Liz Strauss and Jen Knoedl on Self Promotion

April 30th, 2012

Check out this 2+ minute video on “self-promotion.” Jen Knoedl interviews Liz Strauss.  Both of these ladies have done a lot in their areas (Liz in blogging and communications, as well as a host of other things, and Jen in a number of things, especially video).

From Vimeo:

It’s short but there are some real gems in there! This is from 2008…

If you have a problem with “self promotion,” pick up the book Brag by Peggy Klaus.  This is a must read for anyone who is in marketing, whether it is self-marketing or as a business owner or in a company…

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Bad News from a Pawn Shop Owner: Three More Bad Years (at least)

April 27th, 2012

I was at a pawn shop this week looking for a couple of movies I want.  I’ve been in that shop a few dozen times and the owner and I know eachother.

I asked him how business was and he said something like:

“It’s going really well.  People are struggling a lot these days.”

As far as I understand, a pawn shop has two major revenue streams.  One is from people like me, looking for a sweet deal on just about anything. The other is from people who need cash and take their goodies to the store to pawn them.  It’s an interesting model.

When the economy does bad, and more people need quick cash, pawn shops tend to do well.

He then said:

“I don’t care who is in office next, it’s going to be at least three more years of really bad economy.”

Now, he’s no professional economist.  But, he has a finger on the pulse of the economy.

Interesting… what are YOU doing to prepare?

What I’m doing is this (personally and from a business perspective):

  • figuring out my income streams,
  • working hard on my networking, branding and relationships, and
  • figuring out my expenses

I don’t think you can stick your head in the sand on this one… years of recovery will be too much for many people to weather.  But you can weather it.



More Age Discrimination and Critical Advice From a Recruiter

April 26th, 2012

I gravitate towards blog posts from recruiters, and on age discrimination. I was delighted to find this one on Recruiting Blogs: Do You Know the Signs of Age Discrimination at Work?

The post is pretty good. The issue I have with some of the advice, like “document any discriminatory practices” and “document your work record” is that you would later have to do something with that documentation. I find that many people move on (get laid off, fired, etc.) and then sink into depression, blame themselves, focus on their next job, or anything other than pursue legal action.

I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m just saying it is such a daunting concept, and maybe the wrong place to focus.

Here’s the most profound part of that page… in the comment from Randall, the fourth paragraph starts:

I’ll say that too many older jobseekers fixate of age discrimination.

I totally agree!

I’m definitely not saying that age discrimination doesn’t exist, because it is abundant.  What I’m saying is, I agree with Randall.  TOO MANY people FIXATE on the issue.

Don’t become obsessed with all the reasons why you aren’t seeing success… stop FIXATING on this one issue.

If it is an issue, figure out how to get around it.  How do you deal with it?  Do you ignore it?  Do you tackle it head on?

Fixating on this will not help you resolve it.  No, you won’t get younger, but you will be able to identify the issue and use the right language to perhaps defuse any issues.

Here are some other age discrimination in the job search posts I’ve written.

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How To: Track a Job If You Don’t Know The Name Of The Company?

April 24th, 2012

David, a savvy job seeker and professional in the NY/NJ area, asks this question:

How do you track a job that only has a craigslist email address and nothing else to go in?

Let me rephrase the question:

If you don’t have a contact name, or know the name of the company, how do you keep track of that job?

This is the same question as:

If I’m working with a recruiter, where do I associate the job?  To the recruiter?  To the recruiter’s firm?

Here’s how I would do it:

You should know the name of the job title.  Enter that as a new Job, and don’t associate it with anyone or any company.  Put the job description in the NOTES section of the Job you are tracking, and create the Log Entries when you send a resume, apply, etc.

If you want, set up a Company record: Craigslist. Associate the job with that record, and you’ll always be able to track, in one view, the jobs that come through your Craigslist searches.

That’s it… pretty much. Track it until you can put in a company or contact name.

