Favorite Friday: Substantiate Yourself

February 26th, 2010
LinkedIn for Job Seekers for $49.95 $25. Check out all the specials here.

I’m going to go back to my old posts and share the ones that I love the most…. either because they got a lot of reaction and stimulated discussion (which means the readers back then loved it) or because I thought it was profound, even if no one commented on it :p

December 12th, 2006. JibberJobber was barely 6 months old.  I talked about an idea that proved to be a turning point in my job search.  Even though I opted to end my job search, this one action provided the most results in my job search efforts, and it eventually led to my first couple of real job offers.

Go check out the post Substantiate Yourself.

How can you substantiate yourself?

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The Pregnant Job Search

February 25th, 2010
LinkedIn for Job Seekers for $49.95 $25. Check out all the specials here.

Jacob Share has an interesting post called Pregnant Job Hunting: When You Should and When You Shouldn’t.  I’ve never looked for a job while pregnant so I really don’t know where to weigh in (except for one thing, below).

I do remember hearing more than one manager say “I will never hire a woman again,” because maternity leave was a blow to the small company.

I’ve heard that a few times, but most memorable was from a woman business owner.

Go read Jacob’s article – it is thought-provoking. Here’s where I’ll weigh in… Jacob says if you are 8+ months pregnant:

Don’t even look, unless it’s for a job that will begin after the baby is born.

Instead, focus on growing your personal brand by building relationships and improving your skills so that you’ll be better placed to find work quickly once you’re ready to go back to work. And get some rest too! You’re about to have a baby and you’re going to need it.

I wouldn’t say “don’t look for a job,” but I doubt you’ll make a lot of progress in your job search when dealing with recruiters, HR, etc.  He says to focus on your personal brand and your relationships and skills… let me take that further… here are some career management things you can do if you are about to have a baby:

  • As Jacob says, work on your personal brand.  How’s your value proposition?  Do you have a solid 30 second pitch, or elevator statement?  Do you have business cards, or a landing page (website)? Does your LinkedIn Profile suck like most Profiles?  From figuring out your pitch to the messaging medium, there’s plenty to do here.
  • As Jacob says, build relationships.  Find people who are relevant to your career and try and develop a relationship with them.  Go back to older relationships and reconnect with them (newsletter?  LinkedIn Answers? Personal emails? Phone calls? Facebook messages?).  Think about this in two parts: GROW your network, and NURTURE relationships.  Work on both of those.
  • Let me suggest you learn more about your industry(ies) and target companies.  Read blogs, do searches on Google (or set up Google Alerts), comment on blogs, and just become an industry pundit… when you are ready to start interviewing and networking again you want to be current on industry events, company news, etc.

I’d love to hear ideas from women who have done career management in their third trimester (I’m not the most qualified person here :p)… what do you recommend?



Unemployment and Underemployment

February 24th, 2010
LinkedIn for Job Seekers for $49.95 $25. Check out all the specials here.

An article in Yahoo News is titled Nearly 20 percent of U.S. workers underemployed.

Combine that with about 10% unemployment in the U.S. and you have about 30% of our workforce that cannot generate any, or enough, income.

I’d guess (with NOTHING to back this up, just a guess) there is another 10% who have moved from the gov’ts misleading stat of “unemployed” to whatever they move to after they run out of unemployment insurance, and we have about 40% of the population that wants to pay their own way but can’t.

I don’t know if this includes long-term, multi-generation welfare families… but I won’t even add them in since 40% is a pretty bleak number.

That is 4 out of 10 people.

What’s worse, it doesn’t include those who are UNHAPPILY EMPLOYED.

That probably covers another 50%.

Don’t ask me why people aren’t happy at work.  Maybe they don’t make enough. Maybe they don’t get the recognition they want.  Maybe they think they are destined for greater things.  Maybe they feel trapped.  Maybe their boss sucks, or their company isn’t green enough.

Maybe they wouldn’t be happy, no matter what.

But put that 50% on top of the other 40% and you have 90% of our workforce that is misused (is that a good way to put it?).

What’s the answer to unemployment and underemployment?

  • Play the “numbers game” – send more resumes… etc?
  • Find work out of state (I hear Detroit isn’t the best place to look for a job)?
  • Wait for the economy to correct itself so there are more openings?

What’s the answer to unhappily employed?

