November 2006 “You Get It” Award goes to… Heather Henricks!!!

November 30th, 2006

Heather Henricks - Personal Branding Done Right!This month I got a number of submissions, some of which I’m holding for future months, but I wanted to recognize Heather Henricks’ site this month. It is quite different than the past winners, and I’ve been thinking about those differences for quite a while! But in going over Heather’s site I’m convinced that this is an excellent model for anyone to help them substantiate their personal brand.

It should be noted that this is a site that (a) was not created from a simple template like what a blog platform would offer, and (b) she actually worked with a personal branding company (Brandego) to get this done. More on Brandego later. Let’s check out some of the things I liked (in no particular order):

  • Testimonials from coworkers – hey, why put something like “references available on request” when you can plug in a concise quote from someone that supports how great I am? This is a nice touch, and the formatting is very classy.
  • Choice of verbage increases her value way over what a resume could do – Heather was recruited from PayScale” (sounds prestigous), “recruitment by Microsoft’s MSN Gaming Zone” (not only an awesome company but an awesome division!), “the keen ability to translate consumer research in a way that resonates with internal stakeholders” (so she’ll care about me, as an internal stakeholder, if I hire her) – this isn’t stuff that doesn’t belong in a resume, but there is so much, and it flows so well, that it is… different.
  • Pictures bring her down to earth and share her personality – her with dog, her with bike, by the lake, etc. This is a cool, relaxed, adventurous person, and I can tell she has work-life balance (whatever that means :))
  • colors are warm and inviting, relaxing – coming from a guy that doesn’t know much about colors, that’s all the color-analysis you’ll get from me :)
  • navigation is very simple to follow – if I’m the hiring manager I see exactly what I want to see – about, strengths, career highlights (that doesn’t fit on a blog like it does here)… you can see this in the little image on the top right of this post.
  • Outside stuff, like the quote on the Volunteer page isn’t specifically about her, but it resonates the altruistic nature of volunteering – and you can see that she is involved in various organizations. It is nice to have quotes be about a purpose and not all about how great she is.
  • Testimonial and images right in her resume – that’s cool and only looks good on the web (wouldn’t look good on paper).

I would really really like to see her blogging, but since she doesn’t have one I’m assuming that perhaps she is just too busy (hm.. so does this mean I’m not too busy 😉). A blog can really help her community and readers understand her breadth and depth, where her mind is at, etc. At the same time, she never has to worry about “open-mouth-insert-foot” like the rest of us bloggers. But she seems so cool that I could see her blogging and sharing more of her personal and professional life like Heather Hamilton over at Microsoft.

Overall, what I see here is a professional site representing a professional person. No comment on whether she is employed or not (I’m guessing she has a job, and is a very active networker), so I’d say that this is an excellent example of creating a personal brand when she doesn’t necessarily need it.

Way to go Heather! You get the cyber-high-five as well as 6 months (that is up from 3 months) of free Premium features in JibberJobber! … and don’t forget that you are linked over on the left, under the “You Get It!” category :) :)


A little self promotion never hurt anyone

November 29th, 2006

Webware - Cool Web Apps for EveryoneI didn’t plan on blogging twice today, but I can’t pass this one up. I’d like to share with you a write-up on JibberJobber from a CNET website, Rafe Needleman is the editor, and has a long history of writing about tech companies. I’m honored that he spent time poking around JibberJobber and doing this write-up. Notice that the image on his post is a screen that he grabbed with his own data, so you can see that he actually played around with it! Go check out what Rafe has to say and then, if you have a digg account, please click here to digg it.

Now, my comments on his post (you didn’t think I would leave it at that, did you??):

First, the tagline in the logo is “cool web apps for everyone” … I know JibberJobber is cool, and I’m really glad to see that it made it in this write-up because it really is, in my opinion, for everyone. Whether you are in your job search or not (and Rafe talks about this) it has applicability to you!

