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Another Serendipitous Interview (and How Total Picture Affected Me In 2006)

June 18th, 2007

Total Picture with Peter ClaytonLast year I had a podcast interview that changed the course of business for the year. In fact, because of that interview, and a series of events, I will soon officially announce that JibberJobber will power the career portal for the largest association in the world. More on that later. But this all started after I had an interview with Peter Clayton, owner of TotalPicture.

You can hear the first interview here: Track Your Career – JibberJobber Puts You in Control

We recently did a “wow, that was a cool year!” interview, which he just posted to his site today. Check out Get Your Act together with JibberJobber, which is a 20 minute interview where we talk about the previous year. Peter asks some questions that I think are on everyone’s mind. These interviews are fun but I think the results prove that I’ll never have the finesse to be a politician :).

I finally met Peter Clayton in person at Kennedy’s Recruiting 2007, which is a conference for recruiters. I met a ton of really cool people that are concerned about the candidate experience, and are looking for ways to enrich it and give the candidate the respect that we all thought we would get!

Anyway, after hanging out with Peter, getting to know him better and even watching him in action (he was doing interviews and taking pictures all over the place), I have a ton of respect for him. He’s still larger than life, as far as I’m concerned, and a genuinely nice guy.

Beyond being cool, Peter interviews leaders and experts in the HR space regularly. If you have any interest in HR, recruiting, job search or any related field I strongly encourage you to check out TotalPicture.com. I regularly check out who he is interviewing to see who I’d like to start a relationship with (oops, did I just let my competition know about one of my networking secrets?)!

Again, here’s the link to the 20 minute interview. Enjoy!


Get the latest Internet recruiting buzz at Cheezhead.

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Updated Features – Little Things

June 15th, 2007

Hey folks, a quick post to let you know about a few things we enhanced. Nothing huge here but it all goes towards the “polish JibberJobber and make it a better experience for you” mission that we’re on. Here’s a run-down:

On the list panel and detail pages you’ll see a new icon for “Google.” If you click on that icon you will automatically launch a Google search. For example, if you are on a company page (American Express) and click on that icon you’ll open a new search on American Express. If you are on a contact page (William Arruda) you’ll open a new search for William Arruda. Super simple yet functional :) Hat-tip to Jobster for the cool idea.

Google Icon on the list panelGoogle icon on the detail page

On the Interview Preparation area, we added some icons to add, edit and delete for better navigation. This was clunky before but now a lot easier to use. When you click on View for anything in Interview Prep you’ll see these icons and can manage your data easier.

Interview Prep - New icons on view page for better navigation

On the Add a Contact to my Network page, the initial contact date now has a link “today” next to it. If you click that link it will fill the box with today’s date. This will save a few clicks.

Put today's date in with one click

On the main page, while logged out, you can see the titles of the last three blog posts. No big deal but believe it or not, many JibberJobber users still don’t know I have a blog :p

see recent blog posts

On any of the detail pages (for contacts, companies or jobs), in the log area, some of the data had funky alignment. No big deal but it’s bugged me for a long time so I requested a change. Now it looks so much better and I’m glad we did it. Specifically, we moved the dates and action item icons from middle aligned to top aligned… looks more crisp :)

realigned log entry data

When premium users imported a csv file to import new uses, and didn’t put “http://” in front of the URL, it actually wouldn’t make it a hyperlink. We fixed this annoying bug.

This URL didn't work :(

There was an opportunity to make a change to the security in the database. While it was fine we learned about some recommended enhancements – you should not see any change but I wanted to let you know that we do take security very seriously and are constantly keeping our eyes open for ways to improve our infrastructure.

security enhancement

That’s about it. After we finish a big project (hopefully this week) we are going to work on improving the importing for large files (if you have thousands of records to import it takes longer than it should), and developing a duplicate/merge function.

Any other suggestions?


Visit DiversityJobs.com for information on Diversity in the workplace.

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Yes, We All Hate Homework, But….

June 14th, 2007

Giant Pencil (photo courtesy www.otherlandtoys.co.uk)but sometimes we just have to do it!

Note: of all the things that JibberJobber can help you with, this is probably THE MOST applicable, no matter what you do. If you are in a job search, or a business owner (coach, resume writer, small business, etc.), happily or unhappily employed, retired or whatever, this feature is applicable to YOU.

