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Job Search: Broken = Pain = Opportunity

August 18th, 2011

When I got laid off I created a simple plan to land a better job quickly.

My plan failed.

What I didn’t realize is that the job search is broken, on every single level.

Job Seekers are broken because they don’t understand, and many times don’t want to understand, the process.  They just want the freaking job!  The problem with not understanding the process is that they then do things that seem to make sense, but really don’t.

The Recruiting world is broken.  Just head over to recruiting blogs to learn about all of their issues and topics they talk about.  I’d call it a mature industry, but they struggle with so many things it is clear there are still many wrinkles to iron out.  And, ask any job seeker what they think of recruiters – it usually isn’t good for two reasons:

  1. The job seeker doesn’t understand the role of a recruiter in their job search, and
  2. The recruiter has no time to follow-up with unpromising candidates, leaving them hanging, not providing even a sentence of counseling/coaching/encouragement/feedback.

HR is broken.  Why do you think every job counselor in the country says “AVOID HR!”  They are a mess. I’ve worked with them, and I know they have many issues.  Many times they don’t have a seat on the executive committee, and aren’t involved with strategy.  They are disregarded by the strategic thinkers, and are left to do a very, very important role without being properly funded, or empowered.  Also, just how much influence do they have in a hiring process?  Either way too much, without the right tools, or way too little, when hiring managers go around them.

The process hiring managers follow is broken, especially evidenced when they hire based on emotional input rather than seeking out the best candidate.  Their A-player employee strongly recommends someone?  Go with that, instead of equally weighing out all of the strongest candidates!  Yeah, that will last.

Job boards are broken. Typically, they don’t care about the job seeker, or the job search process.  Job seekers are transient users who pay nothing (leeches, maybe?).  They care about whoever at the hiring company is going to pay to have a job posting put up.  That’s why on some job boards you get contacted by “opportunities” that have NOTHING to do with what you have on your resume.

What else… there are other aspects of the whole process of what is broken.

What does this mean?

There is PAIN for job seekers (and for everyone else involved in the hiring process).  Some of it is very deep, personal pain.  Other pain is just work frustration.

There are OPPORTUNITIES to fix various parts of the puzzle.  I’ve seen people/companies come along that will fix a very specific issue, without really affecting the big picture, and I’ve seen people/companies try to fix the entire puzzle (which is really too big a problem to fix, imo).

Are you going to focus on the  PAIN or the OPPORTUNITIES?

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Do you use Site:_____ in Google searches? I DO!

August 17th, 2011

On my blog it’s hard to find old stuff that I’m looking for. I don’t understand how the “search” box works, and if I’m looking for a phrase I can’t really use it.

Enter the SITE search on Google.

Check this out:

Each color represents the three main things in this search:

  1. YELLOW: Simple put site: to tell Google that you want to restrict the search to a specific website.  Don’t ever change this – it is always site:
  2. GREEN: This is the website you want to search on.  My example is on the JibberJobber blog, but you can put in a company site (like apple or intel or whatever). I always put the entire URL, including the http://www, and if you want to do a search on just a portion of the site, you can do that (like I’m doing with /blog).
  3. ORANGE (or whatever color that is): the search phrase.  This can be one word, of course, or you can do all the cool search stuff you expect to do with Google.  In this example, a phrase is within quotes, which means get me those three words just like they are there…

I do this regularly to find old stuff on my blog, with over 5 years of posts.  You can do this to do research on companies, openings, people, etc.

Here’s another example of a Google site search I just did and found some interesting results – this shows where on LinkedIn people say “Jason Alba” — I found a discussion where people where talking about me, or referring to me, that I didn’t know about before!

NOTE: to do this, simply go to Google.com, and put all three elements in the search box.  There isn’t a special page you have to go to do do a site search.

Have fun with this one!

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How To: View Only OPEN Jobs

August 16th, 2011

My customer service team bcc’s me on their responses to customer questions, so I can stay in the loop on what people are hung up on, and what suggestions they have.

J.L. asked a question I’ve seen a number of times before, which is:

How do I see JUST the open jobs I’m tracking, instead of all of the jobs I have in the system?

On the Job List Panel we show you everything.

