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I Lost More Than My Job 2 Years Ago

June 16th, 2008

They say losing your job is one of the top three major life stresses, up there with divorce and death.

You only die once… and most people probably won’t divorce more then two or three times in their life… but we can all lose our job over a dozen times in our career. If we change jobs every five years, and we start at age 20 and retire at age 65, we’ll change jobs 9 times.If we change jobs every three years, and we start at age 20 and retire at age 66, we’ll change jobs 15 times.

I met a guy last year who had been laid off 26 times. Imagine, 26 pink slips… and he wasn’t retired yet!

Why is this so stressful? Why does it rank up there with death and divorce? Here are some things I lost when I lost my job:

The ability to pay my own way. I’m quite independent, as I’m guessing you are. I like to pay for my own stuff, from a movie ticket to my car payment to my house payment…

The security I feel with insurance. Life insurance, and health insurance. I felt extremely naked as I lost these two things, which added to the stress in a big way.

Respect. I lost respect from others, who judged me because I lost my job (just as I had judged others… what a dork was to judge). Worse, I started to lose respect for myself.

My identity. I went from Jason the General Manager to Jason the ???. That was hard. In a society where we identify ourselves with our titles, losing the title was pretty devastating and left me in a state of confusion for a while.

My place in society. I was no longer able to contribute time or money the way that I had before, and felt more like a leach than someone who was adding value to the world.

My confidence. I was pretty self-confident before I got let go. I was even confident during the first couple of weeks, but as my job search stretched through the weeks and months I questioned whether I really had what it took to be an employee. Should I start from the beginning, and get an entry-level job?

Some of my “friends.” This was weird… to be quite chummy with the guys at the office, sharing personal experiences, enjoying personal successes, developing personal relationships. And then, with the pink slip, comes the fine print that almost says “you can’t communicate with the guys from the office anymore.” I didn’t expect that to be a side-effect, but it was. And losing friends like that hurt.

Yes, it’s stressful, and painful. We should be prepared for this recurring event, though, and with that preparation it doesn’t have to be so despairing!

What did YOU lose when you lost your job?

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Volunteer With “Read This To Me,” A Service For The Blind

June 13th, 2008

I signed up as a volunteer for Read This To Me over a year ago, and wanted to share this opportunity with you. It’s pretty simple, you just sign up and anytime someone who is blind or low-vision needs help reading something, they go through a process to notify all of the volunteers.

Whoever calls the person back first, ready to read to them, just gets the job done. More info at the FAQ page.

It’s a very cool service, and makes excellent use of Internet technology and good old fashioned humanity.

If you are looking to create some good karma, or have been looking for a good cause to put a few minutes of work in per week (or month – the volume is pretty low), here’s your chance. This is the kind of good-deed opportunity that makes the world go round.

Who knows, you might even make a friend :)

More information at the Read This To Me website. Kudos to Kevin Savetz, of Savetz Publishing, who founded the operation.

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LinkedIn Recommendations Smarts

June 12th, 2008

LinkedIn book - I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What???Over on I’m on LinkedIn — Now What (the blog behind the book) I posted about asking for (or being asked for) recommendations (click here for the post: LinkedIn Recommendation Thoughts). There are 10 excellent comments that I think you’ll find valuable…

It is a follow-up to my Writing Better LinkedIn Recommendations post from March.

What are YOU doing for your network contacts TODAY? If you can, write one LinkedIn recommendation – it is an excellent act of kindness, display of your networking attitude, and builds your personal brand as someone who is thoughtful and considerate.

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An Executive On How To Start A Job Search

June 11th, 2008

Yesterday I had the pleasure of breaking bread with some very cool people. One of them, Luis, was in a job search when I met him about 18 months ago. He made such an impression on me (and my dad, who was with me then, and who was with us yesterday for lunch) that I’ve wanted to keep in touch.

Luis has landed a VP role at a very cool company, an industry leader in his space. I asked him what he would do if he went back to his office and got the inevitable, dreaded pink slip.

I asked him to respond based on what he knew, and what he recently went through (his last job search was not quick). I loved his response and wanted to share it with you:

What are the 4 things I would do in order to search for my next opportunity?

Before I answer your question, let me tell you I am a person that likes efficiency in everything and that greatly influences the picks that follow. Let me also take care of the logistics because every situation is unique and describe a hypothetical scenario where there are no personal circumstances that need to be addressed such as ones originating from a non-friendly departure.

Emotional stability is important to obtain good focus and make good, sound, strategic decisions, which will greatly influence your success and length of job search.

Number ONE for me is to evaluate my financial situation. Not knowing how long the search will take is a fact not to be taken lightly. Analyzing every expense and categorizing as necessary or not can dictate the urgency of the search.

Number TWO is to find out about every networking group close to you. Statistics advertised by professionals in this field tell you “Networking” is the best source for finding your next job. I will also include in this item becoming a member of these groups and participating in their events, projects and meetings so you can “spread the word” and pitch your 30 second commercial often.

