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Announcing: JibberJobberUSA.com

May 13th, 2008

This week we will be sharing news and announcements as we celebrate our two year anniversary! We are also offering a buy-one-get-one-free offer for a one year upgrade to JibberJobber – click here for more info!

JibberJobberUSA.com should not have taken this long to get out, or announce! But it has been an interesting path. First, let me share what it is, then I’ll share the history.

The most important thing is, it’s live, available and ready to help those who may need it most!

What is JibberJobberUSA.com?

JibberJobberUSA.com is a site dedicated to helping servicemen and servicewomen (can I just say “serviceman?”) transition back home from deployment. If you are deployed, have been deployed, or will be deployed, we give you twelve months of premium services at no charge, from the time you get back home. In fact, if you aren’t home yet, we’ll start your premium service now, which allows your friends/family to help beef up your network contacts and target companies, while you are gone.

This is not a political statement, it’s just our position as a company who could, who should, help individuals who are serving their country. The offer was made in July of 2006 and will not be rescinded. It applies to any US serviceman, or any serviceman from an ally country.

Please help spread the word about JibberJobberUSA.com, and encourage anyone in the military to signup, whether they are deployed or not.

What is the history of JibberJobberUSA.com?

Back in July of 2006 we released an announcement about this offer through the blog and PRWeb.

We had a rather clunky process, requiring you to click on a certain link to signup for the free twelve months, and then have two e-mails sent to us to verify that you were indeed deployed. We managed, though, and this was fine… for a while.

This press release led to our first big podcast interview by the podcast giant in the HR/career space, Peter Clayton from Total Picture Radio. This interview was a blast for a number of reasons:

  • he requested (er, made me :p) get a real picture taken for his blog post,
  • it was a full 39 minute program just on JibberJobber and the JibberJobber story,
  • it put us on the map in HR, outplacement, with recruiters, etc, and has led to some awesome deals and relationships.

I tried to network my way into various places where I could get the word out about the military offer. I went to at least one military base and made a presentation. I approached sites like military.com, who specialize in getting information to those who needed it most.

I got nowhere.

I’ll attribute this failure to a few things: (a) the fact that our site was brand new, and who wanted to help champion something that could go away overnight (JibberJobber was barely three months old), (b) I’m not in sales, marketing or PR, and probably went about it wrong, and (c) immense layers of bureaucracy (yuck).

I started a blog called TransitioningHome.com, but we had some server glitches and this was something that was lost in the shuffle. Everything else with JibberJobber was taken care of, but when the server stuff happened, and we lost TransitioningHome, I felt I just had to move on. I couldn’t spend the time and effort kicking against a brick wall trying to push the idea to various groups and getting nowhere, especially while there were other things happening with JibberJobber.

But the offer never went away. And the idea was always on my mind.

I met two of my users for dinner in the Salt Lake area, and we talked about this offer. The husband had served three times in the Middle East, and right after dinner I came home and bumped him up for 12 months. It was gratifying to give a tiny, tiny bit back to someone who had left their family and safety to serve his country.

They had a brilliant suggestion: make a separate site, that looked patriotic and would resonate with a serviceman, and make it look more on purpose. I tell people all the time to have their career be on purpose, and I knew I had to do this.

So we launched JibberJobberUSA.com. I got some graphics help from Andy Osier, a freelance designer, who helped prepare the logo (thank you Andy!).

I talked with military and ex-military about the signup form, so now you don’t have to send two e-mails to us.

And then, a most fortunate thing happened. I was at a conference (a few weeks ago) and met someone who is a PR expert in the military space. He has been for 25 years. I was able to steal some of his time and we talked about JibberJobberUSA, what it is, why we are doing it, and what I need. And he enthusiastically said he would help! I couldn’t believe it… for almost two years I had tried and tried, getting nowhere. And then I end up, sitting next to a guy who can really help me get this moving.

And we are moving, and it’s exciting! I’m proud to share this re-opening with you during our two year anniversary week.

