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The Great 2019 Texas Career Management Tour! July 15th in Austin and Dallas

June 19th, 2019

jibberjobber-public-speakingI am going on a road trip this summer… and what better place to go in the summer than Texas! I hear it’s a lovely time of the year!

For years my road trip speaking has consisted of my very favorite presentation, Career Management 2.0 most of the time. Sometimes I’d talk about LinkedIn (since I wrote one of the earliest books on the topic, and have done a ton of training on LinkedIn), and then a few other things here and there.

On this trip I will introduce a new presentation, titled Career Management 3.0.  In this presentation I’ll talk about what the gig economy means to us, and why the last time I got laid off it was way more okay than getting laid off in 2006. I’ll share numbers and ideas that are practical and within your reach to help you get more control over your income and, in turn, your career management.

As of right now this is where I’ll be speaking:

Monday: Dallas

pending/open

Tuesday: Dallas

Accomplished Executives at 7am

Frisco Connect at 9am: Stonebriar Community Church, 4801 Legendary Drive, Frisco, TX

Wednesday: Dallas

HR Focus Group at 9am: White’s Chapel United Methodist Church, 185 S White Chapel Blvd in Southlake

Thursday: Austin

Career Networking Group at 8:30 (part of the Job Seekers Network): Southwest Austin at Austin ridge Bible Church, 9300 Bee Cave Road, Building B, Austin

Friday: Austin

Launch Pad Job Club

You going to be in Dallas or Austin the week of the 15th? Let me know!

 

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What To Do If You Hate Your Job

June 18th, 2019

jibberjobber-start-with-the-way-job-satisfactionI was chatting with Liz this morning about Project HOPE, which is now in alpha testing. I asked her if she wanted to listen to my audio, and see the feedback from the testers, and she said YES. She then wrote something interesting/funny:

“I worked at JibberJobber for several years without reading your blog. When I started to read it, I finally understood what we do.”

Now, this post is about hating your job. I daresay, Liz didn’t and doesn’t hate her job. But her comment made me chuckle.

In the early days of JibberJobber blogging was one of my highest priorities. It was my marketing. It was the way I got information out. I could easily spend 45 minutes a day writing a post. My mind was consumed with thoughts about job search and career management. I didn’t realize that my team wasn’t watching the little bit of work I was doing that was highly public.

Liz’s comment hit me today though. At Bamboo last year my awesome boss talked about the importance of WHY. Working towards employee satisfaction and employee engagement, we needed to help employees understand the WHY.

Most people know the WHAT and the HOW of their job. They come to work and do their thing. But how many people know the WHY of their work?

Do YOU know the WHY of your work?

If you hate your job, I invite you to do one of two things. The first is to figure out the WHY. It might be your WHY, which could be to provide for your family, or to get out of debt, or to afford the lifestyle you want, or to be around people who inspire you, or _______________. I don’t know what your WHYs are.

The next WHY to figure out is the company’s WHY. Is it to better the world, or help people, to make lives easier? Is it to be the best, and excel, and grow, and inspire others? What is it?

Pluralsight‘s WHY is to democratize technology education around the world.

JibberJobber‘s WHY is to empower individuals with tools and knowledge about career management, and especially help people during a very tough part of their life (unemployment).

I recognize that many organizations’ WHY is to make gobs of money. I bet, though, if you go back to the founder’s vision, or some visionary leader who is there today, you’ll hear a different WHY.

Like Liz said, it wasn’t until she read my blog, years after she started working with JibberJobber, that she understood “what we do.” Or, what drives me. Or WHY we are even around. I imagine that catching my WHY changed her WHY. And as long as my WHY was aligned with her values, her level of integrity, and her personal goals, she got more fulfillment being a part of my WHY. This translates to employee satisfaction. And increased employee satisfaction leads to increased employee engagement.

Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are the holy grails of HR (just look at agendas at their conferences: how do we make our employees happy? How do we get them more engaged (aka, do their work)?)

I’m not here to talk about how HR can do better, and get more out of you. I’m here to talk about how YOU can get more personal fulfillment in your life and career.