Second, he says there are some worksheets to create your own personal 30 second pitch. Make that, pitches. This is critical because you may have a pitch for an interview with a big company that is different than the pitch for the small company. And then there are the pitches for the casual networking event, the bumped-into-you at the grocery store, the pitch for position x and a pitch for position y, etc. A pitch for your own business, your hobby, etc. You probably can’t have too many pitches.

Third, he says the user interface is “downright plain and lacks a few buttons” – good thing this is web-based so that those additional buttons can just show up once we develop them! As far as being plain, we work hard to keep everything as simple as possible, and more importantly, uncluttered. I don’t have any sponsors yet… I’d love to have some sponsors but I dread figuring out how to put their images up without detracting from the application. I want to make this a pleasant experience for you!

Fourth, and this blew me away, he says “In some ways, JibberJobber is a completely private version of LinkedIn…” What a compliment! I see it as a complementary toolset to LinkedIn and other social networking sites, but to even be compared with a powerhouse like LinkedIn is a great complement.

I’ll be grinning all night long, but I must give credit where its due (read: this is going to sound like I’ve just received an Emmy or something – skip this paragraph if you don’t want to get cheesed-out). I have a very talented development team behind me, and there is no way that we could be where we are at with such a classy product without this outstanding talent. I’d like to name them but, well, I can’t yet :) Also, I have been honored to have been featured in many blog posts from veteran bloggers and newbies alike, and that has significantly contributed to “where I’m at.” Equally important is the feedback that I’ve received from users who have asked for simple changes to make it work a little better, or huge changes to add significant features. All of this has helped the product grow as it should. Last but not least, my investors and mentors have been steadfast and encouraging, and have played a significant role in helping me iron out the business.

Its been a fun ride and, as usual, I have some cool news coming soon. Stay tuned!


Miscellaneous Miercoles

November 29th, 2006

Seems to roll off the tongue better than “Miscellaneous Wednesday,” doesn’t it? Well, I’ve been accumulating some fun things that I wanted to pass along to you and today’s the day to do it! Read on for various things that you might want to learn more about…

Rock Your Network Teleseminar – tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov 30 2006) afternoon (check link for your time zone) – this is a 90 minute seminar on the phone (read: if you are at home, it is casual dress 😉 that should get you on-track for effective networking. I can only imagine that it will be full of basic and advanced networking tips, examples of techniques, etc. I’ve known Wendy for a few months and she is highly regarding in the coaching world – this is $10 to listen in, another $5 if you want the MP3, and another $5 if you want a transcript. I’d definitely pay the $10 and listen in, especially if you are frustrated with your networking results or you haven’t really begun to network yet (trust me, better to learn about it in this 90 minute call than to spend 3 – 6 months making mistakes).

Mike Murray’s second free teleseminar is tomorrow – I was on the teleseminar yesterday and found it interesting (it was about integrated thinking from a non-techie – talking with techies about how to be more successful in their jobs and career management). Tomorrow’s sounds very very interesting to me. A bonus is that it is in Canada so us Americans get to chuckle as the pronounse various words (ie. process) and wonder what the correct pronounciation really is! I highly recommend this call, its free and should be insightful. I think it will be about an hour. I really think people like Carl Chapman should listen in as there might be some stuff to learn from another recruiter in a totally niche area (and another country), and I think that Mike should invite Carl to be one of his interviewees sometime down the road… if nothing else his southern accent is fun to hear! No really, I know Carl will have good insight, even though its a different industry, it should be a great cross-pollinization discussion. And for non-recruiters, I’d say its a must – if you manage techies, are a techie, or have any career consternation!

