Blue Collar Job Search – Personal Values Propositions

May 28th, 2010

Yesterday we talked about your elevator pitch, today I want you to think about something deeper… this is not time bound (30 seconds) but it will come out in communicating with others, like in a networking meeting, over lunch or in an interview.

My buddy is looking for a new job, after coming from a family business where he’s spent the last many years.  Going from owner to job seeker is weird and different.  One of the hardest things to do, I think, is to learn the new language of the job seeker.

My friend is awesome, and he’s had fantastic experiences in his last capacity, but he needs to think about HOW to communicate those experiences (and skills) to people who are in a position to hire, recommend or influence.

You think that your experiences and skills aren’t relevant to the jobs you are looking at?

I argue that perhaps that’s the most important thing to communicate, at least in certain scenarios (like, in an interview).  DO NOT downplay your experiences, history, skills, etc.  Instead, think about how you can describe what you are bringing to the table in a way that the listener (interviewer?) understands that you are able to do the job they are trying to fill.

This is commonly referred to as “transferable skills.”  Check out this terrific resource on understanding and defining your transferable skills at Quint Careers.

My friend should be able to come up with pages of transferable skills from his 10+ years of experience in his field.

A college student with no real industry work experience should be able to come up with transferable skills from school, sports, extracurricular activities, leadership positions and organizations, volunteer experience, etc.

A stay-at-home mom/dad should be able to come up with a list of transferable skills used with kids and to run a household to help show how they can help a business, whether it has to do with encouraging/persuading people or managing a complex system or keeping things moving with limited resources (maintaining a budget, meeting deadlines, etc.).

YOU should be able to develop a list of transferable skills from your last roles.

Once you start listing these skills you should begin to understand what your personal value proposition is.  It’s not just what is on a job description… you bring more breadth and depth to a job than you might think, but you need to sit down and think through it.

Having a hard time thinking about how wonderful you are?  That’s because you haven’t read Brag! yet… go get it!

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:

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Blue Collar Job Search: Your Elevator Pitch

May 27th, 2010

This is a continuation of a number of thoughts I’m having as a work with a friend who is in a job search.  For the past four years I’ve thought about job search and career management for someone like me (white collar, executive, degreed + MBA, etc.), but I haven’t thought a lot about a job search or career management for a blue collar professional.  Previous posts include:

Blue Collar Job Search – How To Find A Blue Collar Job
Blue Collar Job Search – What Do You Want in a Job
Blue Collar Job Search – Identify Target Companies
Blue Collar Job Search – What Job Titles Do You Want?

Today we’ll go to the next logical place – how to communicate who you are and what you want to do to others.  The most common time you’ll communicate that is (a) when others ask how your job search is going, or (b) when others ask what you do for a living.

The reasons you have an elevator pitch (aka, Me in 30 Seconds) include:

  • To develop/enhance your personal brand.  When someone wonders who they know who is expert in your space, you want them to think about YOU. This only happens if you help them know that you are the expert in that space.
  • To help them understand what you want/need.
  • To help them understand how they can help you (or at least start to think about it).

Today I hope to have a chat with my buddy and hear a few versions of his elevator pitch.  I’m guessing they will be about 25% good.  I’m biased and think that most elevator pitches can use significant improvement… I’m sure his will need a lot of help.

Can you state, in 30 seconds or less, what your brand/expertise is, as well as help me understand what you want and how I can help you?

This is NOT easy.  You get 30 seconds to wow or bore…. only 30 seconds to engage or turn off.  If you don’t put time and energy in the preparation, I’ll bet you will fail…

How are YOU doing on this?  Want to risk a bit and share your 30 seconds in the comments below?

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:

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Shakespeare, Mountains and Being a Dad

May 25th, 2010

Yesterday I headed out to the Mountains in Utah with a bunch of youth, including my daughter, who are part of a Shakespeare club.  We’re going to a Shakespeare camp …

Today I should be having a ton of fun, even though I don’t have internet connection (I’m writing this Sunday night).

It’s hard to peel myself away from WORK, but isn’t this what it is always about?

I’m sure I’m making awesome, lifelong memories!

Love you Sam!

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May 24th, 2010

I started working with the blue collar job seeker last week – he came over on Thursday for our first in-person session.

Granted, I’m not a coach, but I’m coaching him. I’m confident I can help him get to a certain point, and he needs the help.

On Thursday we talked about a bunch of things (mostly drilling down on my posts from last week), and he said something that I’ve been thinking about since our meeting.

He had an interview and was asked if he was currently working.  He is indeed currently working, but he’s not proud of where he is working.  So his response to where he was working was “I’d rather not say.”  And he left it at that, and didn’t say.

