Favorite Friday: Unemployed people suck, right? Let’s not hire them.

June 28th, 2013

I wrote this June 2010 and it is unfortunately still relevant: Unemployed people suck, right? Let’s not hire them.  Even if lawmakers put laws into place to penalize discrimination against unemployed people, it will still happen.  Just like age, race and other discrimination happens with recruiters, hiring managers, company owners, HR, etc.  Here’s the post from three years ago (there are 18 comments there… great stuff):

I must be getting grumpy in my old age, with all of this venting I’m doing!  This post really ticks me off.  I just wrote a post on Peter Newfield’s Career Resumes blog (I’ve been blogging there for the last many months) titled The Unemployed Will Not Be Considered.  WHAT??? It comes from a Huffington Post article of a similar name… go check out Peter’s blog to see what I wrote.

This practice is archaic and out of touch with reality.  Do these companies, discriminating against those who are out on the street for no good reason, really think that only looking at currently employed people is going to get them the best talent?

What a fallacy.

The companies listed in the HuffPo article include:

  • An “anonymous company” that has an opening posted at The People Place recruiting board.  Who made this decision, and why?
  • Benchmark Electronics, who defends the policy saying they don’t want to waste their time with unqualified applicants.  I get that… but that doesn’t mean you should cut out all unemployed people.
  • Sony Ericsson temporarily had this statement on their job descriptions: “NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL.”  Seriously, what outdated recruiting book did this come from??  At least they removed it once “it was noticed.”  (oops, one mark against copy and paste).
  • An unnamed restaurant in NJ, looking for an assistant restaurant manager…. must be currently employed.
  • An unnamed “top 25 CPA firm” in NYC, same thing.

Judy Conti (who needs my LinkedIn DVD – just look at her Profile!)  is the federal advocacy coordinator for the National Employment Law Project, and said some awesome stuff, including (read her comments in the last 2 paragraphs of the HuffPo article):

“In the current economy, where millions of people have lost their jobs through absolutely no fault of their own, I find it beyond unconscionable that any employer would not consider unemployed workers for current job openings,”

I agree.. beyond unconscionable.


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51 Alternatives to a Real Job: Proof Approved Yesterday!

June 26th, 2013
Pre-order 51 Alternatives to a Real Job from this page. It should ship on July 1 or July 2.

I drove to the printer yesterday to approve the proof of 51 Alternatives to a Real Job.  We had some last minute challenges to get it to the printer so we might run one day late, but they said I could pick up the books on Monday (the 1st, which is when we were hoping to ship the first batch) or Tuesday.

What a cool experience.  It actually took all of 5 minutes to approve the proof. I looked at the cover to see if it was even and the spine and back and front looked right, and then I flipped through the book to see if the margins looked good.  I learned there is a thing called the 40/60 split on the margin, which means when you open a book, the inside margins are 60% and the outside are 40%… that’s how you can open a book and read without having to peer in the crack and try to read words too close to the spine.  Who’da thunk?

As I tell more people about this book I sometimes am nervous.  They’ll hate it…. they’ll think it is a pamphlet (which is what some said about the first edition of my LinkedIn book – whiners who have never done a book project before)… they’ll think the ideas are too above them, or too below them… they’ll think “I could never do that!” and then trade their time at a company they don’t care about, working on projects that don’t inspire them, reporting to bosses they hate.  But no, they won’t consider doing something for their own financial empowerment.  I have been worried people will see this as a fattened list of ideas… which it kind of is, but with so much more.

These will be the people who complain about the book.

I hope YOU will do two things as you read it:

  1. Mark it up!  I want you to write in this book and highlight it! Get a crayon or colored pencils and mark stuff. As I was proofreading it for the last time last week I was impressed at how many AWESOME quotes are spread throughout the book.  I was so inspired by the entrepreneurs I interviewed and with their wisdom and experience.
  2. Talk about it!  I hope this book inspires you to talk with a spouse, child, brother or sister, parent, or friend about ideas.  I want you to become personally empowered and not beholden to “the machine.”  Share ideas from this book — whether they are one of the 51 Alternatives or whether they are quotes from entrepreneurs or whether they are ideas that you get as you read the book.  Maybe none of the 51 Alternatives are for you… that is OKAY!  I hope as you read you get ideas for what would work for you.