Number THREE is to network with as many “C” level executives (CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, etc) and listen to this “ASKING” them for leads, connections and introductions to decision makers at your “Target” companies. This includes phone calls, lunches, coffee breaks, informational interviews, emails, letters, thank you notes, sporting events, at clubs, churches, PTO meetings, grocery store trips, dry cleaning stores, and every other normal activity that places you in contact with people.

Number FOUR is to help as many people as possible, hopefully with activities that show off your expertise. If you are an IT guy, build PowerPoint presentations that give tutorials or teach people how to solve everyday challenges people around you have. This will keep you sharp and current in your field as well as creating good will that could potentially come back to you in the way of a lead for the next interview and possibly a job. Here is an opportunity to appoint yourself as the expert in your field.

Again, every situation is different and unique, so the order may change for the next person (especially if they are new to job search), and I would recommend doing a self evaluation to find out strengths and concentrate on the search in areas more likely to get results.

It was really cool to get this perspective from a job search alumnus. Luis was laid off from a 20-year career at a great, stable company, and has since landed a VP role. He also volunteers each Monday at a job ministry (in Katy, Texas), and is extremely networked.

Proof? As we were walking out of the restaurant he stopped to say hi to a table full of his friends… I love to see people well-networked enough that they see friends almost everywhere they go!

Thanks for the tips Luis!

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Guerrilla Marketing Teleseminar TOMORROW – no cost… !

June 10th, 2008

Tomorrow night there is a free Guerrilla Marketing for job hunters teleseminar put on by Dave Perry and Kevin Donlin.

It’s free because this is a beta test of their program… and they have only 97 (make that 87) seats left.

I had dinner with Dave Perry, author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters, while at the same conference in Las Vegas. I had dinner with Kevin Donlin a couple of months ago in Minneapolis… Kevin is a resume writer and owner of The Simple Job Search (dot com). These guys are awesome, and I love all of the guerrilla marketing stuff they bring to the job search process.

You can get more information at The Simple Job Search website – enjoy!

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Looking For A Job Search Log Spreadsheet?

June 9th, 2008

Apparently, a lot of people are looking for a spreadsheet tool to track their job search. A job search log, a job search tracker… these are common terms I see people list as what they were searching for when they found JibberJobber, which for job seekers, is an excellent job search organizer. Of course, it is more than a job search tool… it is my personal CRM, and it is a personal relationship manager for non-job seekers… and it is a tool to organize and track relationships and target companies for people who are “in-between job searches” :)

Nonetheless, let me share two job search tracking spreadsheet options for you, in case the JibberJobber job search organizational tools are too sophisticated:

First, here’s information about the job search excel spreadsheet that I created when I was looking, before I came up with JibberJobber (you can download the job search tracking spreadsheet from this post). I posted it for you so you could didn’t have to start from scratch… you can use it until you are so frustrated with a spreadsheet solution that you need a real tool to track your job search. It may sound wierd, but that’s what happened to me. The spreadsheet worked to track my target companies, where I sent my resume, and network contacts… for a few weeks. Then, I was doing so much networking, and sending out so many resumes, that my job search spreadsheet just started to fall apart.

I knew after I found a job the spreadsheet would seem so convoluted I wouldn’t be able to use it later. And that was not cool – I didn’t want to start from scratch when I started a new job search, 3 – 5 years after I landed.

Second, here’s Microsoft’s template for your job search. Thanks to Rod Colon’s ETP Network, which I’m a proud member of, I learned about this from one of their new members. Again, if you need a spreadsheet, this would be a great choice… just make sure you back up your C: drive regularly (you don’t want to lose that data – it might be the most important data you have on your PC!). Oh yeah, don’t mess with the design too much, or it will get as convoluted as my job search log. It’s tempting, with Excel, but it gets messed up.

So if neither of those work for you, perhaps you’d be interested in another option… I hear JibberJobber is pretty freaking cool. Here’s a short slideshow I did explaining what JibberJobber is:

Yes, I’m a slideshare.net junkie, after doing my I Just Got Fired show, which has been viewed over 1,400 times!

So there you go, two options to start off with if you want to use a spreadsheet to track your job search. I don’t recommend either, as I think using JibberJobber is a more long-term solution, even a career management solution… but hey, we’re not for everyone! More on that later!

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Executive Career Coach Teleseminar on “How to Conduct a Highly Successful Job Search”

June 6th, 2008

Beverly Harvey is one of my expert partners. She runs Harvey Careers, and specializes in “empowering senior-level executives with savvy career marketing materials and job search tools.”

Beverly is conducting a three-part teleseminar called “How to Conduct a Highly Successful Job Search and Land Your Next Position Quickly.

She asks: Is your job search stalled? Are you confused about the market place?

That is how my job search was. And I was confused since it was a “job seeker’s market” but no one would call me back.

I totally could have used this training. Here’s the deal… this job search series includes 3 calls (60 minutes each) that are recorded, and you’ll have access to them anytime (so you don’t even need to be on the calls). You also get a 45-page resource guide, a roadmap, and much more.