But if you want to see just the open jobs, simple search for status:open, like this:

Then, click the search icon, which is the magnifying glass by the red #1.

To CLEAR a saved search, click on the broom icon, which is by the number 2.

Notice on the right there is a PLAY button, to show a video of how this all works…

Cool, huh?

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My Piano Lessons, Your Networking, and HARD WORK!

August 15th, 2011

I’m 37.

My 13 year old daughter, who has been taking piano lessons for about 10 years, started teaching me to play the piano a couple of months ago.

It’s been a really fun experience on so many levels, and I’m finally learning to play the piano. I figure in 13 years, when I’m 50, I can play as good as her (she is amazing on the piano).  I’m patient, and I can see myself working hard over the next 13 years, so I can get that good.

But it is freaking HARD.

Sometimes, when she teaches me a new song, I feel like my head is literally going to pop (sorry for the visual :p).

Learning how to make my fingers do what they need to do, and understanding the musical stuff, and then watching my fingers NOT do the same things that her fingers do, and wondering if I’ll ever get it, is so very hard.

Mary Had A Little Lamb and London Bridges have never been so painful!!!

But then, after practicing, something happens.

It grows easier.

And I start to “get” the hard parts.

What was once head-popping impossible becomes doable, and then fairly easy, and then comfortable.

My fingers don’t even hurt anymore.  When I first started they hurt all the time, and I wondered if all pianists walked around with hurting fingers.

One of my immediate goals was to play with both hands.  Piano seems not-so-cool if you just play with one hand.  I really wanted to do two hands.  And I’m finally here.  I’m just polishing my second two-hand song, before I get to do the next one.  It’s a delight to be here.  It’s still hard, but I know that each time I practice, I get closer to passing off the song I’m on, and going to something that gets me closer to my goal for when I’m 50.

When I think about the head-popping hardness of what I’m doing, I think about job seekers.  They start new stuff, and it is hard, and it hurts, and they want to stop, because it might be insurmountable.

But then I think about the guys and gals who just go to that networking event, and open their mouth, and shake hands with people, even though it is so very uncomfortable.

The first time it is so hard.

And awkward.

Bodies, minds and hands weren’t meant for that!  Especially for introverts!

But they do it again next week.  And it is still so very painful.  But maybe a tiny, tiny bit less painful.

And then something amazing happens.  A few weeks into it, it isn’t painful.  And the smiles are genuine, not forced.  You can see a transformation.

It is because this is HARD WORK.  And PRACTICE makes the hard work easier, and more enjoyable.  Practice makes it less painful.

I know you are thinking about skipping this week.  Because you have “more important” things to do.

Realize that every time you go, every time you introduce yourself, you are getting better at it.  The uncomfortable goes away, and it becomes more natural.

And them remember that these skills will only help you in your next job, or next endeavor, and you gotta learn them sometime, somewhere, somehow.

Maybe, right now is the right time, no matter how old you are, or how experienced you are, or you cool you have been in the past.

Thom Singer had a great line in yesterday’s post titled Getting The Word Out… he said:

Everyday you need to wake up and do the hard work to get the word out about why your business is spectacular.

What can you do every day to get the word out about you?

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Job Journal / Success Journal: A MUST HAVE in your job search

August 5th, 2011

I am a nut for job journals.  When I speak I tell job seekers to take an entire day, go somewhere quiet (mountain?), and brainstorm past accomplishments.

I think, for multiple reasons, this is more important than spending all day on the computer.

Get away, document and brainstorm, and remember the great things you’ve ever done in your career.

Steve Levy, a recruiter in New York, recently tweeted this:

Then he followed up with this:

In JibberJobber we have a place where you can put these emails, transcribed kudos, reports, etc.  and store them.

It’s all about CAREER MANAGEMENT.

Collecting this stuff helps you define your brand, and craft stories to communicate what you’ve done and why you are awesome.

As Steve says, “you don’t think you can remember all of these?”

You absolutely won’t remember all of them, especially when it most matters (in a networking setting, or in an interview).

That’s the premise of my most commented post, Depression Clouds Everything.  The idea is that when your emotions get in the way, you get clouded, and can’t recall why you are awesome, or that you’ve ever done anything good in your career.

