Thom Singer Beats Me To The Punch

September 28th, 2007

I have this brilliant blog post building about LinkedIn… but I haven’t put the time into it yet.  I’ll give you an excellent teaser, though – go read Thom Singer’s rant on LinkedIn (Thom is right on).

I’m still in Savannah, hanging out with some of my favorite people, having a great time, “see you” next week!



Alexandra Levit on Stress

September 27th, 2007

Alexandra Levit - Water Cooler Wisdom  - Career advice for the 20 somethingI had dinner with Alexandra Levit a few months ago in Chicago – I’ve always liked her blog and style, and meeting her in person was awesome. I’m a big fan! Since I’m busy in Savannah I thought I’d introduce you to her… here’s something she wrote just for you :)

Stressed out? It might not be for the reason you think.

Most people know that high levels of stress are associated with a number of negative physical and psychological consequences. Physical problems include high blood pressure and cholesterol, and an increased risk for heart disease, ulcers, and cancer. Psychological side effects include anger, anxiety, irritability, and boredom as well as sleep and eating problems and increased smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. In the world of work, high stress levels are linked with decreased productivity and increased absenteeism and turnover.

While some jobs are clearly more stressful than others, it might surprise you to learn that top executives are not prone to more stress and stress-related problems. Rather, employees who are at greatest risk are those who have very little control over their tasks or work conditions. A research study I came across in my recent review of industrial/organizational psychology actually indicated that sawmill workers performing machine-paced tasks were the most stressed out of all!

Overall, though, you should know that work is not the primary culprit when it comes to people’s stress levels. Events related to marriage (death of a spouse, divorce, etc.) are the ones that really send stress through the roof. Another interesting research finding showed that stress induced by daily hassles actually has a stronger impact on health than stress due to traumatic events. So the next time you think about taking a job that requires a three hour a day, traffic-filled commute, maybe keep that in mind. I remember my dad saying that one of the reasons he was quitting his job was that he believed the daily drive from suburban Maryland to suburban Virginia was shaving years off his life. It looks like he might not have been far off.

Alexandra Levit (link to is a twenty and thirty-something career expert. She’s the author of They Don’t Teach Corporate in College (link to, as well as the forthcoming How’d You Score That Gig (Random House 2008) and Solving the Talent Equation (ASTD Presss 2008). Alexandra frequently speaks at conferences, universities, and corporations around the country about workplace issues facing young employees. Visit her blog, Water Cooler Wisdom, at

Also, she just started a new podcast series with Christine Hassler and Lindsey Pollak – 30/20 Vision is for 20-something women who wish they had a couple of big sisters to clue them in on the ins-and-outs of life after college! Check it out here.

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The Job Journal

September 25th, 2007

Ok, so we can finally, officially announce the newest feature – The Job Journal. I introduced it last week, screen shots and all. Liz Handlin was so excited about it she blogged about it again and plugged it in the weekly Thom Singer podcast! We released this on Saturday (ahem, a couple of days early thank-you-very-much :))… so here is the final announcement on this blog. Only premium members will be able to see the Job Journal (aka, Job Diary).

Mouse over the Tools menu option and find “Job Journal” … click on that.

Job Journal, Job Diary

Click on the link to add a new journal record.

Job Journal - Job Diary, enter a new entry

Fill out the form – this is all the general, quantifiable information about your achievement.

Job Journal, Job Diary example

You can fill out the description box and call it good, or you can click on the “Problem/Action/Results” checkbox and split the description up.

Job Journal / Job Diary - problem, action, results

Like I said, you can just use the description box, but to be “in the zone” you might want to consider this as a problem/action/results presentation (thanks to Kent Blumberg for that suggestion). Here’s mine (in case you can’t read it above):

Problem: Career coaches tell us we need to track important things in our jobs, which will help us understand our brand, prepare a resume, and have stuff for interviews. It’s really hard to track all of this, though, and really, who has a physical folder they keep for this… and who really keeps this in a word document?

