Thank YOU!

November 27th, 2014

In the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving.  It’s a time when families and friends get together, gratitude is shared, and food is consumed.

I want to share my gratitude for YOU today.  Almost nine years ago I was kicked in the teeth, aka laid off.  I went through a pitiful, depressing job search.  I went from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel.

Then one day, I got the idea for what would eventually become JibberJobber.  It was risky and scary, but it gave me a purpose and hope.  It changed my demeanor, my attitude and my outlook.

Since 2006 we’ve helped a few people in their job search.  We’ve been recommended by coaches and career experts.  I’ve spoken across the U.S. (and in Turkey, which makes me an “international speaker”). JibberJobber has been recommended or endorsed by big news and tiny bloggers.

Here we are, almost nine years later, still making progress, still helping a few people.  And we appreciate every single one of you.

Recently, I was chatting with my developer about an issue a user was having.  I said that this user was important to me (“a big deal”), and he said:

“Oh dude… C’mon… They are ALL a big deal to you…”

I loved that.  In fact, you are a big deal to me.  No matter how new or old you are, whether you are on the free or the upgrade side, you are all a big deal to me. You are all a big deal to all of us at JibberJobber.

I was delighted that my developer, without any prompting, replied that way.  This is the culture that I have always wanted to create in my company.  It’s about people.  Customers (you), my team, etc.

People matter. You matter. And I’m grateful for you.  Now, I’m off to eat some turkey :)

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Is “What Do You Do?” a Question That Haunts You?

November 26th, 2014

thom_allen_headshot_linkedinThom Allen was one of the earliest friends I met when I moved to Utah.  I’ve networked with Thom over the years and we’ve consistently had a funny conversation: “Thom, explain to me again exactly what you do?”

This blog post was inspired by Thom’s 2009 blog post: A Question That Haunts Me Wherever I Go

Thom would always tell me something cool.. but the more I learned about Thom, the contracts he had, his professional passions, the less I understood about him.  I guarantee that some of you, reading this blog post, have the same issues communicating your personal brand.  Let’s take Thom’s blog post and talk about some of it:

Speaking of the first person Thom met at a particular networking event, he says: “In the software development world, Alistair is the rock star God of the agile methodology.”  I love that Thom writes it that way.  He makes it clear that Alistair doesn’t have a branding problem, unless of course Alistair doesn’t want to be known as the “rock star God of the agile method” in the entire software dev world.  That’s a powerful statement and observation, and something that some of us want to shoot for: a very high level of clarity and accuracy of how others talk about us.

Thom writes, “At the end [of my conversation with Alistair], he started to ask me what I did. First sign the night was going to be rocky.

Uh-oh.  If you are going to a networking event, and you aren’t prepared to answer the most common question you’ll hear, multiple times, during that meeting, you got a problem.  It’s definitely going to be rocky.

Thom says that he shook hands with various guests, “many who I knew,” and Thom writes “Most asked me again, what I did. I wondered where these people had been. Why don’t they remember?

Does this sound familiar to you?  I hear this frequently. It’s why I wrote the post Why Tell Your Network What You Do When They Already Know What You Do?

Thom continues with his networking story, and says he was surprised that he was introduced to a small group of networkers as he was “connected to everyone.”  He writes “it feels unnatural when someone says that about me.” He later asked that same friend “why do I have such a hard time getting people to remember what I do? The friend’s response was awesome:

“Because no one really knows what you do! Most people think you do everything, but no one knows what you do. You’re always vague.”

Thom talks about having an elevator pitch, which is something that he says he told others to do, but he hadn’t taken his own advice.

Look, I think most elevator pitches stink.  When I present, I say 99.999% of elevator pitches I hear stink.  BUT, not having a pitch allows others to misinterpret who you are.  Why didn’t Thom do that?  The same reason many of us don’t. He writes:

“I guess my failure to successfully convey what I do stems from years of not wanting to be defined by my work. So I kept it vague. But as a business owner I can’t do that anymore. I need to clearly define what I do. There’s no way I can network without being able to convey what I do. It’s not the part I want to be, but it’s the part that I need to  be.”

YOU need to get here! You need to have enough frustration that you choose to finally narrow your brand messaging down so people (including yourself!) understand it, and can even easily communicate it to others.  Yes, you can have a breadth of passions and interests.  But at some point you also have to help people understand what they should understand about you.