New York Job Lynx (that is, – as a job seeker I was uber-frustrated by all of the “resources” available to me, and the fact that I could spend all day looking for them and all night sifting through them. Know what I mean? This is a site that claims to have all of the resources that you could ever want if you live in New York City. This is a pay-site – so you have to pay to get access, but they claim to have a money-back guarantee. I think that if I were looking for a site in New York I’d check it out just because they supposedly accumulate lots of stuff of interest specifically to New Yorkers. If it gets to overwhelming you might want to find a tool to manage it all … like, er, JibberJobber 😉

Finally, there is a new game that you might want to check out if you have an entreprenuruel spirit, or want to make money online. You may have heard of Robert Kiyosaki’s (Rich Dad, Poor Dad – note he’s different that Guy Kawasaki) board game kind of like Monopoly – this other game claims to be the first and only internet marketing board game – its even called… Internet Marketing Board Game! The idea behind this kind of game is that you have a ton of fun while learning about techniques, processes, tools, etc. From what I understand the team behind this game has done a ton of research (they have their own company that teaches people this stuff) and done “testing” in southern California (I’m guessing that testing a board game is way more fun than testing software!) So why do I post this here? Because my message is about career management, and there are a ton of people that have other income streams that help in case of a job loss. It is not cheap, and I haven’t played it yet, but knowing these ladies it is complete and fun. Geez, I wonder why I haven’t been invited to play, as they live in the same city as I do :(

I think that’s it… just some miscellanous stuff for today!


More Videos – highly recommended

November 28th, 2006

Well, they are highly recommended by me :) Actually, I recorded these last night after playing around with my audio for about 3 hours… and then suddenly, and finally, it worked! So I recorded these as fast as I could before my audio crashed again 😉

As usual, this is unplugged, unscripted, but helpful all the same!

Expense Tracker (1 minute, 45 seconds) – This is a cute premium feature that was requested by a small outplacement firm that I met about 6 months ago. It is a very simple way to track expenses and mileage, and you can categorize each “expense” as you wish. Everyone that is (or was) a premium user and adds data into this will get an e-mail at the end of every January with an itemized list that you can take to your accountant and perhaps get a write-off. I think that in various cases (job search, own your own business) the expense of JibberJobber is a tax write-off!

How to Add a Job Feed (1 minute, 31 seconds) – I admit that I don’t like “feeds”… but check out this short video to see how cool it is, and how to get value out of a job feed. Trust me, if you don’t know what it means then you need to spend a couple of minutes watching this – if you do know what feeds are then check it out anyway because this a very cool use of feeds (and fits perfectly into’s feed model).

Job Feeds Creating a New Job Record (1 minute, 37 seconds) – Kind of Part II to the job feed video, which shows you how to quickly click on a job feed and add that as a job record. Very cool.

Action Items Explained (2 minute, 33 seconds) – Action Items are pretty simple but I figured this video would help solidify what they are, and how to get the best out of them.

Tags Explained (1 minute, 22 seconds) – You NEED TO use tags… if you don’t, then watch this quick video and see how easy it is to use them. It is super valuable.

Tags to E-mails? (2 minute, 03 seconds) – This is unbelievable, and I’ve been wanting this for months! No matter who you are (active job seeker, small business owner, whatever) this makes JibberJobber worth it. Note that it is a part of the premium features, maybe this is the thing that makes it worth the upgrade!

Comments Off on More Videos – highly recommended

Really Really BIG Release!

November 27th, 2006

Houston Job Feed from SimplyHiredOnce again my development team has amazed me with this next round of updates and enhancements. I will have videos on it soon, but wanted to summarize it here because there are a lot of little changes that you should notice:

  • Small “polish” things such as:
    • ordering data in drop downs – previously not ordered in a logical fashion, now alphabetical.
    • better (correct) formatting on the display of addresses on the Maps section.
  • Medium “polish” things such as enhanced navigation in the List Panel, including:
    • putting the icons that are above the List Panel also below the List Panel (on the right).
    • Allowing a user preference so that if you have lots of data, the List Panel column won’t be stretched… you can now say you want to only show x characters for that cell.
    • When you add a new log it shows up in a “shadow box” which allows for better navigation.
    • Enhanced preference on the List Panel – as requested, I’m now allowing you to turn the icons on or off… just click on Manage Columns and you’ll see each of those icons there with checkboxes. If you don’t want to see any of them just uncheck the checkboxes!
    • Because of new stuff we mixed up the main menu a little. Gone are the “My…”, now My Companies is just Companies, My Network is just Network, etc. We needed this extra room!
    • Also, you’ll notice more options under each menu item if you mouse over them – this way you can do the more common tasks without having to click to a new page and wait for it to come up.
  • HUGE enhancements – this has been much requested ever since day one, but we wanted to ensure that we were ahead of the curve instead of playing catchup… so here it is:
    • There is now a JOBS section. You can add/track your job posting applications independently of any company. This means that you can create a “job posting” record just like you create a company record or network contact record, and have log entries on it. Note that you can do it WITHIN the company page as well as outside of the company posting page! Very very cool, and flexible.
    • RSS feed interface – this is cool – you can say what RSS feeds you want (for example, if you do a search on SimplyHired you can save the search criteria as an RSS feed), and then get the feeds all in one place. But that isn’t cool – that is … well, ordinary. What is uber-cool is that you can then click on the job that comes through the feed and automatically add it to your job section, as a new record! This means that if you use SimplyHired to look for job leads, and you find one that you want to apply for, just click to add it as a record and you can then track that lead through the entire process (the image on this post shows the link to quickly add it to your list)! Awesome! It almost makes me want to brag that JibberJobber is Web 2.0!
    • Tagging and e-mail addresses – Here’s a little Jason Alba secret – I use tags on all of my network contacts. If I want to send you a Christmas card I’ll put “xmas” as a tag. If you are a blogger then I’ll put “blogger” as a tag. Here’s where it gets cool… in the get phone list page (this is a premium feature – its just $10/month!) I have the option to get just the e-mail addresses for whatever tag(s) I want. So I can get the e-mail addy’s of all my blogger buddies at very quickly… this is a very good reason to use tags, and will save tons of time as I’ll have my most current e-mail lists always at my fingertips!
      • To go along with this enhancement, we’ve added a dropdown to the right of the “Tags” field (when entering a new contact) – this has previously used tags. If you want to tag someone with an already used tag (like blogger), just click on “blogger” in the dropdown (or whatever you have already put in), and it will automatically be added as a tag for that person!

And finally, has anyone not been annoyed when they add a new contact, and forget to take the “invite this person” check out of the checkbox, it sends an invitation to JibberJobber? Well, here’s the deal – we moved it to the very bottom, right by the submit button, and it is NOT checked by default. But please please please invite all of your friends and contacts, as appropriate. Once they are JibberJobber users you can begin to send them contact information and other stuff, so it is worth it to have some contacts that are users!

I promise to have some new videos out to show some of these things soon!


The Professional’s Job Search Creed – 5 of 10

November 27th, 2006

This is part of a series where I’ll introduce 10 points of a creed, and comment on them. The series is summarized as we go (see bottom of post) and you can link back to the commentary on any of the 10 in that summary.

Here’s number five – common sense but one of the hardest things to do, in my opinion (I’ll comment why down below):

5. I will identify and understand the needs of my target market – looking for industry gaps, problems and trends – and will target my best prospects within that market. I will do the same for each target company I am pursuing.

Why do I think this is one of the hardest things to do in a job search? Probably because I only have x hours a day to dedicate to a job search (mine early on was 60 hours a week – lots of time on job boards :() – and I’m continually reminded that it is “a numbers game.” So I need to make sure that I keep pounding the numbers (the “work hard” strategy, as opposed to the “work smart” strategy). But I also realize that I need to study and understand the industry, and further, the needs of the industry. And I can spend a lot of time doing that :) Its much easier to study and learn about an industry that I’m interested in than it is to, well, do the things that I need to do in order to find that next job!

So I submit that the reason this may be the hardest thing to do is because it can get out of hand, and take away from other important activities that I should be doing.

Now, having said that, I think that this is an excellent time to go back and read some of those magazines and articles, conference speeches, white papers, etc. Shoot, go read stuff from other industries and see what can transfer back to “your” industry! This is a great time to “sharpen the saw.” I would suggest that the time that you used to spend in a commute should be spent to sharpen your saw. Even further, if possible, this might be a great time to publish a paper (which you can distribute to your old contacts, magazine editors or through an article distribution service) – this will help with your personal brand and allow you to keep your mind within your expertise.

