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A Daily Job Search “Coach”?

August 19th, 2019

JibberJobber Job Search Coach ProgramThea Kelley was one of my alpha testers of the JibberJobber Job Search Program. She gave me regular and important feedback to help polish the product. In fact, over the years she’s given me great feedback and input on JibberJobber, and my LinkedIn stuff. While I’ve not met her yet in person, we’ve communicated a ton over the years, and I’ve appreciated her friendship and the way she thinks.

I love her post from today titled A “Coach” You Can Afford: the Jibberjobber Job Search Program. She helps me see my own stuff from a different perspective. She should help me see things differently, considering her specialty is as a job search interview coach. If you are getting interviews but not winning them I highly recommend you invest in yourself and get an expert to help you win. The alternative is too costly.

Speaking of too costly, Thea writes the average job search is five months. YUCK. If you make $50k a year, 5 months represents a loss of almost $21,000 in income. How much should you pay to reduce that? Every month is worth a little over $4k. Thea writes:

“It would help to have a coaching call with a job search expert every morning, but many job seekers can’t afford that level of support.”

And that is where the JibberJobber Job Search Program comes in. Even from me, though… go see what Thea writes on her post about it.

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Job Search Program: What a Job Search Strategy Looks Like (Part 4: Presenting Yourself) #favoriteFriday

August 16th, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayThe next in Hannah Morgan’s Job Search Success program is on presenting yourself. This is such a critical part of your job search and career management, and I don’t want you to mess it up!

I talk about presenting yourself in written and verbal forms, and having a marketing plan.

Read the post here: Job Search Strategy: Presenting Yourself (3)

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Calling All Cool Companies: Why Do You Discriminate?

August 14th, 2019

JibberJobber Age DiscriminationLast year I applied for a product management job at a local SaaS company. It was one of those “best places to work” companies… one that had Silicon Valley wages (which is a big deal where I live), and got all kinds of recognition for their cool software.

As I was doing company research I found a picture of their team. There were maybe about a hundred people in the picture. After scanning the picture for about a minute I realized: I would never get hired there.

Why?

Because I’m 45, not 25.

If you are in your 50’s or 60’s you are shaking your head saying “45? That’s young!”

It’s not young to recruiters, or hiring managers, or company owners. It’s old.

That company picture showed a team of about 100 people, all of which looked like they were in their 20’s.

Look, I don’t hate young people. But I do hate discrimination. The most blatant and widespread discrimination I see for job seekers is age discrimination. It could be because most of my audiences are first Baby Boomers, then Gen X, and I might get one or two Millennials. I hear about the problem when I speak… loud and clear!

Last night I was checking twitter and this issue came up. I wrote this:

Truth. My age was brought up THREE times by an executive. That is three times too many.

My age was once called during a meeting with about eight people for being much older than everyone else in the meeting. I was “one of the old guys.” The insinuation was that I was not up to speed on how things were done. I was too shocked to know how to respond to that, and kept quiet.

Another time I was told that my resume needed to be different, and better, than what younger people could have. I was too old to have a regular resume. Would I like another set of eyeballs to look at my old man resume?

How do you respond to that?

Maybe I could go to HR… right? Yeah, right.

There’s a lot of talk in the tech space about females in technology (as developers) and in management (at the executive level and on boards).

I would like to piggyback on the discrimination conversation. Not to hijack it or take anything away from the topic of discrimination against females, but I want to hear what companies, especially tech companies, say about “old people.” Old, as in thirty to seventy.

Age discrimination is REAL. I feel sorry for all of the hip and cool youngsters who are happily employed now… they have no idea the hell they’ll face when they are in their forties and beyond, looking for a job. They’ll be outdated and washed up.

So where are you, leaders? What do you have to say? What are you doing about age discrimination? From where I sit, you are doing nothing. You are complicit. Please, prove me wrong.

