The Media (and other distribution channels) are liers and are for sale – how that affects your job search

July 31st, 2012

I have learned, over the years, that media is a distribution channel that is easily persuaded.

PR companies make gazillions from companies and people who want us, the stupid public, to believe things.

“I saw it on the news!”

That means it must be right. Someone at the news agency must have validated the truthfulness of the information, right?

And we take it, hook, line and sinker.

We believe it.

Even though it might come because a PR professional, or someone with a big enough name (celebrity, politician, etc.) said something.

We are suckers. And the media is simply a tool, being used as much as we are.

How does this affect job seekers?

Check out this cool list of ten entrepreneur tips by LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. Let’s talk about #8:

Rule #8: Having a great product is important but having great product distribution is more important.

Have you ever noticed that you are the best candidate for the job, but you continually get passed over?

You know some of the competition, you might know the person who got the offer, and you KNOW you are better than them.

Why would a company choose someone less qualified for the role?  It’s confusing, isn’t it?

There are a few reasons.  But one issue I continually see is that people who “distribute themselves” better are more likely to get offers.

People who don’t, even though they might be far superior, just remain superior… and unemployed.

Same with companies… great press doesn’t mean a great product… distribution is the key.

Branding, networking, relationships… could all this be MORE important than the actual product?

Apply that to your own job search.  Regardless of how great you think you are, perhaps your distribution (branding, networking and relationships) is keeping you back.

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How To Job Search When You Don’t Want To (Mark LeBlanc Style)

July 30th, 2012

Mark LeBlanc isn’t a job seeker, nor is a job search coach. He is a business coach, and best-selling author of the little book: Growing Your Business!

I’ve been to two of Mark’s 2-day seminars, and both times walked away in awe.  I’ve implemented some of his system and it has, undoubtedly, changed my business.  I’m going to share one tactic that you should do. You can get this out of his $7.95 book… but I think many people overlook it as too simplistic.

Before I share the tactic, let me lay the foundation.

In my job search I had many days that I didn’t want to do “it.”  I didn’t want to email people, apply to jobs (because I knew my applications would go to the resume black hole), network, go to a lunch, or do anything more than mope.

Honestly, in my business, I’ve had similar days.

There are just times when you don’t want to do anything. Contrast that to days when you are on fire, and do a lot of great things.

Here’s the LeBlanc tactic that I think is life-changing.  It can be applied in any aspect of your life… family, relationships, work, religion, physical fitness, learning, etc.  In my own words:

Do three High Value Activities (HVAs)every day.

An HVA is an activity that brings you closer to making a sale.  In my business, it is sending out a certain email, or making a call, or meeting with prospects.

It is NOT organizing my filing system, cleaning my office, getting my email inbox closer to zero, checking on my social networking.

It IS prospecting, searching for people on LinkedIn, and reaching out to them.

Mark says you do three HVAs every day.  He even does them on Saturday and Sunday.  HVAs bring you closer to your monthly benchmark (similar to monthly goal).  If anything gets you to your monthly benchmark, it is the consistency of doing three HIGH VALUE activities every day, during the month.

One of the beauties of Mark’s system is that if you miss a day, you don’t make up for it later.  You simply start over, every single day, and do three HVAs that day.

When I’m having “one of those days,” when I don’t want to do anything, I make sure I do my three HVAs.  It could take me all of 15 minutes.  But guess what? If I’m able to remain consistent, and do the three HVAs, I feel better about myself, and I see progress (for me, progress means more sales).

I guarantee you (can I guarantee anything?  Perhaps not…) that if you have a list of the right HVAs, and you consistently do them over time, you will see results.

You will see more informational interviews.

You will get more job interviews.

You will meet more of the right people, who can introduce you to more of the right people.

You will have purpose, hope and vision in your job search.

Your attitude will be better.

You will get closer and closer to a job offer.

You might even have multiple job offers. This happens. I just heard about one while I was in Maryland a couple of weeks ago.

