The Scary Truth About Marketing Yourself

January 16th, 2018

Before I got laid off in 2006 I was kind of a heads-down guy with my work. I didn’t network, didn’t know many people locally, was totally unknown… I went to work, did my job, and came home and did my family.  It was a peaceful existence. I had all the stress I needed with my work situation (we had a gargantuan task of turning a company around).

Then, I got laid off.

I soon learned what a grand disservice I had done to myself, my career, and my family by being heads-down. When you are laid off, relatively new to where you live, no one knows you, and you know no one, you are in a bad situation. What’s worse, I was not prepared for this layoff and I didn’t really know what I was doing. So I did the wrong things.

Fast forward twelve years and things are different. I network. I work on my brand. And, I market myself.

CRINGE.

Most people I come across do not like the idea of personal marketing. It’s too much like bragging and self-aggrandizing. People can be comfortable talking about their company, and their projects, and their products, but generally we find it weird to talk about ourselves (in a good and appropriate way).

That should change. We should figure this out. I love recommending the book BRAG! (Peggy Klaus) as a way to help us rethink how we talk about ourselves.

But the reality is, we have to do it. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if we’re not perfect at it.

When you connect with my on LinkedIn my admin will accept the invitation and respond back with a two paragraph intro to me. It’s really more of a call to action than an intro… it has suggestions of things to do (like watch my Pluralsight videos and get on JibberJobber).

It is definitely marketing my stuff. It is talking about my stuff. Some people hate it… some people are fine with it, and some people think it’s cool. But I can’t let the haters tell me how to run my career. It’s like people saying “you shouldn’t go to a networking event… it’s like cheating on your boss.” Oh really?  I tell you what, you pay for the rest of my life, needs and wants, and then you can tell me how to manage my career. Otherwise, I have to do what I have to do. Even if it is hard or uncomfortable.

And that’s the scary truth: you… we… have to do this. We simply have to.

Don’t put yourself in a position where you are unknown and know no one. Instead, consistently work hard at helping people know who you are and what you have to offer.

It will be scary. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll second-guess yourself and your messaging. But you’ll get better over time. And it will pay off during the multiple career changes you experience throughout your career.

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Awesome Google Tips and Tricks Hacks from Job-Hunt!

January 15th, 2018

Susan Joyce loves to share ideas on how to optimize LinkedIn… she has a really good article on her site, Job-Hunt:

google-job-search-job-hunt

That post is really a reference page… don’t try to consume it all at once, but it would be good to bookmark it and come back to it.

Thanks Susan!

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New Icons for JibberJobber!

January 12th, 2018

We have been working on a massive project that touched almost every page in JibberJobber… I know we missed a few, but we got most of them! I’m talking about the icons… which were perhaps 8 to 11 years old. We’ve updated almost all of them.  Remember, you should be able to mouse over every icon to see what it does.  Here are some screen snippets:

On the right of the Contacts List Panel:

jibberjobber_new_icons_list_panel

In order:

  • Search for this Contact on Google
  • Search for this Contact on LinkedIn
  • Picture of this Contact (there are no pics on these 4)
  • Download to a vCard
  • Add a Log Entry
  • View this Record (I hardly use this, I normally click the Contact’s name)
  • Edit this Contact
  • Delete this Contact
  • See Tree View around this Contact

At the bottom of the Contacts List Panel:

jibberjobber_new_icons_multi_action

These are what I call multi-action icons because they perform a function to multiple records:

  • Add a Log Entry to multiple Contacts
  • Add/Manage Tags for selected Contacts
  • Get email addresses of selected Contacts
  • Download selected Contacts
  • Merge duplicates
  • Get a report with selected Contacts
  • Get another type of report with selected Contacts
  • Share these Contacts with another JibberJobber user
  • Delete selected Contacts
  • Play a video to show how these work

You should see new icons like these almost everywhere. If you find an old icon let us know… we’re making a list of places we missed.

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How To Start Over In JibberJobber (bulk delete, delete by import)

January 11th, 2018

Recently I’ve gotten a few emails asking how to delete all of your records and just start over. This might be because you did a job search five years ago and you just want a clean slate (there’s value in keeping the records from five years ago), or because you did an import from LinkedIn or Google Contacts and didn’t realize how dirty your data was.