Are you ready yet?

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A Systematic, Process-Oriented Job Search #LizRyan

November 25th, 2014

I’m a sucker for a good job search story.  Enter a LinkedIn article by Liz Ryan, where she shares an awesome, inspiring letter from one of her job seeker clients, and then her reply.  Please read the entire thing – it’s kind of long but if you are in a job search, this will give you a boost that you just can’t get enough of!

How Doug Got Hired After Two Years of Searching

Doug’s story is our story… your story, my story.  We think that if we do a great job, we’ll have security (“I thought I was going to retire from that job.”).  We think that we can send out hundreds of resumes, because it’s a “numbers game,” and eventually someone is going to interview us and hire us.  We are absolutely appalled at the resume black hole and the salt-in-the-wound auto-responders.  Finally, when something comes along that gives us a semblance of control, we gravitate towards that.  We thirst for control, since we feel like we’ve been thrust into this dark fantasy world where we have NO control.  Doug talks about “Pain Letters” and a “consulting business card.”  It’s a great letter – read it here.

Liz responds with two awesome follow-up assignments that EVERY job seeker should do. The first is to get on LinkedIn, and get a good profile.  The second assignment is awesome:

“The second assignment is to write to everyone you met in your job search, and thank them. Tell them where you landed and thank them for their support, even if they didn’t really do anything.

That’s okay. Tell them that you appreciate having them in your network. Maybe your note will be the spark that grows their mojo just enough to do something nice for the next person they meet, or to take a step for themselves”

This is such a powerful assignment. I don’t even want to call it a recommendation because I think that devalues it. It’s not a suggestion… this is a must-do assignment.

I have heard from hundreds of coaches and career professionals that they all say something like this: “when you land your next job, you need to continue networking!

And the job seekers says “Yes, of course, I’ll never let my network get stagnant again!”  You feel repentant, you are humbled, and even though you don’t like networking, you swear you won’t fall behind on your relationships again.

BUT YOU DO.  You get busy onboarding yourself at your next job.  You can take a breather and release the stress of being unemployed.  You get to play a bit, and of course you don’t have to go to any networking events.  Whatever resolution you had gets swept away in the new routines.

YOu aren’t bad… you just need some ideas on how to network moving forward.  And Liz’s assignment, to reach out to every person you met in your job search (and the people you knew before that, who you were in touch with during your job search), is THE TACTIC that you need to pursue.

Awesome stuff. Click the image to read the whole thing:


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New: Certified JibberJobber Coach

November 24th, 2014

Here’s what I just sent to my LinkedIn Group:

If your coach does not use JibberJobber, what CRM are they using? You should be using JibberJobber, and your coach should know the basics of relationship management software (that is, JibberJobber). Huge bonus if they actually use it for their own stuff, whether personal relationships, prospects, current and past clients, etc.If you are looking for a coach or service provider who uses JibberJobber, or has been to our trainings enough times to “get it,” let me know. I’ll put you in touch with coaches and resume writers and outplacement firms who “get it.”If you are a career professional, and are interested in becoming a Certified JibberJobber Coach, email me: Classes will start in January.

Jason Alba

I’ve been thinking about doing a certification like this for many years. It’s time to finally buckle down and put it together.

I’ll start the first course the week of January 12th. It will be four to eight weeks long, depending on the curriculum that I put together.  While I don’t have that ironed out, if you’ve been on my webinars, you know I fret about over-delivering, and this is no exception.

Every career professional knows the world doesn’t need another certification to take (or pay for), but no one is doing a certification on JibberJobber, or on using this type of technology to organize and track and manage a job search. I used to do the LinkedIn Certification for The Academies… why not do a JibberJobber certification?

The list price of $397 is discounted to $97 for students of the first group of students.  You can pay here. This will include the live and recorded video courses and the assessments (to test your proficiency of material covered). It will include a verification process so that job seekers can verify that you are really, truly certified by JibberJobber. The class will be live webinar with recordings, so if you can’t make the webinar, listen to the recordings at your own pace.

Fun factoid: certified, defined, is:

“Officially recognize someone as possessing certain qualifications or meeting certain standards.

On the same page, it is also defined as:

“Officially declare insane.”

