Are you offensive? Take a breath, be real with yourself.

January 17th, 2014

I am in an interesting business. I love what I do, I feel it is my mission, and my team is passionate about helping and serving others.

BUT, JibberJobber users are dealing with some very difficult things.  If they are in a job search (I’d guess 80% of my users are in transition), they are dealing with a host of emotions.  At any given time they can be happy and hopeful, or in the utter depths of despair.

Most of the communication I get from people is cordial.  People are either nice or professional, communicate what needs to be communicated, and treat me and my team with dignity and respect.

They treat us like we are real people.

Sometimes, however, I get communication that is an utter embarrassment for humanity.  A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone who spewed vile and hatred and even threats.

Surprising, isn’t it?

Well, we deal with people.  And people are predictably unpredictable.

Instead of sharing the emails and messages I got from this sad unfortunate person, I want to share my observation as a service provider, which is this:


You may think you are venting.  You may think you are right, and have the right to put people in their place.  You may think that your [age/wealth/status/knowledge/degrees/etc.] qualify you to be the heavy-handed person to set the world straight.

The reality is that you don’t have the right to treat someone else like crap.  Further, you are on trial.  As soon as I see you, hear from you, or read something you wrote, I am judging you.

As a business owner I’m judging you to see if I want you on my team.  Even though I’m not hiring, I’m always looking for that “right” person.

I’m judging you to see if I want you as a customer.  I firmly believe in my right to FIRE customers.  My team comes first.  If you disrespect my team, you are fired.  The customer can come first if they are humane and cordial, or respectful and professional.  But when you treat someone on my team like crap, you are out of our life.  I don’t care if you were going to upgrade, or tell all of your (three) friends how horrible we are – if make anyone on my team feel sub-human, you lose. Go somewhere else.  I’ll give you the names of alternatives to JibberJobber 😉

I’m judging you to see if I would feel comfortable recommending you.  Regardless of your title and experience, if I am not comfortable recommending you, I will not do it.  If you are a horrible person, you are blacklisted.  Unfortunately, for the creep who spewed yuckiness to me and my team, if you are a career or business coach (which this person is… I feel sorry for his clients), you will not get any recommendations from me.

My wife and I have spent the last semester mentoring youth in a Shakespeare class. This semester we are putting on a play (Comedy of Errors).  In our last class we talked about the auditions and I told the kids that they have really been auditioning since the first time I met them.  You are not “on” in the few minutes you formally audition.  You have been “on” the whole time.  We have watched how you have received instruction, interacted with others, and what you have done in your down time.  We have watched you turn in your assignments and memorize things.  We have taken mental note of how you participated in games and activities.

This is the same for you!  You have formal interviews, but you are really being informally interviewed all the time.  People are looking at you wondering “is she ready for an introduction to my industry contact yet?”

I remember a lunch I went to where the person I was with was embarrassingly rude to the server.  It wasn’t over-the-top, but I was uncomfortable.  That behavior made me think “I don’t want to do business with this person!”

When I was at college I somehow got on a performance dance team. Now, I’m not a dancer. I had never really been on-stage and I had never received training.  My dance instructors hated me (I know this).  Here’s what I learned: if you don’t smile during practice, you won’t smile during a presentation.

You see, when I practiced I had on the Jason Is Thinking face.  There was no smiling to be had.  Plus, I felt kind of dumb smiling to nobody.

What I didn’t understand until much later was this: if you can’t smile when you practice a hundred times, what makes you think you will smile when it counts?

Oh yeah, guess what?  It counted during practice!  I was judged for not smiling.

I hope you get what I’m saying here.  The interview or that special lunch meeting isn’t the time to be nice, professional, etc.  It is RIGHT NOW.  It is ALL THE TIME.  If you slip and people see there is another “real you,” and that is a dark real you, you might have ruined it.  Just like the person who sent me the hate.

Here’s some great advice from Finding Nemo:




The Long, Cold Winter of your Job Search

January 16th, 2014

After I got married I lived in an apartment with my wife in Pocatello, Idaho.  We started our married life in May and were going to be in Idaho for about a year (we thought).