  • Look for another job?
  • Start your own business?
  • Quit and go live on a mountain?
  • suck it up, do your job, and find fullfillment outside of the office?

The answer will be different for different people, and their circumstances… I don’t know what your answer was, but I’m working my tail off on “my answer,” which you can read about in my Multiple Streams of Income posts.

Whatever the answer is, I guarantee it doesn’t include you asking to meet with your boss or HR to see how secure your job is.  I can tell you how secure it is.

I believe is a revolutionary way for a professional to manage his/her career, in large part, the relationships we develop and nurture over time.  It’s more than a job search tool, it’s your personal relationship manager. Get a lifetime free (with optional upgrades) account now.



I wondered: Will I ever walk again?

February 23rd, 2010

Last summer I ripped my calf pretty bad in a sports accident.  Well, the accident was that I was a out-of-shape dude playing capture the flag with a bunch of eight year olds.

I hobbled around on what I thought was a pulled muscle for a week.  At the end of that week I lept in a heroic effort to save my amost 3 year old from burning herself when she got something out of the microwave.

That leap did my calf in. I went to urgent care to learn I had ripped it probably 30-60% (can you imagine having your calf ripped 60%??), and that this was common in men my age, even if they are active.

I ended up on the couch, and crutches, for 6 weeks.  As far as I can remember, this was the most intense physical pain I’ve experienced.  For most of those 6 weeks I questioned if I would ever be able to walk again.

I felt like I was in prison.  I felt helpless. I was discouraged – pretty much the whole thing sucked.

Finally I made myself take my first, and then second, and then third step.  I ditched the crutches and just made myself start walking around (very, very slowly).

This year I’ve set a goal to walk 500 miles.  I’m already up to 85 miles – the most I have walked in one day is a little over 6 miles.  I can’t feel any pain or weakness in my calf.  It’s good as normal, and by the end of this year it will be great.

Relate this to your current job search, or job loss.  You will likely be in transition longer than six weeks, and you don’t have to sit on the couch and be depressed the entire time.

Even though you wonder if your “career” can ever get back on track, and doubt that it won’t, I bet you it will.

Just like my muscle healed, your career will heal.

One day it will be stronger.

One day you might not even remember the hardships you are going through today.

You will heal.



Giveaway: LinkedIn For Job Seekers (LinkedIn DVD)

February 22nd, 2010

This DVD is currently on sale at 50% off (only $25).  But it is still useful and, well, awesome.

I’ll ship the LinkedIn DVD in a week, when I announce the winner.  The question is:

What value do you think you should get out of LinkedIn, or a social marketing strategy, that you aren’t? (and why?)

Answer in the BLOG comments, not on Facebook.

The winner of last week was Becky, who said it is her lizard brain (a la Seth Godin) that keeps her from crushing it.



How To Manipulate a CSV File

February 18th, 2010

Man, just typing the title of this post makes me cringe with boredom.

However, I have used this technique many times over my career, and just recently the issue came up from a JibberJobber user who imported his Contacts.

His problem was that the first name and last name were in the same column, but we want that broken out when you do the import.

Fixing this is actually really simple. In my user webinars I talk about opening a csv file in Excel, so you can see the pretty columns and rows… but for this little exercise I recommend you open it up in Notepad.

I know, I know: opening it in Notepad will make it really, really ugly.  Almost unreadable.  Especially files that have a lot of “columns.”  Just remember, csv stands for “comma separated values,” which means that each “field” is separated by a comma.  The comma tells Excel to put the next thing in a new column.  For example, this csv content:

First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Phone Number
Jason, Alba,, 801.800.8123

Will look like this when opened in Excel:

Edit a CSV file

What if your file is formatted like this, instead? Notice the name is ONE column (not broken out)?

Name, Email Address, Phone Number
Jason Alba,, 801.800.8123
John Doe,, 555.555.1234
Sally Jesse,, 800.123.4567

Right now we aren’t parsing this for you – the best and easiest thing to do is to fix it in the file.  Again, go to Notepad, open the CSV file, and then make these very simple changes:

  1. In the first row, which is the header row, change Name to First Name, Last Name.  This will make TWO columns instead of ONE (make sure to put the comma between the column names).
  2. In all the other rows, simply put a comma between the first and last name.

