Networking not worth it? What, then?

August 30th, 2017

I saw a link to this on Facebook: Good News for Young Strivers: Networking Is Overrated. I think it was written by Tim Enthoven… while reading the first part of this I thought it was an attempt at sensational writing to buck convention, but then towards the end he got into something that is too often overlooked…

And, to his defense, someone in the comments points out that the title has the word “overrated,” not useless, or bad, or something else that is final. It’s just not all it’s cracked up to be.

I didn’t like how Tim gave examples of ultra-rich, ultra-successful people, for example, getting on Oprah (after all, who needs to network when you can just get on Oprah and then get rich?). Do you know how hard it was to get on Oprah?

By the end of his article, though, I got it. And I agree with it (mostly).  His main message is that we have to have substance, quality, product, excellence… something more than a brand and a business card and a handshake.  Without having (or being) something to talk about, what’s the use of networking?  Schmooze all you want, but if you are lame, or have no value to bring to the table, why put yourself in front of others?

I agree.  And all of the JibberJobber users that I’ve communicated with are expert in something… they might not be The Expert, but they have expertise.  Of course, they can refine their skill, but they have something worth talking about.  As do you, I’m sure.

Tim says to get better, be better, be worth knowing and talking about.  And the rest will come to you.

That may be the case.  But let me remind you of ABC.  Salespeople know what ABC is.  Business owners know what ABC is.  Marketers should know what ABC is.  It is Always Be Selling. Never turn it off.   I know, it’s annoying, and tiring, and you sound like a broken record player, but if you want to sell (get results), then you need to sell (the action). What are you selling? Yourself.

I agree that your product or service (YOU) should sell itself…. but what I’ve learned the hard way is no matter how good your product or service is, you need great marketing and sales. You need to package it (you) well. You need to present it (yourself) in a compelling way. You need to put it (you) in front of the right people.

Guess where you do that? By networking.  With humans.  Sometimes this is at networking events. Sometimes it is one-on-one, or with email… but really, you can’t just sit there all awesome and not let anyone know.

So yeah, like Tim says, be awesome(r).

And go network. Today.

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How Is Your Bedside Manner (as a job seeker)?

August 30th, 2017

At least one person that I’m close to (okay, it’s my wife) can tell you that I have the tendency to be a grump old man. Apparently it’s becoming the normal.  But for a minute, while I write this post, I’ll put that aside, and talk about other people’s grump.

I recently heard about a dentist visit where the dentist was working with a child and said things to the mom that would have freaked out the child (who was already a bit freaked out).  Why didn’t the dentist not say that until (a) he was done, and (b) he was alone with just the mom?  He had zero consideration for the state of mind his patient was in, and how unhelpful the conversation was.

I also heard about a mechanic who treated a customer with impatience and downplayed the customer’s concerns. The customer went away frustrated, feeling unheard, and unresolved.

There was the time when … oh, you get the idea. You’ve had bad customer service experiences also… I’m sure you could share your top five bad experiences. But that’s not the point of this post.

Let’s contrast this to a recent experience I had at my local tire shop. For years I’ve wondered why their customer service has gone down… in the olden days (the 1900’s) I remember pulling up and having someone on the crew run out to my car to see what I needed, before I even got out. That doesn’t happen now, and hasn’t for years. But recently I had a problem tire replaced. Or at least I tried to. I drove off without realizing they replaced the wrong one!  So, Monday morning, I’m back at the shop and explained the problem, even saying “I’m not sure if I miscommunicated it, or the desk lady put the wrong thing in the computer,… maybe it was my fault. But the problem is you didn’t replace my bad tire…and that’s what I need fixed.”  About 45 minutes later they called my name. The verdict? No charge, an apology, and now I have two new tires!  That is excellent customer service. No lecture, which was great bedside manner.

Or, that same day I was in my office and noticed our internet service provider’s van pull up. He was supposed to come the following day but his schedule opened up and here he was… could he fix our problem today instead of tomorrow?  Of course…!  What followed was almost an hour of excellent “don’t worry, I’ll find this and fix it, I’ll get you back up to speed in no time!”  There was no downtalking, no grumbling about his job… he was cheerful and made us feel like he cared about us.  We felt awesome, and when he left, we had our problems fixed.  That was excellent service, and he had an excellent bedside manner.

Now, let’s relate that to you and your job search.  You are the provider of experience (even though you are closely observing everyone else’s manner). You are the mechanic, the dentist, the tire guy. You have a chance to delight me, and make me feel special, or you can, with a simple look, tone, or word choice, make me feel unheard, unresolved, and not anxious to do more business with you.