Winter came.  Idaho winters are cold and brutal.  It wasn’t as bad as the people who lived a couple hours north, but it was way worse than I wanted to experience.  I didn’t spend many winters in cold weather, so going through my first Idaho winter made me wonder why in the world people lived in that horrible weather.   That was almost twenty years ago, and I’ve had many winters like that since then.

A few years ago, after I tried to understand vegetable gardening, I had an epiphany.

Winter is a time when plants and trees get a chance to take a break.  Soil gets to take a break, and even regenerate.  Animals take a break.  Everything takes a break!

I came to learn to cherish this time of taking a break.  Self-reflection and quiet.  Peace and pausing. It is a time for gardeners to plan and prepare.

I was able to see what I thought was bitter and dreary as something necessary, and a part of the cycle.

I’m going to draw a relationship from this analogy to your career (job search, unemployment, etc.).  I’m not suggesting that you NEED to have a period of winter so that you can grow, regenerate, etc.  I want you to figure out how to do that even when you are happily and gainfully employed.

But I want you to think about your period of unemployment differently.  Instead of hating it and wanting it to end, like I did with my Idaho winters, what can you do to live through this time happily?  My time in Idaho would have been different if i didn’t let that time rule my attitude.

You can get through your job search quicker, sure.  There are things you have control over (unlike the weather).  But what can you do right now, during a bout with unemployment, to enjoy and learn and generate and regenerate and prepare?

Some of you should rethink your education and skillset.

Others will contemplate big career changes (new industry, new roles, etc.).

Others know you want to stay in what you were in, but realize it’s time to reconnect with industry contacts.  It’s time and YOU HAVE THE TIME.

I’m not sure what your career winter will be, but what I’ve learned is that if I have to do it again, I’ll look at it differently, and take advantage of the time better.

How about you?

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JibberJobber Price Reduction: 1 Year is now $60 (not $99)

January 15th, 2014

I announced this on 12/27… and now the changes have been programmed in.  You can get one year of premium for $60 (which is 50% off the monthly price).

We also doubled the capacity on the free side to 500 contacts and 500 companies.  

If you want to upgrade, login and then click on Pricing on the bottom-right of any page.


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8 Years Ago… I woke up unemployed

January 14th, 2014

8 years ago I was laid off.  Friday the 13th was my last day at my job (get the irony there?).  On the 14th I’m sure my head was spinning with ideas and emotions.  I was excited and scared.

I had no idea what the future had in store for me.

Looking back on the last 8 years I can see ups and downs.  It has been a heck of a ride.  I’m glad that I was given the chance to start and run JibberJobber, and for the help and encouragement I got along the way.  My team came together quickly, the financing happened without pain, and my experience up to that point was what I needed to make this work.

I’ve seen about 5 competitors come and go since we launched JibberJobber.

I’ve also come to understand that this is my calling right now.  That can change, but for now I am meant to be in this role.  Frankly, I thought I would be somewhere else by now (acquired), but I’ve realized that the timing just wasn’t right yet.  My work is not done.  I have not learned, or served, enough.

And so I continue.  And I have big, lofty goals and dreams.  I don’t know the time-frame of when things will happen, but I’m anxious to make sure I give it my all while I can.

Thank you for being a part of this journey!

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Why we don’t pull information in from LinkedIn Profiles

January 13th, 2014

I have a bunch of people ask me why we don’t have a one-click button to pull data from LinkedIn profiles.  Well, it’s against their user agreement, and I think it’s unethical, and apparently illegal.

I know other websites, apps and companies scrape LinkedIn profiles. They have a for a long time.  An old desktop app called LICM (LinkedIn Contact Manager), developed by someone in Europe, did it.  At the time, though, the founder apparently had permission from LinkedIn to do it (written permission!).  Not everyone at LinkedIn got the memo and users of LICM found they were locked out of their accounts because they had violated the user agreement.  This was back in 2006 or 2007… YUCK!

I have had conversations with various LinkedIn employees about having an interface.  Even after they created their “open API” I couldn’t do it. Finally I found out that LinkedIn considered JibberJobber competitive, and they wouldn’t allow us to API.