I imagine I’m going to hear one thing from you: #crickets

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The 3 Best Qualities That Get Software Engineers Hired

August 13th, 2019

JibberJobber Software EngineerThe Software Engineering role isn’t going anywhere. Since 2001 the software engineering role has grown rapidly in demand. And in 2015, became a job function that many could receive an education on relatively easily and start earning $80,000 per year at a minimum.

Thanks to places like Khan Academy and now online programs offered by universities, you don’t need a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in order to land a Software Engineering role. But with that accessibility to higher wages and plenty of market demand for the job, comes saturation. And with saturation means competition.

We’re going to cover some of the best qualities you can show in your Software Engineering interviews to stand out as the top 5% of candidates, impress your interviewer and get hired.

Is Software Engineering Really in High Demand Still?

The first thing to cover is the question, is Software Engineering still in high demand? The answer is, yes. Software Engineering is still a very high demand position. And it’s accessible to many of those who want to be remote workers as well. More businesses are continuing to find ways to introduce technology into their workforces in order to reduce labor costs or advance revenues. This is a wonderful time to be a Software Engineer, even with the increase of candidate competition.

Is The “Software Engineer” Role Is Great For Entry-Level Professionals?

Yes. It’s true. You can be an entry-level applicant and still get $80,000 per year at a minimum. This is because the market is still showing signs of higher demand than supply of workers. Meaning, compensation for the position is still steep for the business.

If you are a recent graduate or even someone who decided a 4-year university wasn’t for you, Software Engineering could still be a feasible career path for you.

The 3 Best Qualities That Will Get You Hired As A Software Engineer

Software Engineers often present similar concerns to the employer when interviewing. They lack certain skills that employers value. And when the candidate shows signs of these common characteristics, it can often mean lower salary expectations for the employee or more junior positions that the employer finds them suitable for.

We’re going to cover the three best qualities (and why they’re the best qualities) to show to your potential employer in order to stand out as one of the highest quality Software Engineer candidates.

1. Communication Skills

Most Software Engineers lack communication skills. Or people skills in general. This is because a majority of their talents lay in the ability to write great computer code. Employers will consider you a top percentile candidate when you can show them that you can communicate effectively and clearly to non-engineering employees. This is a tremendous value to the employer because you are able to more easily bridge communication gaps between Software Engineering and other departments.

2. Business Experience

Having any type of business experience is a great skill to highlight as a Software Engineer. It may seem inapplicable since you are wanting to showcase your coding abilities. But when you can communicate to the employer that you understand their business and how it works, you will stand out. Employers want to know that Software Engineers have a deep understanding of their business so that when developing code it more directly aligns to what the business is going to value from. This is a skill that many Software Engineers either lack or choose now to show, but should.

3. Management Experience

Management experience is another key skill set. Software Engineers are notorious for being difficult to collaborate with. Both within the Software Engineering group and outside of it. This is because Software Engineers feel as though other departments of business “don’t understand the code”. Having management experience means you could better direct the engineers that you are working alongside and help them to see the value in working with other departments.  Sharing any type of management experience and positioning it to the employer as you being able to be a “change agent” within the engineering group is a great value.

These Skills Really Make Me a Top Candidate?

While all three of these skills don’t seemingly align with Software Engineering, they are the keys to you being the most valuable Software Engineer to the business. It’s because you can act as a translator to the rest of your team, ensuring that work that’s being produced is correct and also delivered efficiently.

Many businesses suffer from having waited weeks or months for Software Engineers to deliver work, only to find out that it doesn’t meet the business requirements. This causes the business to hemorrhage resources. If they see these 3 qualities in you, they can feel assured that you might not be an engineer that goes that direction, ultimately making you a top percentile candidate.

Be sure that you position these qualities or prior experiences as those that will help you do a better job in Software Engineering. For example, “understanding the business” is key to producing great features for the Users. All you have to do is state that. That’s the way to align the positioning between these qualities and your abilities as a Software Engineer.

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. He writes more articles like this one over at Algrim.co.