When working with a recruiter, I would put the recruiter in as a Contact record.  Associate all jobs with that recruiter.  I would NOT associate them with the recruiter’s firm.

Eventually you’ll learn the name of the company, and then you can go back to the Job page and associate that job with the new target company.

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Book Publishing: ebook (easy to pirate) vs soft copy (printed)

April 23rd, 2012

I’m continually asked if I’m going to jump on the ebook bandwagon.  It’s easy to distribute, the author gets more money if you sell through Amazon, and because the Kindle is so prominent (even the Kindle app on the i-devices), it’s so easy to tap into a huge audience of people who can purchase very, very easily (one click?).

I have been on the fence about ebook publishing, for books I want to sell (not give away), for years.

Here’s why: document sharing websites, like scribd, make it super easy for people with questionable ethics, to share your document at no cost.  Here’s an example: you can get my entire book, free, illegally, from scribd (URL here, but I’m not linking to it:

Scribd is not a bad-guy site.  It’s not some offshore, shady torrent site where you can get anything, pirated, for free.

It’s more of a legitimate, trustworthy site, with real stuff.  Like docstoc and many other document sharing sites.

But it was so easy for someone with poor judgement, or no ethics, or who perhaps feels that everything should be free, to post my book in its entirety, to scribd. And I don’t see an easy way for me (or anyone) to say HEY, THIS IS PIRATED!  TAKE IT DOWN! No flag button or link.

A couple of years ago, a FENG (The Financial Executives Network Group) member took my ebook and illegally emailed it to the entire FENG email list.

Nice. Thousands of financial executives just got my book for free.  Did sales increase?  Nope.  You’d think financial execs would have more ethics than to let that happen.  When I asked the FENG leadership I got an apology, but the damage was done.

I only knew about that because one of my JibberJobber users was on that list, and they forwarded it to me.

As an author, and someone who is trying to earn money, I find the lack of integrity when it comes to stuff like this unsettling.

And that’s why I’m not enthusiastically planning on making 101 Alternatives to a Real Job an ebook.

But then, am I missing out on gobs of sales?

The decision hasn’t been made, but it’s hard to get excited about making a move that could completely wipe out any legitimate sales.

I’d love to know what you think.



Why you won’t start your own business (Pitfalls, barriers and pains)

April 20th, 2012

A question I asked on LinkedIn Wednesday prompted this post.  See the question and great answers here: 101 Alternatives to a Real Job: What pitfalls are there to starting your own business?

I am writing a really fun book titled 101 Alternatives to a Real Job.  I have submitted 41 of the 101 to my editor, and have about 10 more that are out to people doing it for quotes.

More than just a list of ideas, with blabbering by me, this book includes quotes and tips from people who have actually done these things.  I’ve come to believe that the reason this book will be so awesome is because of what others are contributing, not what I’m writing.  I’m excited to see it evolve, although I sometimes wish I would have titled it 47 Alternatives to a Real Job, since I’d pretty much be done by now :p  Oh well, onward!

Anyway, a few circumstances lined up just the right way and I decided I needed to try one of these out for myself.  I am a believer of the idea that so-called experts need experience in what they talk about, or in my case, write about.  So I finally picked one that seemed easy to start, easy to do, and easy to bring in the money.

I bought a kit so I could paint numbers on curbs.  Supposedly you can make $20 to $60 an hour.  I know many of the people in my audience, whether you are reading it here or at one of my presentations, would welcome the chance to earn anywhere in that range.

I proposed the idea to my kids and set up a cool and so-far very effective system: they sell and I paint.

They bring in the money, I deliver on the service.

Easy, efficient, and a money machine, right?

EXACTLY! The first night, in two hours, they collected $65.  Not bad at all.  The second night, in two hours, they collected $100.  In four hours they sold $165, which is about $41/hour.  That is really good money, especially for an eight and eleven year old, don’t you think?