This saddened me because he is working IN HIS FIELD.  He is doing real building maintenance stuff.  The company he is working for is associated with a company that most people joke about, or talk about if they reach the end of their rope… it’s not prestigious… but it’s a good, solid company, and he’s doing what he’s trained to do.

He came across as ashamed to be working there, and that can’t help in an interview.

Let’s flip the coin… and share about another guy. I heard about this other guy who has great credentials but has had a hard time landing a job.  He was brought into an interview where he was told he was the least qualified, on paper, but he is hustling.

How is he hustling?  He was doing a number of jobs to pay the bills, including stocking shelves at a grocery store.  This showed the employer that he is a hustler, and that he is going to work hard to get the job done.  This type of dedication and work ethic showed the potential employer that he was the type of person they wanted to hire.

Should you be ashamed of your temporary, step job?

Please don’t.  Thom Singer blogs about this here.

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:



Blue Collar Job Search – What Job Titles Do You Want?

May 20th, 2010

Continuing this series for a blue collar job search, the next step is to identify job titles you should be searching for.

Before I got laid off I didn’t really care about job titles… except my own job title.  When I started a job search I searched for job titles I was familiar with. I had no idea that there were other job titles I should have been looking for.

Same with you – there are likely job titles that are posted online that you haven’t heard of.  One reason is because companies might have proprietary titles that don’t make sense to anyone outside of the company.

Once again, head over to and do a simple search for titles you know you are looking for… and then sift through the postings to see what other job titles come up.

My buddy is a genius at building and maintaining… he can do a lot of different things.  I tried the title facility maintenance, which is a generic term to describe the maintenance professionals who do a lot of different things in an existing building, and eventually found the following titles:

  • facility maintenance tech
  • facility operations
  • facility manager
  • operations supervisor
  • operations technician

You can do searches on any of these other titles and see what other job titles come up… once again, this is a brainstorming exercise to help you broaden your search and find more opportunities.

Similar to what you get when you have a list of target companies, knowing some different job titles can help you as you network.  For example, if someone asks you how the job search is going you can respond with “it’s going great – I’m looking for a job in facility operations or as an operation technician – do you know anyone at your company that can introduce me to the maintenance manager so I can talk to him/her?”

By now you have a better idea of what you want in a job (or work environment), what some of your target companies are and what some job titles you would apply for are…. next is… (well, come back tomorrow!)

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:



Blue Collar Job Search – Identify Target Companies

May 19th, 2010

This is a series on how to find a blue collar job.  I’m writing it for a friend who’s busy in a temporary job and is looking for something bigger.

Today it’s all about “target companies.”  I love the idea of target companies, and think it is one of THE MOST critical things to tackle in your job search.  Why?  For a few reasons:

  • You can narrow/focus your job search on identified target companies,
  • You will learn about other companies you never would have heard of as you do your job search.  These other companies (which might become target companies) might be vendors, customers or competitors of your original target companies.
  • When people ask you how your job search is going you can reply with something like “it’s going well – I’m trying to find contacts at x, y, or z companies – do you know anyone who works there?”

The easiest place for me to start looking for target companies was on Indeed.  I like Indeed because it pulls jobs from various job boards… as I typed in a few job titles, based on what my buddy told me, I identified the following companies that could be target companies:

  • Mountain America – has a bunch of credit unions locally and a corporate office close to us
  • Salt Lake Community College – with a bunch of campus buildings close to us
  • IHC – regional hospital chain with a bunch of hospitals around here
  • Larry Miller company – has a bunch of properties all over the Salt Lake valley
  • … and 11 more – all of these companies where found from a few searches on Indeed.

This is BRAINSTORMING mode… we’re not declaring that we would LOVE to work at any of these companies, but they are all possibilities.  As you list target companies you should be able to think of new ones… for example, if you don’t bank at Mountain America then go to YOUR OWN credit union – they probably have a lot of branch buildings also, right?

As you start to look at these target companies you can try and figure out how any jobs with these might match your list from yesterday (what do you want in a job).  For example, a company with one huge building means no driving around all day… and a company with lots of small branch buildings means lots of driving around… also larger companies might have better benefits and training programs, and more sophisticated management/systems, whereas smaller companies might allow you more freedom in your job.

LIST OUT TARGET COMPANIES, brainstorm, don’t leave anything off.  You can order them by how interesting any of them are to you, but even listing the companies you don’t want to work at is valuable.

Here’s a plug for JibberJobber – as you develop your list of target companies make sure you put them into JibberJobber.  You’ll want to log various things about each company, from contact info (address, phone, etc.) to any notes or info you find about a company.

Try the job search here… type in a few company names you are interested in listing as target companies:

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:



Blue Collar Job Search – What Do You Want in a Job

May 18th, 2010

This is a series to help blue collar workers in a blue collar job search.  It starts here.