The purpose of this certification is to bring career professionals up to speed on the processes and systems of organizing and tracking a job search. We will recognize those who go through the course successfully as professionals who “possess certain qualifications,” and who “meet certain standards.”  We will not officially declare anyone insane… :)

Questions? Suggestions? Let me know.

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JibberJobber Competition: JibberJobber vs. the Excel Spreadsheet

November 19th, 2014

Yesterday I was talking to a very successful career coach who said that he continues to recommend JibberJobber, but some of his clients say “oh, I’m already using Excel to track my job search…”  He knows the value of JibberJobber over Excel, but he can’t force people to change from Excel to JibberJobber.

I’ve talked to plenty of people over the years who have the same concern.  “I’ve already started on Excel and I don’t want to transition over,” or something like that.

I realize this can be a hard mental transition (although quite easy to implement).

This reminds me a of a delightful book I just read titled Selling The Wheel.  This is a really fast read, with a story about the guy who supposedly invented the wheel, and was anxious to get rich by selling it.  Max, the inventor of the wheel, was sure that everyone who saw the wheel would want one (or more)… but when he went out to actually sell the wheel, he learned that he had some serious competition. His competition was what people where already using to move things: camels, elephants, slaves, sledges.  Max didn’t realize that, even though his wheel had significant advantages to current ways of doing things, it would be hard for people to switch from the old, comfortable, familiar way, to some newfangled technology.

As I read this story, I totally thought about JibberJobber.  There’s a better way, but some people would rather use old and comfortable.

In this post, I want to share why I was audacious enough to think that a web-based job search organizer (aka, JibberJobber) could really be better than old and comfortable (aka, your Excel job search spreadsheet).

Here are three reasons I think people love Excel so much to track a job search:

Excel is familiar and comfortable.  Everyone has used Excel for something, at work, school or home.  We all understand spreadsheets.  I would argue that most people use 5% of the functionality of a spreadsheet… but that 5% is functional enough to track someone’s phone number and email, and when you talked to them last.  That’s pretty easy to do.

With Excel, you can create anything you want – you have complete control over the columns and rows.  Excel, as a blank slate, let’s you set up whatever you want: more sheets, more columns, more rows, and do whatever you want with them.  This can be, though, a double edged sword. I have heard from coaches over the years that some of their job seeking clients can spend weeks – really, weeks! – tweaking their spreadsheet.  On the surface level, it looks like you are being productive since you are setting up your tools.  Go a little deeper and you’ll find that too often, people who spend days and weeks tweaking are really hiding from the job search.  It’s a lot more comfortable tweaking a spreadsheet by yourself than picking up the phone and perhaps getting rejected.

Excel is a temporary solution, and you won’t need this information after you land your job.  I believed that once I landed my job I could go back to my cozy place and not think about the job search, which included networking. I heard that I would transition every two to five years, but I didn’t want to think about it at all… I knew that my spreadsheet was going in the virtual garbage can. Even if I did pull it up two to five years later it was turning into such a disorganized rats nest I was sure I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tales of it after I landed my next gig.

Transitioning from comfortable/familiar (spreadsheet) to JibberJobber can just seem like it’s too much.  But it isn’t too much, and here’s why:

The transition doesn’t mean you have to take all of your spreadsheet stuff and copy it into JibberJobber.

I’m guessing that you have a lot of data you’ve logged in your spreadsheet.  Some of it is active, some of it is just a placeholder. Not everyone or everything you’ve logged is going to come up again in your networking or job search.

Personally, I would keep the spreadsheet, and refer to it if I had to, but going forward, from this minute on, I would start to use JibberJobber.  Meet someone new?  Put them in JibberJobber (not in the spreadsheet).  Network into someone new at one of your target companies (where the target company is in your spreadsheet)?  Quickly add you target company into JibberJobber (it takes all of 30 seconds, if that), and then put that new contact in.  You don’t have to copy and paste, or transfer over from the spreadsheet… just stop using the spreadsheet and start using JibberJobber, and you’ll find that the main contacts you are networking and communicating with end up in your JibberJobber account.  These are the ones that are on the top of your list, and need more of your attention….

Every once in a while, go back into your spreadsheet to see if there are people who have slipped through the cracks, and reach out to them.  When you do, add them into JibberJobber and remove them from your spreadsheet.  You’ll find that the names and information in your spreadsheet will be whittled away and your JibberJobber database will be rich with real, current information and relationships.