I’ve never been one to care for homework. When I went through a two-day job search course last year I wasn’t very excited about doing the nightly homework that would help prepare me for an interview. I just “thought about it” that night and then scratched down my stuff the next morning before the class started, and came up with some okay stuff.

We were tasked with preparing one “Me in 30 Seconds” and two “Power Statements.” When I looked at the seven others in the class I could tell that most had done what I did – got a single sheet of paper, wrote, scratched, wrote some more, and ended up with a lot of chicken scratch and a couple of valuable sentences. I knew that these papers would not last beyond the weekend.

So when I was designing JibberJobber I thought it would be cool to give users an area where they could enter as many of these types of statements as possible, and wordsmith them whenever it was appropriate. You know how network relationships are long term? So are these statements! You’ll always be asked “so, what do you do?” or “where do you work?” or something like that. You should always have some appropriate responses ready that are better than “well…. uh…. um… well….” – here’s a breakdown of what you’ll find in the Interview Prep area:

Me in 30 Seconds – also known as “elevator pitch” or “UVP (unique value proposition)” you need to have at least one of these. On the AskLizRyan Yahoo Group there was a significant discussion a couple of months ago about NOT having one, rather, having a “bumper sticker.” I don’t care what you call it but I do know this – figuring out a statement that is on-brand, the right length, intriguing and appropriate is not easy. Go into JibberJobber and put in as many as you want.

Power Statements – I was on a call last week with a user who said “these are to motivate me, right?” I laughed out loud (sorry) as I never thought of that before and it really struck me as funny! No, these are not self-affirmation, motivational things to get you out of bed or keep a smile on your face. Rather, these our powerful statements that can be used in a resume, an interview, an elevator pitch, etc. that really pack a punch (see also How To: Power Statements). Here’s an okay example off the top of my head:

I am ambitious. For example, when I was laid off during a massive restructure last year I started a new business that would provide others with career management tools. As a result, I created a new stream of income for my family and learned a lot about marketing and social media – more than I ever knew as a consultant!

Questions and Answers – This is the place where you can put questions such as “why did you leave your last job?” or “tell me about your two greatest weaknesses?” or “where do you see yourself in five years?” I hate these questions because I’m not quite sure what to say, or what the interviewer is looking for – spending a little time to craft answers that are concise and appropriate you can look like a superstar in the interview!

Premium Bonus – for those that have upgraded to premium there is a really cool additional feature. You can categorize each of your interview prep answers and then later get a report based on the category. Here’s why this is cool:

Last year I had back-to-back interviews. One was for a small high-tech startup where I would work as a project manager. The other was for a big hospital chain where I would do project management/business analysis work. There were similarities in roles but the companies where so different! I wanted to craft different responses and statements for each interview but it was really, really hard to do this on paper.

In JibberJobber, as a premium user, I could have categorized some responses as High-Tech Startup and other responses as Hospital Chain, and then printed off all responses for either category. I would then have one cheat-sheet to study for one interview, and another custom cheat-sheet for the other interview! (brilliant :))

For me, the hardest thing to do is come up with lasting, on-brand responses. I strongly recommend Brag! by Peggy Klaus and Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson. Of course, some of you will need coaching to really do a whiz-bang job. Don’t hesitate to look up one of my partners (you can see a partial list here, the ones that are certified brand strategists) to get expert coaching.

I’d love to see your 30 second pitch or a power statement – leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. But definitely log into JibberJobber and click on Interview Prep to work on them there, also!


Find thousands of Bilingual jobs at LatPro.com.

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Security? We Don’t Need Your Stinkin’ Security!

June 13th, 2007

When are you going to get THE AXE?What is job security, anyway? Whether you think you’ll find it from an employer or from owning your own business, realize you have work to do! You can’t ignore some basics. I’m not talking about the simple “do-it-once” answers like get a good education. I’m talking about stuff to do daily like working on your personal brand and networking. Seriously, I’m fired up about this! Why? Check out an e-mail from a buddy in Pennsylvania who just got laid off:

[I was] relatively surprised. I thought we were moving forward, but apparently not in the direction that my management wanted. The boss who hired me was fired about 3 months ago and her boss had kind of been after me (my former boss and I were on the same page…). When he recently restructured the department, I think he sent the message to my new boss that he wanted to see some changes. This after I was killing myself with 60-70 hour weeks and trying to provide all the info they wanted. Oh well…there will be something else out there I hope.