I think the first most important thing is to understand the greater WHY.

If that doesn’t work… if you hear and understand the why and you still hate your job, then my second piece of advice is to quit. Go somewhere else.

Look, if you hate it, and you don’t care for their WHY, then you aren’t going to hate it less. You might even resent it more. Don’t torture yourself by staying in a crappy situation. Find, or make, the situation you don’t dread.

Life is too short to give months and years to a mismatch, especially when it can harm your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. If this is you, find the WHY, and if that doesn’t change things, move on.

jibbejrobber-hate-job

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Getting Started with Programming and Tech With Pluralsight

June 17th, 2019

smart-learn-pluralsightJust two more days until the $100 off sale at Pluralsight. $199 for a year of full access… killer deal.

If you are NOT in a tech role, but have always wanted to learn, I would definitely recommend dropping $199 and having a full twelve months to learn, and play, and dabble. I can’t think of a better way to learn about this stuff with the depth and breadth that Pluralsight offers. Here are seven courses that are “beginner” or “intro to” to get you started in various parts of the tech world:

Learning to Program – Part 1: Getting Started (by Scott Allen)

This 3 hour 12 minute course walks you through the basics and fundamentals of programming. It is introductory, so don’t worry that you won’t understand a thing. Scott’s table of contents shows you learn about a lot of the things you’ll need to know for just about any language. I’m bookmarked this to watch with my ten year old son, who wants to become a developer.

Introduction to SQL (by Jon Flanders)

3 hours and 2 minutes of one of the most powerful aspects of development. SQL is how you access databases… and it makes your web and app experience rich and dynamic. I’m not going to say I was a great programmer, but of all of the things I did, I LOVED database design and SQL. Funny story: in a job interview, when I was still in college, the interviewer asked what I knew about SQL. My response was “Not much, but how hard could it be? All you need to know is FROM, WHERE, SELECT, and a few other things.” He turned out to be one of the smartest software engineers I’ve ever known, and amazingly, I got the job.

Introduction to Maya 2017 (by Justin Marshall and Eddie Russell)

Maya is a 3D animation environment “that enables video professionals who work with animation film, television programs, visual effects, and video games to create highly professional three-dimensional (3D) cinematic animations.” That sounds freaking awesome. Maybe programming ain’t your thing but graphics is? From the course description: “This course is designed for new Maya users, so the goal is not to weigh you down with a lot of technical information. Instead, its goal is to help you form some really good habits and workflows, allowing you to see the entire start-to-finish pipeline for this project…”

Introduction to Web Development (by Nina Zakharenko and Brian Holt)

I cut me teeth on web development. You can too. This course is from 2015, and things changed, but the basics and fundamentals are always good to learn. The course is a whopping 11 hours (yikes!) … if you are serious about learning web development, buckle up and get learning. Oh yeah, who will you learn from? Nina and Brian, at the time their bios were up, were Reddit developers. Wowzers. Learning from developers of one of the hottest and most popular websites in the history of websites.

Introduction to CSS for Designers (by Susan Simkins)

CSS is freaking awesome. How old am I? When I moved away from programming, CSS was just starting to make waves. I didn’t quite learn it, but I understood it was super duper powerful. You can probably make an entire career out of just becoming expert in CSS. Or, if you do any kind of web development, understanding the basics of CSS will help you. This 1 hour 48 minute course should be a great primer.

An Introduction to Design (by Jason Roberts)

Design is underestimated. Software developers aren’t necessarily good at it, but they need to understand it. I tell my graphics-oriented friends they should look at UX (which is design for the user experience) as a career option. I was talking to a recruiter last year who said they could not find one single UX designer in all of Utah. They were all working. This is a hot, hot field. The course is about design in general, but I get excited about UX :) 1 hour 53 minutes.

Beginning Data Visualization with R (by Matthew Renze)

Have you ever heard the phrase “big data?” I think the potential career choices for people who go there are mega-huge. Here’s how I put it: I have a website with 13+ years of data. I know there are rich insights I should be getting from that data. But, I don’t know what questions to ask. I don’t know what I should learn from my data. I feel like I am MISSING OUT. If I had a big data person (or a data scientist), I might do things differently. I might grow my business and help my users more effectively. YOU could be that person. Just about every company out there has data and they are not using it in a way that can best help their users. R is a programming language, and data visualization can help managers and leaders make informed decisions. This three hour course will get you started in the right direction.

