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Pluralsight 33% off for Next 3 Days

October 22nd, 2019

I just got notice that you can get the full Pluralsight library for 33% off today, tomorrow, and Thursday. They don’t do this very often, and saving $100 is freaking awesome.

Pay $199 (instead of $299) and you get 365 days of all the Pluralsight you can consume! Click here to check it out.

Are you a techie? This may be the best investment you’ve ever made into your continuing education. There’s a reason top programmers at huge companies use Pluralsight… you can’t get this up-to-date training from anywhere else. The breadth and depth is astonishing.

In addition to technical stuff there is a full PMP (for project managers) test prep learning path, as well as courses for business analysts, product managers, user experience (UX) designers, graphics designers, technical writing… and of course data. Data is HUGE right now, and will be for many years to come.

Are you any of those? Or, are you interested in a career change?

I find myself pointing people to the amazing field of UX right now. It’s an exciting area and there is a ton of work to be done. I remember hearing a recruiter last year say that they can’t find any UX experts (that they could hire, because they were all working) in all of Utah.  That’s pretty impressive.

Of course, you get access to over 100 soft skills and professional development courses. Not to overwhelm you with too many courses but even if you just listened to any of my 33ish courses, as well as courses by my colleagues who do courses on communication and professional relationships and teamwork and other soft skills, including Dan Appleman, Shelley Benhoff, Casey Ayers, Stephen Haunts, Alan Ackman, Amber Israelsen, and others. If you get bored of my soothing voice and ideas, check out any of the many others.

Look, $199 is a KILLER price for this amount of continuing education. Don’t wait for your employer to invest in you. YOU need to invest in you.

If you are serious about career management you can’t go wrong with a Pluralsight course, and 33% off is music to my ears :)

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Pluralsight Course #34: Understanding Your Audience

October 21st, 2019

My Pluralsight journey, which started in 2012, has been quite a ride. It’s been crazy. And it’s been awesome. I was recently talking to someone who said that with all of the work I’ve put into my courses I could have gotten a Ph.D.! I dont’ know about that… and no, you don’t need to call me Dr. Alba… but I have spent thousands of hours since 2012 thinking deeply, studying, researching, and then teaching soft skills and professional development topics.

Last week my 34th course was launched: Understanding Your Audience.

Pluralsight Understanding Your Audience Jason Alba

I was excited to work on this course because, as I told my contact at Pluralsight, everything I’ve done has centered around understanding my audience. I take you on a bit of a journey as I’ve had to understand my audiences for my books, for JibberJobber, for marketing partnerships… If you aren’t understanding your audience how are you creating any content? Are you creating content for you, or simply based on assumptions?

This course invites you to dig deeper… to try to understand who they are more than just demographic data. I want you to understand who they are, why they do things, the root of their thinking, and how you can best connect with your audience.

Whether your audience is on the other end of an email or phone call, in front of you while you present, or across the table from you in a one-on-one, you can understand your audience to a point where your communication becomes more effective.

If you love it, rate it. And leave a comment.

If you want a 30 day Pluralsight pass please reach out to me. I think I can find one or two laying around :p

And now, I begin scripting my 35th course! Wahoo!

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Career Change: From Cashier to Software Engineer #HomeDepot

October 18th, 2019

When I was at the Pluralsight Live conference in August they showed this video… it was so freaking inspiring! Take three minutes and watch this:

The “OrangeMethod,” Home Depot’s “in-house skill development program.” Wow.

I’ve heard that The Home Depot is a great place to have a career. This video showed the awesome story of Jennifer, who started out as a cashier, and had the opportunity to grow into a software engineer role.

Talk about a career change!

Many of the people I talk with through JibberJobber, The Job Search Program, and through my speaking opportunities are ready for a change. These changes can be big or small… but they are in a point in their life where they need to make decisions about their careers moving forward.

A question everyone should ask is “should I stay on this path I’ve been on? Why?”

You should also ask “What if…?”

What if you could learn to do something more rewarding?

What if you could make more of an impact in the world (even if you make less)?

What if you could, like Jennifer, make A LOT more money than what you have?

What if you could retool yourself, add new skills, and do something that only “smart” people could do?

What if, what if, what if…

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think that any of my courses were on Jennifer’s radar. My soft skills courses don’t teach you how to be a developer… but there are around 6,000 other courses in Pluralsight that do. And I’m proud to be associated with an organization that is passionate about helping others find and develop skills that can improve their lives as well as the lives of those around them.

I’m not saying you have to be a software developer. I am only asking, inviting, you to think about “what if?”