How about some “out of the box” ways to identify and understand the needs of your target market or company that you are targeting? Sure, read stuff, go online, etc. But invite people to lunches or breakfasts and pick their brains. I just had a 2 hour breakfast this morning with Devon Thorpe, who’s blog I’ve been following, and found it to be a rich discussion on various things – and I came back refreshed, encouraged and more knowledgeable about a great deal of things that I’ve been needing to catch up on. Not only did I learn about a variety of things, I was able to figure out where Devon stands on these things. To know what opinions and perceptions of the experts are, and perhaps contrast them to what I read, is super-valuable.

So, if you are targeting a specific industry or company the best way to get real juicy information is to get familiar with what you can read but then go ask some insiders and experts. One funny side-benefit that I didn’t expect from this morning was that Devon mentioned some folks that I now want to get to know… further building my network!

One final note on the “research” thing. When I was getting my MBA I remember someone summing up the difference between an undergraduate student vs. a graduate student. The undergrad reads the book and marvels in the wisdom and knowledge (in other words, they accept what is written), where the graduate student challenges most of what is written! Make sure that, as you learn about things, you drill deeper and ask “why,” which should help you think about some alternative solutions that may not be so apparent to those that are deep into the problem.

Ok – so to wrap up this point – think of how knowledgeable and current you can be in an interview situation (formal or informal) having sharpened your saw (or axe, as Abe Lincoln said) in this way, knowing not just what everyone else knows but what the experts think. Very powerful stuff.

Running List:

  1. I will get a job coach (not my spouse) to hold me accountable for my job search efforts. I will encourange him or her to be honest and indicate that feedback is the greatest gift that I could receive. I will ask for at least weekly contact. (read the post here)
  2. I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here)
  3. I will attend the Professional Career Workshop and attend at least one Professional Networking Group each week. (read the post here)
  4. I will define and continually refine my professional brand and unique value-added proposition. (read the post here)
  5. I will identify and understand the needs of my target market – looking for industry gaps, problems and trends – and will target my best prospects within that market. I will do the same for each target company I am pursuing.
  6. (haven’t done yet)
  7. (haven’t done yet)
  8. (haven’t done yet)
  9. (haven’t done yet)
  10. (haven’t done yet)

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Black Friday

November 24th, 2006

So today is Black Friday – there are many different definitions of it, Brian at New York Daily Photo has a fun write-up (with a link to other definitions of Black Friday) you should check out, and picture of the Target promotion kickoff. Ah, to live in New York!

Anyway, my favorite definition of Black Friday is that it is the “make it or break it” day for retailers. Supposedly they operate in the red (aka, at a loss) until today, and then today they catch up and are profitable until the end of the year. I can imagine its a fun day for corporate accountants as they nervously chew on the end of their pencils, hoping that it is make it rather than break it!

At my last company we were working towards our own Black Friday – the day when our books would go from red to black. We were a startup with a bunch of typical startup problems and opportunities, and the standard excitement and dreams. But I wasn’t around long enough to see the Black Friday come. No matter how many long days, weekends, worked holidays, sacrifices, etc. I was shown the door before we got to our Black Friday. One of the hardest parts of getting laid off was feeling that all that I had done and built was going to be enjoyed by the guy that took my place.

Ain’t that life? Honestly, I’m glad it happened. Now, 10 months later, I can say that it is one of the best things that has happened to me. Sometimes career paths that seem exciting are really going nowhere. And progress with JibberJobber has been so swift, so exciting that I’d rather be on this train, my train, than that one.

But it was devastating at the time it happened. And for months following.

As festive as the holidays are (I love this time of the year) there will be tens of thousands of employees laid off. That is, tens of thousands of families affected by some kind of financial impact. Depression (been there), anger (been there), despair (been there)… all of these emotions will have a major impact.

I know its good for companies to fix themselves, and trim costs. For the most part it is better that the tens of thousands are “trimmed” than the hundreds and hundreds of thousands are hurt (think: Enron (although “a layoff” wouldn’t have fixed Enron’s problems)).