If you mark it up, and it inspires you, and you talk about it and have this become a big part of the new conversation about your income, and the income of those around you, then my mission is accomplished.

Please let this book inspire you and your family and friends!




Who are the Villains in your Job Search?

June 24th, 2013

Job Search Bad Guy

Last week I went to a writing conference to expand my skills as a writer.  The conference was full of aspiring novel authors. I was easily twice the age of everyone else in the room.  The first session (which was fabulous) was all about THE VILLAIN!  What makes a good villain, what kinds of villains are there (there are a bunch!), how do villains act, how does the author resolve the villain, what is the purpose of the villain, etc.

As the instructor was talking about villains I began to wonder who the villains were in my job search.  Who were the people, and what were the things, that kept me from getting out of my status as “unemployed.”  I would love to know who YOU think your villains are… here were some of mine:

Myself.Not going to hide this one. I was not prepared for a real job search. I had been working and preparing to be a professional manager, strategist, technologist, not a networking, interviewing, job seeker.  I treated my job search like a wound that should be healed instead of thinking about career management as a way of life for the future.  I got in my way many times.

Job Boards.  They stole time from me.  I felt productive and felt like I was playing the numbers game.  There is no numbers game.  You don’t have to get through 1,000 applications to get a yes.  You have to get the right info to the right people to get an interview.

Recruiters.  All but one lied to me.  They took my resume, smiled (or replied “thank you,”) and planned to do NOTHING with the resume.  They didn’t tell me I shouldn’t even approach recruiters hoping they would find me a job.  Finally, one recruiter said “you’ll find a job for yourself before I find a job for you.”  And that helped me understand the role of recruiters in my job search, which was dramatically different than what I thought the role was.

HR.  How can you make a list of job search villains without including HR?  I find HR to be distracted, unempowered, unknowledgeable (especially with in-depth job openings, like programmers), and not fun to talk to at all.  They are gatekeepers and their job is to keep you out.  Everyone, including HR professionals, tell you to AVOID HR in your job search.

Interviewers. I found interviewers to be highly unsophisticated (read: not trained in interviewing), or apathetic, or rude and pompous.  The worst interview I had was buy an ex-Microsoft guy who was working at a startup who acted like he owned the entire world.  I needed the job, thought it would be great to get mentored under someone of his experience, but he led me on through various lies and finally emailed me that they had hired someone else (which was a lie).  This guy was a creep and I was too wounded to know that I should have run away.  Instead, I let it hurt me more and I went to a dark place for a while after that experience.

Alright, enough about my problems… WHO or WHAT are the villains in your job search today?  And how will you resolve them?



Favorite Friday: “I Guarantee I’ll Find You A Job” (RUN AWAY!!)

June 21st, 2013

I wrote this May 2009: “I Guarantee I’ll Find You A Job”

A few years ago branding and marketing experts told me I had to put some kind of guarantee or phrase in my marketing that would promise JibberJobber would help you find a job 30% faster, or get more job offers, or something like that.

It sounded really cool, of course… who wouldn’t want a guarantee to make their job search go faster, or be more successful?

Who doesn’t want a silver bullet for their job search?  Please, just give me “the job search secret,” let me move on to my next job and wash my hands of this unemployment crap.

There was no way I would put any kind of promise, or allude to any such promise, in my literature.  First of all, how do you back it up?  Second, what about the anomalies the economy (which was quite different three years ago), and the slackers?  What about people who weren’t doing a principle-based search (like mine – very not principle-based, and destined to failure)?

Perhaps the problem is my solution (JibberJobber) wasn’t priced appropriately.  For $99/year, what could you expect – a job lead straight to the corner office?  Not hardly.

We all know throwing money at a problem will make it go away – so what if I pay $7,500 to a firm that will find me a job?  Sounds sweet, and that sounds like just the right price (comparable to an amazing vacation, an industry certification and training, a car for my kid, etc…. this is not peanuts – since it costs so much it must work).