Seriously, $199 for full access to those, and THOUSANDS more? What are you waiting for? Save $100 before the sale ends (on June 19th).

Of course, you can watch my 32-and-growing professional development and soft skills courses here.

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The Nervous Job Seeker: Do It Anyway!

June 14th, 2019

jibberjobber-nervous-chickenI need to tie up my post from Wednesday (The Job Search Interview Process Is Full of Emotions!) and my post from Thursday (The Job Search Program Better Than Sliced Bread) into my message for today.

So I have to reach out to people. Yesterday I emailed 33 JibberJobber users asking them if they wanted to take part in the Project HOPE alpha program. Then, I emailed 250 coaches and resume writers asking them if they want to learn more about the program, to offer to their clients, as affiliates.

Each time I was about to hit the send button I got all the wrong feels. Not excitement or happiness, but the what ifs. What if they hate me. What if they think I’m a charlatan. What if they are tired of hearing from me. What if they …. what if, what if, what if.

I was nervous.

I was reminded of something similar I did thirteen years ago. Before I knew what I was doing, I wrote a press release. And without worrying about it, I pressed send. Because no one would see it, probably. I had nothing to lose… not reputation, not nothing.

I pressed send and that one piddly press release launched me into a whole new world. I got picked up by a podcast that was listened to by a lot of heavies in the job search space (from the outplacement and recruiting and talent acquisition end). That single podcast made JibberJobber legitimate. And within a week or two I was on a call with an outplacement company, starting to talk about a contract with them.

If I knew what goodness was to come out of that press release, I would have been way more nervous. I would have over-thought it, and probably got stuck in analysis-paralysis. I would have revised and revised and revised the press release, and probably have put it off.

But I was too naive to know what I was doing, and just did it anyway.

About a year or so later, I was writing another press release. I thought about all the goodness from the first one and did go into analysis paralysis. Too much was on the line to mess it up! I’m not sure if I even pushed that press release out.

Here’s my message: it’s okay to be nervous. It is not okay to NOT do what you need to do.

If you need to make the call, make the call. Today. Right now. Just start. You’ve been talking your whole life… you’ll figure out what to say. If you stumble, then recover from it. If you don’t recover on that call, then learn from it, maybe even script out your call or talking points for the next call.

If you have an email to send, SEND IT. What are you waiting for, better weather?  There’s no time like the present. Send it. And if you need to, follow up later.

We all have a “chicken list.” And it’s okay to not feel fully confident. It’s normal to have the emotions, as I explained in Wednesday’s post about emotions.

stop feeling like you have to get your nerves in check, and just DO what you need to do. It will get easier, you’ll be less nervous, and you’ll start to get results (assuming you are doing the right things).

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The Job Search Program Better Than Sliced Bread

June 13th, 2019

jibberjobber-sliced-breadA bit of history on this “better than sliced bread” phrase.

There was once a time in history that was so horrible where people were so deprived, that they had to buy bread and then cut it into slices themselves.

I know. Traumatic.

According the Wikipedia, A guy named Otto, living in Iowa, invented the sliced bread machine in the early 1900’s. He built his first prototype in 1912 but it was not meant to be. A fire destroyed it. Humans had to wait, and labor unfairly with bread and knife, for sixteen more years before he “had a fully working machine ready.”

Of course, this new machine was a commercial success. Now we could spend less time slicing bread and more time [fill in the blank].

So yeah, pretty great stuff.

As an aside, and in case you ever go on Jeopardy!, did you know that in 1943 (during WWII) the U.S. Food Administrator Claude R. Wickard banned sliced bread “as a wartime conservation measure”? Boo and hiss. The ban started  on January 18, 1943 and, due to public outcry (which I’m guessing was pretty loud) only lived less than 50 days, ending on March 8, 1943 (even though the Food Distribution Administration was “prepeared to take stern measures.”