Why not me?

Why not now?

Career transition is a real thing, and maybe, just maybe it’s the right thing for you.

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Job Search Program: Introducing Nick’s Box

October 17th, 2019

A few weeks ago my friend Nick Corcodilos said that one thing the Job Search Program was missing was more anecdotal “Jason Albaisms.” He might not have said Jason Albaisms, but he did say that I needed some more something. After going back and forth on phone and email I decided to put in a fifth box on the Job Search Program page.

You have to understand this was not an easy decision. Nick was right, of course. It did need something else. But, I didn’t want to add that something else into the recording. I don’t want Job Search Program customers to think “oh boy, I need to listen to Jason again… but I haven’t blocked out 30 minutes!” I really, really want to keep these recordings as short as I can, which is why they (probably) average around 5ish minutes.

But I needed to add more.

The other thing I was up against was adding more stuff on the site. JibberJobber is a very complex system and there is a lot going on on any given screen. With Job Search Program I wanted to keep this super clean. Adding one more box… yuck.

But, I really needed to get the new information in… internally we call it “Nick’s Box.” Externally it will look like this:

job-search-program-nicks-box

I’m excited to fill these boxes in… which I’ll be working on over the next few weeks. I don’t want to duplicate information, but I think this anecdotal stuff, with links to blog posts and videos and books and articles as well as my own experiences that will enrichen the experience of everyone who goes through this program.

Enjoy!

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The Job Search Program Focuses on Networking

October 16th, 2019

When I talk about the Job Search Program to career professionals (resume writers and career and job search coaches) I say that it is designed to help the job seeker have “the right conversations with the right people.”

Networking is a funny, misunderstood beast. The joke is that it is, for job seekers, a four-letter word. Not many people like to do it. It feels fake, and many people can’t wait to land a job so they don’t have to network anymore.

In my job search I remember finally dragging myself to network meetings and making up goals like “I will get 10 business cards today,” or something just as lame. I wasn’t focusing on having right conversations and didn’t even understand who the right people could be. I was just going for a number because, sometimes, the job search really is a numbers game. So I thought.

Job Search is Not a Numbers Game

Enter the Job Search Program. This is a six week self-guided kind of coaching program where every single day I give you three tasks to do. And then you work on them. They are not fake tasks… they are intentionally designed to get you closer to having the right conversation with the right person. Every day builds on previous days. You start out kind of slow, setting up a good foundation, and then as you learn and practice and gain confidence and practice more, you find yourself having conversations with people in your target industries, then target companies, then target departments within your target industries, and next thing you know you are talking to decision-makers about opportunities just for you.

This program is unlike anything I’ve seen. It might seem very simple but the premise is that you are doing the right things and getting real traction, instead of hoping that in the numbers game model you are getting closer to the right number. I played that game and it sucked.

Here’s part of an email I got from Noah, who is in week one:

I am really enjoying the process so far! The messaging and advice is very clear and the overarching theme of self-empowerment through provided prompts/benchmarks seems well crafted. I especially appreciate the built-in daily accountability, which is critical for anyone who is serious about putting in the effort to achieve the goal they want.

Ready to stop doing stuff that isn’t getting you anywhere? Check out the Job Search Program here. The normal price is $497 but right now we have an introductory price of $197.

JibberJobber Job Search Program

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Stop Overthinking and Just Do Something!

October 4th, 2019

A hundred years ago (in 2006) I started up a little software company called JibberJobber. It was the cat’s meow, better than sliced bread, and would consume me for years.

I really had no idea what I was doing, but every day I had a list of things that had to be done and worked diligently to make progress on anything. I was comfortable with some things (product management and stuff) and not so comfortable with other things (marketing and networking and sales). But I did what I could, learned what I needed to, and just fudged my way around.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know, which is good. I’ll explain why in a minute.

One day I wrote a press release. It was probably good. I honestly have no idea. Could have had some spelling and grammar errors. A real PR professional probably would have ripped it to shreds and rewritten it. But I was just dumb enough to not know what I was doing. I wrote it and submitted it on the PR sites.

That press release I got noticed… and one thing led to another which led to another and today I can track good things that came from that one press release. Thankfully I didn’t overthink it, I just did it.

JibberJobber Overthinking Dude

Fast forward a few months. This is still 2006, towards the end of the year. I sat down to write another press release. The last one went so well, why not do it again? I sat down and stared at my monitor for over an hour. Instead of writing, I was overthinking it. Now that I knew people actually read it, and that what I was writing was important, indeed, that the very future hinged on this one press release (dramatic, I know), I couldn’t do it.

