked at another company that is your target company.  Before, you could only associate ONE Company to the Contact.  NOW, you can associate as many Companies as you want with one Contact… this is really cool.  As per the bullets above, we extended this multi-associate functionality to Jobs, Companies and Contacts.

jibberjobber_updates_multi-associate_april_2014

In the screenshot above you can see I’ve double-clicked the gray box to edit the field (for both the Companies and the Jobs), and I can simply type in Companies or Jobs and have them show in a dropdown… I hit enter and it adds the the company to the list.  Notice the funky up/down arrow… this allows me to change the order (or, priority) of an associated record.  For example, if someone is currently at Ebay, but used to work at American Express, I’ll have Ebay in the first position… but if they work at American Express now, I’ll reorder that and have Ebay in the second position.  The red-x icon will remove the associated record… it’s pretty cool, and more real-world.

The third enhancement I wanted to introduce is the ability for you to leave a testimonial.  I know people love JibberJobber, and we’ve done a bad job letting you share what you really think.  We have give you the ability to tell others through a testimonial form… I know, it sounds boring, but some guy acused us of making up fake testimonials… now we allow you to write testimonials, and optionally include your picture and URL (like, a LinkedIn URL)… we’re hoping you’ll take a moment to share what you think about JibberJobber with others.

Check out the video below for a short walk-through of these three things:

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Favorite Friday: Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List!

April 4th, 2014

By March of 2007 I had gotten an idea of this so-called chicken list, which still scares me, and had been consumed by the idea of wasting time in a job search.  Here’s a post I wrote in March of 2007 about making sure your honey-do list doesn’t take time away from what you should be doing in a job search:

Where's Your Honey Do List?  I know you have one...Last week I encouraged you to get your Chicken List out and make “that” call – the call that has been scaring you.

That encouragement does not transfer over to your Honey-Do list.

A job search is more than a full-time job. You almost have to create the wheel, and reach deep inside yourself to do stuff you haven’t had to do for a long time (create a resume, create elevator pitches, etc.). Its hard to change your mindset from “sell my company’s product” to “sell myself.” And then on top of all of this, you are the one that has to execute the strategy! Its a HUGE job!

So why do you think that you can knock things off the honey-do list? I know, you are now “working from home.” And you “have time.” And you “need a break” from the job search.

I know you have a hole in the wall. I know your toilet needs some work. I know you should really paint, or weed, or change wallpaper, or shampoo the carpets so you can have a better work environment.

But none of those things are really going to get you closer to getting your next job. Or next client.

So put the Honey-Do list away until the weekend. Pretend that your new job (that is, the job of finding a job) has you tied up from early in the morning until dinner time – and stop fooling yourself that doing honey-do’s right now is a good use of your time.

It isn’t.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to be sexist, or offensive. This post is not intended just for those in a job search. You know you have some kind of list that distracts you from doing important stuff. If you don’t have a “honey,” I bet you still have your own “to do” list. Same thing.

And finally, this is not a ticket to not do anything that needs to be done. I’m just saying that there are some things that are not as high a priority as working on your job search (or career management, or small business development, or your job – even if you are underemployed!).

Reading that post now makes me wince a little.  That is some harsh advice.  You can tell where my mind was at.  The message is important.  You can see Deb Dib’s insightful comment here.

Leave your own comment below….

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Yeah, so… I’m not laid off. April Fools! (the backstory)

April 3rd, 2014
jason_alba_april_fools_2014_3

Read the post to see why maple syrup :)

Tuesday was April Fools. An announcement on the blog said Jason Alba was laid off.

That, my friends, was an April Fools joke.

I mistakenly scheduled the blog post for the day after about a week ago, without realizing that 4/2 should have been THIS post.  So here’s some of the before and after of JibberJobber’s April Fools for 2014:

In 2011 I wrote a really fun April Fools saying we would lay off the boss who laid you off.  It was really quite funny, and had a bunch of JibberJobber users, people who were in-between jobs, who said SIGN ME UP!!  Even after knowing it was a prank, they still would have loved to have their bosses laid off.

I skipped the next two years because I was too uncreative to figure something out, but around last April I had the idea of me, the guy who talks about layoffs all the time, the guy who owns his own company, and talks about income security, so “no one can take away 100% of your income,” and all of that stuff, to actually be laid off… from his own company!

About a week ago I wrote the draft and passed it by two people: the owner of a PR firm, and a resume writer.  Both of these people are very precise and know the power and impact of a post like this.

