Gavin Aung and Bill Waterson on Job Titles and Empty Trailers

August 29th, 2013

Remember Tuesday’s post about driving with an empty trailer, and how that is like losing a job and not having a job title (and purpose, etc.)?  Read it here.

I saw a link to this comic strip from Gavin Aung that hit the nail on the head… it is AWESOME.  I haven’t asked permission to post it on my blog so just click over to this blog post to see the whole thing.  It will take about 3 minutes to read it but it is AWESOME.

Did I mention it is AWESOME?

Click here to see it.  Here’s how it starts:


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Cracking the Hidden Job Market

August 28th, 2013

Following up from my recent post about the hidden job market, I found this: 6 Ways To Crack The ‘Hidden’ Job Market

I like what Nancy Collamer says (she’s a Forbes contributor)… check out the article.  This article could be renamed to “6 Things You Should Do In Your Job Search BEFORE You Hit The Job Boards.”

How many of the six are you doing?

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What’s in your wobbly trailer?

August 27th, 2013

A few weeks ago I punched my man card.  I hauled a trailer for about 9 hours (roundtrip).  I have plenty of friends who are experienced in this, and can even back a trailer into a parking space… but I’ve never really had the occasion to do it.

My first surprise was after picking up the trailer from Uhaul (what a horrendous experience), I drove home to load it up.  The entire trip home, with an empty trailer, was wobbly, creaky, noisy, bouncy. I was surprised and hoped the rest of the trip (the long drive) would be better.

Once we loaded it up, there was no wobble, bounce, or creak.  It was a nice, pleasant drive from then on.

I’ve thought about that since the trip and it kind of reminded me of when I lost my job.  I know, I know, I always bring it back to career stuff, right?

When I had a job I was confident.  I had a job title, business cards, a company credit card. I had purpose.

When I lost my job I lost the tangible things (business card, company card, paychecks), but worse, I lost my confidence. I felt I had no purpose.

My job search suffered.  It was “wobbly” because my trailer was empty.

Actually, it wasn’t really empty.  I had a supportive wife, great kids, loving family and community.  I had people who cared about me and watched out for me.  I had my health (which, unfortunately, I let decline during my intense job search), talents, friends.  I wasn’t poor, destitute, living in a shelter, under a bridge or out of my car.  I could tap into financial/food support systems from the government, the church and our family (not in that order).

But I felt empty. And I moved forward in my job search like my empty trailer wobbled down the highway.  I’m sure I was even creaky (and probably cranky).

If I could rewind to that dark, low time in my life, and be able to take a little of what I know now, I would completely reevaluate and understand, perhaps even “inventory” what I had in my trailer.

Yes, I had lost a lot, but I still had so much.  The family, support, mental and physical ability, potential, etc. should have been recognized, but it wasn’t.  I didn’t appreciate it.  I was desperate.  If I could counsel that old me I would help me see that my trailer was full, even overflowing, and that it didn’t need to wobble and creak.

I ask you: what is in your trailer?




Lindsay Blackwell’s amazing social media strategy: Dear Lisa Rudgers

August 23rd, 2013

Lindsay_Blackwell_dear_lisa_ridgersI found this really cool story from Eric T. Tung’s blog: The Best Social Media Job Application EVER: How 22 Year-Old Lindsay Blackwell Applied for a $110K Job

WOW.  In a group of university career center professionals they wondered if what Lindsay did was overkill.

What an interesting question.  In a world where the job search can go on for years, where companies continue to lay off all over the place, what is overkill?  Maybe calling a hiring manager too often, to many times is overkill.  But putting together an awesome campaign that would make Dave Perry (Mr Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters) proud… that is not overkill.

Spoiler: she did not get the job she wanted at the university.  In fact, after her first interview she didn’t hear back about a second interview.  Crickets.  That is pretty lame, but not uncommon.

So then what happened?  Someone else heard about her (of course – this was all over the news and she’s become a bit of a celebrity) and hired her.  Smart guy and lucky company.  If this girl continues this level of initiative and creativity, and can grow and reinforce her brand, she could be a huge name.

Read Eric’s interview here.

Go to the Dear Lisa Rudgers site here, and go through each of the tabs.  Watch the videos.  It is awesome. Well done Lindsay!


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Crisis = Opportunity? Creating revenue from the Obamacare/Obamatax changes

August 22nd, 2013
This post is about finding opportunities to create revenue streams. I go into this more, with other examples, and tips from entrepreneurs, in my book: 51 Alternatives to a Real Job (now on the Kindle).