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Some Poems Don’t Rhyme

August 12th, 2019
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter Master Resume Writer Poetry JibberJobber

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter Master Resume Writer Poetry JibberJobber

My friend, Master Resume Writer Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, often posts her original poems on Facebook.

I have an uncomfortable relationship with poetry. I loved Shel Silverstein’s work when I was in elementary school. I still love it.

My favorite memorized poem is:

Star

Far

Easy to remember, right?

And there are all the roses are red poems you’ve heard…. tons of them.

And then there’ are what I consider antipoems: Haiku. Poems based on syllables and not rhymes? How could that even be poetry???

At the end of the last school year I went to a poetry reading evening at my kids’ high school. Every poem was shared that evening… even the poems written by kids who weren’t there. I volunteered to read three or four. Some of them rhymed, some didn’t. But that night, they all touched me. They came from deep places and talked about real concerns. It was beautiful.

Some poems just don’t rhyme. And that is okay.

Why am I writing about poetry on my job search and career blog? Because I had planned my career decades ago. It was going to be linear, structured, predictable, safe, and go according to plan.

Now that I’m 45 I look back and my career has been none of that. It has been squiggly, random, back-tracked a few times, holding my breath many times, and just not really sure of anything.

But somehow, someway, it all worked out.

I’m a planner. I respect planners. But I’m here to tell you that what you should plan for is change. Plan for flexibility. Plan for Plan B and Plan C and Plan Z. Plan to trust others, and be let down. Plan to go all-in and have it all fall apart. Plan to be out of work for months, maybe years. Plan to adapt.

Your career plan will look a lot more like a Haiku than a roses-are-red.  If what you are looking at is unconventional, untraditional, then how would you plan and prepare for that?

Learn. Learn new stuff. Excel at what you do.

Embrace change. Love change. Be excellent at change.

Find opportunities. Sniff them out and act on them.

Be a student of careers and income streams.

Be financially savvy, and don’t limit your options because you overspend and are over-leveraged.

Some poems don’t rhym, and it’s okay. They can still be beautiful.

Some careers don’t go as planned, and it’s okay. You can still enjoy the ride, and have an awesome ending.

Related post: Do You Enjoy Your Career Hike?

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JibberJobber Testimonial #blush

August 12th, 2019

JibberJobber testimonial from Charles L Pourciau JrHey, I’ll be the first to tell you that we, at JibberJobber, have A LOT of work to do to get it to where we want it. That’s the challenge every product team has.

But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t doing some things right. Here’s part of an email I got from Charles L. Pourciau, Jr., Principal at Pourciau & Associates LLC in Pennsylvania:

“The main reason I upgraded is that this is the best software for managing my network and current job search. Thank you for an excellent piece of software.”

Who am I to argue with someone with this kind of a background!

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Job Search Program: What a Job Search Strategy Looks Like (Part 3: Research) #favoriteFriday

August 9th, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayIn this third of seven favoriteFriday posts about Hannah Morgan’s Job Search Success system we talk about the research a job seeker should do… from industry trends to target companies to people you should network with and into.

Check it out here: Job Search Strategy: Research (2)

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Do You Enjoy Your Career Hike?

August 8th, 2019

This week I’ve been a chaperone for a group of young men on a week long camping adventure. We’re at a cabin, although all the young men are sleeping up the hill in a teepee (which is huge, and awesome).

On Tuesday we went on a hike, up to an elevation of around 8,500 feet (maybe a bit higher). The views were remarkable, of course. But my views during the walking part of the hike… well, that’s a different story.  Mostly all I saw was this:

hike-look-down

That is not a beautiful view of the mountains, hills, reservoirs, etc. around us. That is a view of where my next step would be.

I know it’s been 2.5 years since I broke my ankle, but it’s still not the same. The ligaments are tight. And I was worried about slipping on all the loose rock, especially on the steep declines. So, my focus was on THE GROUND.

Every once in a while I forced myself to stop and look around. Whether it was through the forest trees for miles to the next mountains or wherever, I would pause, enjoy the scenery, soak it in, and then move forward. I stopped, as they say, to smell the roses.