My buddy is quite versatile in his skills and can do a number of different things.  He also has worked in different types of environments, from corporate to entrepreneurial… I really don’t know what kind of job he’d want, or what kind of environment he’d excel in… this job needs to meet various personal needs… here’s a list of things I want him to answer, which will really help refine what kind of jobs or companies he should look at (or rule out):

What do you want in your next role?

  • What hourly or salary considerations do you have?   Are you okay to work hourly, or do you want to have a salary (which could mean no overtime pay)?
  • What benefits are important to you?  Pension is probably not an option but what kind of vacation and sick leave do you expect?  What are your health insurance needs (bigger companies will likely have better benefits).
  • Do you want to be in an entrepreneurial (wear many hats) or well-structured (you do very specific things while other team members do complementary tasks) role?  This again helps you determine the type or size of the company you should look at or rule out.
  • Are you okay with travelling?  Some jobs are at one location, others are travelling around to different locations just during the day and others require lots of out-of-town travel.  Do you have a preference or any needs that make one of these not an option?
  • Do you want to supervise others?  This is not a power struggle issue, it really plays into your personality… do you strive to be the boss or do you just want to go to work and get the job done?
  • Are you interested in being over any budgets or driving any strategy? I found a number of  job postings that crossed the line from “being an amazing technician and doing the job” to “in charge of the overall strategy and budgets and planning,” which are two different kinds of things (strategy and budgets and planning can be quite frustrating if you really just want to roll your sleeves up and fix or build something).
  • What kind of commute are you comfortable with?  There are a lot more opportunities within a 1 hour and 15 minute drive than just a 30 minute drive… but that kind of commute each day is hard on you and your vehicle :/
  • What kind of shift or hours do you want?  Do you want 9to5, or can you do swing or nights?  Do you want to be on-call (with high likelihood of getting called)?

What are other considerations that you should be able to list/answer, to help you figure out what kinds of companies and job titles you should look at?

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:



Blue Collar Job Search – How To Find A Blue Collar Job

May 17th, 2010

JibberJobber is officially 4 years old!  May 15 was our anniversary, celebrated with cake and brownies and hurrays!  This week I’m taking a break from normal blogging to share some thoughts I brainstormed yesterday as I had a new challenge presented to me – a challenge which I’m quite emotionally involved in.

In the last four years I have talked about how to find a job, job search tactics, job search strategies, guerrilla job search stuff, etc.  Because of my bias I tend to write about and for white collar PROFESSIONALS, just because that’s what I am.  I also tend to ignore then career counseling question of “what do you want to be when you grow up,” because that usually hasn’t applied to me.

Yesterday, however, I sat down with a good friend who is in a job search.  This is a guy who can fix anything, and has spent his entire career working with his hands.  I’ve seen his work first-hand and it is wonderful.  He’s an artist, a craftsman, broadly talented, and takes considerable pride in his work.  He recently transitioned out of the direction he was headed in his career and is in a step job right now to make ends meet – but it’s not where he wants to end up.

He told me that he has worked the last 14 days (night shift – yuck) and looked exhausted. I asked him what he was doing in the job search and he shared a bare-minimum strategy with me.  It’s hard to do a job search when your step job is so exhausting, but the bigger problem was, it seems, he didn’t know where to start, or what to do.  He was doing “job search stuff,” but it is the normal stuff that isn’t enough.

We chatted for about 20 minutes and then I spent the next hour brainstorming what I’d tell him, or help him with.

That’s what this blue collar job search will be about.  I bet it will go into next week and I’ll probably make an ebook out of it.

Please contribute your own ideas and thoughts and tactics as I blog about…. tomorrow we start with what I think might be the first step… any guesses on what it is?

The JibberJobber Blue Collar Job Search Series:



LinkedIn DVD – Shipping TODAY!

May 14th, 2010
LinkedIn for Job Seekers

Click to order - now shipping!

Last night I picked up 1,010 DVDs, today I’ll put about 150 in the mail.

This DVD is awesome… of course, I’m biased, but where else are you going to get three solid hours of no-frills, what you need to know, look-over-my-shoulder training?