Assuming ObamaCare is really going to happen, and no amount of whining and limb-chirping is going to change anything, what does that mean for YOU?

As a country we’ve already seen employers make changes to employees, whether that is letting them go or just cutting back their hours, or dropping health care from spouses. Read this article and the comments for more: UPS to drop 15,000 spouses from insurance, cites Obamacare

The job market should get a lot more complex as people are getting dumped into it, or they need just a few more hours (less than 30 thank-you-very-much) to make ends meet.  People are going to be confused and the government will be overtaxed trying to explain and educate, and sign people up, as well as chase down the bad guys they can charge the penalty to…

It sounds like one big hairy mess.

If there is one big hairy mess, there is an opportunity to HELP.  Politicians might not have read the bill (ha!  I said “might not have”… I should have written definitely haven’t), but what if you read it, study it, become expert in it, and find ways to consult to companies to help them?  I am guessing a lot of people who are helping companies right now are doing it based on an incomplete understanding of the meanings and consequences of the bill… which means rash decisions are being made. Rash could mean wrong solutions.

Obamacare should create more jobs in the government to administer the bill.  I’m guessing this will be a big growth area for jobs.  We’ll need more IRS cops to break down doors and put people in obamacare prison for not paying the tax (or whatever they’ll do to the offenders).

But will there be opportunity for YOU to create a business?

I don’t think this type of business will be small.  If you could figure this out and help companies navigate implementation, I think we’re talking about millions, maybe billions of dollars.

If you could help employees and families who have been cut from insurance, had their healthcare increase to a point where it is unbearable, or lose 10 or 20 hours and HAVE TO pick up more work, there could be a revenue stream there.

I don’t know how it will play out but it looks like a crisis is brewing, and if there is a crisis, there is opportunity.

What could that opportunity be?

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JibberJobber + LinkedIn

August 21st, 2013

I was thinking about the years-old argument of JibberJobber vs. LinkedIn.  “How is JibberJobber different than LinkedIn?”  Or, “I’m using LinkedIn already, I don’t need to use JibberJobber.”

One reason I wrote I’m on LinkedIn – Now What??? was because I heard this argument 7+ years ago when we started JibberJobber.  My response then was that JibberJobber is a great complement to LinkedIn.  People still couldn’t get past the “I’m using LinkedIn as a networking tool, I don’t want to duplicate efforts.”   I found that being the author of the book on LinkedIn allowed me to have a conversation as a LinkedIn expert, not a LinkedIn competitor.  It was motivating factor in writing the book.

Today I hear the same question, although less frequently.  The answer is still the same: JibberJobber is a great complement to LinkedIn.

A short generalization is this:

Use LinkedIn to find and be found by people.  Perhaps you can communicate with them (messaging through Groups, direct messaging, commenting on their stuff, etc.).  Some of the stuff you do will be visible to others (which means, don’t expect much privacy).

Use JibberJobber to organize your job search and track/manage relationships with people.  JibberJobber is like a private, Goldmine, Act!, Highrise, or other CRM (customer relationship management software), with a focus on relationships and contacts and not on sales. What you do in JibberJobber is private (unless you want to share certain things with certain people).

For example, you want to network into a company to pursue and opportunity you heard about.  Use LinkedIn to do research on the company, who works there, how you can network into them.

Then COMMUNICATE with someone.  Whether you reach out through a Group message, or you find their number or email, or you go to their office and ask for a meeting with someone, or you go all guerrilla marketing on them and send them the Dave Perry Coffee Cup… you need to talk to someone and start that relationship.

Now, can you go back into LinkedIn and make private notes on who you talked to, what their cell number is (not listed on their LinkedIn Profile but you have a business card or email signature), what you talked about, when to follow-up, etc?

NO.  You can’t.  LinkedIn’s new “Contacts” feature starts to go there, but there are inherent dangers (read LinkedIn Contacts vs. LinkedIn Policy: Now This Issue Can’t Be Ignored).

This is where JibberJobber comes in.  You will put your new contact’s information into JibberJobber and make a “Log Entry” with details you don’t want to forget for a future conversation.  You can associate your contact record to the target company, which means as you meet more people and apply to more jobs at that company, you can easily track your activities for that company.

As you add companies, jobs and contacts to JibberJobber, and associate them to one another, and write Log Entries and create Action Items, you have a central hub to store all of this critical career management information.

You can’t tell me that sales professionals will ONLY use LinkedIn.  I guarantee you they are using LinkedIn to find prospects, research them, and hopefully find contact information.  But once they get on the phone or in person, and as they network into target companies, they are using a CRM to keep track of the progress with the relationship and their networking.