Long live sliced bread! Read the wikipedia article, you’ll get a good chuckle.

JibberJobber

In May of 2006 I launched JibberJobber. It was, at the time, what I thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread for job seekers. JibberJobber was something never before seen for job seekers. at that time in history, career coaches and the like told job seekers to follow up. To be organized with all of their networking and applications and interviews.

How?” asked the masses.

We don’t know!” replied the experts. “Create an excel spreadsheet! Or, here’s a one page form you can print off and fill out (by hand – gasp!) to stay organized!

I found myself in a job search from January, Friday the 13th, in 2006, and soon figured out that I was doing it wrong. Then I figured out the whole job search world was “broken.” Long story short, move over sliced bread, enter JibberJobber!

Cue the applause.

Here we are, 13 years later and many man hours of development invested into JibberJobber. Things are going well. There is still much work to do, but it’s good.

I say “every 18 months” I have a brilliant idea. I always share them on this blog or from stage when I speak. And now it’s time to share my most recent 18 month moment of brilliance.

Project HOPE

jibberjobber_project_hopeI know it’s not cool to share the internal code name of a project externally, but there you go. We refer to this as Project HOPE. This comes from my conversation with legendary Dick Bolles (author of the iconic job search bible What Color is Your Parachute?), when he summed up my message as one of HOPE.

I don’t know what this product will eventually be called.

Project HOPE will go into alpha testing on Monday with a handful of active premium JibberJobber users. These are people who are deep into their job search, and using JibberJobber heavily. They are serious about getting out of the job search. I will give them the core of Project HOPE to go through. I will be anxious to get their feedback (and oh boy, they’ll give it to me!).

I expect the first version of Project HOPE, probably beta, to be available for everyone in four to eight weeks. And it can’t come soon enough.

The premise of Project HOPE is to address three big problems that every job seeker I have talked to are facing:

  1. Loneliness. It was during my job search, in 2006, that I was acutely lonely. I had people around me, for sure. But I felt like I was the only person in this pathetic situation of being unemployed. People didn’t know what I was going through, how life shattering it was, and how to help me. I didn’t know, either, so I couldn’t help them help me. It was an extremely lonely journey to go through.
  2. Depression. Let’s cut straight to the chase.. instead of talking about the emotional roller coaster in the job search, I want to focus on depression in the job search. I was depressed. I didn’t know it, but that depression had an impact on what I did, and the results I saw. My depression drove my job search, and depression is a horrible driver. No matter how happy job seekers look when you “network” with them, I bet there’s a hint (or a flood) of depression behind that smile.
  3. The Right Things. My first thought in the morning was “Oh boy. Let’s do the same 10 things today that I’ve done the last month… things that aren’t getting me anywhere. Am I doing the right things?” The right things are tricky. I remember going to a 2 day job search training, learning some exceptional tactics, and then a week or two later getting fed the “and here is a list of job postings you should apply to”… from the same people who taught this class! This is after they said “don’t waste your time on job boards.”  Confusing a little? What SHOULD we be doing as job seekers?

My program addresses those three things. I want to help you feel less lonely. I want to attack depression, and inspire hope. And I want to help you understand what the right things are.

How? 

I combine a few ideas and principles that I’ve come across over the last 13+ years talking with hundreds of career experts, and thousands of job seekers. From the bottom of Florida to the top of Washington state, from job ministries and MBA programs to living rooms and the phone, I’m distilling what I would advise you to do in the job search.

I’m combining this with my friend’s (phenomenal business success coach Mark LeBlanc) success principles that he teaches small businesses, who have remarkably similar/identical needs that job seekers have.

And really, I think this is the greatest things since sliced bread.

I think it can be the greatest thing, for job seekers, since JibberJobber. And combined with JibberJobber… wow!

Project Hope is a 6 week audio program. Each morning you listen to my voice (after bete feedback I plan on redoing it, and having me be on screen) and I walk you through your day. I train you in best practice job search tactics, starting at what you should do today, and then building every day for six weeks. It starts out pretty simple, baby-stepping you into the program, but soon you are doing the right things.