But its still a very difficult time for most people. What average person has a nest egg that can carry them through this difficult period?? I didn’t. (I had a little over $1,000… and the next Saturday I spent about $900 to fix my cars :()

I would ask you, if you can, to try and find someone in your neighborhood, or in your circle of friends, or your friends friends, who may be going through a difficult time in this season, and extend a hand. Here are some ideas (from my personal experience this year):

  • Gift certificates to the local grocery store. Aside from mortgage, the groceries was the next biggest single cost, and getting gift certificates was a huge stress-reliever.
  • Dinners. A neighbor brought over dinners from “My Girlfriend’s Kitchen” that were frozen – enough to stuff our freezer. These were so nice because with all the other stuff going on, and the emotions, we could just plop one in the oven and we’d have a really nice dinner within the hour.
  • Lunches. My wife’s friend called one day to ask if she could take her out to lunch. It was awesome because my wife had been quietly bearing a lot of the stress of the layoff (we really didn’t know what or how to communicate early on – it was very weird). This friend had gone through over a year of unemployment with her husband and was just the right person at the time to charge my wife’s batteries. What a great blessing it was for that friend to reach out and spend time with my wife.
  • Other gifts, left anonymously on our porch. During this time of “what can we cut out of our budget” we would open the door to boxes of food or clothes. We didn’t think of needing clothes but our kids were growing and the gifts of clothing for them was much appreciated.
  • Offer to babysit. Sounds like common sense but some people need their kids to be watched, and even spending a few dollars for babysitting can be overwhelming. This may be for a job interview, a few quite hours to study or gain sanity, or go shopping for new clothes for an interview… it doesn’t matter. Offering to watch the kids for free is a great help.
  • Open your network. I had a bunch of friends want to give me advice and help me with my resume, but one of the greatest, most sincere actions was from those that wanted to put me in touch with someone in their network. I’m still reluctant to open mine to everyone, but when I have gained confidence that the recipient isn’t going to mess it up, I will gladly help with my connections.

There are a bunch of other ideas. But note that many of these don’t require money out of your pocket.

One final note – it is really hard for people like me to say “thank you.” It is an embarrassing time, and I figured I’d say thank you once I got my job. But that didn’t happen, and as the months passes, it became more awkward. Please don’t get offended if the recipient doesn’t say thanks – I think most people are used to giving and not getting.


The Professional’s Job Search Creed – 4 of 10

November 22nd, 2006

This is part of a series where I’ll introduce 10 points of a creed, and comment on them. The series is summarized as we go (see bottom of post) and you can link back to the commentary on any of the 10 in that summary.

This fourth point is obviously one of my favorites, and I am surprised that I don’t see more blogs/websites on this topic (there are some links on the left to bloggers that cover this topic (here are some must reads), and I have a category for it on this blog):

4. I will define and continually refine my professional brand and unique value-added proposition.

I love this topic of personal branding because I didn’t have one, and see so many professionals who I think are “water walkers” but use only their resume to substantiate “who they are.”

I tell people that developing and communicating your personal brand is basically trying to let others know what your breadth and depth is. If I’m evaluating you for a job position, or to be a speaker at a conference, or a partner in a venture, I’m going to want to know how much you know, and what your boundaries are. This breadth/depth thing can be used to quantify your experiences, passions, expertise… etc. But I don’t think that any would argue that a resume is the tool to quantify the breadth and depth, or at least give me a real “big picture” view of who you are, right?

Defining your personal brand can be a little tricky. What I used to say was “I have an MBA.” Or, “I am the General Manager.” Or, “I am a programmer.” But the problem with these statement is that it allows others to stereotype you so fast that you might not have an opportunity to work yourself out of that stereotype. Yuck!

For example, when I asked my then-employer if they would pay for my MBA the answer I got was “the owner of the company feels that MBA stands for ‘more bad answers.'” I took that as a NO. But it got worse.

