Christmas Through New Years: When Supposedly Looking For a Job Shuts Down

December 23rd, 2016

Well, it’s official. The internet seems to be shut down, people aren’t at work, and all of next week is pretty much shot.

Nothing to do for job seekers, right?

Let me argue against that notion.  There’s plenty to do.

And it all starts with the people that you’ll talk to… family, friends, etc., tactfully letting them know (a) who you are (aka, what your brand is), and (b) what you are looking for.

Amazing things happen when you realize you don’t have to do the job search alone, and that people can and are willing to help you.

But no one can help you if they don’t understand (a) who you are (or, what value you bring to an organization), or (b) that you are actually open to something new or different.


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New Feature: Salary Range on Jobs

December 22nd, 2016

The release from last night was perhaps one of our biggest, most feature-rich releases we’ve ever done.  In addition to the new Insider Information Video Library, we launched a yet-to-be-announced corporate offering (so companies can hopefully get a little closer to our users, in a appropriate and value-add way), and fixed a number of bugs (or, design-flaws), as well as added some new much-needed functionality.

One of the things we added is the ability for you to put a minimum and maximum salary on each job you are tracking. This will allow you to figure out which jobs you are most keenly interested in pursuing, and which might end up being “step jobs” (that is, a job that is not permanent, but it’s better than being out of work, while you keep looking for the right job for you).

When you go to the Job Detail Page, you’ll see these fields:


This is just the beginning of something big.  There are more enhancements we’ll roll out to really enrich this part of JibberJobber… for now, if you can figure out the min and max salary numbers, start to put them in!

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Big Announcement #2: New Job Search and Career Management Video System

December 21st, 2016

Almost two weeks ago I shared Big Announcement #1: I’m Transitioning.  Today I get to share Big Announcement #2…

As I mentioned in the earlier announcement, I have been doing a lot of courses for Pluralsight, and as far as I know, I’m not doing any more courses for them.  This freed up a significant amount of time.  Oh, what to do with all that time?

Well, I decided to go back to the JibberJobber Video Library and see what we should do to update it.  Instead of making a few tweaks here, a few changes there, we decided to do a complete overhaul of both the user experience (UX) and the content.  Here’s what you need to know about the new video library, which was released in the wee hours last night:

A New Name:

Instead of the JibberJobber Video Library, we are calling this (some version of) the Insider Information Videos. Why? Because of who the video content is from… see the next section :)

New Content

Instead of just me (Jason Alba) doing courses, which is what I started out with many years ago, I am interviewing people involved in the hiring process. Right now I’m focusing my energy on HR, hiring managers, and recruiters. I love coaches and resume writers, but the feedback I’ve gotten is pointing me in this direction: find out how hiring is done by the people who are in the hiring trenches.

What does a recruiter really think about your resume? Ask a an insider (the recruiter)! What policies affect hiring? Ask an insider (the HR professional). What really influences a a decision-maker in an interview? Ask an insider (the hiring manager)!  There are other insiders I’ll interview… watch for new content over the next year.

The good news is that information from these people should supplement, and complement, what coaches are telling their clients/candidates.

Updated Content:

The LinkedIn content needs to be updated. I’ll review the content for the other stuff, and update it if I can improve it.

Updated Interface

“Interface” is a jargony, kind of boring word. But this is a critical point. Instead of a menu where you drill down to find what you are looking for, we approached this from a “what are the best ways to sift through tons of video content?”  There are three main ways to find answers to your questions, or the right videos for you to watch:

Categories, such as: HR Interviews, Recruiter Interviews, Fortune 500 Interviews, etc.

Tags, such as: interviewing, negotiation, informational interviews, etc.

Search, which is way cooler than you might think.  Why? Because not only are we searching on the names and descriptions of the videos, we are actually transcribing every video, put it into a closed-caption format, and when you search on a word or phrase, we’ll show you exactly where, in every transcribed video, we mention that word. So, in an interview, if we talk about salary negotiation five times, you’ll be able to jump to each of those five mentions easily.

That means that finding the right information in dozens, and eventually hundreds of hours of content, will be really, really easy!

Updated Pricing

For the last many years, the pricing to buy videos was simple: pay $50 and get one of the courses, like LinkedIn, Informational Interviews, etc.  You could even bundle one year of JibberJobber with some videos and get a discount.

We’re switching over to a Netflix/Hulu-like model: pay one low monthly fee and get access to everything.

But wait, it gets better!  You could pay for video access for one year and get a discount, or, the best offer we have is for you is to upgrade for one year on JibberJobber and the video library, and you’ll get 50% off on both. Here’s what that looks like:

Monthly: $9.95/month

One year: $99 (save $20)

Bundle one year + one year of JibberJobber Premium: $120 (save $60 on the video library upgrade and $60 on the JibberJobber upgrade, for a total of $120 savings).

Are you an outplacement firm, resume writer, or career coach?  Reach out to me for information on bulk pricing:

What’s more, this is just the beginning. Over the next months, and years, I will work on adding more content and enhancing the video system, FOR YOU.  Over the next few days I’ll be cleaning up the library and getting all of the videos categorized correctly… so it will undergo a transformation. But it’s ready for you to go into now.  Just login, mouse over Tools, and click JibberJobber Videos (right under Pluralsight Videos).