This program will not consume your day. In fact, for the first couple of weeks I expect it will take 30 to 60 minutes each day, which means you’ll have plenty of time to do your own stuff. It also means that if you are working a full-time job, you will be able to do this program.

As time goes on, as you learn more skills, as you learn Mark’s principles, the tasks get a little harder. But they also should produce more results to get you closer to the right job.

We are in the process of enhancing the audio recordings with a user experience in JibberJobber that will allow you to navigate through each day, see what your tasks are for the day, and provide accountability.

I wish I had this program in my job search to train me on best practices, help me know what to do each day, give me another voice in my head to listen to, and to provide accountability.

Is Project HOPE a coaching program?

No. Well, maybe kind of.

It is not customized coaching. You and me, we don’t talk. You listen to the recordings. I don’t give you specialized, unique-to-you next-steps and action items. We don’t break in the middle to prep you for your interview tomorrow.

It is a recorded program where I coach you on what to do and think today, and tomorrow, and the next day, until you land a job.

As I mentioned, it will not consume your day. You can make it as big or small as you want. It is designed to be something you can do every day without feeling like it is overwhelming.

So yeah, it’s kind of coaching. As I’ve written and recorded the program I’ve felt like I was your coach, your friend, your mentor, your cheerleader.  Does that mean it’s a coaching program? Not a full on program like my coaching friends have. If you need a coach, get a coach. If you are a coach, this might complement what you offer.

How much will this cost?

jibberjobber-moneyThis will not be in the JibberJobber premium package, which is only $60 a year. That’s as low as we can go for now on the JibberJobber side.

Right now the pricing is $397, however I’ll have an introductory price of $197 (I’m not sure how long I’ll have this price).  I realize that some of you are already paying for JibberJobber, and a resume, and a coach… I am not here to break your bank. I’m also not a government funded or charity program. I have bills to pay (I hate to even have to say that but I am continually asked why JibberJobber is not free (“Don’t you know job seekers have no money!!??”) .

When you are done with six weeks, you will have continued access to the program. You can start over, or start over at week 2 or 3 or whatever, or just listen to the Wednesday of week 6, as long as you want. You’ll also have new tools in your toolbox and enough training to allow you to do your own program after the 6 weeks is over. This program is about empowering you, not tying you to a 6 week program.

What about coaches and resume writers?

I’m having a webinar on Thursday June 27th at noon MST. I’ll send an email out to my contacts… if you are a career expert (resume writer, coach, etc.) and don’t get an invitation, email me. My intent is to allow you to offer this to your clients and prospects, and participate in an affiliate program.

 

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The Job Search Interview Process Is Full of Emotions!

June 12th, 2019

jibberjobber-surpriseI recently had a job interview.

I know, I know. I’m not supposed to. I run JibberJobber. I’m the CEO. And I have some big short and long-term goals with JibberJobber. What the heck am I doing in a job interview.

Frankly, there is one company that I’m interested in. I’ve said for years it’s the only company that I’d LOVE to work for. And I got referred to the hiring manager and recruiter by someone pretty high up for a job that sounded really, really cool.

I’ve gotten JibberJobber to a point where it doesn’t have to be a full time job for me. It could be… there is plenty of work for me to do. But it doesn’t have to be. And if “dream job” at “dream company” comes my way, why not at least entertain it?

Since I left Bamboo, I have not been looking for a job. I’ve been plenty busy with the revenue streams I have. From creating Pluralsight courses to everything with JibberJobber to rentals to other stuff, I’m busy.

I also don’t financially need a job, because of the revenue streams I’ve created. I’m not wealthy, but I’m not as financially destitute as I was back in 2006 when I lost, in one job loss, 100% of my income.

But, this amazing opportunity came up. And so I spent time on it.

I had four interviews. Two on a Friday, two the following Monday.

I had a lot of emotions. A lot more than I thought I would.

Even though I was extremely flattered to be recommended for this job, I was nervous. Would I be good enough? Would I be chosen?

If I got the job, would I go through three months of “impostor syndrome” again, like I did at Bamboo?

