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Recession Update: What This Recession Means For YOU

July 20th, 2009

Tomorrow is the free webinar with Mark Hovind, where we ask him about this recession and what he has learned and what he predicts based on past data.  SIGN UP FOR THE FREE WEBINAR HERE.  And come a few minutes early…  It starts on Tuesday, July 21 at 11am MST (That is mountain time… if you are Eastern you add two hours.  If you are in Pacific you subtract one hour.  If you are in Arizona you… well, I have no idea what people in Arizona do.)

Mark developed this graph where you can see the highs and lows of the economy from 1940:

Interesting that a few decades ago the HIGHS where really high and the LOWS were really low… but since the early 70’s there hasn’t seemed to be a significant LOW… until now.

Also interesting that the lowest HIGH was in the eary 2000’s, right after the dot-bomb.  A low HIGH and then dunking right into this current LOW?  Not fun.

Here are some of the questions I want to ask Mark (questions are relevant for job seekers, career managers, business owners, CEOs of Me, Inc., and those working for someone else):

  1. What does this mean for us TODAY? Assume we are towards the bottom of this recession… what should we be doing today in our jobs or career management?
  2. If we start to climb soon, then what?  What should we do? I’m guessing it won’t be all rosie (sp?) right away… but won’t we manager our stuff (careers, business, jobs) differently?
  3. What are you projected time-frames for coming out of this recession? How should we plan accordingly?
  4. What will it mean when we are above the green or black lines again?
  5. What might “above the line(s)” look like?  Short, fast, … ? How long will the good be good?

What questions do you have?  Join us tomorrow morning, hear from Mark, and ask your questions.  I doubt we’ll have time to field all questions, because of the number of people signed up… but come anyway.

I’LL TRY AND RECORD IT BUT I CAN’T PROMISE ANYTHING RIGHT NOW…

Please let others know about this webinar – blog about it, tweet about it, etc.  We still have plenty of room left (there are 1,000 seats available).

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The MBA Job Search Triple Play

July 17th, 2009

This is a guest post by Chris Perry, of Career Rocketeer.

There are countless approaches you can take to successfully pursue employment opportunities in your MBA job search, many of which entail some use of web tools, job search engines and professional networks.

Despite all of the various options available online, you essentially need three things online to effectively pursue job opportunities: (1) an attractive online resume, (2) a professional network and (3) a way to keep track of all of your professional contacts and search activities.  Based on my research and personal experience from the MBA job search trenches, I recommend VisualCV, LinkedIn and JibberJobber as what I like to call the MBA Job Search Triple Play.

VisualCV offers you a new and free way to display your resume and begin establishing your presence and personal brand online.  I like to consider VisualCV the pioneer of resume 2.0. While your VisualCV looks more like a traditional resume than a typical online profile, it is so much more, allowing you not only to incorporate your professional experience, education, etc., but also a portfolio of your previous work and/or publications, references and recommendations, links to your social networks, professional media sources, such as video clips and images, and other achievements and awards. VisualCV brings you and your resume to life and really enhances your career search efforts. You can even buy your own domain name and forward it to your VisualCV so to quickly refer employers and recruiters to your information.

LinkedIn is the leading professional network on the web, so if you don’t have your free account already, get one today! Complete your profile with all of your information, add your photo and link to your website, blog and your VisualCV.  Build your network by connecting with coworkers, supervisors, professors, classmates, friends, family members and anyone else you know or meet throughout your career and your job search.  Get recommendations from respected contacts to increase your credibility, join and participate in groups to network with others to get more involved and answer questions to help others and gain expertise and insight in your field.  You can also identify target companies and connect with their contacts in your job search, as well as use LinkedIn’s own comprehensive job board to apply for opportunities.

JibberJobber is the ultimate career management system.  VisualCV offers you the resume and LinkedIn provides you the network, but it’s JibberJobber that helps you keep your head above water in your job search and manage all of your search efforts and activities for free.  Based on CRM software, the system allows you to add and categorize your contacts, track who referred them to you, keep contact-specific notes, rate the evolving strength of your professional relationship with them and create reminders for future networking.  With JibberJobber, you can also keep track of your target companies, your contacts within these companies, each individual job for which you apply and its status throughout the application process.  However, its features and offerings don’t stop there!  There are multiple career search resources and tools available to help career seekers with interview preparation, job search expenses, salaries and more.

