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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 (which is premium, starting at $5/month and up to $9.95/month, depending on how many months you pay for at once), 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, withe 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.  You can upgrade for $9.95 a month, or if you upgrade for a year you get 50% off (so it comes out to $5/month)… and most people do that for the Email2Log (and extra storage).  But if you don’t have any money, then enjoy almost every feature of JibberJobber, including our customer support that we pride ourselves on, at no cost.

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.

2 Comments »

2 responses to “JibberJobber Competition: JibberJobber vs. the Excel Spreadsheet”

  1. Van Walther says:

    Great explanation of why job seekers should be using JibberJobber. I agree with you completely.

  2. Sophie Lagacé says:

    Oh boy, yes, JibberJobber does a very different job from a spreadsheet. But I bet a little spreadsheet massaging can allow importing the information in JJ. But use a TSV format, not CSV, especially for log entries, notes, and addresses.