I haven’t taken the class, and I don’t have the resource guide. But I have seen Beverly at conferences and know that she is always keeping up on trends, is principle-based, and well-respected by her peers.

And she partnered with JibberJobber. That’s good enough for me… when a coach forks over some money to partner with JibberJobber they really show they “get it.”

Beverly gets it, and for less than $100 bucks you can tap into a wealth of knowledge.

How do you register? Just go to her website and scroll down to the bottom… or you can call 386-749-3111.

One last point. Even if you aren’t in a job search… you know, you already have your comfortable job… I strongly encourage you to sign up for this training. You never know when you’ll need it!

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How To Be A Passive Candidate When You Are An Active Candidate

June 5th, 2008

When I started my job search I didn’t realize I was a “candidate.” Much less, I didn’t understand I was the worst kind of candidate… that is, one who is actively looking for a job. As I started understanding the recruiter world, I learned this:

An active candidate is someone out of work and actively looking for a job.

A passive candidate is someone who doesn’t know they are looking for a job, and seem to be happily employed.

The idea is, if you are an active candidate, you probably suck. There is some reason you are out of work. Perhaps you are incompetent. Perhaps you were fired with cause. Perhaps you slept on the job, made too much noise, didn’t produce well, etc. All of the things that would make me, as an employer, NOT want to hire you.

You are a Loser.

On the flip side, a passive candidate is the golden candidate. Since they have a job, they must be good, right? They work well with others, are competent, add value to the company, and probably won’t deliver any grief to anyone… and this is exactly what a recruiter wants to take to their client (the company with a job opening)… not a loser, but a winner!

Obviously, whoever came up with this theory has never seen THE OFFICE!

I found out how this works when I was an active candidate. I was a loser, and it really, really sucked.

It’s unfair, and in my mind, discriminatory. But hey, we’re human, and that’s how it is.

Regardless of what I’ve done before, or what I could produce for your company, I was not desirable.

Just because of one thing (my unemployment status), something that I was trying desperately to resolve.

So how do you become a passive candidate when you are, indeed, an active candidate? I’ll share two ideas, but I’d love to hear your ideas:

  1. Volunteer. Seth Godin wrote for a blog carnival I had almost two years ago that he would volunteer for 6 weeks. Imagine, put yourself in a professional environment, doing what I was good at, meeting new people, rubbing shoulders with decision-makers where I was not a “job seeker,” rather “Jason the [job title].” Powerful, eh?
  2. Have an awesome profile on LinkedIn. Harry Joiner, the Marketing Headhunter, told me he calls LinkedIn his “passive candidate database.” Go there and look like a passive candidate.

I know there are more ways to be, or appear like, a passive candidate… what have you done or seen?

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Total Picture Radio with Peter Clayton Does My 2 Year Interview

June 4th, 2008

Total Picture Radio... click to see the interview postPeter Clayton has been good to me. Really good. He introduced me to the HR world when JibberJobber was just ONE month old, and that led to many great relationships which I carry on today.

I was honored that he would ask me for another interview (the third), to celebrate my two year anniversary. You can find the interview HERE. It’s only 22 minutes.

He has amazing interviews on his site… take some time to scroll through past interviews and listen to what  industry leaders think about careers, employment, the job search, job boards, social networking… all the stuff you are interested in. If you have time, you can hear my FIRST interview with him, in June of 2006!

Thanks Peter Clayton!!

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Harvey Mackay’s Mackay 66 – Questions For Nurturing Relationships

June 4th, 2008

Many of you will be familiar with Harvey Mackay and his books, which include:

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty

Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

We Got Fired

Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt

Pushing The Envelope All The Way To The Top

Sharkproof

I have a bunch of these books, but I haven’t had time to dig into them yet. The one I’m most interested in starting is “We Got Fired,” which I think is a bunch of stories of people who got let go and then what they ended up doing.

One thing that one of my users told me about was the Mackay 66… which is a collection of 66 questions you could answer about any of your network connections.

The KEY is to nurture each relationship, right? Here are some of the questions from the Mackay 66:

  • High school
  • Year graduated
  • College fraternity/sorority
  • Military service
    • Discharge rank
    • Attitude toward being in the service
  • Spouse’s name and occupation
  • Spouse’s education
  • Anniversary
  • Vacation habits

You can get the MacKay 66 for free from his website, here.

Now, what do you do with that? Here’s how this ties into JibberJobber. Note this is part of the free version.

Go to any of your contact’s edit pages. At the bottom of the page, below the Notes box, is the section for Services.

In the dropdown box, the bottom option is “Other,” simply choose that and you’ll get a popup box… and type in whatever you want (keep it short, though!):

Now you can see two questions (on the left) and the answers (on the right – see # 1 and #2). You can also see that you can add as many “services” as you want… just click the Add a Service link and you’ll get another one!

It’s that simple! Of course, if you want to store info outside of the MacKay 66, simply use the “other” option and add whatever you want.

Thanks Harvey Mackay for the questions!

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