You need to do the right things.  Not 24/7… just start off with three HVAs, every day.

Even on your bad days.

Thank you, Mark LeBlanc, for an amazing, powerful, and do-able tactic!



Job Search Communication, Emailing Many People, Mass Emails, Spamming

July 25th, 2012

Great post by Kara Stringer on Recruiting Blogs titled Mass Mailing and Spam.  Job seekers should write monthly newsletters to their friends and family (and professional acquaintances) letting them know what they are up to in their job search. I wrote two posts on how to write a job search newsletter… in this post I wanted to talk about what Kara brings up.

Kara talks about some stuff you don’t hear about often.  In my “Effective Email Communication” video series I talk about a number of these things, and more (focusing on a human reader). Kara talks about the nasty world of email spam.

I used to be an email administrator, many years ago.  I’ll tell you a few things:

  1. We aren’t going to win the war against spam, no matter what we do.  The more we block, the more “false positives” are going to get blocked.
  2. If you email people, especially a lot of people, you will somehow get flagged as a spammer.
  3. Even people who agree to get your emails will flag you as a spammer.  I’ve had this happen with JibberJobber users.
  4. Email server admins, whether they are people or just the server rules, are quite unforgiving.
  5. Spam blacklist owners are very, very powerful, many times just one person who does it part-time, and can be either slow to fix their error (whitelist you), or completely unforgiving, tagging you as a spammer for a long time.

What do you do to prevent being flagged as a spammer?

Write better emails.

And follow some of Kara’s guidelines. If you are interested in writing BETTER emails that have a better chance of being read and responded to, check out my series called Effective Email Communication.

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Job Search Communication, Email Signature Critique

July 24th, 2012

Nathan Adams is a resume writer out of Charlotte, NC.  We recently exchanged some emails and after looking at his email signature about three times I was struck with something that I didn’t like.  I didn’t catch “it” the first two times, but he said something in an email that made me more critically think about what I didn’t like…

When I speak across the country to job seekers I talk about your brand messaging, and how “every character either supports, or detracts from, your brand.” EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER.

Nathan wants people to go to the most important place, if they are interested in a resume critique or rewrite.

Which of the links on his signature would YOU say is the most important place? Is it 1, 2 or 3?

Nathan wants you to look at his resume writer (and career coaching) services.

The first link, #1, does that.  It sends you to his website, First Impressions Count.

The second link, #2, kind of does that.  It sends you to his LinkedIn Profile. That’s okay, but my hangup with that is the formatting and ads on the Profile that he has no control over.  I just clicked there and the add on the right is actually a video that is visually distracting. I recommended he keep this because he does LinkedIn Profile rewrites, and he needs to show he gets LinkedIn, so it’s fine.  For most people, who don’t have another website, I think it’s fine.  But if you aren’t in the career space, or your clients are job seekers, I would think twice about putting your LinkedIn Profile on your signature.  My Profile URL is not on my signature.

The third link, #3, … does nothing for me.  In fact, it is worse than nothing.  This is message-distracting. Click here to see Vizibility’s formatting, and the information you get from that link.  Is that going to help you understand Nathan’s service?  If nothing else, it points you to a page where you have to choose from five or so other links, and you aren’t likely to get to a page that helps you become a customer. From a branding perspective, this is not neutral, it is negative.

To take the links to the next step, I recommended he did one more thing… send people to a special landing page that isn’t his home page.  This would be a page that said something like “Hey, you got here from clicking on the link in my email signature.  Welcome!  Here’s what I want you to know….”  Something similar to what I have on my business card… the only link goes to this special landing page:

This might seem like harsh advice, but you have to consider how many options you are giving people, and what the message is that they get.

Are you doing your email signature on purpose, for personal branding?  I hope so.

More email signature thoughts here.



Job Search Chicken List: It’s Monday! Call someone!

July 23rd, 2012

Hey there, it’s Monday.  What do you do in your job search on Monday?


