Why the Job Market and Job Search Is Broken

August 31st, 2015

In 2007 Ben Yoskovitz was involved in the job market, and he wrote a post titled 9 Signs the Online Job Market is Broken. His 9 reasons are below, click to his page and see his reasoning as well as over 60 comments.  Not much has changed.

When people ask me about the broken job search, job market, dumb interviewing and hiring practices, etc., I have one answer: it is broken because it’s all based on people.  People who, by nature, are flawed.  We hire the person with the better smile, or the right skin color, or the person who dressed “better” (whatever that means), or the person who is more like us (in age, religion, etc.).  We aren’t supposed to discriminate, but we do.  As long as there are people involved, it will be flawed. It will be unfair.  It will be unpredictable.  And sometimes, it just won’t make sense.

I’m not suggesting that we should get people out of it, and have applicant tracking systems and artificial intelligence take over. We’ve already seen how messed up that is.  All I’m saying is that these processes will always seem broken, because they are, and it’s all due to our flawed human nature.  Even people with the best intentions will make mistakes.

So that’s my answer.  Here are Ben’s 9 reasons, with my commentary:

  1. Companies can’t differentiate themselves. Ben’s company (now defunct, he’s moved on) was about employer branding…. so that explains #1 here.  But there are consultants around the world helping companies stand out… still an issue, but not sure if that’s why the job market is broken.
  2. Job sites like are loaded with too much spam. Yup, not much has changed.  Although, people do get hired from monster and other job boards. Realize that there are different reasons for fake job postings on job boards… none of them help the job seeker.
  3. now offers free job postings.  Jobster went the way of the dodo bird, but the message here was that free meant more spam and junk and phishing.
  4. Niche job boards don’t offer enough. I think niche is a good idea, and a good response to the one-size-fits-all that isn’t working.
  5. The best candidates aren’t surfing job sites looking for work.  I absolutely, 1,000% disagree with this.  The premise, and what Ben says, is “The top talent doesn’t spend time surfing job websites for fun. They’ve already got jobs. They’re busy.”  This, my friends, is discrimination and ignorance. Sorry. I meet many highly talented people when I speak, and through JibberJobber, who are “best candidates.”  They might be overlooked because they are “overqualified,” or because their resume wasn’t targeted enough to pass through the ATS, or because a hiring manager is intimidated by them, or because of crazy industry or market circumstances… the employed are not necessarily the best, and the unemployed aren’t necessarily the worst.  Ben continues: “And even if they find themselves unemployed, you can be sure they don’t spend much time surfing for work. They know how to stand out, and they’re busy making that clear through referrals and their network of contacts.” Sorry, but this is also flawed.  What about the “best candidate” who has been working, heads down, for 30 years? He’s an expert in his field, but not an expert in networking or job search? Just because a person knows how to stand out, and work referrals, and network, does not mean they are the best candidate… it just means they are a really good job seeker.
  6. It’s too easy for candidates to apply.  Yes, it’s ridiculously hard for people to apply for jobs.
  7. It’s too hard for employers to assess talent. I agree… employers are not necessarily trained to assess talent (unless that is their job, but many hiring managers aren’t trained deep enough, so they default to discriminatory thoughts, like “do I like this person, or are they too different from me?”). Again, the human issue.
  8. Companies use the services because they’re there, not because they work. Agreed.
  9. Lots of money and time is going into the online job market space.  Yes, but that isn’t  a reason why the job market is broken.

My purpose of sharing Ben’s post wasn’t to disparage his writing and opinion, but to show that 10 years ago there were problems, and frustrations, and today there are still problems and frustrations.  I don’t see that changing any time soon. I don’t think it will ever change.

I hope this gives you a different insight into why things are so hard, as a job seeker. Here’s my parting though: if it is so bad because of human nature, what could YOU do to make it better (as a job seeker)?  There’s actually a pretty good answer to that question.

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How To: Allow Your Coach to See Your JibberJobber Data

August 28th, 2015

Be default, your JibberJobber data is private.  No one can see it except you. This is not a social network… this is a private tracking and organizational tool.

However, it might make sense that someone else sees (and interacts) with your data.  For example:

  • You have a coach who wants to see what you are doing, so they can help you better.  Allowing a coach insight into your database could enhance your relationship with them, and their effectiveness to you.  Click here to see the list of JibberJobber Certified Career Professionals (these are people who have gone through our certification program, which means they understand JibberJobber pretty good!).
  • You have a parent or spouse or brother or neighbor or BFF who you allow access to because they are your accountability partner.
  • You really, really, really trust someone else to see all of your stuff, and even have access to add to your account (like, add a Log Entry).