Oh, I also printed off a copy and had my 13 year old son run it upstairs to my wife.  He read the headline and got very, very somber, and I think he almost got teary-eyed.  He just came to the realization that something very grave happened… I didn’t mean to make him feel like that, but I couldn’t let him in on it until my wife read it.  She said it shocked her, too, for a bit, then realized it must be for April Fools.  I said our son “was almost in tears…” and she said “I was almost in tears, too!”

“Great,” I thought, “this is going to work :)

As I slept on it for the next few nights, I wondered what impact this would have, and if I should soften up the message.  The private equity guy was an idiot, and the way I portrayed private equity and VCs was not favorable at all. I also bashed on job boards, and their lack of value for job seekers. I even included the company that paid $1B for Indeed.com… that’s a company I don’t necessarily want to make mad.

Would this have a negative impact on my business?

Would announcing my layoff to users who really don’t know me, or my sense of humor, have a negative impact on them, and give them a reason to have doubt about JibberJobber?

Could I take these risks, just for a bit of fun on April 1?

Obviously, I decided to.  And I think it is okay…. so far.  Hopefully I haven’t done or said anything wrong that is irreparable.

A big part of the prank, in addition to the blog post, was to change my LinkedIn job dates to end in April, and create a new Job:

jason_alba_april_fools_2014

Notice all of my current stuff is under Previous, and there is no Current… and, when I changed my current title, LinkedIn replaced my cool Professional Headline with that title (I wish they wouldn’t replace it without asking).  I even had a cute :( in my new title.  In the actual job I put the link to the URL of the blog post, which if you read, you’d probably figure out it was fake:

jason_alba_april_fools_2014_2

So what was the result?  As of right now, over 20 comments on the blog post, which is more than normal.  11 tweets, 39 LinkedIn shares, and 32 Facebook likes/shares, also more than normal.

The comments are pretty funny… someone said my mom’s comment was the best (“Do you need to move back in with us???”)… I’m not sure if Alex new it was a prank, Fred Coon’s comments made me laugh because of his wit, Deb and others tip-toed around this just in case it wasn’t a joke, Rabbi (and others) jumped right in offering help and emotional support, and Niall declared a ban on maple syrup exports from Canada until the “injustice is righted”!

You guys are awesome… !

On LinkedIn I got dozens and dozens of messages… I got a lot of LIKES on my new title, and a number of “CONGRATULATIONS!”  Someone wrote and said that LinkedIn should be smarter about this – when someone loses their job and changes it to an obvious downgrade in title/status, LinkedIn shouldn’t off a LIKE option.

That makes sense… who would really LIKE or CONGRATULATE someone if they lost their job and are clearly not happy about it.  I had a frowny face…. why like or congratulate?

The last time I changed my job, a few months ago (just to update my profile), I had dozens of people who congratulated me… even though these were minor tweaks and were essentially the same titles as before.

I got a lot more responses on LinkedIn, because of the title change, than comments on my blog… again, people having very supportive and kind comments.  At one point I almost felt bad for leading people to believe I was in a hurting place.

Oh, let me address one last thing: “who would really LIKE or CONGRATULATE someone if they lost their job and are clearly not happy about it?”

I WOULD! 

I do it all the time.  Not every time, but there are times when someone tells me they lost their job and the only thing I can think of is CONGRATULATIONS!  You and I both know it wasn’t the right job or company for you, and you hated it, and there was no more opportunity… I know how much it sucks to get let go.  You take it personal, you second-guess yourself, you go through a range of emotions, doubt and depression can set in.

BUT, for many people, including myself, getting laid off was only the nudge I needed to leave a bad situation, which was a choice I wasn’t ready to make on my own.  Getting laid off was the beginning of a journey to much better things for me, and I’m convinced that it can be a journey to much better things for many people.

So, while I offer my empathy, I also offer encouragement that in fact this can be a time to say CONGRATULATIONS!

 

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Defining Your Vision, Path, and What You Want

April 2nd, 2014

Laura de Jong wrote an awesome post titled It Starts with a Vision.  In this post she tells the story of a job seeker she was working with who had a vision of what kind of company she wanted to work for.  Laura listened to this vision and thought of a perfect company, but it was on the other side of the country.

A few days later, the job seeker described her vision to someone else, and said “you need to talk about to this company in Boston!”