These three tools are godsends for anyone seeking employment opportunities, but especially for full-time MBA students, collectively saving them time, energy and sanity in their pursuit.  So, don’t let the opportunity to leverage them in your job search pass you by!

Chris Perry is a Gen Y Brand and Marketing Generator, a Career Search and Personal Branding Expert and the Founder of Career Rocketeer, the Career Search and Personal Branding Blog.

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LinkedIn Profile Tips & a LinkedIn Profile Makeover

July 15th, 2009

I am asked to review LinkedIn Profiles on a regular basis – I really don’t have the time to do many, but every once in a while I like to do a healthy assessment of a LinkedIn Profile.  Normally I’d do this on my LinkedIn blog but today I’ll share it with you.

If you have any LinkedIn questions, consider getting my LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD.  This is not just for job seekers… it’s a great tutorial to get up to speed on getting value out of LinkedIn (I spend the first 3 sections on Profiles).

Clint Goudie-Nice is the lucky one today… let’s start:

  • THANK YOU for not putting anything in the name field except your name.  Drives me nuts to see email addresses, LION, etc. (which are all against the terms of service).
  • Great picture – I love it.  One thing I like about this picture is how close your head is… I’ve seen a few recently where the person is like 10 or 20 feet away from the camera and I can’t make out enough details.
  • The LinkedIn professional headline is … okay. You are missing an opportunity, however, to put a marketing pitch there (think 30 second commercial condensed down to a 5 second commercial).  The professional headline is a great place to communicate your value-add, and will be seen in various places in the LinkedIn experience.

  • You need more LinkedIn Recommendations. I know Clint personally (he bought me a burrito yesterday!), and know that Clint is an awesome systems architect… why doesn’t he have more LinkedIn Recommendations?  I’d expect him to have at least 10 really awesome Recommendations.  Get to work on that!
  • You should have more connections.  I know Clint networks a lot, and is a nice, likable (sp?) person.  I talk about how to grow a relevant network in my LinkedIn DVD.

  • Do you sell candles… is that your “Company?”  Or is this a link to your current employer?  Is your “Website” your family blog?  Don’t make me guess – instead of choosing the default labels for this, choose “Other” and then type something descriptive in.

  • I highlighted the things that stuck out to me as errors in grammar or spelling or formatting… I could be wrong on some, but they just looked wrong.  Clint should have cleaned this up by now (I haven’t looked), but you don’t want your Summary to detract from your message and capabilities.  Some people won’t care and won’t catch them … others will let errors like this become an issue.  Proof your Summary, and then have about 10 others proof it and provide feedback.
  • I like how Clint has a lot more than two paragraphs here… I think he’s still shy of the limit (2,000 characters), which I’d recommend he works towards.
  • I like the voice, and the message, in general.  Would like to see some “for example” stories.
  • I think the ending could be stronger… it’s okay as-is, but I wonder how it could make more of an impression.

  • I’ve never seen this before but I really like it – it solves the issue of “how do I talk about different jobs I had at the same company?” … he has done this a number of times in his profile.

  • My question to Clint was, which of these add value to your branding and overall message, and which of these do not?  Those that do not are distractions, or noise, and you should not show them on your Profile.

This is kind of a quick-and-dirty LinkedIn Profile review… check out the LinkedIn DVD, were I go over five other professionals’ Profiles… and much more!

How is YOUR Profile?

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JibberJobber: An Entrepreneur’s CRM?

July 14th, 2009

JibberJobber will never be a fully-loaded CRM, with all the bells and whistles and processes and such.  But it is a terrific relationship management tool… no doubt about that.  You may think of it as a job hunt organizer, but I’ve used it for three years as my entrepreneur CRM.  So I was very pleased to get feedback from another entrepreneur who has seen value in JibberJobber in just a short period of time (yeah, three days!).  This is from Rob Llewellyn, in Europe (I tried to highlight and italicize the good stuff but that was pretty much every line – this speaks to my heart!):

I’m an Independent Programme Manager based in Central Europe with a good network across Europe & the Middle East where I do all my work. I’ve been lucky enough to rely on less than 5% of that network for all my work (6-12 month contracts) in recent years. I have a niche LinkedIn network of around 766 but it gets messy trying to work it AND stay organised AND do the contract search work AND remember in 6 months time what I last spoke to Fred Blogs about. Sure I remember the high profile conversations but not the lower priority ones.