As a job seeker, if you only use LinkedIn, you are missing a critical component in your career management toolbox.

Most of the JibberJobber features are free.  There are a handful of things you can upgrade for. Our maximum upgrade is $9.95 or less per month (you get discounts if you buy in bulk).  Free is pretty inexpensive for a tool that empowers you so much.

Competitors?  No.

Complementary tools? Yes.

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New Feature: Cell Phone / SMS / Text Message Integration with Action Items (powerful!)

August 20th, 2013

In April we introduced the ability to get your Action Items sent to your cell phone via SMS / Text Message.  There were some loose ends left to tie up so I haven’t really blogged about it… but now I’m ready to introduce it to you. (this is a premium feature)

To set this up, login to JibberJobber and click the Account link.  Scroll down to the Cell field and fill it out:


#1: This is your cell number

#2: tell us who your provider is.  I know, it’s kind of creepy for us to ask, but if we know the provider then we can send you SMS messages from JibberJobber.  If we don’t know your provider, we can’t do it (providers have different ways to interface with them, and we had to program them all in).

#3: Click this link and we’ll send you an SMS, which will have a code you then enter to verify the cell # is yours (or, that you have control over the cell number).

Check your cell for for a text message.  The text message will have a code – simply enter it into the box:


Now you have verified you own the cell phone and can get text messages from us, click on the Preferences tab (still under the Account page).  There is a checkbox to “Send Action Item reminder by SMS”.  Click on the checkbox to show how many days before the Action Item is due you want a text message.  I have mine set to ZERO (0), which means I get the day it is due.


This is a “global preference,” which means ALL of your Action Items, by default, will be sent to your phone via text messaging that many days before they are due.

But, you can override this for each individual Action Item.  Here’s how you use this feature:

When you are in the Create Log Entry interface (there are at least 6 ways to get there), click on the Create Action Item checkbox:


Directly under the “Ends” field is the box to send your Action Item via email.  NOTE: We recently gave you the ability to edit the email you get, so you can have a more descriptive email.  This is REALLY COOL.

Directly under the “get Action Item by email” box is the “get Action Item on your phone” box. You can see below (1) that, by default, you’ll get the Action item on a certain date, but you can do one of two things: (a) you can uncheck the box to get the SMS, which means you WILL NOT get the SMS reminder for this particular Action Item, or (b) you can change the date just for this Action Item.  You can also (2) create the contents of the SMS, so instead of getting the Title of the Action Item, you can send something much shorter or more descriptive to your phone. (3) shows you that if you don’t fill that out, you’ll simply get the Title.


So that is it!

In summary:

  1. Go to Accounts, set up your cell number and and validate that you have control over the phone with the code we send you.
  2. In Accounts, click Preferences and say how many days before the Action Item is due you want a text reminder.
  3. When you create an Action Item, you can leave it as the default (no action to take… ) or you can change it for each individual Action Item.

Pretty cool, huh? (remember, this is a premium feature – if you are an SMS person this is worth the $9.95/month)



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New Feature: Set Up Recurring Action Items

August 16th, 2013

I’m kind of embarrassed to say this is a new feature… over 7 years after we launched JibberJobber.  But here we are, and it is awesome.  This is new, as of last night.

Let’s say you meet someone and want to reach out to them a few times a year… just to keep in touch with them.  They aren’t someone you are going to follow-up with very often, but you don’t want to lose track of them, or fall off of their radar.

In JibberJobber, set up their contact record (I would do this by emailing them and BCC’ing JibberJobber), and then create a Log Entry / Action Item.

Under the Action Item tab you will see a new checkbox to make the Action Item recurring (see image).  Internally we code named this feature RAI.  Pretty clever, huh?  (yeah, that stands for Recurring Action Item)


When you click the checkbox you will have this new box that you are likely familiar with – it is similar to outlook and gmail and other systems where you schedule something recurring.  In this example I’m saying I want to follow-up every 3 months (or, each quarter):


One challenge we had was, how do NOT show you tons and tons of pending Action Items that could clog up your Log Entry display?  We put future Action Items in a new tab, like this (the spelling will change in the next few weeks to Recurring instead of Recurrent):


On the Log Entries tab you won’t see a bunch of future recurring Action Items, but if you click on the other tab you will see them, like this (this is a test I did to do a recurring Action Item every day for the next 31 days):


We don’t want to clog up your Log Entry page with tons of future recurring Action Items… but you will see any future Action Items (including recurring Action Items) on the Action Item panel on the home page of JibberJobber (this shows for Monday and Tuesday of next week… I erased the name of the person it is associated with):


A couple of months ago I was talking with an IT person who manages a lot of development and she said she knew how BIG this project is.  It doesn’t seem big when you think about it but to implement it, it is pretty big.  That’s one reason we haven’t done it before now… if you find any issues let us know.