The bottom line is that if we do something, I want to do it legally and ethically. I don’t ever want to put YOUR LinkedIn access/account in jeopardy.  So, we don’t have an interface, even though there are other sites that illegally scrape (and LinkedIn hasn’t gone after them).

You can learn more about the current topic here: LinkedIn Sues Unknown Hackers in an Attempt to Find Out Who They Are.

I wish LinkedIn and JibberJobber could play nicely, but until the mindset at LinkedIn changes, I don’t think that will happen.



Job Search Depression, Job Search and Your Marriage, Job Search and Religion… And Simple Discouragement in a Long-Term Job Search

January 10th, 2014

I had something completely different to write about, but I’ll save that for Monday.  I just got a comment on a 2006 blog post titled I Smell Blood.  This is one of my all-time favorite blog posts (and is a Favorite Friday post).  I want to respond to the comment in this blog post, and will break it down so I can insert my own thoughts and links.

Please leave your own comment if you have something to add, and please share this with your LinkedIn and Facebook networks.  There is a lot of pain and discouragement out there, and we need to be more helpful, patient, loving, and building.

I’m taking the liberty to offer my unsolicited response to Joey’s comment because (1) the comment is now online for all to see, so it’s public, and (2) he said at the end that he appreciates any wisdom (not that I’m wise, but I’ll try), and (3) I think putting it in this post will help many, many other people.  Joey’s comments are in the boxes, mine are after each box:

“Woke up ANGRY this morning about my situation…”

I hear you Joey.  I didn’t consider myself a very emotional person but I was angry, discouraged, sad, and all kinds of other feelings during my job search.  The lows were really low, the highs were really high, and it was a roller-coaster that didn’t have much in-between.  Don’t define yourself by the emotions you feel during the job search.  It’s natural to feel these emotions, but if you allow them to define you, you will derail everything.

“and completed a google search containing job search AND depression and a related article came up, this really hit home.”

My first post on job search depression was titled Depression Clouds Everything.  This was a huge realization for me.  It needs to be discussed more. I thought I was alone in my loser-feelings during my job search, but going to job clubs and networking with other job seekers really helped me rise above the clouds and see I wasn’t alone.  It also gave me a network of people I could talk to who I finally felt understood the issues and challenges I was dealing with (instead of the superficial articles on AOL and MSN).  Here are other posts I have written that mention depression…

“So many times I have “helped” and continue to help others, volunteer, and try to give back and play it forward…however after 8+months no luck!”

Ah, the whole “givers gain” idea.  I networked (very poorly), and hoped and expected goodness to come out of it.  I got nothing except discouragement.  I encourage you to continue to help and give and volunteer, but completely do away with the “what am I going to get from this” hope.  When I voluntarily gave up hope that giving would help me get a job, I realized it was giving me something else.   Giving (volunteering, etc.) gave me stuff I wasn’t looking for and didn’t recognize while I was still hoping that all of that would lead me to a job.  I finally realized that by giving and helping I was getting peace in my heart. I was getting personal satisfaction by helping someone else out of a hellhole.  I thought of the families that were affected by helping people.  Sharing hope and helpful tactics made me feel important and appreciated, even if people didn’t say thank you.  It was the one thing I could do to have purpose again, and it was refreshing to my soul.

“I started going back to church several months ago which has helped”

That’s good – find it where you can.  Not having a day job is a great time to reflect on life and purpose and direction.  Take advantage of this time and immerse yourself in service at church, as this might help you expand your network. More importantly, if you find hope and faith and have a change of attitude (as per the I Smell Blood post that you commented on), people might think “Joey is ready for an introduction to my friend.”  As long as we are hurt, though, people are not going to be ready to open their network to us.

“and continued working out”

Again, take advantage of this time to take care of yourself, physically.  Too often when we have a day job we neglect our bodies.  Learn about your body and the food and exercise that helps you be sharper and ready for the day.  I get plenty of messages from people who land their “dream job” and find they don’t have any time to workout.  More than that, I personally think working out is a huge boost to you because of what happens chemically when you work out.  For me it has been a survival tactic to just get through certain days.