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Happy Birthday To JibberJobber… and Buy-One-Year-Get-One-Year-Free!

May 12th, 2008

image props to iconceptbiz: http://www.iconceptbiz.com/watch.asp?hw_id=114‘Tis the season to celebrate another anniversary for JibberJobber (May 15th)! We’re celebrating all week with news and announcements, so stay tuned!

Today we are kicking it off with an announcement for a buy-one-year-get-one-year-free special. Through midnight, May 19th (that is in one week) you can upgrade for $99 and get 24 months of premium features. This means that each month will cost just $4.13, instead of $9.95.

This special is good for EVERYONE, except those who already upgraded to the lifetime level. If you are paying on a subscription level (monthly, 3-months, 6-months, etc.) you can either terminate your subscription (see the FAQ page, towards the bottom), or just keep paying and these 24 months will simply be added to your account.

If you are not a lifetime premium user, you’ll see this link once you login:

With that… let me thank YOU for the last two years. Many of you know where I came from, and have watched JibberJobber grow into what it is today (more on that throughout the week). You have watched the Jason Alba brand evolve into something that is much bigger than Jason-Alba-the-person. I’m flattered and honored by the personal e-mails and notes of encouragement that I receive from so many of you, and when the going gets tough, I think of my champions who are watching and cheering for me.

The last two years have been … exciting! fun! eventful! I’m really looking forward to the future, as it’s only going to get better!

Stay tuned throughout the week for the two year anniversary news and announcements!

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People Want To Help You – It’s Your Job To Help Them Help You

May 9th, 2008

I wrote this article for The National Networker, where I’ve been a contributing columnist for over a year (on the right of this page you can see all my previous articles). I rarely put my articles from there as blog posts, although this one in particular has come up in all of my presentations since I wrote the article.

I really, truly believe that people want to help us. Even though we (as job seekers) feel like lepers, losers, and even as if we’ve lost our place in society, people want to help. In fact, I doubt they think we are the loser that we think we are… I hope you enjoy this article. If you like it, you can subscribe to The National Networker for free here.

When I first got laid off I was sure there were people who would want to help me land that next gig. I heard that networking was key, and there were people I already knew who would be willing and anxious to help me.

However, the help did not come. Not the way I expected it. I didn’t understand that as a job seeker, people would walk on egg shells around me. They would politely ask how I was doing, or how the job search was going.

But the discussions never got past superficial. It got tiring repeating “we’re fine, things are going good,” and things like that. And people usually left it at that.

I was neglecting a key aspect of networking: asking. Not because I wasn’t asking for help, but I was asking the right way.

I, like you, have certain responsibilities in helping people help you. In reality, they want to help you. They don’t want to walk on eggshells around you, but they might not know how to really help you. Here are some ideas to make this work better for you and your friends.

First, make sure they know and understand what you need. You have the responsibility to go beyond superficial, which might be a little uncomfortable at first. It’s about as uncomfortable as bragging about yourself. It’s about as uncomfortable as selling yourself in an interview. But it’s as necessary!

You need to know what you need and be able to clearly communicate that to your contacts. When they ask “how’s the job search going?” it’s better to respond with an answer that helps them help you. Instead of saying “fine,” how about saying “it’s going well. I’m looking for people who work at American Express or eBay – do you know anyone who works there?”

I found that asking for specific information really helps people think for you. Instead of saying “I’m in accounting,” let them know where you want to work, and ask if they know anyone who works there.

Second, make it easy for them to help you. They walk on eggshells because they don’t quite know what to say. It’s about as uncomfortable as asking someone about their cancer treatment, or the death of a loved one. People don’t want to dig into a fresh wound, so help them be comfortable around you. Even if you have known them for years, you have to help them feeling comfortable getting past that “fresh wound” issue.

How do you do this? Stay light-hearted about your situation. Show them that you are optimistic. But don’t put on a façade… remain genuine. Just don’t cross the line and whine and complain. I remember an HR manager who I was close to, who I felt I could vent to. I’ll never forget, towards the end of our discussion, he said something like “Jason, never forget something. HR can smell blood a mile away.” Even though we were close, he helped me understand that I needed to maintain the proper brand, which was that of a professional, not a wounded animal.