I strongly encourage you to only do what I’ll show you below with people that you know and trust to the highest degree.  Furthermore, if you grant a coach or accountability partner access to your account now, when your formal relationship concludes, I encourage you to remove this coaching relationship, so they don’t have access to your private relationship management tool forever.  It goes without saying, if you grant someone access, you should probably be careful what you write about them if you have a contact record for them… :)

First, mouse over tools and click on My Coaches:


Next, click Add a Coach (which will open up #2, the boxes):


Next, invite the person to be your coach in JibberJobber:

You can do this by adding their username, if they know it, or their email address (which is associated with their account).  Either way, ask them what their JibberJobber username is, or what email to put in.

They will get an email from JibberJobber saying you have requested the relationship, and they have to click a button to agree to this request.  Once they click this button, assume they have access to all of your data.  BE CAREFUL!

Finally, you might consider following up with the person who you invited… 

Just to be sure they got the message, and acted on it.

There is an alternative to this process… your coach can go into their Coach Dashboard and reverse this process, which sends YOU a message asking for permission to be their coach (and access your data).

As long as you totally trust the other person with your data, you should be good to go. Note that this was originally designed (9 years ago) for recruiters, but I got feedback from recruiters that they should not have that level of access to my job search, because they could do bad (unethical) stuff with it (that would not benefit the job seeker).



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Video Learning Path from Pluralsight for New Hires

August 27th, 2015

Check out the New Hire learning path that Pluralsight recently published. Three of the seven are my courses, only because I started doing “soft skills” or professional development courses early on, when almost everyone else was doing technical courses.

Oh wait, you don’t have a subscription to Pluralsight?  Well, check the video at the bottom of this post and I’ll show you how you can get (a) thirty days of unlimited access to Pluralsight, which means you can watch this entire learning path (and gobs of other videos) at no cost, and (b) seven day upgrades every time you watch a Jason Alba course.  Note that the month-to-month cost for a Pluralsight subscription is only $29/month, which gives you unlimited access.  Pretty awesome.

Here’s the learning path (I’ll recommend some updates to this soon):



Here’s the video to show you how to get free access to 30 days of Pluralsight, through JibberJobber:


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Your Career: Happy vs. Satisfied

August 26th, 2015

In the last nine years people ask me how things are going with JibberJobber.  I figured out a phrase that I repeat, which is as true today as it was when I first came up with it:

“I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied.”

This phrase replaced the other response I gave, which was that I “wasn’t happy with _____” (usually, the growth of the company, users, upgrades, etc.).

In truth, I was happy… and I didn’t feel right about saying that I wasn’t happy.  And finally, I realized that while I was happy, I simply was not satisfied.

That meant that I wanted more, at the same time I appreciated what I had.  I was grateful, and ambitious.

There seemed to be a subtle difference between those two words, but since I started using this phrase, there is a huge difference.

So I ask you: where are you at with your career?  Can you appreciate, and feel grateful, for the opportunities that you have come across?  Are you happy with where you have been, and the trajectory that you seem to be on?

I encourage you to find joy in the journey (this is something that has taken me years to figure out).

That doesn’t mean you have to just sit there and grin… you can still be unsatisfied.  This doesn’t have to make you unhappy, though.

Unsatisfied means you are still ambitious, working towards the next thing.  It means you are still anxiously engaged in your career, and learning, and achieving, and mentoring.  You can be unsatisfied and still find joy in the journey.

I’ve learned that life is too short to be grumpy and feel slighted all the time.  Figure out where happiness and joy come from (they have a lot to do with attitude), and choose to be happy.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be unsatisfied.  Keep thirsting for more, and better, and work for that.  Just be happy along the way.

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Creating and Leading Effective Teams (for team leaders): My New Pluralsight Course

August 21st, 2015

I just finished a Pluralsight course on how to create and lead successful teams.  You can see the table of contents here.

Wait, what’s that?  You don’t have a Pluralsight subscription?  Well, I have two options for you.

Option 1: Just get one for $30/month.  In that month you’ll get full access to all of my courses, and each time you watch a Pluralsight course that I did, you can claim additional upgrade days on JibberJobber.  Watch 20 courses? Get JibberJobber upgrades.  Watch one course 20 times?  Get  JibberJobber upgrades.  Watch 20 courses 20 times?  Get a bunch of JibberJobber upgrades!  Pretty sweet.