The market is lean now and advertised work (that is, posted jobs) is massively over-applied to. So I need to WORK 100% of my network as opposed to 5% of it. I’ve always focused on building a network, but it suddenly dawned on me that I don’t take advantage of what I’ve built over many years. I was searching Google “how to approach your network for work” and I stumbled across JibberJobber (JJ) again and I’ve taken the trial.

On day one I imported my 766 contacts from LinkedIn, updated old email addresses of people who don’t keep their LinkedIn profile up to date, organised some of the major companies in my network and started filling out other fields in each record.

On day two I exported most of the contacts to a CSV file and imported them to my mailing program “GroupMail”. Then I mailed out to my network, personalising each email with the <insert field> option in GroupMail.

On day three I was overwhelmed with the response from my network and have spent the day writing personally to each person who wrote to me and subsequently increasing the ranking of our relationship, in some cases helping some of those people in their circumstances. That done, I can now update JJ and keep on top of my networking far better, especially as my network is quite large.

I didn’t write to my network blatantly asking for an assignment. I had something useful to tell my contacts (it was about my blog www.consult-llewellyn.com) and I could also refer to the fact that as of next month I’ll be available for a new assignment.

Being an independent, I never cease looking for new opportunities. JJ is a tool that I can use to help me manage my ongoing personal marketing efforts in the months and years ahead.

I’m still only on day three of my trial and the tool has helped me considerably. The excellent video tutorials helped me get to grips with the tool in no time and I shall be upgrading before the trial is up.

Rob Llewellyn

Rob, thanks for the really good feedback – my ego is stroked and the idea that JibberJobber is much more than a job search tool has been justified!

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The Job Search Sucks.

July 13th, 2009

If  you’ve been following me for a few months you know I was a bad job seeker.  I did all the wrong things in my job search.  One of my favorite posts, because I like the advice, is my What I should have done in the first 30 days post ( I share with you what my strategy/tactics were, and what they should have been).

Today I’ll go down another path – if your job search sucks, here are some things to consider:

  • Step away and regroup. Seriously – go away.  Or stay away (do a “staycation,” which is a vacation where you don’t go anywhere).  I had serious issues with what I was doing, and got into a bad rut.  The best thing I could have done was to walk away. Perhaps a camping trip (away from technology), or time with a friend, or something like that.  If you are in the job search rut I recommend you get out.  Remember one of the definitions of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results…
  • Focus on relationships. As job seekers we like to think we focus on relationships, but I think too often we focus on relationships that can help us get to Point B.  How about you lose yourself in service… just call up your contacts and ask them if there is anything you can do for them, or somehow reach out to them and find ways to serve them.  Here’s an idea … if you have time (you should, if you are in a job search), spend an hour a day serving people in your neighborhood.   Mow someone’s lawn.  Weed a garden.  Buy a tree for $30 and plant it in a neighbor’s yard (get permission first :)).  Pick up trash by your house.  Kill some weeds …
  • Fix something at your house. I let my house go to pot during my job search… and that wasn’t good for anyone.  There are plenty of things you can do around your house – it might be fixing a drawer or painting a room, cleaning the carpet or repairing a fence.  You know what’s broken… try and get it resolved.  My job search was so fruitless, void of “wins,” that getting something fixed (and done) would have been a nice win I needed for my morale.
  • Plant some flowers in your yard (or in an indoor planter). You can spend less than $10 on this one, and it should provide beauty for you for weeks, months or years to come.  A little color in our environment never hurt anyone, right?  I planted some flowers around Mother’s Day and they didn’t seem to do well, but now I see them flowering daily and it is really cool :)  Think this is too simple?  If it has an impact on your attitude perhaps your networking and efforts will be more fruitful.
  • Go back to school. Seriously – maybe it’s time to consider a change, or an enhancement of your skill set… and sometimes a degree (or an advanced degree, or a technical certificate) is what you really need.  The widget on the right of this blog post can show you some schools you might consider.
  • Change industries. Maybe you are bored, or burned-out, from your current industry.  If so, stop looking for jobs in that industry – I bet you have transferable skills… right?  Put them to work and think about other industries (or professions) you might be happier in.
  • Quit the job search. I did.  I had to.  I was going nowhere looking for new employer, while I had the answer under my nose keyboard the whole time.  Maybe you aren’t supposed to have a j.o.b. anymore… maybe you are supposed to own your own gig, or be a consultant, or a speaker, or a writer, or something else.  Note: Quit the job search doesn’t mean you quit life, but there are other ways to make money than from an employer.  Ever hear of the phrase “income security?”