Bonus, this is a lot easier than you might think.  With the Email2Log feature, you can add contacts and companies simply by emailing your contacts (which you are already doing), or by forwarding emails to the JibberJobber server.  While we have import tools, the Email2Log is the easiest way to get relevant information into JibberJobber quickly, and with virtually no effort.

Email2Log is the secret weapon to transitioning from your existing tracking system to JibberJobber.

You can import existing files, or sync your Gmail Contacts, but the people you are emailing today, and tomorrow, and this month, are the people who you need most in JibberJobber… at least today. You are probably already emailing them, so the next time you do, add the Email2Log address, and even their company, just by hitting send.

Some people like to import all of their contacts from LinkedIn, but this isn’t critical.  Sure, it gives you the impression that you have a lot of “contacts,” but are you communicating with any of them?  Or does having a big list of people who you think you should know just stress you out, since there is a huge list you are not quite ready to contact, but think you should?

Imagine if you started your job search over today.  What would you do differently?

I ask myself this question with my own business (which is more like being in a job search than I would have guessed).  Sometimes stopping what you have been doing and starting over new gives you a chance to make the changes that you should have made earlier, but just never got around to.

Sure, starting a new system can be a bit daunting. But getting started now doesn’t mean that what you’ve done for the last few months is all for naught.  It was really Phase I of your job search and learning experience.  Now it might be the right time for Phase II.

But what are the BENEFITS of switching to JibberJobber?

Okay, so transitioning isn’t really a big deal… but is it worth it?  Here are some benefits of JibberJobber over an Excel or paper tracking system:

The more you get into it, JibberJobber will be as comfortable as Excel. I know at first it can be confusing.  For many,this is the first time you’ve ever seen what a CRM (customer relationship management) system looks like, and for many, this is the first time you’re doing a very proactive strategic outbound networking campaign.  This whole experience is overwhelming… but the more you do it, the comfortable it will get.  Add a few Contacts and a few Log Entries and you’ll realize how easy and intuitive it really is.  Especially with Email2Log.

JibberJobber won’t waste your time with design tweaks.  Remember the guys tweaking their spreadsheets for weeks (which I call “hiding from your job search”)?  You won’t feel like you need to do this.  We designed JibberJobber for job seekers, and WE have been tweaking for the last 8+ years, so you don’t have to.  Of course there is flexibility, with Manage Columns on the List Panels, custom reports, user-defined fields, etc.  But those are simple, easy changes you can make when you want to… this allows you to focus on what you need to do (call and meet with people!!), and not fiddle around with technology.

JibberJobber helps you network for many years to come.  Let’s say you use it, then land your job, then in three years you are in a job search again.  You can log into JibberJobber and find all of the information you put in, just as you left it.  It will be easy to understand what you did, when you did it. Whereas my spreadsheet was turning into a confusing rats nest, JibberJobber will be a place that is easy to come back to. I remember an early user landed his dream job, then came back two years later when he was in transition, and said “Jason, it’s like coming home!”  We’ve been around long enough to experience this many times with our users.  We’ve been here every time they’ve been in transition.

Those three benefits address the three reasons people like Excel that I listed at the top of this blog post.  Here are some other benefits:

JibberJobber is your long-term networking tool.  Every job coach and resume writer will tell you to keep networking, even after you’ve landed your job.  It’s a pain to do.  Even if we got into a networking groove when in job search, starting a new job can be consuming.  But we should network, even when we are not in transition.  Even if we are introverts.  Even if this is my dream job, and I’m not going anywhere.  Networking is the new job security.  And JibberJobber is the tool to help you do it.

JibberJobber is a follow-up, network nurturing, and relationship tool. Keith Ferrazzi says “if you want to be better than 95% of your competition, all you have to do is follow-up.”  As I’ve traveled the United States, I’ve talked about the importance and power of NURTURING relationships.  All of this follow-up, nurturing talk is really difficult, though, if you are relying on a stack of business cards, relying on your memory to remember who is who, and what, why and how to follow-up. Take a lesson from sales professionals and use a system (JibberJobber!) to help you follow-up and nurture relationships throughout the rest of your career!