Third, be quick to thank, quick to forgive, and quick to reciprocate. You are a professional, right? You are not a beggar, or a leper (no offense intended, of course). Professionals are thankful, and express gratitude. As a professional, you can’t afford to hold a grudge, and you recognize that people aren’t out to spite you. If they cross you, or don’t follow-up on something critical to your job search, give them the benefit of the doubt. And finally, make sure you reciprocate. But don’t wait for your contacts to add value to you – be the first to give value to them!

Your friends want to help you. New network contacts want to help you. You just have to help them, make them feel comfortable, and let them know what they need to do to help you. I’d love to know how you invite others to help you – please send me an e-mail and let me know what you do!

That’s it – I hope that helps you readjust your perspective, and understand what role others can play!

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Life Science Researcher Interested In An Interview?

May 7th, 2008

Today I’m doing an interview with a writer for a big science magazine and she asked if there were any life science people using JibberJobber. As we don’t gather all the demographics we should (doh!) I thought I’d throw it out to YOU. Are you, or do you know, a life science person who could be interviewed about using Jibberjobber in a job search, and getting value out of it?

This could be someone who is managing or tracking their job search, where they interview, target companies, elevator pitches, etc.

Or it could be someone who is just a good networker who uses JibberJobber as a tool to manage their network contacts…

If you are that person, or know of that person, please hit me through the Contact Us form. Thanks!

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Today I Bought US News Because I’m In It

May 6th, 2008

A full page… it’s pretty cool. The article is the same one that was posted online a few weeks ago (you can see it here).

The picture, which is pretty big, is the result of about two hours of picture-taking in Santa Rosa (where I grew up). It isn’t the picture that I would have picked for me, as I think it makes me look like a weirdo-chump, but hey, I’m happy with what I got! And the photographer didn’t have much to work with 😉

Anyway, thank YOU a gazillion for your support… this is another awesome part of JibberJobber history!

Oh yeah, it’s the edition dated May 12, on page 55.

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Happy Birthday LinkedIn!

May 5th, 2008

I am frequently asked “how old is LinkedIn,” and my response lately has been “I don’t remember.” Here’s an easy way to remember – LinkedIn started on May fifth, five years ago. Happy birthday LinkedIn!

On their birthday blog post they show some interesting stats, announcing LinkedIn is over twenty-two million users (more appropriately would be “signups”), and their staff has grown from ten people five years ago to almost three hundred people today.

Also on their blog post you’ll see the two founders, Reid Hoffman and Allen Blue. I thought that Konstantin Guericke was also a founder. Note that Reid is the Chairman of the Board (and President?), working with current CEO Dan Nye. Konstantin moved on to found and run Jaxtr, but Allen Blue is still in active management at LinkedIn, apparently as VP of Product Strategy.

I started on LinkedIn during my last job, although I forgot about that account and actually created another account during my job search, a little over two years ago. So I’ve probably had an account at LinkedIn in their first two years – how about you?

I’m frequently asked if I’m an employee or evangelist of LinkedIn. I respond that I am not. I think LinkedIn is a great tool for professionals, and that you can get a lot of benefit from having a good profile and a decent strategy on LinkedIn… but I realize there are issues with LinkedIn. For now, though, I say, ride the wave!

What are the problems? I won’t go into them here. Heck, Scott Allen, author of The Virtual Handshake didn’t go into them on his post where he talks about backing off of his LinkedIntelligence blog. His point #3 is titled “LinkedIn is doing some things far worse now than they were two years ago.” Well, I can’t tell you what they were doing two years ago because I really wasn’t paying much attention. And if they flew me out to their Silicon Valley office I’d be happy to talk about what I think they are doing wrong now, and what they could do to improve, but that is … well, about as likely as me going to the moon.