In the comments yesterday a JibberJobber Partner, Mike Ballardwrote:

Another expose that needs to be done is that of so-called ‘Search’ firms that charge exorbitant up-front fees (often thousands of dollars) for their services, in exchange for a guaranteed ‘dream job’. Like the Ladders, these operations traditionally prey upon high-end execs that they figure have plenty of extra cash. Now we at (his employer) are beginning to hear stories of similar operations that are target low-income workers and charge a few hundred dollars for ‘guaranteed’ results. This is even more despicable for someone who may be only a few paychecks from the street.

There’s a big difference between hiring a job search or career coach who will help you along the process, and hiring a firm who will guarantee you a great job.  Can such a guarantee exist?

I can’t remember the names of any such firms right now, but I do remember hearing about some who continually change their names so you can’t find much information about them – my point is, please be careful where you put your money in a job search – and be very suspicous of guarantees or claims that seem to good to be true, even if they do look like your silver bullet to kill this problem.

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51 Alternatives to a Real Job, Final Proof and What I’ve Learned

June 19th, 2013

51_alternatives_coverYesterday I spent a good 12 hours doing the final proof of my third book, 51 Alternatives to a Real Job.  This is my third book, although I’ve done three “editions” of my other books, so it was my sixth book writing exercise.  Here are some things I’ve learned:

  • Writing a book is really, really hard.  I tell people to write books (not always for-print books), and it’s easy to say in front of an audience, but there is a TON of work and tenacity that goes into getting a book ready for print.  My very first book (I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???) was about 20,000 words.  This book looks like it is just shy of 50,000 words (which is about 170 pages).
  • I made the work on this book harder than it was going to be. You might know this was originally titled 101 Alternatives to a Real Job… what happened??  Well, I realized I needed to interview people who were doing the type of work I was writing about.  Managing those interviews was like herding cats, and it was just too much.  I had about 47 done when I decided “just a few more…” Hence, 51 instead of 101.  And I’m glad I stopped there… I really didn’t want a 400 page book!
  • I fell in love, then out of love, then in like, then hated, then in love again, then in like, and, well, it’s a very confusing relationship.  I forget how working on a long-term project that requires a ton of thinking can make you feel about the project.  I was convinced this was going to be the biggest book I ever wrote, then after going through draft after draft I thought “this is just a glorified list, everyone will return it!” Last night, as I was finishing the proofreading, my recurring thought was “wow, that’s a great quote… there are a lot of pearls in this book!”  I hope people get past the list of 51 alternatives, which you can get in the table of contents, and dive into the real meat of the book, which is the quotes from entrepreneurs.  There is a lot of amazing advice throughout the book.  And yes, I’m proud and in love again.  I just sometimes don’t want to look at it anymore :p
  • Hyphens are funny.  My writing buddy, Google, has helped me throughout the process.  Is it door to door or door-to-door?  Google it.  When do you write word of mouth vs. word-of-mouth?  They are different… I had no idea.  I used “define:_____” a bunch of times, as well as synonym websites, to find the write words. Attention to detail is not my strength, normally, but with the feedback I’ve gotten from my other work I know that I have to make this as good as possible.
  • Last night I found about 150 “changes” to the final draft.  This means there is a final final draft, which should be cleaner than the final draft.  I’m sure readers will find at least a dozen mistakes and a few dozen almost-good grammar choices.  I’m a casual speaker and writer, and getting this good enough for a book is a stretch for me.  I know some people will not be able to get past those errors and shortcomings and will miss out on the real message of the book.
  • Now the real work starts.  I have a neighbor who wrote a text book.  He ordered a garage full of books.  I think he still has them, maybe less one he gave his mother as a gift.  I am not going to inventory these books.  This was not a vanity play.  I want this book to permeate the market.  I want this book to sell a lot. Writing, editing, and getting a book to print is really, really hard.  But it is the easy part of the entire equation. Now, getting the word out and moving books… that’s the hard part.  I’m up to the challenge :)

There is more but I have to get back to things I’ve been neglecting… like my email and blog posts!  Check out the introduction to 51 Alternatives to a Real Job here.

Pre Order

Amount: $19.99
Shipping and handling: $3.99
Total: $23.98

Estimated Shipping Date: July 1 2013

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Favorite Friday: JibberJobber is NOT your Job Search Silver Bullet (even though I wish it was)

June 14th, 2013

I wrote this June 2009: JibberJobber is NOT your Job Search Silver Bullet

Sorry to say, folks, we can’t be the job search silver bullet.