I met Dave last year after he started using JibberJobber for his job search. I remember getting the e-mail that he got a dream job, at an awesome company! I was so happy for him (after all, he didn’t something I wasn’t able to do – get a job :))!! And just a few months later, after “killing himself with 60-70 hour weeks” he’s out on the street, looking again.

Look folks, here’s the deal. There is no job security! YOU need to take care of your career, not just your job! Do you find yourself doing any career stuff, outside of your job? Don’t have time? Fine – you’ll have plenty of time since a job search can take so long. Trust me, start doing a little every day, and it will add up. Do not wait until you are terminated to get moving. A little big-picture career stuff every day will go a long way.

I asked Dave what he learned from this experience – here’s what he wants to share with us:

  1. Even though your research shows the company with sound results, spend extra time in your interview to understand the real drivers. In my case, cash was very tight. The expectations were for each month to be like a quarter end. All the “testimony” about being a highly regarded company to work for, went out the window in the push for cash.
  2. Try to understand the political drivers as well as you can. The person who hired me was gone in 3 months. Unfortunately, I was connected with this individual and the future became the past pretty quickly.
  3. Don’t underestimate how fast things can change these days. Reorganizations are occurring within 6 months at this time…what seems like a “secure” position can become very shaky, very quickly.
  4. Remain optimistic, no matter what. I am looking at this as a good thing. It helps you grow and helps you to understand what is really important to you (balance in life vs. career, etc.)

I can’t say it better or different. Now, if any of you know of a position for a supply chain expert in Pennsylvania shoot me an e-mail (Jason at JibberJobber dot com), I’ll forward it on to him.

And spend at least 5 minutes today doing something for your career.

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“This Is Just Between You And Me…”

June 12th, 2007

Do I use JibberJobber?Sunday I got a call from one of my best friends from my high school days. He happens to be a JibberJobber user and had a great question for me… he started with “this is just between you and me” and something like “I promise, no matter what the answer is, I won’t tell anyone.” He asked me:

With all of the contacts and relationships you have, do you ever feel overwhelmed? Does JibberJobber help with that at all?

Ah, what a great question! This is like asking the Coke driver if he drinks Pepsi, or the preacher if he sins :) :)

I appreciated the question because I’ve frequently wondered how many CEO’s are in touch with their own products, and familiar enough to actually do a tech support call. I recently had lunch with Twelve Horses president Steve Spencer who said that he can field a tech support call with no problem and that most times people don’t know that they are talking to the president. I think that is an awesome example and I worry about the day I might lose touch with JibberJobber reality (I see it frequently with software and wonder “does anyone at that company even use their own product??).

My answer to “do I ever feel overwhelmed” is yes, absolutely. While I have a team behind me I do feel like a lone ranger with marketing and some other things (I’m sure many of you feel like that also). I have easily had contact with more than 1,000 people in the last year talking about JibberJobber – from career experts to bloggers to newspaper editors to professionals. It’s hard to keep it all straight – a lot of my business is based around networking. That is, relationships. I really try and form relationships as best I can, which means that I’m not just gathering business cards, rather, having significant discussion. This takes a lot of work!

My answer to “does JibberJobber help with all that” is very simple. I have logged into JibberJobber more than anyone else (well, perhaps my dev team has logged in more, but not on the live server!). I use JibberJobber at least 5 to 10 times a day… I will add new users, put a log entry in (from an e-mail or phone call), create an action item, or something like that, during the day. I have over 800 contacts that I have put in, almost one-by-one, and have ranked and/or tagged each of them. I love the birthday reminder to let me know who has a birthday coming up, and depend on getting action items e-mailed to me. If I didn’t have JibberJobber I would have to have Goldmine, ACT! or SalesForce.com to manage it all.

So thanks for the question – here’s my question to YOU. You know you should be doing “all this stuff” but really, are you actually doing it? I wasn’t before I got laid off, even though I knew I should. Here’s a quick checklist for you:

  1. Are you networking in person, face-to-face? I don’t care how introverted you are, you can have the pain of getting over it now or have the pain of long-term unemployment later.
  2. Are you developing a personal brand that is “googleable”? If you search on your name, do you find awesome, on-brand stuff? Do you have a google alert set up for your own name or company?
  3. Are you really following up with relationships that you form, online or offline? After you meet someone, is there a real follow-up that allows you to develop a real relationship? I’m talking about more than the canned “it was nice to meet you – here’s what I do” e-mail.
  4. Are you using something like JibberJobber to see and manage your relationships? Look, CRM-fanatics say that software can’t manage a relationship – and I agree. But you need something, from sticky notes to a notebook to free JibberJobber to really, really manage the details around relationships. What’s stopping you? I don’t care if you are president of a college, a career coach, resume writer, or recruiter. Relationships are key, you preach it… do you practice what you preach?