This impacts the results you get when you network. Do you help others feel comfortable with you, and recommending you? If not, check your bedside manner.

This impacts your interviews. Are you going to be remembered as “the jerk,” or “the person that would fit well on our team!”?

This even impacts your emails. If you have poor bedside manner you might find that people are put off by you, which means they might not want to recommend you, network with you, interview you, hire you, etc.

I think there are two parts to this:

Who you are, really. Where is your heart? Do you care about others, or what you are working on? Changing who you are might not be fair, but self-realization could help you understand why you are (or are not) getting the results you want.

How you communicate. Communication is a skill. We all need to improve our communication… and we can. We might not need or want to change who we are, but we can certainly learn and practice and improve our communication skills.

The dentist’s job is to fix teeth. It’s not to be the best communicator in the world. I’d rather have a competent dentist who fixes my teeth problems than someone who doesn’t know teeth but is an excellent communicator.

But, the excellent communication skills can help a dentist have satisfied, fulfilled, delighted, happier patients. Better communication skills can help the dentist have better relationships with his/her staff, which means a better culture, less turnover (and cost), more loyalty, more job satisfaction, etc. Better communication skills, with excellent dentist skills, can help increase referrals, business, margins, etc.

I assume that, whatever your profession is, you are competent. You can do the job. Some of you are excellent. You are the best of class.  That is the “who you are” professionally. It’s the “what you bring to the table.”

I challenge you to think about the communication part of equation. If you had excellent communication skills, paired with your professional competencies, how would your networking improve? How would your interviews and offers change?

Would you have more career security, if you improved your communication skills?

I bet you would.

The rude, those that self-serve, and aren’t considerate, are likely those who have rough careers.  Not to say the nice guy always wins, but I bet the nice guy is a lot happier, and has a better and more fulfilling career, over time.

Your bedside manner is a skill…. improve it!

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Comparing JibberJobber to Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics, etc.

August 28th, 2017

Last week I got an email from someone who is evaluating JibberJobber with a list of issues that is unsettling. One of them was this:

5) No comparison of your product with Microsoft’s CRM products

Yes, I have not done a comparison of JibberJobber with Microsoft’s products.  So I’ll do that now.  I might as well do a comparison of other CRMs, while I’m at it.

I’m not going to do fancy graphs or anything, and my comparison will be non-tradition, so brace yourself.

How does JibberJobber compare to Microsoft Dynamics?  The same way an elephant compares to a giraffe.  They are completely different beasts.

Let me pause on my comparison real quick and just state what JibberJobber is/does.

JibberJobber is a website (with a widget and mobile apps) to help (mostly) job seekers organize and manage their job search. Some people who are not job seekers use JibberJobber to organize and manage personal and professional relationships, and help them network for when they might be in transition. Or, they use it to help them manage their freelance gigs, prospects, etc.  Some companies use JibberJobber, but that’s not the standard, nor is it or has it ever been our audience. We need to get this job search audience taken care of before we get crazy and compete with the probably thousands of CRM offerings out there.

No other CRM that you have heard of does that. CRMs came about to help salespeople manage the sales cycle, including prospects and customers.

JibberJobber was designed for job seekers, based on CRM concepts (relationship management, etc.). But no CRM company sees any money in the job seeker to care about them. They care about charging lots of money to companies and hope their users (salespeople) actually use, and get hooked on, their systems.

Back to the comparison… money:

Microsoft Dynamics (365 Enterprise)… I don’t know for sure. But a google search shows this (click this image to go to the search results page):


Cool.  $40 to $190 a month… or I guess Plan 1 is $115/user/month.

JibberJobber pricing is $60 a year (here’s the math: that is like paying $5/month, but we just charge it all upfront). It also includes the video library.

So, let’s say that Microsoft will be $480 on the low end, to maybe $1,380 per year.

Okay, I lied. I am going to include a chart that I spent exactly 3 minutes to make (2.5 to get Excel to open, and 30 seconds to make this comparison). In column 1 you have the annual cost of JibberJobber ($60). In column 2 and 3 you have different levels of Microsoft Dynamics:


Comparison of features:  Look, we already talked about this. The question should start with “who is this for?” JibberJobber is for the individual job seeker.  Their purpose is to get a job.  Microsoft and other CRM packages is for salespeople, or business owners, or sales organizations. Their purpose is to increase sales… close more deals, upsell.  Elephants and giraffes.  Doing a comparison based on features is simply unfair.

Since you asked for it, here’s a customer review (the “most negative review”)… can you guess which software suite this was for?


If you guessed Microsoft Dynamics, you are RIGHT!  But hey, I’m not daft.  Plenty of JibberJobber users have said similar things… “overly complicated,” and “hard to navigate around,” and other things like that.  Others have jumped in, learned it, figured out what they need, and get value out of it.