Action: I gathered information from various coach/resume partners who had input on the job journal, and how it should work, and spec’d it for Rene/Liz. Worked with them to get the project done, looking nice, and functioning. Blogged about it.

Results Achieved: Increased the scope of JibberJobber more into the career management space with a new feature that is totally outside of the “job search” “job seeker” mode.

When you are done you can see the results of your entries in this format:

Job Journal / Job Diary - what it looks like when you are done

This is cool for various reasons. The most important, in my mind, is that it integrates with all of your other career management stuff. There is ONE place to manage your elevator pitches, your journal entries, your target companies, your network contacts, your career documents (resumes, cover letters, reference letters, etc.)… the list goes on and on!

Here’s some miscellanous reading on job journal thoughts:

  • Addled & Accentuated by ADD in Academia talks about a different kind of job journal… that is, chronicling a job search. I’ve already blogged about my thoughts on that approach, but it looks like a good thing since it’s anonymous. Just note that Addled is doing something completely different than what I’m talking about here.
  • The Painting Master has a “job diary”… again, something completely different than what we developed for you at JibberJobber.
  • The Police Job Diary is a “My story of applications, forms and interviews for trying to get a job in the British Police.” … again, not the same thing.
  • Here’s another job journal by someone from the Mathematical Association of America. Thoughts on a job search that was published in 93/94. It’s like a blog before there were blogs. Again, not the same thing.
  • This Job diary is a project management ticket system for software… not the same thing!

And here are the things I found that actually support the JibberJobber job journal:

  • Ramon Padilla writes Keeping your journal up to date? on the popular Tech Republic blog from CNET. This is a great article, even though it went up over a year ago.
  • Liz Handlin, CEO of Ultimate Resumes, has thought about this before… here’s an article she wrote for
  • Carol Anne Carroll writes about a job journal and says to not only log your accomplishments, but also promises made by your boss (!) I didn’t think about that. This is a really good, short article.
  • The New Zealand Ministry of Social Development suggests you keep a job diary and even links to their cute little pdf that you can download.

Interesting, I didn’t find anything on the job journal from Monster or CareerBuilder.

So there you go, perhaps the most comprehensive post on a new feature release we’ve ever done :) Now, time to get back to work!



Are You Bleeding?

September 24th, 2007

I was going to post about the new release of the Job Journal, a premium feature we announced last week (this was released on Saturday, by the way, a couple of days early). I was also going to announce that today is the official day that my LinkedIn book gets shipped (there are already five reviews on, and more blogger reviews). But there’s something that I can’t get out of my head, so today’s post has nothing to do with … me :)

Wolves smell bloodLast year, in my job search, I was talking to a close friend who had excellent experience in HR. He was my main contact for a few intranet applications I built, so we had gotten to know one another quite well. After talking with him about my job search he said to me something like:

Don’t let recruiters smell blood. They can smell it from a mile away.

I knew what he was saying. I was in a pathetic place and I’m sure I was smelling wounded, the kind of wounded that recruiters and hiring managers stay away from. It inspired me to write a post, which is one of my favorites.

Recently, on an e-mail list that I’m on, I’ve seen a few people that have this bloody smell. Some are in a job search, others aren’t. But they all have two things in common:

  1. They smell like blood. And everyone can smell it. They think they are venting, or being realists about a sucky situation.
  2. They repel people with this smell. Do you like being around whiners, compainers and negative people all day? You can only handle so much until it’s a total turn-off.

Recruiters, HR and hiring managers aren’t the only ones that can smell blood.

Your family can smell blood.

Coworkers can smell blood.

Customers can smell blood.

Vendors can smell blood.

Peers, subordinates, bosses, heck, even your pet dog can smell blood!

You get the point.

I’m not saying to ignore your wounds, or that you can’t go through a mourning process. But you need to get to a point where you don’t smell wounded, and you don’t repel people.

If you are having problems moving forward, whether it’s with a job search, or in your business, or with company promotions, maybe you should find out if you are repelling people. And then figure out what you need to do to stop repelling people.