“as jobs for someone with my experience is slim in and near my sleepy little town.”

Perhaps you need to something completely different.  If you want to stay in your field, can you find work remotely (and still live in your town)?  Or, is it time to leave the sleepy little town?  Word of caution, this is a HUGE decision, and the grass is certainly not greener anywhere else.  Even in bigger cities people are having a hard time finding meaningful employment.  Maybe it’s time to leave your field and do something else?  This is where a good employment counselor (not a coach) would come in handy.  This person should be able to help you figure out “what you want to be when you grow up.”   My book, 51 Alternatives to a Real Job, created so much interest because people are sick and tired of the new job, which is less fulfilling, less stable, less rewarding, and highly volatile.  Just maybe you are ready to look at a different way to pay your bills… which might mean you take a major leap of faith and offer products or services, from your own business, and take 100% responsibility for success and failures.  It’s scary, and there are a 100 reasons to not do it, but the alternative doesn’t look so hot either.

“My marriage is also taking a toll even though I try to do as much as possible to handle all household duties.”

This is a very tough time for a marriage. I wrote this raw post: The Spouse’s Role In Your Job Search. You can print this out for your spouse with the idea that you need to have an open and frank discussion.  Maybe I’m off-base in that post, especially for your marriage, but the communication needs to happen.  The job search was a black hole in the history of my marriage, and I wish I would have been more communicative.  I would suggest that “handling all household duties,” though, might not be in the best interest of your marriage.  I find that doing dishes and laundry gives me a quick sense of accomplishment, but if you spend too much time doing household duties you might be unintentionally sabotaging your job search.  Make sure you communicate boundaries and expectations of household duties.

“Not really sure what to do next or were to turn.”

There is a lot of junk out there, isn’t there?  It looks to me like you are getting help from great places. If I were to do it again today I would spend more time volunteering at job clubs and looking for networking meetings to go to, even if you have to travel a bit to get their.

“My pastor said that having and keeping HOPE means that your best days are ahead of you (I have to remind myself daily).”

I like that.  Have you read anything about how having a vision affects your thinking and chemicals? It’s amazingly powerful.  I was hopeless in my job search, and when I finally got the idea for JibberJobber, I got hope back in my life.  Darkness turned to light, and I recognized a reason to live and move forward again.  I don’t know what your “JibberJobber idea” will be, but when you find it, you will know.  Search for this diligently and obsessively.  The results of finding it are life-changing. Here’s a post I wrote on hope in the job search: Finding Hope In The Job Search: The Lifeline.

“He also mentioned that new starts begin with new thinking.”

I know it’s hard to get to that thinking when you are depressed, but I hope some of the stuff I shared above will help you on that journey… ?

“As I continue my search for what on earth to do next while attempting to keep it all together…I dearly appreciate this forum as well as any wisdom that can be shared.”

Thank you – come back often and share your thoughts, as it will help many other people.  And, share these posts with everyone you can, including your pastor, who touches many lives.

“Thank you!”

My pleasure, thank you!

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Do deeper and “x-ray” searches on Google to find “unadvertised” jobs

January 9th, 2014

There is a blog post from Lifehacker that is making the rounds on Facebook.  The advice is simple and definitely something you should already know.   You can read the original post here: Find Unadvertised Job Openings with a Clever Google Search

The gist of the post is to use Google (or whatever search engine you use) smarter.  Here’s the formula they suggest:


Let’s break this formula down.  If you are already really advanced on x-ray search ideas, spend time on Glen Cathey’s Boolean Black Belt site, where he goes deeper on this than I’ll ever go.

FIRST, the site:__________ tells Google to restrict the search results to a certain site.  You aren’t searching the entire web, you are searching the content from one website.  In this example you are saying to only return results from



Next, the intitle tag is used to narrow down the search results. This is optional, but once you figure out how to use it, and figure out how your target website you are searching on uses it, it might come in really handy.  You must understand that intitle is not referring to an actual job title, rather to some html code… here’s what the html looks … see the title there?  Don’t mix up the the concept of a job title and the title in the html code, although I’m guessing most of the time a site like taleo will put the actual job title in the html title.