You know that ‘chicken list’ you have? It’s probably something you haven’t even written down – you are too afraid to even write the names!

These are names of people who you are afraid to call or email.

Here’s my challenge to you: call someone from your chicken list.  Whittle it down.

While you are at it, don’t stop at just one… call two, or three.  Be FREE of your chicken list!

Either nothing will come out of it, or something great might come out of it.

But when you don’t have a chicken list anymore, you are free to move forward.

I dare you!



Civil War Fighting Strategies vs. Job Board Strategies

July 20th, 2012

Last week in Virginia I was able to hang out with my sister and her family.  She has one son, the same age as my youngest son, and it was a blast being able to “play uncle,” since I hardly get to do that.

We took some walks in what I consider the sacred and hallowed Civil War battlefields.  As we walked through those thick woods (remember, I’m in Utah, which has a very small fraction of the trees they have out in Virginia!) I tried to imagine the soldiers running, hiding, and probably sweating profusely in that hot, muggy climate.

I thought of the outdated fighting strategy of lining up in two rows… one row would fire (shoot) while the other row would reload.  Then, the other side would do the same thing, and you would have this volley of bullets that went back and forth.  (see more on Wikipedia)

I thought about how ineffective that tactic/strategy was, even in the 19th century. I  contrasted that to a more 21st century guerrilla approach, and it made me think about job seekers using job boards.

Not that volleys aren’t effective at all.  They did what they knew, and it kind of worked.

Just like job seekers: they do what they know to do (thanks to some popular Super Bowl commercials from a few years ago), and it kind of works. At least, at the end of the day, week, month you can say “I’ve been in a very active job search… you know, applying to ___ jobs in the last month! See how busy I’ve been?”

I’m not saying to not use job boards.  That would be like saying “don’t use bullets in a battle.”  Ridiculous.

What I’m saying is, use job boards the right way.

Use them to gather intelligence about an industry, or a company.  Use them to try and find names and contact information (or, formatting on company email addresses).  Use them to find news, trends, patterns.

And then go to LinkedIn, and Google, and Spoke, and other resources, to do more research, and figure out how to network in.

In the job search you can use the old, outdated, less-effective volley approach, which relies heavily on applying to jobs you find on job boards.

OR, you can use the more effective, a little more scary, guerrilla approach.

What century are you in?

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Is the Job Seeker the FISH or the FISHERMAN?

July 16th, 2012

Last week I was in Maryland and Virginia speaking to about 300 job seekers.  It was a delightful trip.  In one presentation someone made an indepth analogy between the job search and bass fishing.

I haven’t seriously fished for many years, and when I did, I was great at catching blue gill, but that was about it.  Bass and trout and catfish was what better anglers caught.  I say this because I’m going to explain what was explained to me, but I might mess it up :)

This job seeker explained that when you fish for bass, you need to get the lure/bait (HOOK) right in front of them.  If it’s on the side, or too far in front, or too far above the fish, they won’t see it or get it.

Okay, if this is wrong, don’t tell me it’s wrong – I don’t really care how to catch bass, but the analogy is what we were going on :)

This job seekers was explaining that we need to make it easy for recruiters to find us.  They are the fisherman, and if we aren’t easy to find, they won’t put their hook in the right place.

It was an interesting and neat analogy.  However, it didn’t sit right with me.

Within a few minutes I challenged the idea and asked if we are acting like the fish when indeed we were the fisherman???

That question/thought was a showstopper.

Too often we focus on being found when in fact very few people are or will look for you.

I think it’s time to get out of passive “FIND ME!” mode, and start to do proactive “I found you – let’s chat!” mode.

What does that mean?

Big stuff.

Like, participating in the July Job Board Fast, and picking up the phone, and networking, and having conversations, etc.

How’s that going, anyway?

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Where do you find information about Target Companies?

July 13th, 2012

I’ve been in D.C. speaking this week.  Tonight/tomorrow I am honored to spend time with one of my best friends at his wedding.  What a choice week it’s been!