Easy? No. Necessary? Yes.



You Have The Guts To Do It

September 21st, 2007

I regularly get e-mails from people asking about starting their own gig (like I did with JibberJobber) or writing a book (like my LinkedIn help book). Here’s one of my favorites, from a friend I met in Mexico almost 15 years ago:

I am glad to hear your business is doing well. I wish I had your skills to go out and start my own business, but I am too big of a chicken.

I have always wanted to own my own business but I wasn’t on the path to do it. My schooling was geared towards a rich, fun corporate life, where I could climb the ladder and retire after a rewarding career :)

I didn’t think I would ever come up with “the better mousetrap,” or be in a position to actually execute on an excellent idea. So just how did I get to where I’m at (disclaimer: I’m not saying “where I’m at is my definition of success,” but I sure do love what I do!)? Here’s how I responded to this very good friend who is climbing the corporate ladder:

So here is my formula for going out and starting your own business:

  1. Focus 150% on your career, give your life and time and thoughts to the company.
  2. Get laid off because of any lame reason (usually something out of your control).
  3. Work 60 hours a week looking for a job.
  4. Have a great looking resume that has some ghost problem (something that is a problem but you can’t figure it out – and no one can tell you).
  5. Have an aha moment that is “wow, this would be really cool!!”
  6. Continue to not be able to get a job (much less a couple of interviews)
  7. Figure that going forward on your own business is going to be more fruitful than spinning the job search wheels (this happened to me months into the job search)
  8. Being okay with giving up all of the corporate perks (steady paycheck, bonus, holidays, sick leave, cheap health insurance, etc.)

There you go. There’s my guts. Where are yours?

here are my guts

You can see the original post on my personal blog.

This is one of my favorite blog posts. People think that you have to be lucky, or have good timing, or have funding, or something similar to get started. All I needed was a swift kick in the pants, out the door, and to the unemployment line.

And look at me now (trust me, that’s not an ego-trip statement, I still think I’m a pretty normal guy).

YOU HAVE THE GUTS. I bet more than 1/2 of my readers now will get that swift kick in the pants in the next few years… if you don’t believe me that you have the guts now, you will prove it to yourself later.



Sneak Preview: The Job Journal

September 20th, 2007

JibberJobber is a career management tool, useful before, during and after a job search. The newest feature, scheduled to be released next week, is a non-job-search feature — The Job Journal.

The job journal was something that I kind of remember hearing about in college. We were told to record all the great things that happened in our jobs, so that when we needed to put together a resume we could pull from a list of accomplishments. Or, more frequently, as we had our regular employee reviews we could go in with the list and refresh our manager’s memory, to get that raise :)

I didn’t really understand the importance of this until I got laid off and was trying to put together my resume. It was a nightmare. On top of not having the information at my fingertips, all of the emotions of the job loss were clouding my mind. How powerful it would have been to have a list right in front of me!

Then, last year, in discussion with Liz Handlin, the job journal idea came up again. As a career coach she encourages her clients to keep a job journal… to chronicle dates, happenings, etc. She even put up a blog post about it called Keep a Job Diary.

This will be a simple-yet-powerful feature added to JibberJobber. Here are the main things to fill out (this image doesn’t show the description which, which is right under it):

Job journal - log your accomplishments

  1. The date that it happened – you can back-date if you want to.
  2. What was it? In the image above it’s for the Employee of the Week award.
  3. What company was this at?
  4. You can create your own categories, which might include award, major sale, problem solving, etc.
  5. Tag (or label with keywords) to your heart’s content!
  6. Good/positive allows you to pull a report of all good things, or all bad things, or both.
  7. Nice to know, if you can actually back a claim up with supporting documentation (newspaper clipping, certificate, etc.)
  8. You can rank each entry to show how important it really is in your career management – maybe an employee of the week is only two stars but an employee of the year is five stars!
  9. Did you get a bonus or raise or any $ from it? Log that here.