In taleo you can see the title in two places… neither of them are on the website.  The first is in the tab (ever wonder where that text came from?):


The other place to see what the title tag has is the source code, which will look like this:



Next, the search criteria.  This is not optional.  You can do all kinds of cool things to really narrow your search, including using quotes, parenthesis, + or – signs, etc.  See how I have two search criteria, both in quotes, and the results are showing hits with both of those phrases?


The post at Lifehacker suggests that you will find unadvertised jobs.  That is such a tricky word… I think if it is posted online it is “advertised.”  This concept of unadvertised jobs is NOT the “hidden job market.”  But these search tricks give you a good way to find things you aren’t finding right now on a normal Indeed search.

Play around with this on LinkedIn.  Let’s do one more simple example, borrowing from Glen Cathey’s tutorials. Like I said, he goes deeper than I’ll ever go.  A good place to start is this primer he wrote in December.

Note in the image below, we are searching only on LinkedIn, we want to have “pub” or “in” in the URL, and the keyword is president.  The second result shows up because “in” is in the URL of an article (click on it to see the article, then look at the URL, you’ll see “-in-” in the ULR).



If you click the image above it will take you to the google search page with that query.  How would you show ONLY presidents, and not vice presidents?  Easy… put a -vice in the search query, which says “but don’t show me anything with vice in it.”  Try it for yourself… :)

Playing around with this I found it to be a bit quirky. I really want to see individual profiles, but sometimes the results returned took me to a search on LinkedIn that was the same… anyway, play around with it.  Here are some other great posts Glen wrote:

What do you think – will this help you as you search and research?  You can use these tricks and techniques on pretty much any website.




How To: Advanced Tags, Categories, Custom Fields

January 8th, 2014

Debbie is one of my favorite JibberJobbers, and not just because she bought me breakfast in Chicagoland!  Here are her questions about tags and categories (and I threw in some custom field stuff, too):

1. What is the difference between tags and categories?

I would say to only use tags… I don’t use categories anymore.  You can do everything you want to do with tags.  Here is a post I wrote titled How I use Tags to organize my Contacts, Companies, Jobs.

She continues: Here are some things I’d like to keep track of for my contacts: company public, private or non-profit, industry, revenue size and number of employees, the function my contact works in(sales, marketing, etc), contacts level in the org, the last time I contacted them, whether it was by phone, face-to-face, or email. Would tags or categories work best for these?

Quite a question!  And the responses are varied… you can choose different ways of doing it, here is what I would recommend:

  • Company (public, private or non-profit): Make this a custom field called Company Type (learn about Custom Fields in JibberJobber here), OR create tags like this: company_public, company_private, company_nonprofit.
  • Industry: Same answer as above…
  • Revenue size: I would definitely make this a custom field since the values would be so varied. (note, this is more appropriate for a company record, not a contact record)
  • Number of employees: I would make this a custom field for the same reason revenue size.  (note, this is more appropriate for a company record, not a contact record)
  • The function my contact works in (sales, marketing, etc): I make these tags but you could use custom fields.
  • Contact’s level in the organization: Make sure you use the title, but you could also put this in a tag… I would probably make this a custom field if I had a lot of different values for the levels.
  • The last time I contacted them: This is automatically created when you create a Log Entry… as long as you are using the Log Entries, you’ll always see the last contact.
  • Whether the last contact was by phone, face-to-face, or email: I put that info into the Log Entry.  I say “call with Debbie,” or “lunch with…”, or if it is by email it would have been through the Email2Log feature. It’s obvious to me that I did that because my email signature has a “–” right before the Log End Line. If I create a Log Entry with Email2Log, the last line of the Log Entry will be “–“.

2. If I use tags and categories during a job search and now want to redo them differently, is there a way to erase all the tags or categories in a record or will I need to do this one account at a time?