A few days later the job seeker talked with an executive recruiter who was commissioned to fill the Chief Sales Officer role for that very company, and get this, the person could be based anywhere in the US!

She had a vision of the idea country, defined that vision (not as easy as it sounds), shared the vision with others… and through what might seem like a miracle, she eventually got a CxO role at the very company that matched her vision – even though they were three thousand miles away!

Having a vision, and communicating it, is much, much, much more effective than being open to anything.  Be focused and it’s easier for people to understand what you want and think of ways they can help you!

 

 

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Breaking: Jason Alba was laid off Monday Night

April 1st, 2014
Yep, most of you guessed it, this was April Fools! The last one I did, which I thought was pretty funny, was this: New JibberJobber Service: Let Us Lay Off The Boss Who Laid You Off!

In a shocking blow to the career professionals world, Jason Alba was laid off from JibberJobber.com last night at 4:59pm.  JibberJobber will be managed by a team chosen by the a private equity firm that was involved in his layoff. The new management team will be announced tomorrow.

Jeff Harris, partner at Harris, Harris and Geoffrey, said:

“Jason never really understood the market dynamics of a business like JibberJobber.  He didn’t pursue sales of job postings, like job boards do.  Look at the success of that model.  Even back in 2006, when he started JibberJobber, Jason thought that focusing on the needs of job seekers would be a successful strategy.”

JibberJobber has had a tenuous relationship with job boards, which seem to think of themselves as adding value to job seekers, in spite of statistics that clearly show that applying to openings on job boards is one of the least effective tactics to find a new job.  In past interviews, Alba said that job boards were not interested in offering JibberJobber’s functionality to their users. Alba blogged about one job board executive stating “our users probably don’t want to track where they apply.  If they do, they can just make a spreadsheet, or get sticky notes.  Besides, we really don’t care about the job seekers.  We are making so much money from HR and recruiters who pay hundreds of dollars to list their openings on our site that we can’t bother with job seeker’s requests.  If a job seeker complains about wanting features to help them keep track of their search, we just ignore them.  They will probably be gone in a few months anyway.”

Harris has big plans for JibberJobber.  He said the first order of business is to do away with the CRM tracking features that have become the hallmark of JibberJobber, and to create a job board for entry-level fast food restaurant workers. This puts a focus on what Alba used to call burger flippers.  Harris said:

“We are going to take the burger flipping job search to a new level.  We have done extensive research and found that other job boards aren’t filling this crucial need.  We will allow people to find openings at over one hundred different fast food chains across the United States (except Florida), in Spain and in South Africa.  With dominance in those markets we’ll move to other important countries, like Germany and Alaska.”

bring_jason_back

Harris’s strategic direction seems to make no sense at first glance, but if you consider how job boards make money, focusing on corporate sales and neglecting job seeker needs, it’s clear he can turn JibberJobber into a multi-billion dollar powerhouse.  Perhaps Recruit Co, the same company that paid one billion dollars for Indeed.com (“Wowzers! That’s a lot of money!” exclaimed Harris, as his eyes bulged with excitement), would consider buying JibberJobber with this new corporate focus.  ”After all, it seems companies aren’t paying Monster much anymore, so they need to spend their hiring budget somewhere,” stated Harris. “LinkedIn can’t be getting all of it.  Wow, really one billion dollars?”

Harris said he will spend the next nine months on the road raising funds from savvy investors for this new chapter of JibberJobber.  ”Investors will invest in pretty much anything, so it shouldn’t be hard to find VC money pretty quick.  Jason played an important role in starting this business, but now it’s time for smarter management to take it to the next level.  It’s going to be an awesome ride!”

Upon hearing this news, career coaches are in an uproar. Some have put “Bring back Jason” on their websites, while others have declared they are leaving the industry all-together.  Elizabeth Smith, a career coach in Wisconsin, declared she is going on a hunger strike until Jason comes back to JibberJobber.  ”Or at least allow me to continue using JibberJobber as my business CRM, even if Jason doesn’t come back!”  She seems to be irate that her productivity tool will be switched over to a burger flipper job board, although concedes that maybe she might need to use it in the future.

Alba could not be reached for comment.  We heard he was busy working on his own JibberJobber account, and is busy scheduling informational interviews and finding networking events to attend, so he can find his next job.

Clearly, there are bright things ahead for JibberJobber.

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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Awesome, Awesome LinkedIn Profile Formatting (Håkan Thyr, Austin, TX)

March 31st, 2014

I came across Håkan’s LinkedIn Profile and I LOVE something he is doing with the formatting.  What he is doing gets around something that bugs a lot of people…. they want real bullet-point formatting!