Below this section you can put the description, links to newspaper articles, etc. At the request of executive coach Kent Blumberg, you can further break this down into Problem/Action/Results… so your description can be more structured and you don’t forget to include important information.

Thanks to Liz Handlin, Deb Dib, Barbara Safani and Kent Blumberg for their input on this feature, and to the other coaches and resume writers who have encouraged and supported this development – this will be a premium feature, scheduled to release next week.

Still wondering how to get the most out of JibberJobber? Mark your calendars for the free user webinars!



I Received Three Special Boxes Yesterday!

September 19th, 2007

Three boxes with LinkedIn help books! (these are not the actual boxes)My wife comes down stairs with a big smile, hiding something behind her back.

It was my book… the real, shiny, white and red book! She asked for my autograph :p

It was surreal to flip through the pages of something that I had spent hours on — to see what a layout professional could do was really neat. What a cool experience!

Amazon - I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What??? (LinkedIn help)Also, the book got listed on Amazon a few days ago, so if you’ve read it or blogged on it, and you have an Amazon account, please go leave a review there. Monday is the day the hard copy ships (if you want the eBook, order it from the Happy About publisher’s site), so I’ll do one more post then, and then I’ll move on to other things :) For now, though, I’d like to bring attention to some of the bloggers who have posted about it since last time:

Megan Fitzgerald is the expert that I would go to for any information on expat career advice. She works with expat professionals and expat entrepreneurs, is a career coach, and a personal branding strategist (and a JibberJobber partner). I’ve worked with Megan in various capacities and have found her to be passionate, knowledgeable, helpful and a real delight (why the big deal with expat for me? Because I almost was one, and still have a lot of interest in moving overseas for a while). She says: “I strongly recommend this book for those who don’t want to waste time trying to figure out LinkedIn’s myriad of features on their own” … read more here.

Clint James doesn’t need an introduction on this blog… here’s a snippet from his post: “LinkedIn caught my eye while I was doing my job search in April and while I picked it up and played with it there never really was any part of it that truly caught my fancy. But recently I read a book by Jason Alba at and I am on fire for this site! Most sites aren’t as good as say,, about telling you what to do once you have signed up, and Alba has written the missing owner’s manual one of the hottest career sites. ” … read more here.

Joe Neitham, an IT recruiter in Singapore, very kindly says “… and I believe that anyone who is serious about networking through LinkedIn must grab a copy of this book…” … he also says some pretty nice things about me :)read more here.

Your HR Guy, who was another blog that was mentioned (along with the JibberJobber blog) by the Wall Street Journal’s Career Journal, says the book is “what I consider to be the consummate guide to navigating through the waters LinkedIn.” … read more here.

Mike Thomas, chief machete swinger at The Daily Machete, coins a new term (eat your heart out Jessica Alba, because he’s not talking about you!!) “Another “Albanian” strength – his clear, down-to-earth writing style – may also pose a challenge for the average reader. How can good writing pose a challenge? Simple: his words are too smooth, which can make his book a quick read. But breezing through “I’m on LinkedIn — Now What???” would be a disservice to readers. Despite being content-rich, Alba’s writing style can lead you to believe you’ve absorbed everything upon first reading it. The best advice? ” … you’ll have to read the best advice here.

Daniel Schawbel writes “Millions of people around the world use LinkedIn, but most either don’t use it properly or have little experience with many of the features. By reading this book you will have a great foundation for…” … read more here. (sorry for not putting this up the first time I posted!)

And a head nod from Jack, at MarketingMe, who even calls JibberJobber a “neat site” :) :)

Thanks to all who have supported this venture, with e-mails, blog posts, comments, tweets and phone calls! It’s fun to be at this point, and I’m sure the best is yet to come :)



Career Management Visualization – an example

September 18th, 2007

Visualize the future!Yesterday I introduced the idea of a visualization, which my coach prompted me to write. Today I will present a visualization that is similar to my business visualization, but customized to my job search from last year (still very fresh on my mind :)).