JibberJobber continually improves and adds new career management features. We started out as a simple replacement to the job search spreadsheet… and over the years it made sense to add other functionality.  Like the Job Journal, where you can record past accomplishments that become part of your stories, and the Interview Prep area, where you can wordsmith how you are going to respond to interview questions and networking situations. There is also a coaching interface, which brings more value to the relationship between you and your coach.  As we hear about really cool best-practices in career management, we wonder “should this be built into JibberJobber?”

JibberJobber is the hub for your career and networking information, regardless of any networks that tend to come and go. Find a contact name and email on a job posting?  Or meet someone on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Twitter? Did you  read about them on a press release?  Did someone make a face-to-face introduction to someone you want to follow-up with?  No matter where you get your information from, JibberJobber sits comfortably in the middle, as the hub and information gatherer.  Social networks come and go in popularity (refer to MySpace), but that shouldn’t impact whether your relationships come and go, too.  Have one single hub (JibberJobber!) to store information from disparate sources of information.

We’re constantly thinking of how to make things easier for you. As web users, we continually find coolness on other websites and think “we should do this on JibberJobber!”  Even though we are ancient in Internet years, we are continually trying to improve the value we bring you, and your user experience.  I promise your Excel spreadsheet is not thinking about you the way we are 😉

We’re constantly working on getting data in.  Getting data into any system can be a pain. Sometimes there is no alternative to just typing a name and number in.  But we are continually thinking “how can we take this from 7 clicks to 4 clicks,” or “could we import this data?”  Some of our tweaks have been big (the Gmail synchronization) while some have been small and almost unnoticeable (changing the order of fields on the Add Contact page, so that the first three fields are the main three fields you should have on every Contact).  We’re also thinking of the next phase of Email2Log, and some amazing functionality that we could do with emails you send to the system.

We’re constantly thinking of how to get data out.  This is not just a repository of data, but it’s a tool to help you with the right information, at the right time. This might mean getting Action Item alerts via email or SMS (a premium feature), or showing you what you have going on this week every time you log in, or showing you how many open Action Items you have this week and next week from any page you are on.  Perhaps it is the custom reporting tools and the export functionality that is at your fingertips… whatever it is, we want you to (a) feel like this is YOUR DATA, and it’s not trapped in some system that you don’t own, and (b) can get your data out in a way that is meaningful to you.

The interface with your daily email system and processes makes this a very easy system to use. Email2Log is the “killer app” in JibberJobber.  The idea that you can send emails all day long, and have that create Log Entries, Action Items, Companies, Contacts, and more, is simply awesome.

We want to give you peace of mind.  Recently I got an email from someone who had just started using JibberJobber. He said “I actually slept all through the last night now that I am feeling organized.”  This struck a chord with me and reminded me of the feelings of anxiety you have as a job seeker.  There are so many unknowns, and so many things that are out of your control.  Let us help you get the organizational thing under control, and empower you so that you can have your own peace of mind in this very tumultuous time.

JibberJobber is as inexpensive as you want it to be.  About two years ago we moved most of the features to the free side.  We simply just gave away what others had paid for in the past.  Most people upgrade for the Email2Log.

JibberJobber makes you a smarter, and more valuable, professional.  A few years ago I was talking to a recruiter who said “If I was hiring someone who needed CRM experience, I would totally want to interview JibberJobber users.”  Did you realize that using JibberJobber was on-the-job training? You are kind of reprogramming your brain to think about relationships, both with people and with data, differently.  Using JibberJobber helps you understand different thinking, different software, different interfaces, and how to think about these complexities differently.  You didn’t know using JibberJobber is actually something you could add to your resume, did you? :)

There are more benefits, but I should stop before this post becomes so long it should have been a book. I hope this has been helpful to you, if you have been wondering about transitioning from your spreadsheet to JibberJobber.



How To Feel Better About Losing Your Job

November 18th, 2014

A few years ago I went to lunch with some people from my last company. It was a joyous event of asking about this old friend and that old friend, this boss and that boss.  It was cool to see my buddies again, and hear the normal old gossip from a place I had so many good memories from.

I remember driving away from the restaurant feeling sad.  The feelings of getting laid off years earlier were right on the surface again, and I longed for those good ol’ days, where life was simple, paychecks were secure, I had health insurance, and I wasn’t worried about money all the freaking time.

While it was good to reconnect, it was also depressing, because I was the one who was voted off the island.  I was the one who they didn’t trust to do the job.