That’s it – it is very simple. I’m guessing if I had a file with 100 records (names) I could put the comma inbetween the first and last name in about 4 or 5 minutes, or less…

This might seem like a pain, and when we redo the import we might accommodate for one name field, but for now this is really quite easy.  And YOU are empowered with the knowledge to manipulate your csv files!

Now when you import it will import the name values into the right fields (first, last).



AOL + Jason Alba

February 17th, 2010

So I’m now writing for AOL… I’ve written a few posts/articles, and today one of them was good enough to hit the “welcome screen,” which means quiet a few people might see it.  Quite a few = lots.

Here’s an image of my article on the AOL welcome screen:


This article was edited and changed a few times, which is something I’m not used to (can’t you tell, from my writing, that I’m not used to being edited? :p)

Pretty cool stuff.

If you are coming over from AOL, welcome!



Are You Afraid of Success?

February 16th, 2010
LinkedIn for Job Seekers for $49.95 $25. Check out all the specials here.

In yesterday’s giveaway question I asked if you were not crushing int because you were afraid of success.

I’m not asking if you are afraid of FAILING, I’m asking if you are afraid of SUCCEEDING.

With success comes responsibility.  It might come in the form of money, or a title, or recognition, etc.

Sometimes I look at stuff people do and wonder if they are intentionally doing wrong things because they are afraid of succeeding.

Maybe the job seeker is afraid of getting the wrong job, even though they succeed at ending their job search… so they do the wrong stuff.

Maybe the business owner is afraid of getting that big sale, or growing their business to $x.

Back in school it was uncool to get the best grades, so we didn’t (I didn’t, but not for that reason :p).  We were afraid of succeeding because it just wasn’t the cool thing to do.

But now, as an adult, as a professional, as a strong contributor to society, it IS okay to succeed.

Are we still afraid of what success really means?

If we are not, then why don’t we change our actions so that we are positioned to succeed?

One of my favorite sayings is right in front of me… it was a gift from Heather Gardner when I spoke at her company:

what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

When I start out on projects that perhaps should fail, I read that and forge on.  How about you? (if this makes any sense to you, read Janet Thaeler’s post Whatever Your Fear Tells You – Do the Opposite (Seth Godin))



Giveaway: Crush It!

February 15th, 2010
LinkedIn for Job Seekers for $49.95 $25. Check out all the specials here.

crush_it_bookI’m just about done reading this through again and am ready to drop it in the mail to anyone who wins this week’s giveaway. You know the rules… just answer the question in the comments on the blog (not on Facebook).

My biggest issue with this book is that it talks too much about social marketing… Gary built a huge business using social tools and so that’s what he talks about (I think he talks about it too much in this book).  When I think about what type of book this is, I think it’s a social marketing book.  I expected some other stuff…

Having said that, I see people talking about it all the time, and many people are saying “I’m reading it again.”  Gary knows how to touch people.  Stripping out all of the social marketing stuff, the thing I get the most from this book is the excitement and permission to achieve a ton of stuff – to be successful – to conquer – to CRUSH IT!

Here’s the question:

WHY don’t you Crush It?  Are you afraid of failure, or afraid of success?  Do you not have enough smarts, looks or money?  Is the economy not good enough? What is in YOUR way of crushing it?

Answer on the blog post.  Winner will be notified next week.  To see past Monday Giveaway prizes, questions and answers, click here.



Rob Frankel’s Ten Steps to Saving Your Butt

February 10th, 2010
LinkedIn for Job Seekers for $49.95 $25. Check out all the specials here.

You know how I feel about “job security”… there is none.  Even those who do “everything right” in their career can get canned for one of a million reasons.

Even so, here’s a fun list from Rob Frankel… he created it for his employees to help them know what they could do to become more valuable, or as Rob says, to save their butts.  The full list is here… here are the first four:

  1. When it doubt, don’t try to fake it. Tell the client you’ll check on it and call back. “Better to keep the mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt”.
  2. Make a copy of everything and then file it. That way, you can always prove what you were doing, when you did it and why you were doing it.
  3. Tag everything with a job number. Suppliers need to tag their jobs with a number, too. The more you tag, the fewer headaches we have when clients or suppliers call us about particular costs.
  4. Send clients back-ups. Whenever we bill a client, send a copy of the estimate showing that he approved the job he’s being billed for.
  5. …  the full list is here.

Any of this ring true?

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