What do you say? Are you in?  

Just login to your JibberJobber account and click on Upgrade on the bottom left… the payment page will allow you to choose what level you want. If you have any questions or problems, just let us know here.

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I Guess LinkedIn Really Isn’t a CRM. Huh.

December 20th, 2016

Over the years I would get invitations to connect with people on LinkedIn, and they would say “I use LinkedIn as my CRM…”

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager. Think Salesforce, Highrise, even the oldies ACT! and Goldmine.  There are hundreds of CRMs.

JibberJobber was designed with “relationship manager” in mind… because we need a tool to help us manage the relationships we have with people we meet and want to meet. As important, we can use a tool that helps us with our follow-up, etc.

So yeah, chuckle and shake my head was my standard response for people saying they used LinkedIn as a CRM.  For a while, it really didn’t have any CRM functionality.  Then, they bought a CRM startup, and … nothing. Years passed and people still didn’t know the features were there.  My message to people was “use LinkedIn as it was designed… to find people, and be found by others, but get a real and independent CRM for relationship management.”

There are various reasons to get a different system for CRM, but for me the most important was that LinkedIn had (and has) a history of taking away features that we (the users) tend to find useful, but for some reason they don’t want to keep around anymore.

Remember Answers? Events (I never cared for it, but of all the features that LinkedIn removed, this was the one that I heard the most complaints over)?  How about the ability to view profiles of third degree contacts?

All pretty much gone.  Check out this article at their help center: Relationship Section of Profile – No Longer Available

What does this mean?

It means that you should always separate your CRM needs from your social tools.  Always.

I feel bad for the people who used LinkedIn as their CRM… because in a few months, all of the rich data they’ve entered there will *poof* away, just like the history of Answers.  Bleh.

And… use JibberJobber for your CRM needs.


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Inside The Calm Before The Storm

December 16th, 2016

So, I announced a big transition recently, with part two of my transition coming next week.  This week has seemed quiet, from a user perspective, but there are LOTS of things happening.  Many people are working at full capacity to get this next chapter of JibberJobber ready for you…

I’m anxious to see it all roll out… hopefully Monday or Tuesday. For now, have a great and safe weekend :)

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Myths and Realities of Old Person Job Search #AgeDiscrimination

December 15th, 2016

My good friend Norm from NYC sent me this Wall Street Journal article titled Five Myths About Landing a Good Job Later in Life. The author, Anne Tergersen, “writes about retirement” for the WSJ.

It’s a pretty optimistic, encouraging, happy article.  The five myths, which she busts, are:

Myth 1: I’m not going to find a good job.

Myth 2: You can’t take time off, or you’ll never get back into the workforce

Myth 3: I’m not going to make as big of a contribution as I did in the past.

Myth 4: The only type of work available to older applicants is part time.

Myth 5: The chance to be an entrepreneur has passed me by.

It is encouraging to read her article, and see the stats she presents to prove that those are all myths. The hope is abundant.

That is… until you read the comments.  The 125+ comments tell a different story. The story from the trenches is that age discrimination is alive and well.

I’ve been going over some of my old Ask The Expert interviews and age discrimination has come up. I’m a firm believer that it exists.  Recruiters and career coaches caution you to not let age discrimination become THE excuse for you not finding a job.

I agree that we shouldn’t fixate on age… I’ve seen the results of fixating like that.  EVERYTHING happens wrong because “I’m too old, no one wants to hire someone my age.”

Depression sets in, you lose any speck of confidence you used to have, and you know have a convenient scapegoat for all of your job search failures.

I have seen it. I have even had my own scapegoats.  It is a waste of time and energy.

I’m not saying it’s not real. What I’m suggesting is to not let it (your age) be the excuse for not making progress.

When your age becomes your brand, you have a branding problem. And, as CEO of Me, Inc… as VP of Marketing for Me, Inc, you have a task: to rebrand yourself.

Instead of being “that old guy/gal,” you need to be “the person with expertise that we haven’t seen, but we need!”

Instead of being the person who is “too expensive,” you need to be the person they “need to hire, and it’s a bargain to get you.”

Think of the old adage: turn your (perceived) weaknesses into (perceived) strengths.

I know, I know, this is much easier said than done. But I’ll tell you, you aren’t the only one with a problem in your job search. Be creative, be purposeful, be strategic, be smart, and attack the problem head on.  The goal is to get your next great job, not to try to change how discrimination works.



Awesome Journey of a Job Seeker (Felix Feng)

December 14th, 2016

Take the time to read this very awesome and insightful article by Felix Fang: I spent 3 months applying to jobs after a coding bootcamp. Here’s what I learned.

This is a MUST READ for anyone in job search. Think about Felix’s processes and what he tracks and does. It’s a very strategic, purposeful journey.

In his first “pro-tip,” he links to a list of companies that people are collecting where it is easy to apply, as opposed to the ridiculous application systems that require you to copy and paste parts of your resume.  This is super cool: The github “easy-application” list.