Alas, for the last many years, and even today, LinkedIn doesn’t allow hardly any formatting in the long description areas.  But check out what Hakan has done:

LinkedIn_profile_HåkanThyr

In #1… how did he get that bullet?  In #2, how did he make the lines below the bullet indent, the way that bullets are supposed to?

Very, very simple.  I blogged about it on my LinkedIn blog here. Scroll down on my profile and you’ll see a bunch of bullet icons you can copy, and then paste to your own Profile.

Okay, so we got that, right?  How do you make the line below indent to the correct place?

You simple put enough spaces in. Really.  You “hard code” spaces in.  With your space bar.

If I mouse over and select the space from the left of the page to where the line starts, I can see there are individual spaces there.  There are 5 spaces before a bullet point and 8 spaces before each line under a bullet.

LinkedIn_profile_HåkanThyr2

It’s that simple… but the results really stand out, and are easier to read.

Cool, huh?

This entire profile also works because Håkan uses the underscore (_______) to make visual line separators throughout his profile, which makes it easier to read.

He’s put a lot of effort into his profile, from content to formatting, and it clearly shows.  Great job Håkan!  Click on the image below to see his entire profile:

LinkedIn_profile_HåkanThyr3

 

 

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Favorite Friday: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

March 28th, 2014

Here’s another favorite I wrote in May of 2012.  I’m surprised it didn’t become a Favorite Friday before now: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

Many years ago I worked as a clerk at the FBI.  I was bored beyond description.  There really wasn’t anything to do, as our department was overstaffed.  Some of my colleagues picked up projects from the analysts, but I was too low on the totem pole to do anything like that.

So I found myself organizing, and then re-organizing, and then re-organizing my file folder drawer.

You have to understand, as a clerk, I really didn’t have anything important in my file folder drawer.  The exercise was about as useful as sorting, and resorting, and resorting the garbage.  It didn’t help anyone or anything… it just burned time.

Do we, as job seekers, do this?  I know I did.  Here’s my ode to this wasteful, rut of a practice:

This post is for anyone in a job search, no matter how long you have been at it.

Looking back at my job search I found I did activities that were safe and comfortable, but of very little value to my job search.

I refer to this as HIDING from the job search.

Some people hide, in the name of being busy in a job search, by doing things that are seemingly good:

  • going to networking clubs/groups/meetings, but just to go, not to actually network.  And if they do “network,” they aren’t following up, they are just collecting business cards,
  • applying to jobs online, as if it were they most important thing to do in a job search,
  • researching companies, industries, trends, or current events (um, that’s called reading the newspaper… reading the newspaper doesn’t necessarily land you a job),
  • going to one-on-one networking meetings (coffee, lunch, breakfast, etc.) without a real purpose or strategy that is directly tied to getting a job,
  • ______________ (what are YOU doing that is not leading towards your job?)

I was HIDING from my job search with these fake, non-productive activities for three reasons:

  1. These activities are comfortable. We  gravitate towards comfortable, don’t we?  Heaven forbid I got outside of my comfort zone, even if it meant I was doing a something that could produce real results.
  2. I didn’t know any better. I *thought* I was a smart guy, and I could figure it out on my own.  I didn’t want to read books, articles, blogs, etc. about how to do a job search.  I was better than that advice written for “most people.”  I wasn’t “most people.”  I was unique (just like you think you are unique).
  3. Doing those activities are socially acceptable, and at the end of the day you can “feel good” about how hard you worked. When someone asked how it was going, you could tell them how many jobs you applied to, or how many network meetings you went to, or some other metric.  Metrics seem meaty, but those metrics were the wrong things to focus on.

I should have been more consistent at picking up the phone and calling people.  I should have realized (or learned) how to identify target companies, network into those companies, and do real informational interviews.

If I would have spent time on other (high value) activities my job search would have been completely different.

Do you want YOUR job search to be different?  Where are you spending your time?  On activities with potential for high return, or HIDING from the hard stuff?

Leave a comment below…

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

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How Long Does a Professional Resume Writer Take to Write a Resume?

March 27th, 2014

Julie Walraven of Design Resumes has a great post titled The Chief Cause Of Many Poor Hiring Decisions.  She starts off with CareerBuilder’s new stat about how long hiring managers spend reviewing resumes…as we know, it’s pathetically low.