Recently, I’ve talked to people from three different companies… these are people who have been where they are for years… they have the simple life, secure paychecks, health insurance, and friends at work.  They are in leadership or management positions where they can even impact the culture of their office.

Guess what?

They. Have. Problems.

Problems to the point where they are saying “yeah, I’m looking at other options.”  Or, “I’m getting ready to look for another job.”  Or, “I’m working on my own business on the side.”

Early in my job search I was jealous of people who were working, but I didn’t have to dig too far to find out they were miserable.  Dead-end job, bored, bad bosses, dying industry, rumors of layoffs and downsizing, lack of passion for what they do, etc.

I looked at my abnormal career path of being an entrepreneur, and how hard this is in many ways, and longed for the way things were.

But recently, I found out that they way things are, in organizations I used to be involved in, are not what I would want anymore.  Even with the quote-security-unquote, the culture, the limits, the problems, are absolutely NOT what I want.

Folks, a layoff can be a time of career cleansing. It can hurt, and it can be embarrassing, and it can change your life, but it can be a great opportunity to reset your career.

Where you on the wrong path?

Where you working with toxic people (but too tied to the paycheck/benefits/retirement to leave)?

Where you simply just not happy (even if you were in denial)?

Getting laid off is a great time to reset, rebuild, reevaluate.

I invite you to take some time to let this happen.  Let yourself be open to the idea that that job is in the past, move on, and see what direction you are going to go in the future.  This is YOUR future.  You are a FREE AGENT. The choice is YOURS.

What are you going to do now?

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Example of an ATS (Applicant Tracking System): ApplicantPro (and how to beat them)

November 14th, 2014

Let’s go a bit deeper on the Applicant Tracking System conversation that we started with Louise Kursmark’s comments.

When I see stuff like this it reminds me of when I first learned about it, when I was a job seeker, thinking how unfair it was that I had my stupid Excel spreadsheet to track my job search, and the people I was sending my resume to and interviewing with had sophisticated software.  No more!  Now the playing field is leveled, since you can use JibberJobber…. !

Want to see what an ATS is/does/looks like?  I found this company while poking around the internet and started digging around. I went to the Tour link and saw this 1:30 video.  If you are wondering what HR and recruiters might be using to figure out if you are worthy of an interview.  Here’s the video:


Sound interesting?  Here’s a 14 minute video from Gillian Kelly, a career pro and outplacement provider in Australia, talking about beating the ATS:

Remember, this does not apply to every company you apply to. Some will use an ATS, some will not (even if they have it).  My recommendation is still to network into the company before you play the “resume black hole” game.  That’s not a fun game.

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Discounted LinkedIn Profile Critique/Consultation

November 13th, 2014

I just sent this out to my LinkedIn Group… to get on that “newsletter” go to this page and find the Join button.

Once again I’m discounting my LinkedIn Profile consultation from $97 to $47 for a limited time.

Many of you know I was “the first” to write a LinkedIn book (now in the fourth edition). In fact, one person wrote his before me, so I was “the second.” I’m cool with that.

What you might not know is that I’m a nerd for communicating on our Profiles. While I have a bit of “cobbler’s kids” syndrome (that is, he made shoes but his kids were barefoot), I do love picking apart other people’s Profiles and seeing where there is opportunity for improvement.

I focus on (1) being found, which is usually about the search engine and showing up on the front page, and (2) being readable in an engaging, interesting way.  What I didn’t say in the newsletter: I also focus on giving you actionable advice…. stuff you can actually do.

I loathe jargon and cliche, and I love helping you stand out in a way that not many do.

If this sounds interesting to you, you can pay at the link below and then send me your profile information. I’ll do a recording of my critique, which might be from 12 minutes to 20+ minutes (depending on how much you have to critique, usually), and then I send you a video file you can watch as often as you want.

I have done this for executives, professionals, entry-level, solopreneurs, career coaches, resume writers, branding specialists, outplacement pros (and their candidates (actually, for outplacement firms I offer a higher level, one-on-one service for their candidates))… it’s been a fun opportunity to help so many people.

A few months ago I did a critique for Tom, who I’ve known for years as someone who is very strategic about his career management, networking and branding. He already had a very good profile. After he watched the critique, these are some of the things he wrote to me:

“WOW! You’ve provided a great deal of excellent advise.”