You might not use all of the stories, but just having them could really help you communicate much better, because stories back up what you say about yourself.

To get this in JibberJobber, login and then go to TOOLS, then Job Journal:

Seriously – take the time to do it and you’ll reap the benefits for many years to come!

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What are you DOING in your job search? #metrics

August 4th, 2011

I LOVE how people misuse metrics.  One of the best books around was required reading in my Stats 101 class, titled How to Lie with Statistics.  It’s a great, fast read.

On my Jason Alba blog I wrote a post titled FAKE METRICS.  I differentiate between signups, users and upgrades (and the old term, “hits”), and say that most companies are calling their signups USERS when they should really call them signups (since someone might signup, and then never come back and USE the system).

Alas, business nomenclature to confuse or mislead, and create hype.

On TechCrunch, more than two years after my post, Erick Schonfeld writes Don’t Be Fooled By Vanity Metrics.  He writes:

These growth metrics can often be signs of traction (which is why we report them), but just as often they are not. It is important to distinguish between real metrics and what Lean Startup guru Eric Ries calls vanity metrics.

So I got to thinking, what are the metrics you use in your job search?

Is it the number of resumes you send out?

Or the number of business cards you collect?

Or the number of connections you have in LinkedIn?

Or the number of jobs you applied to on Monster or Indeed?

Is it the number of phone calls you’ve sent, or the hours you spent revising a resume or cover letter?  Is it _________?

Many times I see job seekers use vanity metrics, not to be vain, but because we have become conditioned to like measurable things… and if we can stick a number on something (“I spent 6 hours working on my resume today!”), we can feel better about ourselves.  We can tell others what we are doing, in a way that makes us sound productive.

But metrics don’t necessarily lead to desired outcome.

STOP.  Right now, stop.  Stop doing that.

Write down what your metrics are, and then make a list of what they should be.

Before you waste one more brain cell working on metrics, ensure that you are working towards the RIGHT metrics, not something that is in VAIN.

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Can you be an INTROVERT and have a successful JOB SEARCH?

August 3rd, 2011

It seems like:

introvert + job search = failure

Doesn’t it?

Doesn’t all the advice point to networking?

And doesn’t networking mean you have to meet people, smile, be happy and excited and positive?

WAIT!!!

STOP!!!

Yes, your relationships can and should play a big role in your job search, and the success of your job search.

But if you are introverted, or scared to death to be an extrovert (or fake being an extrovert), there is still hope for you.

Lots of hope.

Social networking is a powerful tool for introverts because they are not in a high-pressure social environment.

But introverts can thrive at non-social networking, too.

They can definitely thrive.

Take what you think networking is all about … you know, all the stuff extroverts seem to thrive at, and discard it.

Networking is more about developing real relationships than it is knowing everyone your city, or industry.

Networking is more about one-on-one than it is collecting dozens or hundreds of business cards and email addresses (and then doing nothing with them).

Networking is more about thoughtfulness and follow-up than it is blasting general emails and updated to people who really don’t feel like they know you (and don’t really care about you).

Can an introvert thrive at that stuff?

Definitely.

Do not hide behind the title/stereotype of being an introvert to think you cannot network.

Want a book recommendation?  Here you go: The Successful Introvert, by one of my favorite introverts, Wendy Gelberg.

Wendy is the real deal.  She’s introverted.  She’s quiet.  She’s not the one who is at the network meeting shaking everyone’s hand, smiling at everyone and pretending she’s the host.

She might walk away from the meeting only having had one or two conversations.

But those conversations will have been really good. The people she talked with will have felt cared about.  She will have worked on breaking beyond a superficial relationship and getting to a deeper relationship.

She is an introvert who walks her talk, and she’s someone you should listen to. You can pick up her book here.


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How to Plug 99% of the Leaks in Your Professional (and Personal) Network

August 2nd, 2011

This is a guest post from Tom Clifford. Read more about Tom below, at the end of his post. Tom has been a long-time friend and heavy user of JibberJobber, having logged into his account more than 850 times. I sincerely appreciated this unsolicited post — you know I hardly, rarely do guest posts, but I was so flattered that Tom wrote this… here ya go!