I didn’t practice what I preached 20 months ago. And I came to regret it. However, I do now (with regard to this stuff :p). How are you doing?

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Book Review: Career Distinction – Stand Out by Building Your Brand

June 11th, 2007

Career DistinctionIn October 2006 I was introduced to Kirsten Dixson by Wendy Terwelp (a JibberJobber partner), and we had an hour-long, intense phone call. It was the beginning of a very cool relationship (you know, some people you just click with?). I knew her as a personal branding expert, something of a pioneer in this field, and business partner with the personal branding guru William Arruda. I vaguely remember something about a book they were writing and thought it would be interested to get my hands on it.

When I was at a conference in Kentucky a couple of months ago my booth was next to Kirsten’s and I somehow convinced her to give me her pre-publish proof of Career Distinction. I got home and immediately gave it away to a friend who is a career coach and counselor as he had been asking me for a book on personal branding. He devoured the book and has called me twice since he finished it with enthusiastic impressions/feedback.

Just to make sure you know where I’m coming from, I’ll disclose the following:

  1. I love personal branding. I think it’s possibly more critical to long-term career success than “__________.” You can fill in the blank, I’m currently wondering if it is more critical than a master’s degree (I have an MBA and couldn’t get a job last year, I’m guessing if I had a strong personal brand (and network) I would have had a job in no time).
  2. I know William and Kirsten and respect their message and their mission. I think there is still a lot of education about personal branding but think that they have been early pioneers in personal branding and are currently devoting all of their time to move the message forward. Note they are doing this through Reach Communications.
  3. I have paid for and participated in their Personal Branding Strategist program, and will soon be a Certified Personal Branding Strategist.
  4. A few of the other Strategists are also JibberJobber partners. I didn’t realize the caliber of professional that would partner with JibberJobber but it really is quite flattering to have them as my partners! (I list them below)
  5. There will be stuff from the Reach program offered through, and mixed in with, JibberJobber. This is a significant partnership for JibberJobber because it will add to your experience using JibberJobber to manage your career.

And, here’s a confession – I’ve only read 1/2 of the book (I’m reading it slowly and digesting it). I have skimmed everything and am excited to finish the other half but I wanted to do this review today because today is the official launch of their book! So here’s my two cents (this has to be my shortest book review, and my longest disclaimer :p):

Career Distinction is the bible on personal branding.

Kirsten Dixson and William Arruda have done a masterful job putting this book together. The system they have defined, mixed with branding principles, stories, case studies, examples, to-do lists and other supporting documentation makes this a must-have for anyone that isn’t retired yet. I really do believe that personal branding might be the “kool-aid” that you need for career success. And if you believe even half of that, you need to begin to understand personal branding the way it’s presented in this book.

In the book you’ll find a special link to a workbook that accompanies the book. And, you’ll get access to 15 days (which is all you need) to a special 360-degree program that they put together to poll your contacts about your personal brand (invaluable). I’m going to invite my network to give input on my brand using the 360 program and post the results on the blog (as long as they are not too flowery) – if you want to get an invite please e-mail me at jason at JibberJobber dot com.

That’s it. There really isn’t anything more to say about this book – it is the book you need on your bookshelf. Here are the JibberJobber partners that are also Personal Brand Strategists:

Note that these partners have other specialties, such as career coaching, executive coaching, job search coaching, resume writing, and more. Feel free to follow the links to their sites. If you get the book and need help going to the next level, I strongly encourage you to look up one of these partners (I’m sure the others listed in the book are the bomb, but I don’t know many of them, where I have had conversations with these listed here).

One more thing! Don’t buy the book today. I’m not sure how all this “best seller” voodoo works but William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson are asking for orders to come in TOMORROW – Tuesday, June 12. So put this in your calendar, and purchase Career Distinction – Stand Out by Building Your Brand tomorrow on June 12th! Aside from the book you’ll get some valuable goodies (see more info on their blog), but you have to do it TOMORROW (June 12th). You won’t regret it.