I know we have plenty of design issues, which we are addressing one by one. I’m not going to hide from that, or ignore it. It’s true. But we are working on it.

Should you use Salesforce, or Dynamics, or any other CRM?

Use the tool you want to. I hope that if you are a job seeker, you use, love, and recommend JibberJobber.  If you choose another system, great! I hope that whatever you choose helps you in your job search and career management.

If you need more comparison ideas, just go google “compare _____ to _____ in Google,” and you’ll get nice pretty graphs and information that might delight you. In the end, your job search success will not be positively impacted by spending weeks comparing all of these things.  It’s time to network, pick up the phone, reach out to people, message them, etc.

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Ask the Coach #3: I’m 57, need another 10 years, how do I prepare and what do I do?

August 25th, 2017

Okay, that is a feeble attempt at the real question, which is excellent.  David asks the coaches:

How do I best position myself for the last 10 years or so of my working life? I’m 56 in software product management and financially would like to work full-time if possible until at least 67 if my health holds.

I’ve been with my current company for 6 years now and like the work, but recognize there is a real risk that I will be cut in budget cycles in the coming years. Job search at around 60 is not something I’m excited about.

Should I be pushing myself into independent contracting on the side now (I’ve done this in the past – cost of sales is a real challenge) or are there areas of technology that make sense for older workers? (e.g. security, audit)

I don’t have the ability to reduce my expenses significantly. I have some retirement set aside, but not enough to retire early. I stay current with technology (cloud, mobile, etc.), but recognize there is a bias against older technology workers unless you’re a Cobol programmer….

This is a great, wise, and even scary question. But it’s real, and many people are facing it. I was anxious to see what my coaches would send back, and I wasn’t disappointed.  Here are the responses I received:

atc_3_headshot_jeri_hird_dutcher_125Jeri Hird Dutcher, Certified professional and international resume writer

Positioning yourself for the last 10 years of your career means making yourself as indispensable as possible​. What is your superpower? What do you do better than anyone? Is there a task or project no one else wants to do that is valuable to the company AND involves your superpower? Can you become the SME for one or more issues? Can you make yourself the go-to-guy for certain types of technology, specific problems, or training? Those activities will augment your value to the company and brand you as the guy everyone thinks of to solve a certain problem.

As an older worker, you can do a few things to work against the stereotypes you mentioned:

  • Be a maven: Do you have the newest smartphone, a fun wearable, or a new VR device? You’re in a technical field. Get out ahead of the pack. My husband and I were the oldest employees at the last place we worked. We were also the first to have mp3 players and cell phones back then. Our boss asked his team at a meeting why our basement had better computer equipment than his newsroom. We were known as the gadget people, and others looked to us for technical trends.
  • Look the part: You don’t have to dye your hair, wear the latest trends, or get a facelift, but you can make sure you aren’t stuck in another era when it comes to your dress and grooming.
  • Energy: Are you doing what you need to do to maintain the energy required for your position? The surest way to be perceived as old is to act like it. However, if you’re running marathons, kayaking the river, or even flying kites with your grandkids, you can turn that perception around.

atc_3_headshot_saundra_loffredo_125Saundra Loffredo, Career to Retirement Coach

Greetings, David! Your question has several parts to it. I’ll address each one separately:

Start by being positive. Don’t focus on whatever bias may or may not exist for older workers. You have a unique set of strengths and you need to capitalize on those. Perhaps it’s your work ethic, your ability to train 100 people effectively on a webinar and your knowledge of database management. Whatever makes you unique and valuable to an organization should be where you place your focus.

To position yourself for the next 10 years of your career, I suggest you seriously consider starting a part-time consulting business. At minimum, it should provide you with an additional income stream which you can funnel into either emergency savings (for a possible term of unemployment) or toward retirement. Part-time consulting could also be your back-up income source if you do end up out of work.

Be sure to consider the cost to market your services as part of your decision-making process.

It’s important today to be “job search ready” on a consistent basis. Begin to schedule and work on specific career tasks now. Analyze your value proposition.. Update your LinkedIn profile to leverage that value proposition. Request new recommendations on LinkedIn. Update your resume. Join one or two professional associations where you can network within your field and in your community. Stay active and engaged in social situations where you might meet make a strong networking connection.

If you decide to transition to a different specialty within information technology, be careful about the potential entry costs for that field. Taking on additional debt to make a career change is something I suggest you evaluate carefully. The payback may not be there for you if you opt to return to school.

atc_3_headshot_melvin_scales_125Melvin Scales, Senior Vice President, Meridian Resources

Here are some thoughts based on an article by Anish Majumda titled How to Make a Long Work History Work for You

Trying to play the same game as someone who’s twenty years younger than you is a recipe for failure. Instead, play the game they can’t.