I agree the economy sucks for job seekers (duh), but maybe the problem is less the economy and more your strategies and tactics… so rethinking what you are doing might be just what you need to do.

Here’s another suggestion: use job boards to get inspiration and ideas.  For example, you could search for admin jobs to see the latest job openings, and read through them to get language to use on your resume, in interviews, and to find out about titles you might not have thought about before.

Have any other suggestions for when the job search plain sucks?  Of course you should be using JibberJobber.com by now, to manage the admin and organizational aspect of the job search… what else do you suggest?

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Organize Your Job Search

July 9th, 2009

JibberJobber, launched more than three years ago, was developed as a website to organize your job search.  While it has evolved into a Personal Relationship Manager, and even a lightweight CRM for entrepreneurs (and contractors and freelancers and small businesses), it really shines as a job search organizer.

If you are just starting your job search, or think you might within the next year or two, let me suggest the primary information you need to organize in your job search:

Where you send your resume: What job did you apply to, and which version of which resume did you send it, and when?  Easy to keep track of at the beginning of your job search, but what about when to followup on each submission?  Or what about when you have applied to over 25, 50 or 75 jobs?  JibberJobber shines here.

Who you communicate with: Supposedly we will network our way into our next job… doesn’t it make sense that we keep track of contacts?  I’m not talking about a tool where they have to agree to connect with us, I’m talking about a tool we can use whether they know it or not.  You should know when you first met, when you need to follow up, what you talk about, and even perhaps who introduced you.  Yeah, of course you can do all of this in JibberJobber.

What companies you are interested in: aka, Target Companies.  In my job search I would go to the elevators of office buildings and write down the names of companies at each building – then go back to the web and do some research.  Having a list of Target Companies is critical, as you never know what your next employer might be.  Again, log notes about them, create action items, etc.  Guess what website that rhymes with libber lobber does this well?

There is other information, let’s call it secondary information, that is good to keep track of in your job search, including:

How will you answer various questions: In JibberJobber we have “Interview Prep” area where you can wordsmith responses to questions like “can you tell me about yourself?” and “why did you leave your last job?”  Trust me, the difference between preparing the response before the interview and just winging it is HUGE.

How much money you spend on the job search: We put an Expense Tracker in JibberJobber (it’s an upgrade feature), to let you keep track of expenses and even mileage in your job search.  I wouldn’t have kept track of that information because for me, filing taxes was easily a year away from my job search and I knew I’d lose the slips of paper I would write it on.

What past professional accomplishments were: Every career professional advises you to keep a “job journal,” which is integrated into JibberJobber.  Why is this important?  Because when you are in a job search you might not be thinking clearly, and forget many of your past accomplishments.  These accomplishments, big or small, help you tell your story, whether it’s in your resume, your LinkedIn Profile, in a network meeting, or in an interview.

Of course there is more to organize… but let’s keep it simple for now – that’s a good start, isn’t it?

One final note: If you told me I would get value out of (or NEED) JibberJobber early in my job search I would have said I was an exception to that rule.  In fact, my job search was going to be so short I’d barely need my Excel spreadsheet… but as my job search went on and on, I found keeping track of all of this information in a job search spreadsheet was a joke. I really did need something like JibberJobber.com.

Another final note: If you are not in a job search, you still should be (at a minimum) managing relationships and keeping track of target companies – even if you work for someone else… you need to OWN YOUR CAREER, and this is a part of that.

You can get started on JibberJobber here.