Option 2: If you haven’t done this yet, take advantage of the sweet offer that Pluralsight extends to JibberJobber, where you get 30 days of premium Pluralsight at no cost to you.  Check out this video to see (a) how to get it, and (b) how to self-claim the week-long upgrades on JibberJobber:

If you watch this course on Pluralsight, please leave a comment and rank it… or at least drop me an email and let me know what you thought!


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How To Figure Out (Almost) Anyone’s Email Address

August 20th, 2015

Here’s a question I get regularly… how do I figure out someone’s email if I can’t find it anywhere?

There are a bunch of tactics and theories, and much has been written on it.  Instead of duplicating anyone’s in-depth writeups, let me point you to a few cool resources:

YouTube video: Find and email address for almost anybody.  This guy points you to the rapportive Gmail plugin PLUS a spreadsheet he probably created and shares with you to guess email addresses based on common formats.  Basically, you plug a name and company domain into the spreadsheet, then get a bunch of possible addresses, then you paste those into gmail and click through each one until you find one that looks like the right one.  It’s pretty clever, even though it will take some time.  Watch the 5 minute video to see it in action (it’s worth your time, if you are trying to figure out how to get a good email address).

How to Find ANY Email Address Contact in 2 Minutes: This is the rapportive trick explained step-by-step (without the spreadsheet from above).  It’s a great hack/idea.

How to Find Email Addresses: This post starts out talking about rapportive (same as above), but then shares a tool called  This is a super-cool tool.  Looks geeky, and there’s a lot to ignore in the results, but it can be really helpful. There are other cool tools to check out on that post.

The Complete Guide To Finding Any Email Address: Tools, Tips, Tactics, And More: This starts out saying to please not use the rapportive trick :p  I agree with a commentor that it has too many tool suggested with not enough info… but hey, if you are really wanting to crack this nut, here’s a nice list to spend your time on :)

3 Ways to Find Any Email Address: from hubspot/Sidekick.  This is a great post… the three ways (read the post to learn how) are (1) strategic guessing, (2) email permutations, and (3) scouring the internet.

And then there is always the Jason Alba suggested method: figure out how to network into the person, and ask someone to send an email introduction.  In my experience, that has always been more successful at getting to the next step than a cold email from some dude named Jason Alba, who just happened to guess the right email address :)  (however, if you can’t do that, go for the cold email, and follow up with a phone call!)

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What Is JibberJobber? Simplified Version…

August 19th, 2015

Welcome to readers who signed up this week.  theMuse is one of the best places for job search and career advice… and we’re honored to get recommended again.

If you are wondering what JibberJobber is, take a few minutes and watch this video.  I found this video really helpful because people tend to see our menus and get overwhelmed by all of the options… but really, you just need to use the core features, and you can put the rest off until you really want or need them.  This video explains it all:

Also, you might be wondering what you get for free, and what you could pay for.  Let me explain.  For FREE, you get:

  • A personal CRM (that is, your relationship manager, or a “career relationship manager”) for life.
  • Almost every single feature that we’ve built into the system.
  • A private database of your contacts, prospects, target companies, and a record of your interactions with them.
  • Up to 500 Contact and 500 Company records, and unlimited Log Entries and Action Items (Note: there is a loophole where you can have unlimited Contacts and Companies as a free user).

You get all of that forever.  We won’t delete your data if you are “inactive.”  We don’t ever trim, delete, or touch your stuff.  This is your own personal database for the rest of your career/life.

If you upgrade, which is $9.95 a month, or $60 a year (which is $5/month!), OR FREE, if you watch my Pluralsight courses (learn how to get the JibberJobber upgrade free, here), OR FREE (for a year) if you are a veteran (learn more here), you get the four things on this page, which are:

  • Email2Log: This is the “killer app” in JibberJobber.  Want to send an email to someone and have that create Contacts, Companies, Jobs and create a Log Entry out of your email conversation, and even create a follow-up Action Item?  This premium feature allows you to do it… it is killer cool, and the #1 reason people upgrade.
  • Unlimited Contacts and Companies: People like to “quick start” by importing their LinkedIn or Outlook contacts into JibberJobber.  I’m not convinced most of those contacts are relevant, but heck, it’s a good place to start… oh by the way, you get 14 days of Premium when you first login, which means you can do these imports in the first 2 weeks, and have way more than 500 Contacts in your system (that’s the loophole).
  • Importing: This is a premium feature, where we allow you to import a csv file (most systems export Contacts to a csv file, which opens in Excel), a vcard (super useful for mac users), or other file formats.
  • Action Item reminders pushed to your email or SMS (where available): Want JibberJobber to send you a message when you need to follow-up with someone?  That’s what this feature is.  It’s super useful, and one of the main reasons we created JibberJobber (because our spreadsheet wouldn’t email us!).