Here’s an excellent resource to find awesome companies that might make your Target Company List: Silicon Slopes Company Intelligence page.  This is limited to Utah companies (Silicon Slopes -> slopes = skiing)

If I were looking for a job in Utah, I would probably spend weeks on this page + LinkedIn working on networking into each of these companies.

The bigger ones seem to have their revenue listed, which is awesome.  The other ones don’t have revenue listed, but just being on this list means something.

Where do you find lists like this that are relevant to you?  In different places.  Crunchbase is an awesome resource. Spoke is growing to be an awesome resource like this.

In your own area, ask a V.C. (venture capitalist) for a resource similar to Silicon Slopes.  They should either know about it, point you to their own portfolio, or hopefully create something like Silicon Slopes.

BONUS: Once you find lists like this, use JibberJobber to keep track of the companies, as well as the relationships you form with people inside those companies.

These types of sites aren’t super-easy to find, but once you find them, they can be really valuable!

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Seven Secrets for a Healthy Job Search (Guest Post: Kyle Oswald)

July 12th, 2012
Depression sucks, doesn’t it? I think most job seekers have depression in common, to some degree.

I have a good friend (Kyle Oswald, LCSW-C)  is a is a social worker and does a lot of counseling.  I asked him about depression and the job search… here’s a guest post that he wrote for me you.

1. You feel the way you think

There is only one person in this world that can ever make you depressed, worried, or angry – and that person is YOU! This idea can change your life.” –David Burns, MD Author of Feeling Good.

What an empowering statement! Consider another such quote from the Greek philosopher Epictetus, “Men are not disturbed by things, but by the views they take of them.” This means that your thoughts – not actual events – create your moods. In other words, the bad things that happen do not really cause us to become depressed.

We get depressed because of the way we think about events.If you lose your job you may feel sad and self-critical because you tell yourself, “I’m no good. There must be something wrong with me.”

You may also feel angry and frustrated because you tell yourself, “Life is unfair. Why is this always happening to me?”

These negative thoughts are quite natural. Nearly all of us think this way from time to time. When you learn to change these thoughts, you can CHANGE the way you FEEL. But how?

This leads us to our next secret…

2. You can change the way you feel

The most important conversations you will have today will be with yourself.

So what are those conversations going to be like? Feeling bad about being laid-off or not getting a call back from an interview is very different from saying to yourself “I am a failure” at the core.

Recognize what you’re saying to yourself!

To heighten your awareness, keep a thought record: Every two to three hours, stop what you’re doing and write for 5 minutes about the messages you’ve been telling yourself regarding your skills, abilities, competence, appearance, intelligence, and your worth.

Keep doing this for a week or so, looking for patterns.

Once you recognize these unhealthy thought patterns, replace them with healthy alternatives.

3. Get out of line before you jump! Recognizing depressed thoughts

Imagine yourself as an 11 year old. You’re at the community pool on a hot summer’s day. The line for the high-dive platform is as deep as the cool water waiting for your splash down. As you get in line those nervous butterflies in your stomach start to appear. You imagine yourself on the platform looking down on the water below. You know you could step out of line right now and could probably get away with little to no guff for doing so from your buddies. If you wait, however, and keep going until you’re climbing the ladder or even on the platform looking down, your chances of turning back decrease as it becomes more socially and psychologically difficult. Once you take the leap into the pool, there’s no going back!

Thus goes the battle every day in the silent chambers of your mind.

If you are able to recognize when the negative dialogue starts – when you first get in line for the high-dive – the chances of your being able to push it aside, get out of line, and go swim someplace else that is healthier are much greater.

Don’t wait until you’re up on the platform taking that leap down to psychological/emotional doom.

Speaking of doom…

4. Stay clear from “all or nothing” thinking

“I didn’t get so much as a call back from the interview; I must be a total failure. I’ll never get a job!”