“Fortunately I’m not in transition but I want to be ready for my next move no matter who’s choice it is…”

“EXCELLENT point about the professional headline. I definitely need to add …”

“Yet more excellent feedback about my volunteer work for… “

“You have provided a wealth of information and I thank you for that. It certainly is hard to be objective about myself so you’ve really helped me see many areas that I can improve my profile to help recruiters get to know me not just my skills and experience.”

I don’t normally get depth of feedback from people, but like I said, Tom is purposeful, and there is a reason he has weathered career transitions so well.

I want my JibberJobber users to have short, less painful transitions. Building our brands and nurturing our network is a big part of that. Shall we do this together? Click on the link above and I’ll do my part… :)

Jason Alba
CEO of
Author of

Comments Off on Discounted LinkedIn Profile Critique/Consultation


The Ultimate Interview Question #JobSearch

November 12th, 2014

On LinkedIn there is an article proposing the ultimate interview question.  I don’t agree with the author.

Spoiler alert: he says the ultimate interview question is “What did you learn last week?”  The author makes a case for this being the ultimate question… but I’m guessing he is someone who really values learning and curiousity… both great things.  My experience, though, is that most interviewers aren’t even close to ready to ask that question, much less understand great answers to the question.

If I were to interview someone right now, I would ask questions about their skillset (we are a technical company and I need to know you have the breadth/depth of skills for the job) and experience and results (if it’s a sales role, I need to know you’ve been a rainmaker).  My series of questions, and their answers and attitudes, will hopefully help me understand if this person has integrity, will fit into my culture, and of course able to do the job.

But none of the questions I ask would be the ultimate interview question. Most of these questions will sound run-of-the-mill and boring.

The ultimate interview question, I think, will be the one that the job seeker asks.

You see, I’ve got my list of questions I’m going to ask the final 10, or 5, or 2 candidates… and after a while all the answers will sound the same. Once I get it down to the best of my list, you will all be admirable.  Each of you will have your own strengths, and some weaknesses, but overall, any of you might be the right hire.

If you really want to knock my socks off, and show me that you CARE, and WANT this job, then don’t wait for me to ask the ultimate interview question.  You should bring your own question.  Show me that you’ve done your research.  Show me that you understand my company, customers, competition, challenges, etc.  Show me, with your question(s), that you are a smart thinker, and anxious to attack some problems.

I want to hire someone who is, as my college programming professor said, “high speed, low drag.”  That means they aren’t going to sit around waiting for me to give them direction.  Show me that you are ready to take initiative, and you don’t need me to hand feed you your tasks.

Having laid that foundation, what are some great questions you could ask in an interview?  I’m not sure there is one question that will show all of those things… it will depend on the company, industry, culture, and how the interview is going (and how interested/engaged the interviewers are)… but what are some ideas of questions you might ask to position yourself as the right person to hire?



Should You Dye Your Hair Black, and Other Discrimination Issues #JobSearch

November 10th, 2014

This weekend I had an interesting dialog on the Execunet LinkedIn Group about what you can or can’t say to job seekers. At one point in the dialog this comment was made:

“…on one hand, everybody’s peddled the mantra of constant personal upgrade and new ever evolving skills, to fit the market requirements. You know, physically as well. Those people dye hair, trying to look younger.”

I’m not going to go into any of the conversation, but this line struck me as interesting.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most guys don’t color their hair.  So, when they are at “that age,” and in a job search, and the hair is going to give it away… doesn’t it make sense to color the hair?

So, this is not a blog post where I’m going to tell you what to do. I think YOU need to make your own decision.  Here are two of my opinions, and then I want to hear what you think in the comments.

Jason Alba Opinion 1:  Personally, I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you have always wanted to do it, or if you are doing it for reasons other than the impression during a job search.  In other words, if you are doing it to hide your age, usually in preparation for an interview, then do not do it.  I think it’s like when you look at someone’s LinkedIn Profile, then when you meet them they are twenty years older… there’s just something weird there.

Jason Alba Opinion 2: If you choose to color your hair, for whatever reason, have it done professionally.  Especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s really easy to do this wrong, and have it look horrible.

So… that’s my opinion.  I’m keeping it short because I want YOU to add your comments.

So, what do you think?


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