After I got my MBA, when I was in board meetings or executive/strategy meetings, I would say something that would trigger a comment like “Well, Jason here with his MBA-answers…. ” So my personal brand was becoming associated with previous stereotypes that I had nothing to do with, and people weren’t listening to the message because they had already formed an opinion on who I was and what I had to offer.

I think the other challenge of defining a personal brand is to not sound cliche. Ever here someone that is “a strategic problem solver with the ability to get the job done on-time and under budget“… ? You have to figure out how to concisely define what your personal brand is without painting yourself into a corner, or sounding like more blah blah blah (which I’m guessing interviewers hear all day long).

So Jason, just how do you do that?

Glad you asked 😉 I don’t want to sound myopic but I am a huge fan of blogs to help substantiate your personal brand. One of my favorite examples is last month’s monthly winner of the “You Get It” award, Kent Blumberg. Kent is a senior executive who could easily have a 3+ page resume full of all kinds of cool things. But if you go check out his blog, you’ll see a history of posts that continually exemplify his breadth and depth. He shows his breadth by blogging on a wide variety of topics, and he shows his depth by drilling down on those topics. Also, the book reviews he writes show’s you where his interests are, and his ability to learn from and critique the expert’s works.

If you want to begin to understand the full breadth and depth of Kent Blumberg, are you going to get it from his resume, or his blog?

I know many of you have concerns about blogging – I did too. And we all know the world doesn’t need another bad blog (that was one reason why I didn’t want to blog :) :)), but don’t think of this as “adding yet another blog”… you have to think of this as “how can I use this technology to quantify my breadth and depth?” If you have a better way to do it, let me know – I’d love to hear it. This is just my little myopic world I live in.

One more thing – and here is probably one of the main reasons that I love the idea of creating and communicating your personal brand – YOU are bigger than YOUR JOB. Aren’t you going to change jobs in the next 5 – 10 years anyway? Your job will not last forever, but your personal brand will. And it is in your control to brand yourself – why not take charge of it proactively?

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, whether you begin to do it or not, you already have a personal brand! You might want to figure out what it is and change it, if it doesn’t jive with what you want it to be :)

Running List:

  1. I will get a job coach (not my spouse) to hold me accountable for my job search efforts. I will encourange him or her to be honest and indicate that feedback is the greatest gift that I could receive. I will ask for at least weekly contact. (read the post here)
  2. I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here)
  3. I will attend the Professional Career Workshop and attend at least one Professional Networking Group each week. (read the post here)
  4. I will define and continually refine my professional brand and unique value-added proposition.
  5. (haven’t done yet)
  6. (haven’t done yet)
  7. (haven’t done yet)
  8. (haven’t done yet)
  9. (haven’t done yet)
  10. (haven’t done yet)

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The Professional’s Job Search Creed – 3 of 10

November 21st, 2006

This is part of a series where I’ll introduce 10 points of a creed, and comment on them. The series is summarized as we go (see bottom of post) and you can link back to the commentary on any of the 10 in that summary.

This third point is rather interesting, and I wouldn’t have followed it if you gave it to me right after I got laid off:

3. I will attend the Professional Career Workshop and attend at least one Professional Networking Group each week.

Ok, let’s get the proprietary out of the way, and then we’ll go more general. The Professional Career Workshop is usually a 2-day workshop that is sponsored by the LDS church, and it is always free. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are, and stays focused on career/employment issues for the professional. There are locations around the world that offer these workshops, you can go to (which switches to and then in the upper right click on Locations to find the office closest to you (this link might work, until they change it). Just call the number, ask if and when they have a professional career workshop, and sign up to go. They people there are mostly volunteers so be nice.

Alternatively, you could ask a recruiter or university career counselor if they know of any workshops. Sometimes the workforce services (state agency) has workshops. You just need to specify that you are a professional so they don’t put you in the “this is a computer… that is a mouse…” workshop.

I avoided this like the plague for 6 weeks. Why? Because I was busy getting a job! What could these people tell me (after all, I have been a General Manager and hired tons (ok, a few) of people in my short career), I had a tech degree, and an MBA… etc etc etc. I figured I knew pretty much how to get the job done. And I worked my tail off. When people suggested I take 2 days out of my search to go to this workshop I said “I’m too busy looking for a job to take 2 days off!” And thus I went on, fruitlessly, pounding away at the job boards in the wrong way.