Felix talks about the resume black hole and networking into companies.

Felix is a developer.  Even if you aren’t a developer, you should be able to glean quite a bit of wisdom, and correct your tactics and strategy.

Have you thought about sharpening your saw, and becoming a better candidate, even as you interview?  Read Insight #3 and see how someone intent on getting a six-figure offer did it.

Insight #4 is about dissecting your personal brand, and how you come across to others.  It’s critical that you understand how your branding may be hurting your job search!

Felix also talks about questions you could ask during the interview.  Don’t make the mistake of not asking smart questions!

Insight #5 is hard because, well, I’m impatient.  But if you don’t respect the longevity of the job search, and sprint, you might wear yourself out and be less-than-effective.

Here’s what I want you to get out of this article: tactics and strategies and ideas.  More than that, though, I want you to see what your “competition” (other job seekers) is doing. I want you to see that it’s not just a apply-and-pray approach.  Please, be smart, strategic, and purposeful as you spend your time in this job search!

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What is your “Primary Claim?”

December 13th, 2016

When I do LinkedIn Profile strategy sessions, I talk about your “primary claim.” What is the thing (or small collection of things) that you are promising to your future employer? Or, put another way, what is your “value proposition?”

I like focusing on a primary claim because I think too many job seekers… well, pretty much everyone, including marketing professionals for companies, don’t narrow down to the main, primary thing. We are afraid of getting too specific, lest we leave something out of our marketing message.  What if we narrow our message down and exclude people who would otherwise hire us, or pay us money?

Better to just give the entire list of our offerings, or claims, right?

I challenge you, like I challenge the people I do a LinkedIn session with, to figure out what your PRIMARY claim is. If you had to narrow it down to one phrase, or tagline, what would it be?

You can tell your story, and help people understand your breadth and depth, with what I’ll call secondary claims (and some other techniques/tools), but make sure you understand and communicate your primary claim.

Understanding your primary claim makes it easier for you to communicate what you need to in interviews, while networking, and on your marketing documents (resume, profiles, etc.).

Communicating your primary claim well makes it easier to know how to talk about you. This is a profound concept. If you can communicate your primary claim well, the people on the receiving in can know how to communicate about you. If you don’t know what your primary (or secondary) claims are, how in the world are they going to talk about you the right way?  Don’t rely on luck when it comes to your branding.

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Office Party Don’ts

December 12th, 2016

Check out this very relevant and timely article by Gail Miller, titled My Humiliating Holiday Office Party DON’T: Yikes!

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Big Announcement #1: I’m Transitioning

December 9th, 2016

Yes, you read that right. Surprised?  So was I.

Lest you think I’m talking about transitioning from JibberJobber… well, no. I’m definitely not.

Many of you know that for the past four years I’ve been working with Pluralsight to develop their soft skills and professional development content.  That has been a fun ride. I planned on giving them another three years, but as any JibberJobber user knows, things change.

I have created thirty one awesome courses (well, at least 30 of them are awesome :p) that have been watched by many of Pluralsight’s customers.  In 2015 I worked on fourteen courses… no one does that.  It was insane.  I figured doing fourteen courses would entitle you to a therapist and a masseuse… alas, I got neither :)

What I did get over the last four years was an amazing education. I learned from Aaron Skonnard what a startup CEO looks like, talks, and how he/she thinks.  I learned about culture in a different way than I had every been exposed.  I learned that the heart of a company is the sales team.  Er, perhaps it is the environment and culture.  Or, perhaps it is the strategy, vision, and execution.  Oh wait, it might just be hiring amazing people and enabling them to do stuff. Or, actually, they kept telling us that we (the content producers) were the heart or key of the company’s success.  What success?  Massive revenue growth.  Unicorn status.

So, I’m transitioning FROM doing Pluralsight videos.  What am I transitioning TO?  That will be the Big Announcement #2, hopefully the week of the 19th.

What I learned is that no matter what your plans are, if you aren’t in 100% control, then things will change.  I learned this almost 11 years ago… when I got laid off (Friday the 13th, January of 2006).

It was then that I decided that I would have multiple revenue streams. I didn’t want want one employer to be able to yank 100% of my personal income.  JibberJobber was started as a project in the hopes that I would eventually make $100 a month… which would be that mental safety blanket when I landed my next job.  Fortunately, I wasn’t good at landing my next job.

Anyway, if I have any regrets about the past four years with Pluralsight, it is that I neglected JibberJobber.  Sure, I worked on it. Sure, my team kept working on it.  But looking back on it now, I think there are many product manager things that I should have been doing that I simply didn’t do.

That is being corrected.

So, hang tight… I have a Big Announcement #2 coming in about a week.  It’s something we’ve been working on for a while now, and we’re really, really excited to finally roll out the first phase of it.

Any guesses?

Oh yeah, one final thought. I really think Pluralsight is awesome, and I’ll continue to do whatever I can to help them grow. I’m not leaving on bad terms, it’s just a change in their needs. If they come back with some more work, I’d be happy to look at it. So, yeah, that’s where we stand :)


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