It’s pretty easy to clean up your tags, categories and custom fields.  Here’s a way to delete or edit tags/categories/custom fields: How To: Easily Manage Categories, Tags and Custom Fields. Another way to do it is in the List Panel view:

  1. Filter your search… probably based on the tag (tags:old_tag)
  2. On the left, select all checkboxes (the top checkbox will select all)
  3. On the bottom click the Tags icon… this will open up a window where you would (a) delete the wrong tag, (b) add the right tag in the big box.
  4. Click the button to save, and all of those records will have the tags updated.

3. If I want to download contacts with specific tags or categories into an excel spreadsheet and print it out, how would I do this?

There are two ways.

First, take the same steps as you did to edit the tags… go to the List Panel, do the search, and check all checkboxes.  Down at the very bottom there is a “multi-action” icon to export to a csv (which opens in Excel).  There are also two html reports you can export to, which look nicer than what you’ll see from Excel. You are limited to exporting up to 255 Contacts this way.

Second, from the Contacts dropdown page, choose Get Contact List.  You have a lot of options on that page and can export all of your Contacts (unlimited). You can export to csv, html, vcard, or just grab email addresses.

There is a lot of technical information in this post…. if you want any clarification let me know in the comments.




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Friction and Communication in the Job Search

January 7th, 2014

I’ve been working with a young graphics artist to clean up JibberJobber.  We’ve been working on “cleaning up” JibberJobber for the last almost-eight years, since we went live.

The problem we have at JibberJobber is the same problem I see on LinkedIn profiles, and company websites.  It’s what I call distraction, or noise.  I have said that every single word, even every character, either adds to or takes away from the message.

Can you imagine if Nike made a mistake and spelled their name Nikee on a few pieces of marketing material?

That would be a huge distraction.  Of course, Nike is well-branded and we are going to forgive them.  We already know who they are, and we trust them (to make shoes that are pretty good). They’ll probably get some awesome PR (like they really need it… not).

You, my friend, are probably NOT well-enough branded to get the same goodness that a spelling error like that gives to a company like that.  I’m not well-enough branded, and neither is JibberJobber.  Distractions and noise for regular people and small companies cause what I call friction.

Marketing friction causes discomfort, confusion and pain right away. The trust level plummets.  The thought is “if they can’t spell a word right, can I trust them with my information, especially my credit card?”  One little typo, or a grammar mistake, can cause this friction.

You’ve heard that your resume should have no spelling errors, right?  Any little spelling error can make an OCD reviewer gag and want to switch careers.  They can’t fathom anyone being so classless as to have an error on their resume. They take that one little error and disqualify you. The more OCD reviewers might disqualify you for life :p.  Regular, kind and even forgiving people might not disqualify you right away.  They might be able to read past a typo or two and understand what your career has been, and what they might get from you if they hire you.

I wouldn’t gamble my future on which type of reviewer is going to see my resume.

The resume error is one example of creating friction in our communication.  Friction also comes from the way we look, the way we dress, our accent, our punctuality, our body language, the grammar or words we choose, etc.  Friction can also come from anything the person we’re talking to might use to discriminate – race, age, religion, etc.

I’m not saying you have to become a vanilla, boring, mainstream person.  What I’m saying is that mistakes in communication can be “the problem.”

I used to work with a software developer who is brilliant.  He was the go-to guy that all of the other developers would get help from when they were stuck.  He understood computer stuff, whether it was hardware, software, networking, PCs, servers, etc. like no one else I have known.  But the guy couldn’t spell very well.  If he didn’t have someone proof his resume I’m sure it would have ended up in the trash bin, because there would be multiple spelling errors.

Isn’t it sad that people can’t get past certain criteria to see the brilliance of who we are? It’s the world we live in.

Here is the take-away from this post: What can YOU do to decrease the friction you may be introducing in your communication with others?




Just finished writing the 4th edition of I’m on LinkedIn – Now What???

January 6th, 2014

Whew!  Thank goodness for long holidays when the rest of the world has a couple of weeks of (and doesn’t respond to email) :)    I spent all of last week and all of today updating the 4th edition of I’m on LinkedIn – Now What??? and sent it to the publisher a couple of minutes ago.

My next big project is to redo the LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD… I expect to take all of this week and next week to do that.

I’ll let you know when those two things are available… :)


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