What a waste of time that was.

I seem to remember Abe Lincoln said something like “If I have 6 hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend 5 hours sharpening my ax.” Feel free to correct the quote, but you get the point – don’t go swinging like a crazy person for the entire 6 hours! Figure out what the tools are, optimize them, and then use them the way they were designed! If I would have gone to that workshop earlier I would not have had all of the emotional stress that long-term unemployment brought, as I would have optimized my time and the resources available and found gainful employment.

So go find some kind of workshop where you can learn about the processes.

With regard to the weekly networking meetings, I had an interesting experience last week. I went with a buddy of mine (a network contact and good friend) to a marketing association monthly meeting. WOW! What a terrific networking environment! There wasn’t talk about jobs, and everyone was seated pretty much the entire time. But it was a loosely structured discussion and it was a great opportunity to get to know others, and learn about their expertise and passion! If networking is about building relationships then this was a perfect environment as we talked about best practices in affiliate marketing and learned how we could help others, or others could help us… it was a very friendly and synergistic forum. There were only about 20 people there, which helped make it more cozy. But the discussion and relationship building was rich!

I go to another weekly networking event that is full of job seekers (professionals and executives), and that is rich also, but this was very different. Both are super valuable to me, for different reasons. The question for you is, what forums do you go to? With what frequency? What are the types of people that go?

If you are unemployed and/or seriously looking you need to go to at least 1 event per week. Even if you have to pay to get there, go at least weekly (I know many folks locally that go to as many as they can, which might be 3 – 5 per week). If you are not heavily looking right now, you should be going to at least 1 or 2 events per month. Let this be an opportunity to “cross-polinate” with other in our out of your industry. Develop relationships, help others, share passions. But get out there. If you get the pink slip the last thing you want to think is “I should have been going to that meeting, but I didn’t make time. I don’t really know anyone locally that might be able to help me.” As Seth Godin said, it is the wrong time to network!

Wow, I didn’t expect that one little sentence to produce so many thoughts. But I gotta run to a network meeting RIGHT NOW – it starts at 8am! What network meeting are you going to this month?

Running List:

  1. I will get a job coach (not my spouse) to hold me accountable for my job search efforts. I will encourange him or her to be honest and indicate that feedback is the greatest gift that I could receive. I will ask for at least weekly contact. (read the post here)
  2. I will network for contacts, opportunities and more market knowledge; making at least 10 networking contacts each day and working towards at least 10 interviews each week; with at least five of those with decision makers. (read the post here)
  3. I will attend the Professional Career Workshop and attend at least one Professional Networking Group each week.
  4. (haven’t done yet)
  5. (haven’t done yet)
  6. (haven’t done yet)
  7. (haven’t done yet)
  8. (haven’t done yet)
  9. (haven’t done yet)
  10. (haven’t done yet)

Furst Person provides a call center simulation service to employers.


2 More How-To Videos

November 20th, 2006

Phone List - from JibberJobberI’m having too much fun with this video software… and it is as unscripted and unplugged as it gets! Here are the next two that you might want to check out:

Get Contact List – I figure you shouldn’t be at your computer all day long – even social networkers need to get away and meet people face-to-face! So here is a way that you can print out the people that you have as contacts, using printer inks – whether they are company and/or network, by tag, category, etc. This is how you export to a csv or vcard file to allow you to send to other programs (like Outlook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc.)… it kind of looks scary but hopefully this tuturial will help you see how easy it really is. Note this is one of the premium features, definitely worth the upgrade, don’t you think?

The List Panel defined – I refer to a thing called the List Panel, which is like a spreadsheet interface + web interface. This short video shows what the List Panel is (there is a List Panel in various places…) and what the different things mean. This is a “must see” video to help you get the best out of the JibberJobber interface, at least with regard to this feature.

Let me know if the videos are problematic for you, otherwise I’ll keep cranking them out!

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