Want these cool features?  Want hundreds of dollars of my video courses for free, including how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, how to have a proactive LinkedIn strategy, how to do Informational Interviews, and more?  Check out this video:

Finally, if you want some quick-start videos, check out this page: Getting Started Videos

So there you go, everything you need to know about JibberJobber to get started…


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How To: Manage Columns on the JibberJobber List Panels

August 18th, 2015

In JibberJobber there are many pages that we call “List Panels.”  List Panels are kind of like Excel, with columns and rows.  You can do things on the List Panel, such as filter your search to only show you hiring managers in a certain city, or see a list (and get email addresses) of all of your family or friends.  You can do more things, but I want to focus on one: how to change the data that shows up on your List Panel.

First, to get to a List Panel, you can click on any of these menu headings.  Note there are other ways to get there, but this is the main way I get there:


Next, directly above the List Panel, find the Manage Columns icon, which will be on the left of the filtered search box (note in this image, I’m filtering my List Panel results to anyone I’ve tagged as a recruiter):


Click on that and you see three columns:


Column 1 allows you to turn on or off columns, and reorder them (by clicking and dragging to the new position)

Column 2 allows you to show more (or less) than the default of 20 rows per page (and you can do a couple of other things, which I rarely change).

Column 3 allows you to save the changes, or reset your entire List Panel to the defaults.

What you do here will be saved so the next time you come into JibberJobber you don’t have to do it again.  You can change your preferences as often as you want.

Pretty cool, huh?

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Don’t do these things in a job search!

August 17th, 2015

martin_buckland_headshotMartin Buckland has a great article on LinkedIn titled Five tips for what NOT to do in a job search. I whole-heartedly agree with this list… read his entire article here.  He says:

Do NOT show negativity or disengagement. Yes. I wrote about this here: I Smell Blood!

Do NOT ignore the power of networking. Amen and YES!  And, use JibberJobber to help you network better. If you have heard my story, you know that I thought I was too good to network.  I learned the hard way that ignoring networking is a mistake.

Do NOT mismanage your social profile.  Martin says you are “committing career suicide” if (go read the article). I don’t agree it’s career suicide, but I do think that you should pay attention to what you do (and don’t do) online.

Do NOT use an outdated resume or send the same resume for each job. Yes, but I actually didn’t have either of these problems.  My resume was right for ME, but never right for the job title I was applying to.  This was THE reason I didn’t get interviews.

Do NOT use one job search strategy. Agreed: I used one strategy, which was job boards.  Lame, unproductive, depressing.

Thanks for the short but potent list Martin!



Age Discrimination: Old is Obsolete

August 14th, 2015

Age discrimination. I hate it.

When I speak, it is the number one issue that every audience is concerned about.

When I was in my job search, nine years ago, I was too old to be a young person who would take a lower salary, and too young to be experienced enough. I was in the middle of two age discrimination points. I learned that no matter how good I thought I was, and how awesome my credentials and potential were, age was going to keep me out of opportunities.

In a job search seminar, the speaker said that the best way to address age discrimination in an interview was to address specific issues head on.  Like: “Just so you know, I don’t need to be on the company health care plan because … ”  Or, “Usually someone with my experience and accomplishments would make around $xx,xxx, but I am at a point in my career, and with my personal finances where I am looking for a job where I can really contribute to the company, and I am looking for compensation in the $yy,yyyy to $zz,zzz range” (where that range is lower than what the interviewer is assuming).  I’m sure those phrases need finessing, but the speaker’s point was, instead of letting the interviewer ASSUME things, based on your age, address the issues head on and move on to more important things, like how you can excel at the role and bring value to the company.

What do you think?  Is that too brash?

Here’s a BlueSteps article that includes a bunch of phrases you can use to communicate, or at least rethink, the value you bring, when you might otherwise be focusing on your age: Brains, Brawn and Bravado: Employing Your Endurance and Experience to Overcome Ageism

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