Want more on this stuff? I interviewed (or chatted with) William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson last week and they’ve posted the audio on their blog. It is a cool discussion, I recommend you check it out (especially if you missed our call last week).

Here are other bloggers who have reviewed this book:

Maria Elena Duron – The Buzz 101

Martin Yate – Knock’em Dead

Neil Bhandar – The Blue – My Thoughts Over Time

Walter Akana – Threshold Consulting: It’s your life, own it!

What do you think? Are you going to get this book?

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Keeping it Real in an Executive Search

June 8th, 2007
One of the friends I picked up in my JibberJobber journey is Mike Schaffner (February You Get It winner of the month). My relationship with Mike started strong because we were introduced by a trusted friend, Kent Blumberg (isn’t that how it works?). As I got to know Mike I was continually impressed. Even my dad (who knows Mike) wonders what this high-level, high caliber person sees in me :p. Anyway, Mike recently landed a dream job. I asked him to share some thoughts about his 15 month (!!) transition, and that’s what this post is. I hope it gives you hope, inspiration and motivation. I found it simple yet powerful. Enjoy!

After I landed in my new position Jason asked me to write a guest post reflecting back on my job search. Well it’s been 2 months which I hope is sufficient time to look back with a more balanced view (Jason would no doubt say it’s been 2 months… What are you waiting for?)My search lasted 15 months and while not uncommon for the type of position I was seeking it did often generate comments regarding attitude – specifically about how I was able to maintain a positive attitude throughout the search.I won’t bother telling you how I came to be unemployed because frankly you don’t care. And that’s the first lesson. In various networking group meeting you could always tell the newly unemployed. They always spent most of their 30-second commercial talking about their situation. It would almost make you want to scream “I don’t care!” It wasn’t that I don’t “feel their pain” and sympathize/empathize. It is just that what happened is past and there is nothing I can do about it. I can only be of assistance in your future and your dwelling on the past is not helping either of us.

The Fugitive - Harrison FordIn these situations I flashback to the movie “The Fugitive.” It has a famous scene where the hero, Dr. Richard Kimble, proclaims his innocence and Marshall Sam Gerard simply replies “I don’t care!” It’s a great reminder to let go of the past and focus on your future. It may sound harsh but no employer cares about what happened to you, they only care about what you can do for them. If I could tell based on that 30-second commercial that people weren’t ready to move on and be productive employees again you can bet a prospective hiring manager can tell it also. Your unemployed, “get over it.”

Between Jobs Ministry - Houston, TexasSounds easy, right? The truth is, of course, it’s not. The second piece of advice I would give is to surround yourself with positive giving people. If you hang out with people that bitch about their old boss, about the unfairness of being outsourced, the bad economy or their company being sold you’ll probably fall into that same trap. Being positive is contagious so hang out with positive people. I was fortunate enough to be in Houston and join Between Jobs Ministries. They offered help, support and advice and perhaps more importantly the opportunity for me to help others. The also formed Job Search Work Teams based on Orville Pierson’s methods. These were tremendous positive influences and greatly aided my job search. Along with this it extremely helpful to get some close job search partners that can help you with your search by encouraging you, buoying you up when your down, offering to act as a sounding board and simply being a friend. I was fortunate to have people such as Jason Alba, Gerry Fusco and Kent Blumberg among others as my partners and friends.

I had a recruiter tell me once that he was more likely to help people he liked. Which when you think about it is not surprising. We all want to be around and work with people that are likable and attitude has an awful lot to do with it. Being unemployed isn’t easy or fun but to get through it you need to have a friend and you need to be a friend. Good luck.

Thank you Mike – congratulations on landing, and more, for having such a great attitude and helping others through their transitions! (if you are in IT, or executive management, you must follow Mike’s blog)

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Living Life 16 Minutes At A Time

June 7th, 2007

use a timer to control your dayA few weeks ago I was preparing dozens of CDs to marketing JibberJobber at a convention. Instead of paying over $4 per disk I decided to just buy a special CD burner and burn them myself. So every 16 minutes and 20 seconds I would take the freshly minted CD out of the drive and put a new one in.

It was kind of a flakey process for my laptop so I closed most programs and had to figure out other things to do while I was burning the CDs.

Something interesting happened during the two or three days that I did this. I found tasks that could be started and finished in 16 minutes. I got so many other things done – things that I had been putting off for a while!