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Job Search Help: Miscellaneous Job Search Resources

July 8th, 2009

Have a bunch of things on my mind this morning… so today I’ll just share some links:

  1. Susan Joyce of Job-Hunt.org wrote a really good article called 8 Twitter Power SEO Tips for Job Seekers.  Susan knows a ton about Twitter, SEO and the job search… she combines it all in this comprehensive piece.  Not a job seeker?  Don’t matter – whether you own a business or are “in-between job searches” you’ll want to read and bookmark this site.
  2. My good buddy, who will remain unnamed (because I talk about his kids), was talking to me at lunch about Networking vs. Socializing.  What a powerful concept!  Maybe people hate networking so much because they don’t network… they socialize and expect to get networking value out of misguided efforts!  Read some of my thoughts about that on this post.
  3. I am really amazed at how many people join my Career Management Group on LinkedIn… a lot more per day than ever before.  I’d love to know why (where are they coming from), and what they think they are going to get on this group.  If you want to join, click here and I’ll approve you (I approve everyone about once a day).
  4. Mark Hovind is spending an hour talking about recession trends, and what it all means for THIS RECESSION.  I tell you, I’m really excited about this free webinar… I think the information presented will be thought-provoking.  This is not a dooms-day thing, this is a “here’s where we’re at, and this is what it means to us right now.”   What do you do at the bottom of a recession (when it starts to correct?)?  What do you do when we are pulling out of a recession?  What do you do when we are at the peak in our economy?  We’ll talk about this – whether you are in a job search or not, sign up (registration link found on this post).
  5. If you are in a job search right now, check out the comments on this awesome blog post at Punk Rock HR.  Laurie Ruettimann asks for people’s (mostly HR people) best job search tips, and gets over 70 comments.  Wouldn’t you like to hear what HR advises?  Check out Your Best Advice for Job Seekers.

That’s it for today… like these links?  I’ve shared them all recently on Twitter… follow me on Twitter at Twitter.com/jasonalba.

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Personal Relationship Management Gets Better: JibberJobber Updates

July 7th, 2009

Some very, very cool updates in JibberJobber:

Detail Page Makeovers

Something I’ve heard over the years is the design of JibberJobber “feels old.”  I could never really put my finger on what that meant, but a user interface professional made a suggestion that our “Detail Page,” which shows the details of a Target Company, Contact or Job Posting, was the main problem.  She made a number of suggestions, most of which we incorporated into the new design of the detail pages… here’s the new look:

Instead of listing all of the changes, we’ll just leave it at this… because this is not the most exciting thing I want to announce today.  That would be….. (drum roll)….

New Views/Reports on Get Contact List

Note: The Get Contact List page is a premium feature (one of my favorite, and most used). There are two additions to the Get Contact List reports/output.

The first is simply the addition of the image when you print a list of your contacts.  Do you organize events, or have a need to check attendance at networking events?  Or do you just want to have a printout of who might be there, and have a picture to remind you what they look like?  You’ll like this.

The first drop down on this page is Export To: Make sure you leave it at the default, which is Print List (yeah, that’s new, it used to just say Print), like this:

Then, in the Fields to Show section, drag Image to the very first spot, and check the checkbox, like this:

And then the report you get, which is optimized to print out, will look like this:

Oh but that isn’t all… here’s the second brand new report… which is like the one above but gives you the entire Profiles (not log entries or action items) … this is why we made the Detail Page changes I noted above.  Instead of choosing Print List, I choose Print Profiles, like this:

And the report looks like this (these are two fake records, but the point is, all of the contacts that meet the criteria will have their Profiles (and Notes) listed one under the other):

I think this is pretty dang cool!  Thanks to JibberJobber evangelists Tom in New Jersey and Don in Pennsylvannia for suggesting these reports!

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Just How Free Are You?

July 6th, 2009

This weekend the U.S. celebrated our national independence holiday.  We appreciate the freedom to choose, be, think, live, etc.

It is quite a contrast from my last job, where I wasn’t free at all.

If you don’t feel free, whether you have a job now, or you are looking for a job that will not allow you to be free, then perhaps you shouldn’t have a job.  Perhaps you should own your own gig.