I found it interesting that Mike Schaffner wrote Do You Have A Mission Statement yesterday. And Chuck from I Hate Your Job wrote An Explosion of Purpose and Fulfillment, where he wrote his own mission statement and was so inspired he started a meme. And Darlene from Interview Chatter mentions that spoke on goal setting and visualization and that “seeing what you want to accomplish is 90% or more of the battle.

Chuck’s mission statement is strong and powerful, and inspiring. In the comments, Alexandra Levit’s is also strong and powerful and inspiring. Yesterday I was down on mission statements but Chuck and Alexandra proved me wrong – mostly because they are so sincere and heartfelt that they don’t smell like the usual corporate mumbo jumbo mission statement. These are personal, life statements.

How are they different from my visualization? I’m definitely not going to say that one is better than the other, rather, they are quite complementary. Here’s the main difference that I see, though, from both Alexandra and Chuck: they start almost all of their sentences with action verbs. They are going tostrive, budget, continue, maintain, obey, chronicle, speak, notice, give, take, focus, teach, remember…” the list goes on and on. These are things that they are going to do. Nothing wrong with that.

I look at my current visualization, called “The Visualization,” and I see that each paragraph starts out with “I have…” because I am visualizing that I’m already there.

Check out the following visualization and see if it has a different flavor:

My Career Visualization

Jan 13th, 2006 (yes, it was Friday the 13th!!)

I have a job, much better than the one I recently left, where I am responsible for my own product line. As product manager I am essentially a mini-CEO and have a full staff to make our product #1 in the market. My salary is $90,000 with a potential bonus of at least $150,000.

I have a strong local and professional network that I developed over the course of my job search. I nurture this network by finding opportunities daily to give back to individuals, whether they are in transition or not. I volunteer once a month to non-work causes, such as speaking at job search/networking meetings, or something similiar. I continue to grow my network wide (meet new people on my own) and deep (meet new people through my network contacts), adding value where I can, and living the principles learned from Never Eat Alone.

I have a strong emergency savings account with $30,000 which allows me to minimize the fear of a job loss, transition or recession.

I have eliminated most of my bills, including credit cards and student loans, and am able to eliminate other monthly expenses easily, if necessary.

I have a strong personal brand, which I reinforce with regular articles that I write, speaking engagements, and a professional blog where I am seen as a leader in the space.

I have at least one other stream of income that I have developed independent of my work income, which provides financial stability. This is worth at least $1,000 a month, after taxes.

I have a terrific relationship with my wife and kids. I go on a date weekly with my wife and spend quality time with each child, individually, at least once a week. I use all my vacation time to create memorable traditions for our family.

I love my job and feel very satisfied with my life, and live life to the fullest!

Can you see how this is different than the mission statement (click here to see Chuck’s and Alexandra’s excellent mission statements)?

I have my current visualization in two places – right next to my keyboard and on my fridge.

Why has this been so important? During my coaching sessions we’ll frequently take a problem at hand and go back to the visualization to ensure that we don’t lose site of the goal that we’re working towards.



The Visualization – Where Will You Be?

September 17th, 2007

visualize where you'll be tomorrowOne of the first things my coach had me do was develop a document titled “The Visualization.” This is a very personal one-page document with very specific targets, written in present tense. I was reluctant to spend time on my visualization, but I realized that in order to have our coaching relationship work, I needed to “play along” (I can’t think of a different phrase for that – I don’t mean to trivialize the coach’s system, but sometimes I’m too proud for my own good and disregard things as silly or meaningless).

At first I thought it was going to be a hokey mission statement, with all the feel-good words and cliche phrases that are in just about every mission statement in the world. I memorized the mission statement from my last company – there was the president’s version, and the workers version (which put an irreverent twist on the president’s version). It was fun to memorize, but really, when you got down to work it was easy to disregard.

I didn’t want to come up with a meaningless statement that sounded too good to be true, with little regard for my day-to-day battles.