I’m not much for personal improvement in organizing my time, projects or stuff. But working on this 16 minute schedule helped me become more effective.

If you find your need to be more effective (especially if your day gets away from you but you still spend time “researching” a company online, or “catching up on the news,” or something else that really isn’t a value-add activity), pull out an egg timer and set it for small increments, make a list of doable tasks (pay bills, go through e-mail, make a networking phone call, update your JibberJobber network, invite 5 people to your LinkedIn network, backup your computer, plan on going to a network event (and invite others), reach out to a friend, etc.) and get some jobs done!

From one cluttered mind to another :)


The most CT jobs await you on the AllCountyJobs.com regional job board network.

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How To Be Cliche

June 6th, 2007

what is cliche?I was reading a blog post this morning about China’s Silicon Valley when a certain phrase caught my eye:

P&G’s strategy conforms nicely with Chinese President Hu Jintao’s plan, announced in 2006, to turn China into an “innovation-oriented” country by 2021. (go to the post here…)

Doesn’t every country’s president want their country to be innovation-oriented? Is this really news, or a big deal? Or is it just, well, noise? I’m not bashing China, or their strategy (or the fact that they hope it happens in the next 14 years), but this sounds like tired talk to me. It sounds like rhetoric. It is too cliche. Check out the first definition of cliche from dictionary.com:

what is cliche?

So are you cliche? Do you have a tired, boring or over-used statement, phrase, or “pitch?” I’ve found it hard to come up with personal elevator pitches because I feel like I’m trying to jam as many cliche things into 30 seconds as possible. Something like this:

Blah Blah Blah!With over 10 years in the internet industry I have the experience to help your company reach it’s goals. I like to do things on time and under budget. I do it right the first time. I have received 14 employee of the month awards. References available upon request… blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah …”

Doesn’t that pain you just reading it?

So how do you become less cliche, and more interesting?? If this is your problem I recommend you go to the library and pick up Brag! If you don’t have time, figure out how you can incorporate really interesting stories into your communication. When I was at a convention recently and people asked “so what is JibberJobber” I started my response like this:

“When I was laid off last year I used an Excel spreadsheet to manage my job search. When I got over 100 companies I outgrew what Excel could do for me… and I realized that all of this information would be great to really keep and grow during my career (since I’ll change jobs “every 3 – 5 years”). So… “

It was story-based, hopefully not “overused.” How do you keep from being cliche? Or what are the cliche things that you are TIRED of hearing?

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Avoid Networking Spam (and a super embarrasing moment)

June 5th, 2007

open mouth, insert footSpam … the word makes most of us cringe. We don’t want to receive it, we don’t want to be accused of sending it. We all know that spam is something like “unsolicited e-mail.” Here’s an embarrassing story about networking spam featuring yours truly :)

In 1998 I was going to leave the FBI (I was not an agent) and take an internship with Simplot. This was a huge change for me — the pay was lower, the hours were cut in half, there was no insurance, vacation or sick leave. I was just about to hit the time at the FBI when I got three weeks of vacation instead of two. But I was going nowhere and didn’t want to spend the rest of my career doing clerical stuff – there wasn’t a corner office for the clerks in the FBI back then!

So I went through the interview process at Simplot, things were going well and I felt like the job was probably mine. I was still doing what I could to sell myself though. This was way different than applying for the FBI, where it was so full of policy and procedure that it seemed humans weren’t allowed to make decisions (as long as I could type fast and pass the polygraph I had a shot). Simplot wanted me to impress them, and that’s what I tried to do.

I remember getting a tour from the boss of my future boss (she turned out to be pivotal in my career and I owe a lot to her). As we were walking down a hallway she said something about her 10 year old son and I said something like “I caught a snake this weekend.

You have to understand, I love catching snakes (and lizards, and frogs, and … well, pretty much anything I can). I thought I was being personable and sharing my interests with her.

It was so out of place, she looked at me funny and hesitated long enough for both of us to think “where in the world did that come from???” I don’t remember how we moved on, I think she just humored me and brought the discussion back from dorkiness.

I call this networking spam. Unsolicited, off-topic noise. It is a distraction. I was sure she wanted to know more about me, but this was so out-of-place that it didn’t make any sense.

(I got the job, it was awesome, and it accelerated my career in a big way.  I never mentioned snakes to her again.)

Are you a network spammer? Do you have any network spam stories? Come on, don’t make me feel by myself here – share your story!

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