How would I take care of my other commitments? Would I need to put some things on hold? Was this the right thing for me to do for my long-term goals?

Was this the right thing for me? For my family? For our future?

What if I got this dream job and it went away, like Bamboo did?

With each interview I was more encouraged. Getting invited to the process, and having interviews go well, and learning about the benefits… it was all so cool. One of the things I miss most about Bamboo was just having friends at work. Not that I don’t have friends, but there’s something about coworker camaraderie.

The excitement and the hope was growing. The worry about whether this was the right decision or not was also growing. I knew there would be some big changes if I got this job.

The reason I’m writing this post is to share with you that the crazy emotions you experience in this process are NORMAL.

You might not be an emotional person, or not used to all of the intense emotions all crammed into a few days. But as a job seeker, this is NORMAL.

The results of the interview process can be life changing. You can’t go through the process nonchalantly. I think it is impossible.

Here are my two problems:

First, I start to do the job, before I’m hired. I strategize my 90 day startup period and think about what I’ll do. I can go pretty deep on this. I get emotionally involved too early.

Second, I start to mentally spend my new income. In this case, I thought “I could eliminate my personal debt in X years instead of Y years!” Something very appealing to me. I can go very deep on this, too.

Either of those will add to, or multiply, the emotions. It’s crazy.

And it’s normal.

I don’t have a good answer for you, but I do want you to know that if you go through the emotional roller-coaster you are not nutz. You are normal.

In case you are wondering, in the end I got passed over for someone else. 

Which only added one more ride through the weird and unpredictable emotional roller-coaster.

jibberjobber-emotional-roller-coaster

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Full Pluralsight for only $199? Nuts!

June 11th, 2019

Pluralsight is normally $299 a year. Since I’m a sucker for a deal I thought I’d share this one with you:

Until June 19th, you can get the entire Pluralight course library for 33% off.

Go here:   (that is my affiliate link, feel free to share it :p)

Not only do you get full access to the thousands and thousands of courses, you get:

pluralsight_personal-plan

Get this… to get the last three things, it’s only $349 (through June 19th, then back to $449).

This is a super duper deal.

Let’s compare this $199 for a year of full access to courses of some of the most amazing tech teachers to:..

A coding bootcamp.  Average price in the U.S. is $11,906 (according to Google). You could actually get the full price of Pluralsight ($299/year) for about 40 YEARS for that price.  Now, most of the time you go through the bootcamp and they prep you for a developer job, and help you land it. I don’t have a problem with that. But it is a little pricey.

A used textbook on how to program in C++. This is $111.99. Used. A textbook. Anyone ever pay for text books in college? Bleh. What a farce. For the price of one or two textbooks that are usually useless, you could get a full year of access to almost (or more than?) 7,000 courses taught be people who, in some cases, have actually written the book on their specialty.  I’m sure that textbook’s price is subject to change… but it is still ridiculous.

Attending a professional conference. Let’s say you go to a conference this year, at the early bird price of $599 (give or take a few hundred). Add on flight, hotel, food… you are now easily up to $3,000 (give or take a couple thousand). I’m sure you will get value out of the few days and sessions at the conference… but with a Pluralsight course for less than 10% of that cost you get value ALL YEAR.

The cost of doing nothing. Let’s say that if you were take a few Pluralsight courses, and get smarter in [security, databases, design, graphics, UX, a plethora of programming, and my favorite: professional development and soft skills :p], let’s just say that your new learning leads you to earning ONE dollar per hour more in your company. That is worth about $2,080 PER YEAR. Pretty good investment. Look, your learning didn’t stop when you graduated. Every bit of your job is likely being computerized… don’t you think you should understand more tech?

A college degree. Okay, let’s go the hear of job security (cough cough). A degree in computer science. I’m not even going to put money into this one – you can figure that out on your own (it’s likely at least $3,000/year for four or five years… which is super low). Let’s just talk about TIME. You spend four or five years going to school to be in classes where they are not using current versions of languages, so by the time you graduate you might not have seen or used the languages at the companies that hire you. Been there, done that. And you spent four years in archaic language. Sounds expensive to me.