Sure, we solve a lot of problems and frustration in the job search, but we aren’t going to find you your dream job.  Or even a step job to get to the dream job.  We provide solutions to problems, but we aren’t getting you the job.

Here’s a note we got from someone who deleted their account recently:

“I’ve yet to find a job through you.  I’d do better sitting in front of the White House with a tin cup.”

Yeah, you know what, you probably are better off doing that… especially if you login to JibberJobber every day hoping to see a job offer pop up on your screen.

Seriously – what problems do we solve?  Here are the two biggies:

Organizing your job search. I used a spreadsheet to organize my job search, and I quickly outgrew it.  That means it was getting very, very messy.  Columns added here, data added there… it became a hodgepodge of junk that I was spending time trying to decipher.  Sound silly?  Spend a few weeks in an intense job search, networking, and applying to jobs, and your spreadsheet will get confusing – quick!

Managing a job search. Another user said that JibberJobber became his virtual assistant – allowing him to focus on the important stuff while JibberJobber simply kept his stuff in the right place and reminded him of important things he needed to do (like network).

Now, many people use JibberJobber to manage their own network (like a personal relationship manager), or to manage business stuff (like a customer relationship manager)… so it’s definitely not limited to being a job search tool… it’s all about the relationships.

Back to this person’s note to us, though… if you want to switch on the computer and have a tool that delivers jobs to you, good luck.  There will be hundreds of thousands of others who are sitting there waiting for the same job delivered to them.  And then the race is on, to be the person who stands out in a sea of resumes.

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(Webinar) Facebook Marketing Tips With The Authors of I’m On Facebook — Now What???

June 13th, 2013

I’m on Facebook – Now What is NOW in the updated, second edition… !!  Here’s a webinar (sign up here – no cost)that I’m doing with the coauthors (Jesse and I welcome Rachel Melia, Facebook expert and marketing consultant as a coauthor)… info below:

Facebook has over 1 billion users worldwide and has become a critical marketing tool. Do you know how to best utilize the social media platform to achieve your business objectives? We go into detail about many of the things organizations of all sizes need to know to be successful on Facebook in the recently released book I’m on Facebook — Now What??? 2nd Edition.

Join us for a FREE webinar with sessions from each of the three authors. In this 90 minute webinar, each authors will do a 30 minute presentation jam-packed with information. We will expand on content from the book as well as share brand new information not available anywhere else.

Date: June 27th, 2013
Time: 11am-12:30pm

Here is the schedule:

11am – 8 Tricks For Building a Thriving Facebook Community by Rachel Melia. Growing a thriving Facebook community can be challenging. In this webinar, learn 8 tricks for how you can build a community of the right fans that are engaged and ready to take action (and what to do next).

11:30am – Managing Professional Relationships on Facebook by Jason Alba. Finding prospects on Facebook (or any social network) is great. Now what do you do with them? Use a relationship management tool to develop your contacts into real relationships. Don’t let prospects fall through the cracks. Follow-up and nurture relationships.

12pm – Using Passion to Drive Growth and Conversation by Jesse Stay. Having grown many Facebook Pages to millions and millions of fans, Jesse has found one common theme that has helped grow all of them – passion. Focusing on the things that really resonate with your audience and implementing that throughout your social strategy will make night and day difference in how fast your brand grows for the amount you put into it. In this webinar Jesse will show you how to grow your brand on Facebook using passion, and what factors lead to a successful social strategy.

Don’t miss this exciting webinar, register now.

-Jason, Jesse & Rachel

*P.S. We will pick three lucky webinar viewers that will each win a signed copy of I’m On Facebook — Now What???, and one webinar viewer that will win a signed copy of Jesse’s book Google+ Marketing For Dummies. Register now!

*P.P.S. Enter for a chance to win one of three $50 Amazon gift cards. Purchase I’m On Facebook — Now What??? 2nd Ed. and be entered to win. Write an honest Amazon review for two additional entries. Purchase the book from Amazon here. Enter by 7/3/13.

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Favorite Friday: Why I’m Uber-Frustrated (Silver Bullet in Job Search?)

June 7th, 2013

I wrote this in January of 2009: Why I’m Uber-Frustrated (click to see the 27 comments from back then)

Like many of you, I’m getting a lot of calls and emails from people looking for help finding their next job.