I was overthinking it.

JibberJobber Overthinking Man

I drafted a few releases but never submitted them.

Too often we do this. We think and overthink and we don’t get the job done. We think the level of acceptability is really high when in fact it’s way lower than what we thought. The key was to get the job done, not to have it done with white-glove perfection.

Of course, you need to know the level of acceptability. Sometimes it is high and you really need to take care of quality. I am not dismissing that. But sometimes you just need to write the email or pick up the phone or go to that networking meeting, even if you feel like you need a new shirt or new pants. JUST DO IT.

JibberJobber Overthinking Old Man

I know the job search is hard. I know networking is uncomfortable. I know that overthinking can lead to stalling which can lead to avoiding the hard an uncomfortable. But that isn’t how you land a job. If you just do it, even though you won’t do it perfectly, count it as practice. Learn from it, and do it a little better next time, and a little better next time. I’d rather have you do and practice and improve than not do anything for months and months.

Stop overthinking it and just do it, today!

JibberJobber Overthinking Old Man

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On Reputation, Brand, Integrity, Character, and Happiness

October 3rd, 2019

Two posts on social prompted this post today. First, this post on Twitter, which I clicked through (but didn’t read):

Happiness at work. What a concept. I just posted on Snowfly about employee satisfaction… you can read it here.

The other social post was on Facebook (John Wooden was a famous basketball coach):

John Wooden on Character and Reputation

The Wooden quote stuck out because in the career space we talk a lot about personal branding, which is essentially reputation. I love the idea of personal branding, and creating your own brand, and leading with your brand, and understanding your brand.

But I don’t think that brand trumps character. Without character, and integrity, your brand is a facade. I have worked with people who have the character of a wet napkin but have very strong personal brands. It isn’t until other people get to know them that they understand just how horrible of a person they are, even though the brand was there.

So there you go: perspective on branding (very important for your career) and character (way more important than brand). I advocate working on BOTH.

Regarding happy at work… look, if you aren’t going to be happy outside of work, why do you think you get to be happy in work? Work on YOU, and figure out joy and happiness. Then, even if you have a bad day at work, even if your boss is an idiot (their idiocy might not be temporary, but that they are your boss is most definitely temporary :p), even if you are working for a promotion, you can be happy where you are (while working on something better).

If you wait to be happy until some change happens, after the change you’ll have a new reason to “wait to be happy.” Figure out how to be happy now.

Side note: when I started JibberJobber and had some appearance of business success people would ask if I was happy. I would respond with “I’m happy, I’m just not satisfied.” This reframing of happiness helped me understand that it’s okay to be happy even while I knew there was more to come and changes in the air.

How about you? Are you happy? Are you happy with your character?

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Make Time for Career Management

September 30th, 2019

I saw one of my favorite quotes on Twitter, shared by Pluralsight’s Head of Practices Mariah Hay… and it prompted me to make my own quote:

JibberJobber If You Do Not Make Time

I love the quote she shared… the older I get the more true it rings. Health and wellness is not something that people my age get to enjoy without some effort.

For over thirteen years I’ve been acutely aware of the career and job search space, starting when I lost my job after having done everything I was told to do to have “job security.” I soon found out that was a facade… a fraud. What was good career advice for 1970 was not good career advice for 2006, when I was laid off. I was well-degreed, well-experienced but had a week brand and a week network and had no idea how to do a job search, or manage my career, in this new era.

And so I’ve been on a weird mission to create tools (JibberJobber) and system (Job Search Program) and training (my Pluralsight courses) and encouragement (my speaking) and new thinking (51 Alternatives to a Real Job (book)) and thought leadership (on my social channels). It’s weird because I didn’t get my MBA so I could be an entrepreneur and create. I got it so I could have an easy path to the corner office and a fat salary and great retirement. Did I mention facade and fraud?

Yet here we are. I do what I do, and I try to spread the word and help others prepare.

This week I’ll probably hear someone say “I’ve never heard of JibberJobber before – wow!!” No, you haven’t. Because career management was off your radar. You were busy working hard at your job only to realize you were a day away from long-term unemployment… even though you had the title, the degree, the experience.

I hope the professional legacy I leave will be that of encouraging others to think differently about their jobs and their career. I hope when people think of me they think “man, he really changed how we think about careers.”

But for now, I’ll take people who should have been doing career management who are in the job search, looking like deer in the headlights, wondering what happened to them and how to recover, and help them, one step at a time.

But you, who reads this post, will not be there. Because you are working on career management. You are doing the right things right now. Right?