I found the visualization to be different, though. To get me started, my coach sent me his. I was quite amazed – it was very, very specific. At first glance it seemed a little over-the-top, but as I re-read it, it was indeed achievable. In addition to goals, there was a resulting dollar amount tied to most everything. His was written in a way that it broke big ideas down and detailed certain parts of his visualized accomplishments.

Using my coach’s visualization as a model, I developed my own. It is one page. It serves as a motivation and helps me focus every single day (I have it right next to my keyboard, and on my fridge).

It’s easy to get distracted, or at least wonder if I’m distracted (I have JibberJobber stuff (design for the programmers, marketing and PR, accounting, admin stuff, etc.), this blog, book marketing (thank goodness the writing is done!), and a conference that I’m putting on with a partner in October. Not to mention stuff outside of work… I’m pretty busy, and it’s easy for me to either get too focused on one thing, or spend a lot of time on a lot of things with no focus.

That’s where the visualization comes in – like I said, it does two things for me:

  1. It motivates me. I look at the numbers, which right now are targets, and think about how things will be different once I achieve them. My visualization very specifically declares the income I’ll have from various revenue streams, and for a guy coming out of unemployment, that’s very motivating.
  2. It refocuses me. My most important target is in the first five words of the visualization document. It just happened that way – which is interesting because it’s obviously the most important thing on my mind when I wrote it. But now, more than 60 days after I wrote it, I find myself using the visualization to see if I’m deviating, or indeed working towards the goals I set.

I can’t share my personal visualization here on my blog – it’s too private. But tomorrow I’ll write a visualization that I should have written for my job search… and you’ll see how it differs from a regular old mission statement.

Have you gone through the visualization exercise, formally? If so, has it been beneficial to you?

The bank charges usually differ for each creditcard. But for those who always buy to let mortgages tales care of the rest, everything eventually leads to debt. Having a look at homes for sale is no reason to go crazy. People who work from home are well aware of the value of money and instead value becoming insurance leads instead.



I’m Ready to Change, Where do I Start?

September 14th, 2007

how to get started in a scary/exciting thingHere’s a question I saw this morning in my e-mail:

I am seeking to end my tenure with a major [type of industry] company after nine years of employment. I am stagnant and need to have more opportunity to grow and further enhance my professional skills. Any recruiter or input from hiring sources would be deeply appreciated.

And here’s my response:

If you haven’t done so yet, I recommend listing out all of the “people that you know.” It doesn’t matter how you know them, how well you know them, where you met them, etc. Just start to make this list of your network.

Then, make a list of companies that might have a position that you are interested in. I work in IT, so all companies have something (whether big or small) that I would be interested in.

You can then take both lists and start to work them. Figure out what companies you are *really* interested in, maybe narrow it down to about 5, and approach people in your network like this:

“I’m looking for another opportunity somewhere, I’m really interested in xyz (your profession), do you know anyone that has a connection with A, B, or C companies?”

This way you are asking a very specific question that they can help with. I found this to be much more effective than just letting them know I was in a job search. As a bonus, many times this specific question might turn into a response like “no, but I know someone at Company D, which is their competitor.” It gets their brain going with ideas.

Don’t forget to beef up your LinkedIn profile (so the right people can find you!).

Additional thoughts:

  • Get a free-for-life account on JibberJobber. You can put your company list and network list in there, and each time something happens you can log it (and create action items). Trust me, it’s easy to do in your head for about a week, then on Excel for another couple of weeks, but if you are seriously in a relationship-building state, you need something more industrial.
  • Pick up my book I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? (now on Amazon!). This is for those that need LinkedIn help… whether you know what you are doing or not.
  • Watch this hot-off-the-press video (recorded webinar) from the master of Guerrilla Job Hunting, David Perry, and his collegue Kevin Donlin. This 90 minute presentation is excellent – excellent!
  • Finally, coming up with a list of 100 companies should be fairly easy. Obviously you will list the companies that you have seen on your commutes into work, but don’t neglect the customers, vendors and prospects that you worked with at your job (or past jobs). You already have relationships with these people – if nothing else, they might be great leads to network into other companies.

What am I missing?


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