That was fun. I could go on. But I don’t need to. You get the point.

Look, this is just a little more than a netflix subscription. But with Pluralsight, you could walk into an entirely different career.

Treat yourself. Get this $100 off deal. And then put the time and effort into learning. You can thank me later.

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What To Do When Interviewers Don’t Know What They Are Hiring For

June 10th, 2019

jibberjobber-poor-communicationLast week I was talking to a friend of mine, a senior technical recruiter. We were talking about a scenario like this:

You read the job description and think: Yep, that’s me. I master all of those, except one, which I can learn quickly (and is probably not as important as the others)

You have your first interview: It is mostly aligned with the job description, but focuses on one or two functions (ignoring the rest)

You have the next interview: This is a little different, as the interviewer focuses on a different function (barely mentioning what the first interviewer focused on)

By this point you think “ah, two different people, who both understand the job, and each person will interface with you (or want something from you) in a different way than one another.”

Your next interviewer surprises you: This is a higher-level person… and they ask you questions that have nothing to do with what you understood the job to do, or what the other interviews focused on. It’s almost as if they are asking you about a completely different role.

Again, they know what they are doing, right? This is just a broad assessment, with each person tasked to focus on different things. No big deal.

Actually, it is a big deal. This scenario could lose you the job.

My recruiter friend said “Jason, this happens ALL THE TIME. In almost every job that we recruit for.”

How could this be?

When I interviewed at Bamboo last year, I printed off the job description from their company website. Oh wait, there’s another description on LinkedIn… print that, too. Oh my, there’s a job description I was emailed.

OH MY. They are all slightly different. Slightly, but materially.

Which is the right one?

There are at least three major parties involved in the job description creation and approval:

The hiring manager: This person knows exactly what (and sometimes who) they want. However, they might not be very good at communicating what they want.

The recruiter and that whole team: The people who are many times responsible for the final written job description, posting it, and sometimes having the first interviews with you so they can know who to weed out.

The approver, some higher-up: This person has their own understanding of what the role is and who will be right and what they will do. They aren’t as close to the team as the manager is, but they orchestrate a lot of teams and know how teams fit together.

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Imagine each of those people have a tiny misunderstanding of the role. And you, the job seeker, has a specific and perhaps a little bit wrong understanding of the role. Multiply those tiny misunderstandings by imperfect communication and assumptions, and now we have… well, a mess.

It might feel like you are interviewing for three or four different jobs.

“It happens all the time,” said this recruiter.

So, what can you do about it?

I have two ideas.

First, read, understand, and internalize the job description.

1. Learn everything you can about the job description.

Go through it again and again, line by line. Understand what they are asking for. If you need to, make notes on it. Heck, rewrite it in your own words! You should be able to talk about every single part of the job description.

Be careful to not latch on to one or two parts of the job, and redefine the description by just those parts.

If you have doubts or questions, email your contact (maybe the recruiter, or a friend, or someone you have networked with at the company) to clarify. In my interview last year I said “I understand all of this, but why does this person also need to be an expert in Photoshop?” “What?? Oh, that must have gotten there from a copy and paste from a different job description.”  Oops. I spent time wondering if I needed to learn Photoshop, and it had nothing to do with the actual job. Just ask and clarify.

Be ready to go into this job interview understanding (or at least having great questions) the job description.

2. Point the interview back to the right role.

As the interview gets further and further away from the job description, you can bring it back, without dancing around it.

Recognize, of course, that some questions that seem weird or outside of the job description might be strategic, to uncover how good of a fit you will be on the team or at the company. But generally, you should be able to tie every single answer back to the job you are interviewing for. To do that, though, you have to go back to #1, and totally understand the job based on the description (or your digging).

It would not be inappropriate to ask a clarifying question, such as:

“Based on the job description, I thought the role of this job would do more of [THIS:________] than [THAT:_________]. Is that what you understand?”

Feel free to dig down on this part of the discussion. Being precise about the role and expectations is not bad at all. In theory, you are there to evaluate the company and opportunity and team as much as they are evaluating you (but emotions are way different, depending on which side of the table you are sitting!).