Here are a few points where this business is a pain:

  • I have to get a solicitors licence from the city.  It only cost me $30, but it took a good hour because of drive time and the time I had to fill out the form, etc.  This is honestly a pain.   And it’s kind-of-almost embarrassing.  After all, what’s a smart successful guy like me doing getting a door-to-door solicitors license for???  Shouldn’t I do something productive with my MBA?  Yes, definitely a pride issue.
  • In order to get a solicitors license, I had to go to the state Bureau of Criminal Affairs and get a background check.  That’s what I was told. In fact, they call it a “Criminal History Record.”  I took some of my kids and their friends, and walked into what seemed to be a big jail cell with a bunch of bad guys waiting to do their own paperwork.  My littlest was 2, the oldest was 11.  I suddenly felt worried that I brought these sweet, cute kids into a place that would make a bartender nervous.  Oh yeah, it took another hour or two to get this done.  This was much further away from my house than the city building.
  • I rolled this business under my existing business (JibberJobber LLC).  That means I am already licensed with the city (a pain and a seemingly waste of money, since the city doesn’t do anything for me), and I have a Federal Tax ID (another pain).  I did this about six years ago (and have kept current), so it was easy to put that in, but I thought if I didn’t have this, it could easily be a barrier to entry.  I remember the three days it took to do all the business set-up a few years ago, thinking how much I hated that part of it, and that that alone was enough to make people start businesses illegally, without registering with the different levels of government.
  • Along those lines, I should mention you should have a business checking account, which is actually not just another bank account, but a certain type of bank account.  Not fun or fast!

That’s most of the administrative, bureacratic pain.  Technically, I wasn’t even supposed to have made a buck yet!  Here are the things that cause me pain in actually doing this type of easy-money business:

  • Knocking on doors.  This is not in most people’s comfort zone.  In fact, I am not looking forward to the time when my kids aren’t doing it (because of other activities), and I do it.  I know I need to… I need to get over it, but door-to-door is just not my favorite thing.
  • Delivery. So my sales team sold a bunch of stuff.  Now someone (me) has to deliver!  And delivery will take time – twenty or thirty minutes per sale.  The more they sell, the more work I have to do (remember, this isn’t my day job!).  I like how I can do it whenever I want, but it’s still weighing on me until I finish delivery.
  • Weather.  This week we’ve been rained out I think three times.  No sales, no painting, NO MONEY.  It’s a great idea, but if the weather doesn’t cooperate you are stuck.

Why am I doing this?  For various reason.  I’ll outline the good stuff  in another post.  But I thought I share my thoughts on “barriers to entry” for a business that seems to not have any.

Oh yeah, I read yesterday a college kid was making about $80k/year doing curb paintings.

Read the LinkedIn question and answers here: 101 Alternatives to a Real Job: What pitfalls are there to starting your own business?

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JibberJobber Free Level Changing: Premium Features moving to Free Side (the Unemployment Insurance Report)

April 19th, 2012

We are increasing what you get on the free level of JibberJobber.  You can see a now-outdated comparison chart here.  More features on the Premium side will move to the free side over the next few months.

Some people have advised me this is a great move (even saying ALL of JibberJobber should be free, but hey, a guy’s got bills to pay, you know??).

Others say we’re already giving away too much, and we should put regular/free features on the premium side. Basically, we’re nutz.

I think moving tools and features from premium to free is the right move.

Today’s announcement is one of these changes. What we used to call the Job Posting Activity Report is now a free feature.  This report shows what you did in the last week/month/quarter/year/forever, with regard to jobs you are applying to.

When I was collecting unemployment insurance I had to declare that I was contacting two new companies every week (varies by state).

This is the report I would use to track that requirement, and if I needed to, to prove to the state that I did contact to new companies a week.

Expect to see more features moving from the premium level to the free level.



JibberJobber Testimonial from Kathy (or, “how to write an awesome testimonial!”)

April 18th, 2012

Here’s a note we got recently from a happy user… it really made my week!

I have been using JibberJobber for several weeks and I wanted to tell you how happy I am with the application and what a positive impact it is having on my job search.