Whatever the reason, there are two easy ways to delete all of your records:

Bulk Delete from List Panels

This is my favorite because you have more control over individual records.  You can do this from almost any List Panel in JibberJobber. Here are the basic steps:

  1. From the List Panel you want to clean up (say, Contacts), choose the Manage Columns icon and then show 255 records at a time.
  2. Check the checkboxes on the left (the very top one selects/unselects all of them) – note you can be selective down to each record
  3. At the bottom of the List Panel you’ll see a DELETE icon. Click that and you are on your way to cleaner data!

Check out this post with step-by-step pictures.

Bulk Delete by an Import

Let’s say you have imported a few thousands records from a csv file. You can delete every one of those records in one fell swoop.

  1. Mouse over Contacts, Companies, or Jobs, and click the Import/Export option.
  2. On the bottom-right there is a link: My Imports
  3. On the next page you’ll see imports you have done… you can either delete the imports one at a time, or use the List Panel bulk delete action, as per the steps above :)

Here’s a post with step-by-step pictures for deleting by import.

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Signup for Job Search and Career Management Newsletters!

January 10th, 2018

This is a newsletter for active job seekers. We’ll send you short, actionable, motivational emails three times a week:

This is a newsletter for anyone who cares about career management. We’ll send these once a week. They will include tactics, tips, and info about career management. This is a great way to keep career management a priority.

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Eric Shannon on Job Search Strategies and Tactics

January 5th, 2018

You probably haven’t heard of Eric Shannon. He’s a super cool guy, and really smart. He’s also been in the job board space for 20 years. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve had a few calls and emails with him over the years, and I respect everything he’s shared with me.  So now it’s my turn to share something awesome, from him, with you.

eric_shannon_linkedin

Eric wrote a post titled Use big-ticket sales techniques to get in the game – how to land the interview you want. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen. It’s deep, and kind of long, but it’s definitely a post I can stand behind.

As a bonus, his followup is a post on how to land the job offer. Great stuff!

 

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New Thoughts on Job Boards for 2018

January 4th, 2018

Job boards. Should you use them? Do you use them but feel guilty?

If you pay attention to career experts, they say to not waste time on job boards. But as a job seeker, this is where it feels most comfortable.  There’s a disparity somewhere… and a conflict.

I’ve been “down” on job boards sometimes, but I also recognize the value of job boards.  Here’s the real issue:

If you spend all (or most) of your time applying to jobs on job boards, you are generally wasting your time.  Or, you are investing your time in tactics that are less likely to get you closer to landing a job (that’s the more tactful way of putting it).

Why?

Any job seeker who has applied for a job knows about the great frustration of applying online. Specifically, uploading your resume, and then having to copy and paste info from the resume into a long form. This can easily take 45+ minutes per application.  If you do a few of these a day you spend more than half your day applying to jobs. This is mind-numbing, and for anyone who has been involved in process improvement, it’s frustrating.

What’s worse, the stats on job boards are not in your favor. Nick Corcodilos says that less than 3% of jobs are filled by people who apply online. So spending your time on job boards is like fishing in a hole that has little-to-no fish. Maybe that’s because so many postings aren’t real? Maybe it’s because the hiring decisions are generally made before a posting ever goes online? Maybe it’s because hiring managers like employee referrals more than random applications?

That’s the conventional wisdom: don’t use job boards (as a major part of your job search).  But again, we’re left at the conundrum!

My recent experience shows that job boards indeed have value.

As a job seeker I can get a thumb on what’s going on and who’s hiring from postings. Job boards make it easier to do “competitive intelligence” and learn about the landscape… who is hiring, what are they hiring for?

Here’s a tip that not many people talk about: the effectiveness of any job search tactics depends on many factors, including your level (executive or entry level), your location (small town or big city), your industry, etc.