I am sure I’ll be using this feature A LOT.



The Hidden Job Market Controversy: The Hidden Job Market EXISTS

August 15th, 2013

On the Recruiters Online Facebook group there is a debate about the facade that we call the “hidden job market.”  Will Thomson, a corporate recruiter, wrote the post The Hidden Job Market is a Bunch of B.S.

I find the dialog between recruiters to be interesting.  I think they are all saying there is no hidden job market (hard to tell with the format of Facebook posts).

In Will’s blog post he says:

“Do employers post the “good jobs” anymore? If you said no, I want you to check your pulse. Of course they do!! All employers must post jobs!

Why must employer post jobs? First, there are legal implications. Second, companies want the best-qualified candidates for the job. Third, it helps define the scope of the job.”

Will also says:

“As an advisor and a consultant, I want to tell you to NOT listen to these so called “job experts”.”

I think he is talking about me… the so called “job expert.”  At the risk of being wrong, let me offer a different perspective.

What about the jobs/openings that happen BEFORE they ever get to Will The Corporate Recruiter’s desk?

Here’s what I think the Hidden Job Market is: when your boss comes to you and says “I just got approval for a new project manager.  You know what skills we really need to help us move forward – do you know anyone that would be perfect?”

This happens EVERY DAY.  All over the place.  The Will’s of the world might not hear about them, but it happens. I’ve seen in.  I’ve been on both sides of this conversation.  I hear about it from JibberJobber users.

This job is part of the HIDDEN job market because it isn’t yet listed on Monster, or Indeed, or the corporate job board, or whatever job board the company uses.

As far as job boards, the internet and technology go, it is hidden from the world – job seekers and recruiters alike.

Who knows about it?

The boss, the boss’s boss, and you.

It is hiding from the rest of the world.

As you talk to a few of the right people, or other people in your company learn about the opening, names of potential candidates get thrown into the running… but until it is posted online, it is still in the “HIDDEN job market.”

Now, here is the really important part.  There isn’t a place for you to look for these hidden (aka, unposted) jobs.  You are really just hoping that the person that hears about a job, and they hear about it because of their position or role in the company, knows you, or knows about you.

Have you been networking?  Do people know who you are and what you have to offer?

Do you have the right personal brand?  At the risk of going all cliche about personal branding, what do people know about you?  Do they know you as the guy who is at every networking event with a donut or drink in your hand, fun to talk with?  Or do they know that you are one of the top project managers in the state?

The donut guy is not the guy that is recommended for this unposted, hidden job.  The project manager guy is the one who gets brought up.

The bottom line:

  1. The hidden job market exists, even if this so called job expert says it does (and corporate recruiters disagree).
  2. People need to know who you are and what you do/offer.  If they don’t know you and your strengths, they don’t think about you when they hear about opportunities.

Understanding this changed the way I networked… it should change the way you network, too.



Diane Kohler thoughts on 51 Alternatives to a Real Job

August 14th, 2013

diane_kohlerDiane Kohler’s tagline is “Career & emotional intelligence coach parlays experience, enthusiasm & humor to help people & orgs thrive!” She got one of the early copies of my book and wrote this in an email to me (her comments bolded and indented):

I am just finishing reading your book and I hope you are already working on its sequel.

I told her it would depend on how this book did … writing a book is a BIG project :)

MY hope for your book is that job seekers don’t just scan the table of contents and decide they don’t want to paint numbers on curbs, etc, and leave the book unexplored.

This is my hope and my fear, really.  If I picked up the book and looked at the LIST of ideas in the table of contents, I probably would not buy it.  But, if you read the stories and experiences and tips that are in almost every idea/chapter, that is where you get the good stuff…

You are so right that it’s value is in providing kindling, sparks, catalysts for HOPE.

This book is 99% hope and catalyst, and 1% list of ideas.

People need to read it not to necessarily to find THEIR next idea there, but to fan the flames of their own imagination.

Humans are much smarter than we think.  If you think the list is limited at 51 ideas, or 501 ideas, you are wrong.  YOU might have something completely unique to offer.

Thank you, Diane, for sharing these thoughts with me and my blog readers :)

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