That’s right, you don’t get to see my face in the webinar, or me on a stage… it’s my computer screen you are watching.  It’s awesome.  Here’s what you get on this fantabulous DVD:

  • Introduction – including some concepts and terminology to help you get more out of the DVD and your LinkedIn strategy.
  • Home Page – so easy to overlook but usually opportunity to get value. I show you how.
  • Profile: Above the Fold – First impression? Are you findable?  Is your Profile turning people off?  This section is quite valuable.
  • Profile: Summary – so many summaries are INSUFFICIENT or BORING.  I tell you how to fix that.
  • Profile: Below the Fold – More opportunity to brand yourself and increase the chance of being found, but so many people miss the opportunities.
  • Profile: Applications – More than the 2 I usually talk about – what Apps are important and why.
  • Profile: Add a Video – Step-by-step visual of how to get a video on your Profile (like you can see on my profile, or on Walter Akana’s Profile – you have to be logged in and click on the FULL PROFILE to see the video).
  • Companies – GOLD!  There’s GOLD in LinkedIn Companies.  Learn why.
  • Groups – Groups are powerful but misleading… learn what the value is, what to do, and what NOT to do.
  • Jobs – I wish there was more value here… nonetheless, LinkedIn Jobs still provides an opportunity you don’t get elsewhere.  Learn what’s important here.
  • Advanced People Search – If you aren’t using the advanced people search you aren’t using LinkedIn.  Don’t just get an account, look for key contacts!
  • Communicating with Others – once you find a key contact, how do you communicate with them?  Here are the mechanisms and my formula for what communications should include.
  • Recommendations – How to get them, how to give them.  What makes Recommendations valuable.
  • Answers: Asking Questions – DO THIS.  Regularly.  Learn how to do it the right way and not become NOISE to your network.
  • Answers: Answering Questions – Less commitment but still valuable.  You should be expert in something – prove it.
  • Manage Your Settings – There are a few settings and such in here that you should know about.
  • Browse Connections – Have you used this feature to strategically find more key contacts?  If not, you need to.

And that just WASN’T ENOUGH! I was on a roll and came up with FIVE bonus tracks:

  • BONUS: Now, 10 Things to Do – now that you’ve watched the DVD here are 10 actionable things you can do TODAY.
  • BONUS: 20 Questions – 20 frequently asked questions, in a speed-answering session.  This was fun to do :)
  • BONUS: Export Contacts – You should export your contacts… read this if you don’t know why.
  • BONUS: Cleaning the Export – once you export your contacts you should clean up the file because, well, it’s a mess.  Here’s what you do to clean it up.
  • BONUS: Importing to JibberJobber – You are a job seeker – you should be on JibberJobber… here’s what you can do with the imported file.

Check out this order page that has bundle information.

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JibberJobber: 4 Years Later

May 12th, 2010

Monday I announced our four year anniversary and celebration. After reminiscing a bit about where we’ve been, and some early milestones, I said to come back on Wednesday to see where we’re at now.  Here are a few things to share:

  • We’re going strong, continuing to increase the number of user signups and upgrades.  I didn’t think we’d be a fad but just seeing the numbers increase shows that this is a needed tool/application.
  • The number of USERS continues to grow.  It was exciting to see the first user login more than 1,000 times… to know that we’ve created something that smart people use to manage their job search, indeed, to rely on, is satisfying.
  • We continue to add new features and streamline the system.   It’s painfully slow to do this now, four years into development, as the system is more complex than it was a few years ago.  Any little change can mean a lot of work on the backend… but we have a list a mile long and can improve JibberJobber for the next 100 years :p
  • We have competition, lots of competition. When I launched I enjoyed being the only solution to organize a job search online… for about five days.  The next week our first competitor popped up (Isabont).  Now there are about ten or so competitors…. some are even funded, many have full teams behind them (I’ve met a number of my competitors).  I know competition is supposed to be good but I kind of liked it when we were the only one :p  On the other hand, someone recently told me that having more competitors validates the concept.
  • You know I’m big on multiple streams of income. I continue to watch my business evolve, and work on income streams that make sense.  This year is turning out to be quite different from last year and business evolution has proven to be inevitable.
  • I continue to write A LOT.  Sometimes I think I’m crazy for writing so much, and wonder if I’m really just hiding behind my keyboard when I should be doing other things, but I enjoy it and I feel like it’s been a great marketing and branding vehicle.  Here are some places I write:
  • I’ve created the second edition of the LinkedIn DVD (LinkedIn for Job Seekers) and should be shipping that this week.  I’ve also produced the Killer Online Press Releases DVD, which is a three hour DVD on creating and optimizing your press releases and press reach.
  • I’m booking the latter end of this year for speaking and expect to travel to Maryland, Dallas, and San Diego (geesh, I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting ANOTHER trip here!) and hope to have the Fall/Winter/Spring busy with speaking engagements.
  • I’m looking for commission-only sales people to help me do business development on some B2B products I’ve conceptualized with JibberJobber and related stuff.  I’m very excited about the possibilities here and hope to find people who are passionate about business development to help me move forward.
  • On a personal note, my home office is getting a major renovation and this summer I’m taking more time for my family (camping and traditions and memory-making) and myself (walking 500 miles this year)

Many times I wonder if I can handle what I am trying to handle, but I think about the solid metal bar that Heather Gardner gave me a few years earlier:


I’ve failed in a number of things, but they don’t keep me from moving forward!


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