Let me suggest some effective ways to use job boards:

  1. Use job boards to find leads on roles for companies you might not have heard of, or openings at companies you are interested in. This is lead generation and information gathering. This is your way to keep up on what the market looks like, what’s available, movement at companies, and even company changes/strategies.
  2. Use email alerts to avoid spending too much time searching on job boards. For my level and experience I’ve found LinkedIn to be the best, most accurate source of real postings. You might find other boards to be better. Set up email alerts so you are just checking your email daily instead of spending time in the black hole of job boards.
  3. When you find roles, study them. In my first big job search I was looking for project manager and business analyst roles, and had never heard of product manager roles (which is what I really wanted, I just didn’t know they existed). Job boards are a great place to find trending roles and things that you might not have heard about before.
  4. As you prepare for interviews (or your targeted resume, or cover letters, or even networking), print out ten postings of the title you are interested in and study them. You should find consistent words and phrases and you might fish out something unique here or there.  All of this will help you make a better communication plan. You should pick up on jargon, and trends within your role. This is one of the best ways I can think of to quickly come up to speed on things you need to know, and be able to talk, about.

And really, it’s okay to apply to jobs online. In my experience, even when networking into companies you’ll hear “apply online, and then call this person.” Applying online gets you in the system.

My advice, though, is to not spend hours everyday applying online. Apply for jobs that you are really interested in, and then network to learn about some of the “maybe” jobs.

The biggest problem with job boards is when they consume your job search time. Make sure you use job boards in a balanced way (implement other tactics, like networking!!), and use them in the right ways (as opposed to just finding openings and applying online!).

That’s my take for job boards in 2018.

 

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I Believe in Cover Letters

January 2nd, 2018

Over the years I’ve heard, and written, about cover letters. The big question is should you really spend time on them?

YES, absolutely, is my answer.

When I’ve been a hiring manager I’ve read every cover letter I got. First, I skimmed it. If the resume showed the person was competent and could do the job, then I’d go back to the cover letter to see if I could pull out more information.

Should you really take the time to write a cover letter? You have nothing to lose (it’s never bad to write one), and only good to gain (if you do it well).

With that in mind, let me point you to my friend Barb Poole’s LinkedIn article titled 7 Cover Letter Myths You Should Consider. Read each of them… not just to get sold on cover letters, but to learn how to write better cover letters!

barb_poole_cover_letters

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A Few More Days Until No More Excuses

December 29th, 2017

Today is December 29th. Sunday is New Years Eve, then Monday is a real holiday.  And that, my friends, marks the end of the “holiday season” that too many job seekers take off.

I hope that you had interviews (which I know have happened over the last few weeks), and that you’ve worked on your marketing stuff.

Specifically:

  • Does your resume and LinkedIn profile have the right messaging?
  • Have you spent time figuring out your messaging and branding?
  • Have you made any decisions or discoveries about target companies?
  • Do you have a networking plan to “hit it hard” in January?

It is time. Crunch time. No more holiday excuses. Are you ready?

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Soft Skills FTW

December 28th, 2017

Sorry, FTW was so 2016. Or 2015. Anyway, my point is, soft skills are awesome!

The Washington Post has an article titled The surprising thing Google learned about its employees — and what it means for today’s students

Today’s students. I believe we are all students of and in life, so that means us.

The premise of the article can be summed up in this: “STEM skills are vital to the world we live in today, but technology alone, as Steve Jobs famously insisted, is not enough.”  This is pretty big, considering it comes from a company that used to care only about mega-tech abilities.

You aren’t a programmer? Maybe… just maybe, that is okay!

You aren’t technical? Perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope that you have a place in this world!

I’ve been looking at a lot of job postings lately… there are a lot of desperate recruiters hoping to find technologists. And those jobs pay crazy well. But indeed, non-technical people are needed. Furthermore, technical people with soft skills are really needed… even if companies seem to only focus on hard skills.

No matter what you want your next gig to be, let me encourage you to improve your soft skills. Surprisingly, one of my top courses on Pluralsight is to help you become a better listener. An active listener. An engaged communicator. Other soft skills might be empathy, outbound communication (writing and talking), presentation, persuasion, patience, perseverance, etc.

Some people are naturally good at some of these. But these are skills, and skills can be learned and improved.

So learn. And improve.

Check out my 29 soft skills courses on Pluralsight here. You can get a free 10 day pass on the site, or if you ask me nicely I might be able to hook you up with a 30 day pass. Watch any of my courses and get upgrades on JibberJobber (win-win!), but the real benefit is that you can learn and improve your soft skills.

That sounds like a great personal goal for 2018!

 

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