Let’s do something really crazy.

Let’s not keep track of anyone you meet.

For added measure, let’s ignore who you know, how you know them, what you did for
them and so on.

What do you think will happen over time?

Like a bucket with a hole in it, details about each person will drain out of your memory.

Of course, there’s a simple solution to this: Find a way to plug the leak.

Plug the leak, and you won’t have to worry about remembering everything.

But how do you plug the leak? By having a “net” for your network.

Why bother having a “net” for your network?

Having a “net” when you’re networking helps you “catch” (or remember) the people you
meet over time. Remembering so many people over so many years just isn’t possible for
the brain to do, right? What happens when you don’t have a “net”?

If you don’t have a “net” that “catches” this valuable information, someday you’ll
wake up and find your networking efforts in shambles. To help pull the pieces of your
networking puzzle together, you need a simple, yet powerful, networking system.

What’s a networking system?

A networking system is a way to give structure, organization and meaning to all the
people you meet throughout your career.

Having a networking system is more than just collecting names, phone numbers and
email addresses. It’s a system to help you move your career forward by making it easy
for you to manage your relationships—while still being flexible to your needs.

What does an effective networking system look like?

Here are a few key ingredients that make a (nearly perfect) networking system:

  • Keeps track of critical ideas people shared with you
  • Knows the people your network referred you to
  • Tracks documents you sent to each person
  • Creates and stores your various elevator pitches
  • Sets personal goals and tracks the progress of key relationships
  • Sorts and prints information numerous ways

You get the idea. You need a system for organizing, managing and keeping track of your
network for the long haul.

Unhappy with the networking systems that existed, Jason Alba created his own “net” and
networking system. He called it “JibberJobber.”

JibberJobber?

Yup. JibberJobber.

JibberJobber is a web-based “personal relationship manager.” JibberJobber is a complete
networking management system to help you keep track of everyone you meet.

Think of JibberJobber as your “one-stop relationship manager.” It not only holds all the
information related to your connections, but it is also a system featuring unique tools that
you can easily customize to deepen certain relationships critical to your own career path.

Cool, huh?

Can your networking system do that?

Sure, there are a gazillion programs that allow you to enter the names, addresses, emails
and phone numbers of people you meet. But remember: JibberJobber is NOT a contact
management tool
.

JibberJobber is a relationship management tool.

It ties all of your relationships together unlike any other system.

If your current networking system has leaks in it, JibberJobber can plug those leaks right
up. With JibberJobber, you won’t miss a beat from any of your networking activities.

Does your system plug your networking leaks?

Plug your networking leaks.

Plugging any potential leaks in your networking efforts is a breeze with JibberJobber.

You probably won’t use all the tools in JibberJobber each time you meet someone, but
here are a few things you can do with it:

  • Upload the documents you gave your contacts—resumes, articles, etc.
  • Keep track of expenses. Did you incur any expenses meeting someone? If so, you
  • can keep track of it in one place.
  • Add a networking event.
  • Write and revise your 30-Second Pitch. Write several versions of it while you’re
  • at it!
  • Enter your answers to questions people frequently ask you (that way, you can
  • always review the answers before an important sales call, etc.).
  • Scan the Article Library for new or interesting articles related to various aspects
  • of career development.
  • Add a book and a short personal review to the Book Library.
  • Use the Tree View to see relationships between people.

Not bad for free, right? (Heck, that’s just the beginning of what’s possible.)

Don’t want to bother learning a completely new system?

Learning and using JibberJobber is a breeze. All you have to do to get going is import
your address book into JibberJobber. Once your contacts are loaded, start playing around
with it for a while. You can always keep using your current contact management system
until you become more familiar with JibberJobber’s features. [note from Jason: also, jump on a user webinar, which I do about twice a month]

Can anyone benefit from JibberJobber?

Yes, anyone can benefit from using JibberJobber. It’s a great tool for everybody
who’s serious about managing their careers and their relationships. Job seekers love
JibberJobber because it was initially designed with them in mind, but really, everyone
can benefit from using it.

Sounds like JibberJobber will cost a pretty penny.