That hike, with about a 2,000 foot elevation change and I think about four miles roundtrip, was a couple of days ago. I’m still pretty sore from it (out of shape, I am), and the thought of sucking thin mountain air, huffing and puffing, is becoming a distant memory. But the parallel of my career and that hike are fresh on my mind.

Here’s my lesson: Many times in my career I found myself staring at, focusing on, the ground right under my feet. This meeting I had to prepare for, that report I had to create, this overtime I had to put in, or that trip I had to go on.

Rarely did I take the chance and think about the AMAZING career I was blessed to live.

I had the awesome opportunities to work with some truly spectacular people. That was just as good as some of the scenery I saw on my hike. I met people who were smart, kind, compassionate, passionate, and who excelled in what they chose to do.

I had the awesome opportunities to impact others, which is a blessing that I know many people don’t get. In my first real career job I don’t think my work impacted others much. But since starting JibberJobber I’ve been fortunate to be involved in helping people during a truly difficult time in their lives.

I had the awesome opportunities to learn and grow, personally and professionally. I remember in school I wanted to major in Spanish because I wanted to “learn it once and be done learning.” But throughout my career I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to learn many different things, from interpersonal skills to how to build and grow income streams to how to speak from on stage to how to manage software projects and products. How freaking awesome!

These are three examples of the beautiful scenery of my own career hike. But it’s easy to not take time to see this scenery. As I worry about the mundane things I need to do daily, or the routines that were once exciting but now I take them for granted, it’s easy to forget to pause and reflect on this dream I’ve been living.

I know that you, too, have awesomeness in your own career hike. Even if you are in transition right now, you can still reflect back on some awesome times, some crazy cool opportunities, and enjoy them. And you can know that you will have many more to come.

Let’s take some time and continually enjoy the journey instead of just looking down, only intent on the destination. If I could go back 25 years and speak to a younger Jason, this would be my advice: Enjoy the journey while you get to be on it.

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Job Search Program: What a Job Search Strategy Looks Like (Part 2: Assessment) #favoriteFriday

August 2nd, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayThis is the second favoriteFriday on Hannah Morgan’s awesome job search strategy system. This one focuses on Assessment, which is the first step where you kind of pause from sending out resumes and really think about you, and what you are after, and a few other things.

Check out the post here: Job Search Strategy: Assessment (1) 

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How To Get JibberJobber Premium For Free

July 31st, 2019

jibberjobber-logoWhen you first sign in to JibberJobber you get a full seven day trial. The number 1 thing to do is to set up and play with Email2Log. It is the BEST JibberJobber feature because it allows you to populate your CRM tracking tool simply by sending emails.

After the seven day trial, you should want to continue using the premium features, as well as have more than 25 Contacts and 25 Companies. The easiest way to get free upgrades is by watching any Jason Alba course on Pluralsight. If you don’t have a Pluralsight subscription, get a 30 day pass (in JibberJobber mouse over Videos, click Pluralsight Videos, and get your 30 day code).

Watch any Jason Alba course and then go back to that Pluralsight Videos page in JibberJobber to get to the Tracker where you can self-report and earn additional JibberJobber premium days. Even if you watch the same course multiple times, report back and add more JibberJobber days. Here are six of my Pluralsight courses I recommend for job seekers. Note that you have access to all of Pluralsight during that 30 day period and there are excellent courses on almost everything related to a technical career, including project management, business analysis, and plenty of coding, design, and database courses.

As an example, let’s say you watch one of those courses every day for six days. You would go into the Tracker in JibberJobber and self-report… you’d earn 3 days * 6 courses = 18 free days of JibberJobber premium. Just for learning. Sounds good, right? If you wanted to watch each of them again, you could earn another 18 days. I currently have 32 courses in Pluralsight, so there’s plenty to watch in your 30 day trial.

If you run out, you can easily upgrade for $60 for the year.

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