Nonetheless, I still think the tool should fit into your personal branding and networking strategy… as one component. If you haven’t started yet, or at a loss on what to do, check out my book. If you don’t want to pay the 19.95 + S&H, download the eBook for just 11.95. After reading it you should be able to wrap your brain around LinkedIn and know how it would fit into your your overall social strategy.

Again, happy birthday LinkedIn – we’re anxious to see what the future has in store!

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LinkedIn API Means New Rich Feature For JibberJobber Users

May 2nd, 2008

In March I read a post by Lucian Beebe, Director of Product Management, called Get Your Inside Connections with BusinessWeek & SimplyHired. I was simply jealous at the very cool interface that BusinessWeek offered to their readers, and immediately sent an e-mail to the address at the bottom of the post asking how we could do the same thing.

Thankfully, we got a quick reply and were able to give this functionality to YOU. How cool is that? A huge THANKS to LinkedIn (and the LinkedIn API) to help make your experience richer! Here’s how it works:

First, you get real data when you are actually logged into LinkedIn … so go login to LinkedIn! If you don’t login to LinkedIn, you’ll be prompted to, like in this picture:

Next, log into JibberJobber and go to the Company List Panel. This You can get there by clicking Companies on the main menu (or, in the image below, click on the link in the QuickView Stats for your Target Companies).

Next, on the right side of the List Panel you’ll see all the icons. You should see the little “in” icon (if you don’t, click Manage Columns and add that icon). Simply click the in icon and you’ll see a popup of who you know at that company, like this (these are the contacts that I have that have eBay in their profile… based on my connection relationship with them… so your results will look different):

Finally, you can drill down to any of the options they show… which goes to LinkedIn’s page, and shows as search results.

Again, thank you LinkedIn for opening up and allowing this type of functionality – it really does make the web a richer place!

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How To Tarnish Your Brand By Leaving Comments On Blogs

May 1st, 2008

I almost titled this “how to screw up your brand,” but you know, that kind of strong language would be off-brand for me :p

In the last three weeks I’ve received three comments, all from different people, on this blog.

All comments kind of, almost, add to the discussion, and enrich the original post or surrounding comments.

When I went to approve the comments in question, I kind of hesitated, but ultimately thought, “well, if they want to leave something that stupid, it’s on their brand, not mine.” It’s almost the “give them enough rope to hang themselves with” idea.

I approved the comments.

And then I started to see the very same comments posted on other blogs in the career or recruiting space. No editing, no customizing, just a straight copy-and-paste job.

So here’s the deal – I saw a yellow flag by the overly-self-promoting comment… but decided to let it fly. I figured my readers are smart enough to see through the crap.

But then when I read the very same stuff in multiple places, my initial concern was validated.

Guess what? As a blogger, you have gone backwards on our relationship. Instead of being flattered and grateful for you adding to my discussion, I’m now mad that you are “using me.” And insulting my readers.

You have tarnished, or screwed, your brand, as far as I’m concerned.

And I’m sure my readers are smarter than you think. I bet you’ve tarnished your brand with them, too.

Why the uncharacteristic rant?

Because I travel around telling people to comment on blogs to enhance and develop their personal brand. But please be cautious about how you do it. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Don’t be self-promotional, unless it’s clearly warranted. If you have a solution that is right for the topic, great… let us know about it. Otherwise, save your pitch until the timing is right.
  2. Don’t insult me, as the blog owner. I’m okay if you disagree with me, for sure. I’m okay if you think I write something dumb, or unwarranted. But don’t try and pick a fight with me, and try and smear me. Of course, this might be what you really want to do, but if you are interested in nurturing a relationship with me, or enhancing your personal and professional brand, it might pay to take a breath and keep it nice. Also, I, like most bloggers, have built a community of readers. Sorry to say, but they like me. They support me. They are my champions and my evangelists. You might think I’m full of hot air, but they think I’m pretty cool. And they’ll stick up for me.
  3. Don’t ever insult my readers. You might think they are yours to preach to, but they are pretty smart and can see through your crap.

What am I missing? What have you seen diminishes the credibility of a commenter?

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