What’s the catch? Well, there’s no catch. JibberJobber won’t cost you a penny.
You can get up and running for free with the basic version. If you like the free version,
you can upgrade to the premium levels at any time.

Managing relationships is one of the key secrets to your success.

  • Remembering who said what, where, when and why is impossible.
  • It’s important to have a “net” to keep track of people you meet over your career.
  • A networking system is your “net” to tie all your relationships together in one
  • place.
  • JibberJobber is your relationship tool to manage all your relationships.
  • JibberJobber can plug any potential leaks in your current networking system.
  • JibberJobber is a snap to learn—and it’s free.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about JibberJobber, head on over to the website and check out the cool
videos
.

Thomas Clifford is an award-winning business communicator and blogger. Tom’s copywriting focuses on jargon-free marketing articles, homepages, landing/sales pages, e-books and B2B case studies.

Before copywriting, Tom spent 25 years producing over 500 marketing and branding films (and interviewing more than 1,500 people) as a documentary producer.

You can follow Tom on Twitter at @ThomasClifford. His blog, “Humanizing Business Communications,” is packed with new media business communication tips and writing
strategies
.

His e-book “5 (Ridiculously Simple) Ways to Write Faster, Better, Easier” is free to new subscribers.

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What does money mean to you?

August 1st, 2011

I’ve had some money thoughts on my mind over the last few months and had to get them out.

I remember a few years ago, when I was deep in my job search and starting to working on JibberJobber, but without any financial success and deep in worry about how/when the money would be enough to sustain my personal expenses, I had an experience.

I was at my parents house, visiting for Christmas.  Right before our trip, our microwave had blown out.

My good wife said it was no big deal, we could simply do without a microwave.

I didn’t think we could, and was on the lookout for a way to get a microwave.

Understand, a replacement microwave was anywhere from a hundred bucks to a few hundred bucks.

This amount of money doesn’t seem like a big deal right now, especially for something as important as a microwave, but at the time, this was an insurmountable challenge.

It was immensely stressful.

My parents had an extra microwave, brand new, in their attic, and offered it to us. I remember the stress of trying to figure out how to get a box so we could get it on the plane… I’m embarrassed at how stressed I was when we were trying to find a good box (and get our kids and other luggage ready for a flight)… but again, that microwave, with a value of probably $150 bucks, represented something much more than $150 bucks!

Right now I’m in a position where a $150 replacement is not a big deal.  (my fridge, on the other hand, which seems to be dying a slow death, is another story, as it will be about a $1,000 replacement).

But then, $150 seemed to be more than I could emotionally/mentally handle.

What is $150?

Not much, now.

But 5 years ago, it might have been $150,000 to me!

Think about your financial problems today, right now.

Are they insurmountable?

For me, my perspective changed when I realized (later) that there was money out there that could be made… it was just a matter of me finding out how to do it, and doing it. In a traditional job, I would have to budget based on my salary (we had been living paycheck to paycheck for too long), and plan accordingly. As someone empowered to make money on my own, I am not limited to the calendar.

Another perspective-changing event happened when I read Atlas Shrugged. This is a a super-huge book that helped me rethink money, who can have it, why and how you can get it, and how to think about it.

One of my favorite quotes on money was from Harrison Ford, in a magazine I can’t remember, about his personal life.  When asked about money, or spending money, he said something like “I don’t think about money anymore. I haven’t thought about money for a long time.” (sorry if misquoted)

I read this quote when I was thinking about money 25 hours a day!  I couldn’t stop thinking about money!  I wasn’t thinking about boats and mansions and riches, I was thinking about paying this month’s bills!

Thoughts of money had consumed me, because I didn’t have any, and I was worried and scared.

Life has changed, and in the last five years I’ve changed the way I think about money.

I remember my wife saying a few times that money is like oxygen… if you don’t have it, you suddenly are consumed with thoughts about it!  If you have it, you usually don’t think about it.

How do you think about money?  Do you have an abundance mentality? Do you have a scarcity mentality? Do you believe you deserve to have at least the basic comforts (have bills get paid, etc.), and maybe even some of the finer things in life (like a vacation)?

What does money mean to you?

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