That’s the choice I made about three years ago – to stop my job search and move forward with JibberJobber… and it has been such a ride!  I can’t imagine having a job now, although I work harder now for my new boss (me) than I did when I was the general manager of a software company a few years ago.

This freedom is not easy, and not without consequenses.  If you have any thoughts of choosing this route, let me recommend one book to buy TODAY (buy a highlighter and red pen, also, as you should be marking up every page of this book):

I’ve known Pamela Slim virtually for a few years now… I really admire her work and her popular blog (Escape from Cubible Nation).  She is relentless in sharing her message and vision, and helping people see an alternative to the cube life.

Not that escaping is for everyone… and her book points that out.  What I’ve found in her book is a practical reality-check to help you understand what you are getting into … she compaires the rush you get from being an entrepreneur to the rush you get from a crack pipe, she interviews the Grammar Girl and learns that she is bogged down with administration (as opposed to focusing on her passion: grammar), and gives the low-down on health insurance and business structures.

It’s not a “hip-hip-hurray, screw Corporate America while I go get rich with my own ideas,” rather it’s an excellent guide you need to read if you *think* this is the direction you want to go.

On Amazon the price listed is $17.13… not a bad investment at all considering how much is packed into this 300+ page book.

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Medical Prescriptions for the Unemployed: Pfizer Does It Right!

July 3rd, 2009

I got some information from my good (virtual) buddy Jessica Lee yesterday that really blew me away. I’ve blogged about health care here a few times – starting from when I cut my hand open to my thoughts about Obama saving the healthcare system… but this one is really heartening.  And I get to blog about it on the Fourth of July weekend… I can’t help but think how dang American (or COOL, or HUMANE) this is, and how Pfizer is treating us right (I really don’t know much about Pfizer, so if you are a Pfizer hater and think they are not treating us right, leave a comment elsewhere).

I’m going to show you the email I got from Jessica, who is helping spread the word about this… it’s kind of formal, but since it’s about getting free prescriptions I don’t want to paraphrase.  Note, the end the email talks about people who don’t qualify – bottom line is to go to Pfizer Helpful Answers, or call their number (866.706.2400).

This really is the bomb – thank you Pfizer for stepping up and treating us right!  The email from Jessica (with my bolds for emphasis):

I wanted to touch base with you as I’m working with Pfizer to raise awareness of its new patient assistance program called MAINTAIN, which became fully operational on July 1, 2009. MAINTAIN helps eligible unemployed Americans (and their families) who are in financial need and lack prescription coverage continue to get their Pfizer medicines free-of-charge for up to one year or until they become insured, whichever comes first.

Based on your coverage of issues affecting job seekers on the Jibber Jobber blog, I thought you would find this program relevant – and helpful – to your readers.

Through MAINTAIN, more than 70 Pfizer medicines are offered that treat a range of chronic health conditions. It is easy to learn if you may be eligible, by visiting www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com or calling 866-706-2400. The program is user-friendly, with a one-page application that Pfizer will typically process within two to three weeks. The program is expected to accept applications through December 31, 2009.

There are four eligibility requirements for MAINTAIN:

  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate loss of employment since January 1, 2009;
  • Lack prescription coverage;
  • Attest to financial need; and,
  • Be on their Pfizer medicine for at least three months prior to unemployment and enrolling in the program.

If you would like more information about MAINTAIN, please let me know and I can put you in touch with someone from Pfizer Helpful Answers.

I hope you will take a moment to learn more about MAINTAIN and to post details about it on your blog. It’s a valuable resource for the millions of newly unemployed Americans who may need help to continue getting their Pfizer medicines, but who may not be aware that this program is available.

Thank you,
Jessica

P.S. Uninsured patients who need a Pfizer medicine but who do not qualify for MAINTAIN may qualify for Pfizer’s other Patient Assistance Programs. More information is available at www.PfizerHelpfulAnswers.com. For patients who are taking Pfizer oncology or specialty medicine and need assistance, Pfizer Helpful Answers also runs programs designed specifically to meet the needs of those patients including those who have recently lost their jobs and their insurance. These programs include RSVP for anti infective, HIV and PAH medicines, FirstResource for oncology and the Pfizer Bridge Program for endocrine care medicines.

How many other companies are doing something like this? Please help spread the word on this – I think it’s just plain COOL!

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