Seeing your search rejections in black-or-white distorts reality and forms the basis of perfectionism, which by-the-way, is NOT a virtue!

Perfectionism causes you to fear mistakes and imperfections because you will see yourself as a total loser, feeling worthless and inadequate.


If you try to force your experiences into absolute categories, you will set yourself up for discrediting yourself endlessly because whatever you do will never measure up to your exaggerated expectations.

5. Acknowledge Reality: “Nevertheless!”

Acknowledge unpleasant external conditions without condemning your core self.

You may sometimes have thoughts like “Because I have no job, I’m a loser.” Replace these with “Even though…nevertheless” thoughts, such as “Even though I don’t have a job, nevertheless I am still a worthwhile person.”

6. Remember the basics

We’ve heard this countless times: Eat healthy, keep regular sleep hours, exercise daily. Yet nearly all of us who struggle with depression fumble and flounder in keeping with these healthy habits.

  • Eating: Cut the carbs from your diet by replacing them with healthy protein alternatives such as nuts and lean jerky. Eat 5 small meals a day instead of 3 big ones. And do I really need to say it? Drink more water!
  • Sleep: Studies show that it’s not just the quantity of sleep, but the consistency of sleep times that can really make the difference in your mood. For adults, 6 – 8 hours of regular sleep is best during the dark hours of the night. Waking early to “get stuff done” will also do wonders for your sense of well-being.
  • Exercise: The benefits of regular exercise are endless, but let’s just consider one of the many side effects: Endorphin production. Endorphins are 18 to 500 times as powerful as any man-made pain reliever. They produce four key effects on the bodymind: they enhance the immune system, they relieve pain, they reduce stress, and postpone the aging process. How do you get these puppies to work for you? Get up and move! (Molecules of Emotion by Candace B. Pert, Simon & Schuster, 1997)

6. Get and stay inspired!

Wouldn’t it be nice if motivation to just sprang from us like an endless fountain?

The job search can be monotonous, frustrating and downright discouraging. Filling out your 34th online application or following up on yet another networking lead can be emotionally draining.

Find something to inspire you! Set a window of time for your search each day and then reward yourself with something along the way.

For example, set a timer for 90 minutes while you do nothing else but search for new job postings (JASON HERE: UH, NOT IN JULY, WHEN WE’RE DOING OUR JOB BOARD FAST :) :)). When the timer goes off, TAKE A BREAK!

Set the time for 10 – 15 minutes while you get up and stretch, eat something (preferably healthy), play a quick game, or call/message a friend. Then get back to it!

Stay motivated over time by reading inspirational articles and books, staying connected to those who are also searching, and being active in your community, church or synagogue are all healthy ways to help you stay inspired and motivated during your search.

Kyle is an outstanding person, and he knows what he’s talking about.  Don’t be ashamed of these feelings – understand them, combat them, and work around them.  Seriously, give what he says a shot!



Job Seeker Miranda Rights: You have the right to remain unemployed.

July 11th, 2012

On a mailing list I’m on with career coaches I saw a post from Rabbi Karpov, a professional resume writer.  In her post she wrote: “He has the right to remain unemployed.”

That got me thinking… wow!  What are our rights, as job seekers?  Law and Order music began to go through my mind and I thought of this (reference the real Miranda Rights here):

You have the right to remain unemployed. Anything you say (or wear, or communicate through eye rolls) can and will be used against you in your job search. You have the right to a coach, resume writer or accountability partner. If you cannot afford such a professional, you can find a volunteer at a local job club (or job ministry), but you must hustle to find the right person.

Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?

Yes, you have the right to remain unemployed.

But you are EMPOWERED to get out of unemployment.  That might mean something traditional, like a job.  It might mean something less traditional (although quite common), like starting your own company.

You don’t have to sit there and let “the market,” the newspapers, the government or anyone else tell you that you have to remain unemployed.

It’s your right… indeed, your entitlement, to do something better for yourself.  That’s what humanity is all about, isn’t it?

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