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The Difference Between Branded and Nobody #personalBranding

September 24th, 2019

Almost two years ago I hung my shingle out and looked for a full-time job. I had JibberJobber at a point where it didn’t need (or want) my full attention, Pluralsight wasn’t ready for anymore of my courses… and I had time. I also needed a change of scenery. And heck, if I had time, why not look for something where I could get paid, and create one more income stream?

So I did what I had been talking about others doing for years and I became a job seeker. It wasn’t as fun as it sounds, but it was definitely more fun than years early, in 2006, when I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Long story short, I got a job, and here’s how it started: I found a posting on LinkedIn that was just plain weird. It fit me perfectly and I couldn’t imagine it would fit anyone else. I applied, thinking it would go nowhere, but I got this reply from the hiring manager, a VP (I blurred out his name but then thought he wouldn’t really care :p):

Jason Alba Rusty Lindquist

Up to that point the only response I got to any applications was a canned automated email or crickets. And now I get this flattering response from the VP. When I told my wife about his response she thought for a minute and then said “he probably says that to everyone who has applied.” I was pretty stoked, but she brought me down to earth :p

Long story short, I got hired, months later Rusty left, and a few months later they pulled the plug on my whole program. So I got nine months in corporate, refreshed my ability to “politic,” and had a fun time working my tail off on something that was just destined to die (well, as long as Rusty was there it wasn’t. That’s another thread, though).

The point of this post is not about my last job, or its demise. It’s that I impressed the hiring manager enough that he would respond to me in such a way as he did. Yesterday I was thinking about this and realized that it wasn’t necessarily my background… sure, I’ve done some really cool things, and everything I have done was perfect for this role… but I know tons of people who have done amazingly cool things. Would Rusty have given them the same kind of response?

I’ve heard sayings like “if you aren’t on LinkedIn you don’t exist” and “if I can’t find you on Google you don’t exist.” Not true. There are plenty of people who have no online presence who exist and are very successful. But, as I was thinking about why Rusty would respond to me that way I thought it had to do with how I presented myself and my experiences on my LinkedIn profile.

I’m not going to say that you “don’t exist.” But, I can tell you that as a hiring manager, if I’m down to the last five or ten profiles, and they are all pretty lame (I call them skeleton profiles), but one stands out because not only does that person have the experience I want, but they explain and dig into their careers in a way that they are memorable and prove they have what I’m looking for, I’m inclined to be more interested in them than you.

Skeleton profiles on LinkedIn don’t help you. Not looking? Congratulations… but you might be looking soon :p

Let me suggest one of the most important courses I’ve ever done for Pluralsight… I just tweeted this yesterday:

The concepts in that course are timeless principles. In the olden days we called it reputation and reputation management. Now we call it personal branding. Who knows what it will be called next. Whether you use LinkedIn or Instagram or whatever, there are principles. And that’s what I go into. The course is 2 hours… if you want a 30 day pass to the entire Pluralsight library let me know.

Pluralsight a Developing Killer Personal Brand

Since I started out with talking about LinkedIn, let me also recommend my LinkedIn courses… the first is on optimizing your LinkedIn profile and the second is on developing a proactive strategy on LinkedIn.

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The “War for Talent” Has Become the “War on Talent”

September 23rd, 2019

JibberJobber War For TalentWhen I lost my job in 2006 I learned about this disgusting concept of the war for talent. I don’t quite understand it completely, probably because I’m not smart enough. But it feels to me like a big pot of bull.

Some context for this post:

New Study Reveals Skills Gap Grew By Double Digits Since Last Year

Skills gap will cost US economy $1.2 trillion over the next decade

Skills Gap Growing as Companies Struggle to Find Capable Talent

Those are three Yahoo Finance articles.  The headlines are bleak. The arguments and stats are sometimes not as bleak, but I think the are very shortsighted.

Since 2006 I’ve been passionately involved in the job search space. Not from HR’s perspective, not from the job board perspective (they cater to HR, not job seekers), but from the job seeker perspective. I have been an advocate of job seekers for almost 14 years now. I have traveled to many locations in the U.S., and some outside of the U.S., and have had opportunities to talk to JibberJobber users and my audience from around the globe. What I know is that there are a lot of exceptionally smart and talented people who are being overlooked for stupid reasons.

One stupid reason to overlook this exceptional intelligence and talent is that, for some reason, job seekers are broken. They are, or should be, unhireable. The longer you’ve been out of work, the more broken you are. I don’t have time to find out why you have been out of work for a long time, I am just going to sit here and stereotype that something is wrong with you. It would be easier for me, as a recruiter (disclaimer: I am not a recruiter) to justify why I hired talent away from a competitor than why I hired someone who no one else would hire for the last year.