But then Julie takes her post in an unexpected direction: how long SHE, as a professional resume writer (she is certified and has been doing this, afaik, for over two decades): she will easily spend six hours creating a resume.  Usually that is for an entry-level person.  It’s not unusual for her to spend ten or more hours designing a resume.

Julie is an “expert,”having investing more than 10,000 hours in her trade to claim expertise.  When I lost my job I spent a couple of weeks fumbling around trying to piece together my own resume.  I had no expertise, experience or training… just an attitude that if I could put myself through two degrees, I could certainly write a one or two page document!

Right??

I didn’t understand that a resume was not simply a list with work history, dates and some “cool” action verbs.  I thought I could easily put that document together… but what I didn’t realize was what a great resume really is.

A great, even an excellent resume, is a marketing document. Coincidentally, a sucky resume is also a marketing document – it just screams: don’t hire me!

A resume is not a standard business document for filing away in a three ring binder, simply to be forgotten.  Your resume has a very specific purpose.  What’s more, the “judge” of your resume is going to take your days, weeks, and for some of you, months of work and give it a cursory 30 or 120 seconds… it’s almost an atrocity!

But really, spending less than two minutes really is NOT an atrocity.

You see, it’s not about YOU.  It’s not about the amount of work you put in.  It’s not about how amazing you are, how clever you are, or how dumb the viewer is for not “getting” how brilliant you are.

This is all about THEM. Pursuing you will reflect on them and could have an impact on their career. Are they capable of hiring the RIGHT person?  Can they hire the BEST person?  Or will they hire a dud, or a lemon?  This could cost them their job!  Hiring the wrong person could sink the entire company!

If an expert, like Julie Walraven, spends six hours to develop the most basic of resumes, which she can only do because she has over ten thousand+ hours of writing resumes, what makes you think that you, or I, without this expertise, can “throw something together” in a few hours, and have it be good enough (much less great!)?

The mistakes I would make would undoubtedly cause my resume to be in the “under-ten-seconds-and-then-throw-away” pile.  Whether that is a typo or a grammar mistake, or not using the best word(s) to put us in the right light, it will cost me.

I know there are people out there, including one of my favorite recruiters (Steve Levy… read his blog!) who say that we must write our own resumes, and hiring a resume writer is as good as hiring a charlatan (those are my words, but that’s the message I hear from him).  I agree that we should do a lot of work to help get the resume done.  We should put our hearts into it.  We should spend time going through our past, listing our accomplishments, and doing the very hard work of self- and career-evaluation.

But I still think we should run it past a real resume writer who will polish our final marketing document so that it gets more time, and more respect, from the person evaluating whether they should bring you in for an interview or not. (professional resume writers are not merely polishers.  They are experts in creating perhaps the most improtant marketing document at this point in your career)

Convinced you need resume help? I suggest considering either of these two options:

First Option: look for someone who’s experience matches exactly what you need and who you are.  There are resume professionals like Liz Handlin (Ultimate Resumes) who are so focused on executives, especially finance executives, that you should NOT consider using someone who doesn’t do finance executive resumes before talking to someone like her.  There are resume experts that specialize in IT executives, CEOs, entry level (recent college graduates), and everywhere inbetween.  When you are looking for the right match, don’t disrespect these professionals and tell them how the process works.  See if they are a right fit, and then humbly work with them within their system.  Otherwise, you might hear a very kind “I’m not sure I’m the right person for you – let me recommend you to one of my colleagues.”  That really means “I wouldn’t choose to work with you for double the money – I can tell you are going to be a massive pain to work with.

Second Option: if you are looking for a low-cost just-get-me-to-the-next-level and clean up what I already have, consider JibberJobber’s new partnership with JC Resumes (we have negotiated discount bundle available to you to get you what you need).  I have been hesitant to do a partnership like this for YEARS.  But I have talked to the owners of this service and I always come back to “is this high quality?  I don’t want to recommend a resume mill that just pumps them out like typists.”  I have asked them about their writing and quality process, and I’m really quite impressed.  I personally should have spent the money to do this instead of wasting a week or two trying to write my own… get it done, have something you can be proud of, and if you find out it’s not good enough, then go back to the first option above.  But I doubt it will be money wasted. Here’s the page to get started.

We’re working on creating an list of specialized resume writers that you can reach out to on your own… stay tuned :)

The point is, make sure that you are putting enough time and resources into getting this marketing document put together the right way.

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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