Either they have been in a job search for a long time, or they are new to the job search, or they think they will be in a job search soon… it seems to be the season to be unemployed or know a dozen professionals who are unemployed.

I never went through this – at least during my own fruitless job search I was one of a handful of unemployed people, whereas now it seems to be in fashion (not by anyone’s choosing).

I’m quite frustrated.  Not because of the economy, recession or influx of job seekers.  I’m frustrated because I can’t tell people what they should do to land their next job.  So many people will hear the advice, but really, all they want is the silver bullet.

All I wanted was the silver bullet.

Don’t give me lists of things to do… just tell me that one thing I’m not doing (or doing wrong) so I can find my next job.  That’s all I wanted.

I’d like to tell people the answer is in networking.  But that’s usually a long-term strategy.  And long-term is not silver bullet.

I want to tell people they need to work on their personal brand and their googleability.  But that’s also a long-term strategy, and won’t matter if no one is googling them.

I want to tell people to get on LinkedIn, but once you are there, there’s work to do to really use it in a job search, and it’s not a silver bullet.

I always tell people to check out JibberJobber, but it’s not for everyone.  And while it can give you peace of mind in your job search as you track and manage all the data you start to collect, it isn’t going to reach out through your monitor with a job offer.  And that’s what many people want.

So I’m left with all kinds of advice, some great, some long-term, some more along the lines of career management… and people look at me with that pleading look… where’s the silver bullet?



ATE: Jason Alba on Career Management 3.0 and 51 Alternatives to a Real Job

June 6th, 2013

Here is the recording of Tuesday’s webinar.  To make it bigger just push play, then click on the “bigger” icon towards the bottom right.  You can access all ATE webinars here.  Sign up for future ATE webinars here (great stuff coming up!).

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How to Switch To A Completely Different Industry (Management to Video Production)

June 3rd, 2013

I got a great email from someone… their email is in bold and my response is in not-bold:

I’ve been in ________ Management for several years and that’s what’s on my resume, but it would be nice to turn my hobby and first love of video production, editing, and graphic arts into a source of income. 

Cool… big transition!  It’s good to know what you want to do and pursue it, if it can support your lifestyle.

Problem is, NOBODY will simply hire me to do this without a competitive resume with years of experience. 

I think the video production, editing and graphics arts are specialized enough that I might hire three different people to do each of those.  I’m not sure a “resume” is going to get you the gig, because you have to get into the right interview first.  Regarding “years of experience,” above you say this is your passion and first love, so I wonder what other projects you’ve done.  Maybe no commercial projects but if you have done projects that might be all I need to take a gamble on you…

I wonder if you focus on one or two of the three things you list, instead of all three.  For example, bring a graphics artist in to complement you.  If you network enough and well with those specialists, maybe they will bring YOU in on video projects…?

Replacing your last job is hard enough, but changing careers requiring a whole set of skills (which you may have sans the experience part) is nearly impossible.  

We talked about this on my Dick Bolles Ask The Expert call.  It is definitely not easy but you can do it.  How do you position yourself?  Generally, my simple thoughts are to figure out and talk about your “transferable skills.”  You’ll probably have to pull from your off-time for graphics and video products you’ve done.  BUT, what if you pull together some contractors you can tap into and then focus on the product/project management of the project, as well as sales and marketing?  Get some great commercial projects under your belt and that should lead to more.

Again, watch Dick’s interview. I don’t remember when we talked about this but his response blew me away.

The ONLY option that I can foresee is to go independent and adopt a very aggressive marketing and networking campaign to drum up business.  

The “very aggressive marketing and networking campaign” you would do to drum up business is virtually the same you should do in a job search.

In my job search, seven years ago, I had to make a decision.  Do I spend time working towards “a job,” which someone might take away again, or do I spend time working towards long-term financial independence, which do I do?  I chose to shift gears, work as hard as I was on my job search, and took a gamble.

For you, what I would recommend is to build up a portfolio of projects.  Make some up for yourself, or beg and convince friends at businesses to do things for them.  As your portfolio grows it will be easier to have people know and think about and choose you for their projects.

My personal proof was here, in this post from 2006: Substantiate Yourself