Headlines, like the ones above, make it sound like there are not any smart humans around, and we are going to lose “$1.2 trillion over the next decade” because of it. Of course, we all know this is because schools aren’t focusing enough on teaching STEM, right?

Why then can I go to various cities in the U.S. and speak to audiences from 10 to 300 people, who are ready and willing to plug right into your little talent deficit? Hello? I’m waiting…

While you are coming up with a good answer, humor me by reading a recent tweet I wrote:

I recently worked at a company that was, what I thought, my dream company. Turned out, it was not meant to be. When I sat across the table from the lady who became my boss (the guy who hired me had left the company to start his own entrepreneurial endeavor), and she told me I had six weeks left, I had a lot of thoughts run through my mind. One of them was how Jim Collins talks about, in Good to Great, getting the right people on the boss. As I remember it, Jim made a strong argument for finding the right people and even if you didn’t have a specific job for them, getting them on your bus.

Now, I realize that you can’t just go find a bunch of great people and get them on your bus if you (a) can’t afford them, or (b) don’t have anything for them to do (last thing you need is a dozen employees with no jobs, but hey, they are great “cultural fits”!). But when I was getting let go I kept thinking “but I’m the right person for this bus! Sure, you are eliminating my role, and the mini-department that I was supposedly going to run, but I have other talents, expertise, etc. I am clearly a great team and company and cultural fit, and I’ll be a great cheerleader. I contribute. I add value. I have shown, in nine months, that I value and should get a seat on this bus.”  Alas, the posters in the hallway, even the one that pulls from Collins’ book, was not aligned with this concept. You out. Da boot. Who cares about all that fluffy stuff. Who cares about the fit if we haven’t got a job description waiting and approved.

That’s okay. I landed on my feet. But if I hadn’t been working for twelve years on my other revenue streams, that would have been (another) devastating life experience. But I digress…

Companies will talk about the war for talent. How hard it is to hire a this person or a that person. It’s nearly impossible. Let’s change immigration laws so we can get more H-1B visas, because no one here is smart enough to do this job, and we just have to import the talent.

I should mention I’m not opposed to bringing talent in from outside of the U.S. But I am not happy to see talent that is here being thrown to the side of the road, ignored, trampled, and spit on. I’ve seen this from Seattle to Orlando, from Boston to San Diego.

I know I’m not going to change the world. I won’t change laws or affect how HR, recruiters, and hiring managers find and hire talent. But maybe… just maybe, we can start to rethink what talent is. Maybe we can start to think about great companies and cultures that value humans, and instead of declare war on them, or war for them, we think of how we can re-skill people as the world changes.

When I started college a friend from high school told me I had to get into programming. “You learn new stuff all the time! It’s awesome!” Frankly, that sounded horrible to me. I didn’t want to be in a role where I always had to learn, or I’d get phased out. So I chose to major in Spanish (I changed that later), which is something that doesn’t really change. I wanted to get my sheepskin, get into a great job/career, and then have a comfortable retirement.

That is not how things are done today. Today we need to re-skill constantly. We need to continually learn new stuff. When I went to the Pluralsight conference (Aka LIVE!) and saw that was their theme (skills), and their focus around skills management, skills growth, skills measuring, and all thinks skills, I was completely on-board.

It is OUR job to learn new skills. Yes, I think companies should create a learning environment, and they should help us retool and reskill regularly, but we need to understand that life and work now is all about learning new…. new ways to do things, new ways of thinking. No longer can we rest on our laurels because we have a degree, or a masters degree. We need to seek out learning. We need to seek out change. We need to figure out how we can keep up on what’s new, and adjust and shift and change.

That concept sounded horrible to me back in the 1900’s, but now it’s kind of exciting. To improve, to innovate, to keep up with… and to stay competitive.

It’s our job to stay competitive. If our employer offers us real continual education, what a great blessing that is. But it’s our job to learn, to invest our time, and to keep up on ever changing skills.

What I have found is that a person who does this and knows how to communicate it (personal marketing, personal branding, story telling, etc.), is the person who is unemployed for the shortest lengths of time. This is career management, and it’s ours to own.

Now, what are YOU going to do for the rest of this year, and into 2020, to improve your skills? You already missed out on the $100 off special on Pluralsight (it will come around again). Tell me, what’s your strategy? Because it’s much more fun to have a war FOR you than ON you, and that, my friend, is up to you.

 

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