After using it for a few weeks and entering each new contact, company, etc., I seemed to reach “critical mass”, and using the application really started to pay off.

I no longer waste time going through my business cards to find a phone number or searching through my notebook to find out when I met with someone or what the outcomes were.

Using the Action Item functionality has been particularly helpful. I didn’t realize how many follow-ups were accumulating (or falling through the cracks) until I put them all in one place. My days of forgetting to follow up in a timely manner are over.

Now that I am used to the benefits of using JibberJobber, there are sometimes things that I need to go back to (ie, “Who was the recruiter that called me and when did they call?”) and I wish I had been using it all along.

I would also like to point out that I had been using a different application to manage my job search, and I did not find it nearly as helpful or easy to use as JibberJobber.

One other comment I would like to make is that your service and responsiveness are second to none. Each time I have used your “contact us” functionality, I get an amazingly prompt, and helpful, response from Lizbeth.

Thank you for providing such a valuable tool for my job search. I have and will continue to promote your product with my fellow job-seekers.

Thank you Kathy!



Job Search News: What’s Up

April 13th, 2012

The economy seems to be getting better… at least, when I speak, the job clubs say they are having people not come back because they land.  I’m hearing this a lot, lately.  That’s great, right?

In other news, layoffs are still abundant. Yahoo just dumped 2,000 engineers into the Silicon Valley area (again). Sony dumped 10,000 people (not sure where they are, I’m guessing many of them are outside of the U.S), and the Detroit Public School system pink-slipped “at least 4,100teachers.

No one is safe from this.  Nowhere is safe.  No industry is safe.  What used to be safe (teacher, gov’t employee, etc.) is now fair game.

What does this mean for you?

Prepare on your own with the right skills and credentials.  In the olden days (a few years ago) that meant a good, solid education.

I think today it means something else (not necessarily replacing education).  Here are three things YOU can do to protect yourself, and try and get some sense of what we used to call “job security”:

  • Sales ability. When I got laid off my younger brother said to get a sales job for one to three years, just to get sales training and experience. I think this is brilliant advice.  We sell all the time, but we aren’t trained, and we aren’t fearless, and many times we do a bad job.  Whether you think you are a “salesperson” or not, start learning sales techniques and strategies.
  • Entrepreneurship. Decades ago you were a cog in a wheel.  You had a place, and depended on all the other cogs to do their job, and things would work.  You let higher-ups make the strategic decisions that would affect your livelihood and future spending capability.  TODAY it is different.  This year you might have multiple jobs, or multiple income streams.  That’s not bad. Personally, I think it’s empowering!  It’s awesome.  But we need to have that mindset change so we understand that we need to do our career more intentionally, rather than just “show up.”
  • Career Management. For me this means cultivating and nurturing your network and your brand.  No one else is going to do this.  It’s up to you to finally get serious about your relationships, and how you manage them long-term, as well as how others perceive you (aka, your brand).  Keep neglecting this and your degrees and experience will sit on the shelf getting dusty while you have long, painful job searches.

What have I been up to?

I’m cranking through my book 101 Alternatives to a Real Job.  I hope to have it done and shipping by July, when I head to the D.C. area for some presentations.  If it’s out in July, it will only be 7 months behind schedule :p

What have YOU been up to?



Age Discrimination: Old People in the Job Search

April 10th, 2012

I hate age discrimination. I hate all kinds of discrimination.

But it it isn’t going away.  One reason is because we all discriminate (even the people who think they don’t, they do).

Another reason is because companies are full of idiots who say bad things, and make bad choices, regardless of what is right, and what the company policy manual says.

So, what do older job seekers do?  As I speak across the country I have seen the pain and worry and concern about their age, and being discriminated against.  They feel it, whether they are getting discriminated against or not.

What do you do?

Here’s some interesting advice, from Adam Eisenstein at RecruitingBlogs: What Advice Should We Give to Older Candidates?

Make sure you read the post AND the comments… great advice from recruiters!

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