You could also ask:

“What would success look like (or, how would you measure success) in the first 3 – 6 months?”

I find this to be not as effective as the question above, but it could help you get more clarity for the role. Besides, it’s a solid interview question for “candidates.”

I know that we, as candidates, assume the people who bring us in know what they are doing. Look, people have been saying “recruiting is broken” and “hiring is broken” for decades. There’s a reason for that. You can’t assume they know what they want, or that they communicate well with one another. Go in ready for some obvious poor communication and assumptions on their end that have preceded you. The two steps above should help you be more prepared in that situation.

 

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The Lie of the Best First Step in the Job Search

June 7th, 2019

jacque-barret-poindexter-job-expertMy friend Jacqui Barret-Poindexter recently wrote this on Facebook:

In #jobsearch, so many of us want to say, ‘this or that’ is the best 1st step in order to conduct a proper search. But really, there is no one best way to initiate your search.

Sometimes, it feels counterintuitive to start with the first step, or you just feel stuck. In these instances, you can sometimes push through that initial activity, and you will break through to the light.

Or, there is another option, and that is to bypass the beginning (for now) and get some traction in the middle. Sometimes, just ‘jumping’ into the mix of it all is the way to break through the clutter and get your bearings.

As an example, you may think building your #resume is the best first step of your search. And, for many people it is natural to dive into the introspective pool required to craft your career story as your first big move.

However, it may be for you, conducting some due diligence through informational conversations with people at your target companies or in your sought-after industry, or seeking out career coaching to garner more focus is optimal as you inaugurate into the job search waters.

Bottom line: Don’t look at job search as linear; instead, think of it as a multifaceted, zigzagging process. Leverage the ambiguity to carve a path fit just for you and your goals.

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, CEO | Master Resume Writer at CareerTrend, is 1 of only 50 master resume writers + has crafted >1,500 interview-spurring career stories. Her BA in writing/journalism allows her to apply a journalist’s eye to your career. Connect with Jacqui on LinkedIn or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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Another Tactic To Quantify Your Cultural Fit and Soft Skills

June 6th, 2019

Yesterday I wrote How To Quantify Your Cultural Fit And Soft Skills. I shared a simple tactic that is just one piece of the puzzle to help people understand that you have certain soft, hard to measure skills.

Another way to quantify your soft skills and how well you might fit into my company or team is to write articles or posts. You can do this on LinkedIn easily. One the homepage of LinkedIn, simply click the Write an article link:

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This is super easy for anyone to do. We all have LinkedIn profiles…. your writing platform is just one click away. It’s free and couldn’t be easier. Plus, you might even get one or two people to read what you write :p (more on that below)

Another popular place to write and pontificate without setting up a blog is Medium. Here’s one of many examples:

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Medium is a very cool system that is free, allowing you to put up the same article you might have on LinkedIn (or on a personal blog). In fact, plenty of people have their own website for their brand, and then link to medium posts they have written.

Are you in leadership? I want to have a better understanding of the breadth and depth of your leadership skills. I can get only so much from interviews, and from a resume. If I find 10, or 100, of your articles about leadership, I can get great insight into your breadth and depth of leadership.

Same thing for communication, empathy, customer service, strategy, listening, etc.

Write articles that help me understand the breadth and depth of your thoughts in these areas, and I might think “her resume is okay, but wow, her articles really show that she has the experience and skills we need for this role, and I think we’ll really like her on this team!”

Of course, writing great articles doesn’t mean you are a great leader. Maybe you stink at it. But, I think a great article strategy could go a long way to communicate your proficiency in something that is hard to otherwise quantify.

Finally, what about this notion of no one reading your stuff?

My answer is: I don’t care.

Honestly. If no one reads your stuff, that’s okay. Because you have them there, waiting for the right person and the right time.

The right person is an influencer, or hiring manager, or someone on the panel interview. The right time is when you are in the hot seat, being evaluated.

Even if no one else has read your article, you wrote it for that person at that time. And that should be worth it.

Imagine if you had a dozen, or dozens, of these kinds of articles just waiting for that person at that time!

 

 

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