Ask yourself the following, “What have I accrued during the course of my career that few others can bring to the table?”

What about that deep “bench” of industry connections which can be leveraged towards a new position?

What about the insights that come from having grown both start-ups in need of structure, AS WELL as established operations in need of a steady hand?

Or successfully riding out all manner of crises over the years, and being the calm voice of reason when things inevitably go south in the future?

Think about specific stories that highlight your value adds, and be sure to highlight them within your Resume, LinkedIn Profile and during face-to-face interviews. They can make a huge difference!

atc_3_headshot_craig_toadtman_125Craig B Toedtman, Job Search Consultant, Career Adviser, Coach, Executive Search Consultant

If you continue to like your current position, it is in your best interest to do all that you can to make it last for another ten years. You are successfully employed, and, if you keep your programming skills up with current technology, it is my opinion that you’re better off staying where you are. Improving your skills to stand out against the competition will ensure that your age will not stand in the way of your employment.

Pursue classes and workshops that will keep you abreast of technological changes, and put them to use as you help your employer maintain its competitive and efficient operations. Go the extra mile to demonstrate that you are the go-to person for problem solving. Make certain that you continue to develop your programming knowledge and techniques, so that a major vacuum will be created in the event they consider letting you go. Keep your sharpness and curiosity in full gear to demonstrate the importance of you as a team-oriented pier.

And, if they do sever you from their employ, your demonstrated use of up-to-date technology will put you in line for future employment for a company that recognizes that when it comes to selecting candidates, skills outweigh age.

atc_3_headshot_lorraine_rise_125Lorraine RiseCareer Coach, Resume Writer and Columnist for

This is a common concern for job seekers over the age of 50. You’re not a newcomer, but you’re not out of the game yet either! If consulting work appeals to you, that is certainly an option but many older job seekers continue to have meaningful employment well into their 60s. The area that will make the most sense for you to pursue is the one that you feel your skills are the strongest in. No matter how old you are, if you can demonstrate that you have relevant skills (especially in technical fields), you’ll have job prospects. Are there certifications you can pursue? Courses you can take? As you progress through the late career phase, demonstrating adaptability and up to date technical knowledge will be crucial!

Additionally, you’ll need to keep your network strong. Actively make new connections and nurture current ones while you are still employed and have the luxury of time. The ability to obtain a referral can make the difference for an older job seeker being chosen for a position.

Lastly, when you are interviewing be sure to emphasize to potential employers that you are committed to working 10 more years and you are excited about your next challenge. Lack of energy and enthusiasm are another bias that older workers face. The more you can get ahead of the conversation and demonstrate those qualities upfront, the better your prospects.

atc_3_cheryl_lynch_simpson_125Cheryl Lynch Simpson, Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach & Master Resume Writer

First, David, allow me to to applaud your willingness to see the handwriting on the wall. Your proactive stance will help you make your upcoming transition a good one.

Second, how you should best position yourself for the last 10 years of your working life depends on what you want from the rest of your working life. It sounds like you need the same or a higher salary, but what about challenges? Are there specific career goals you still want to achieve? Do you have specific skill sets you wish to make more use of? What about your career values — how do they factor into your vision for the rest of your working life? And what about your personal life — do you have any family goals that will impact your career decision-making over the next 10 years or so?

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about here. You may find it enormously helpful to speak with a career coach who can help you to sift through your preferences in an objective way.

Third, before you engage in any job search or networking activity, make sure you age-proof your resume AND your LinkedIn profile. By age-proof, I mean altering the amount of experience and specific dates included in either document so you can prevent Applicant Tracking Systems (of which LinkedIn is one) from screening you out based on the length of your experience. In short, you should:

  • Remove pre-2000 employment dates from your resume. You don’t have to remove the employment itself, but the dates must go. Do this by creating an “Early Career” section and listing your older jobs minus the dates.
  • Remove any education, training, or certification dates from your resume unless they fall in the last few years.
  • Removed any mention of the amount of experience you possess from your resume’s summary.

Why is this necessary? Because sometimes hiring executives are looking for a candidate with a specific amount of experience. When this happens, recruiters will use language like “12-15 years of experience” in their job postings and search queries. This, in turn, means that the computer (or the LinkedIn computer) will examine resumes/profiles for this amount of experience (among other features) and exclude any candidates with more or less.

For example, if the hiring executive wants a mid-manager with 12-15 years of experience, the ATS system or LinkedIn will ignore resumes or profiles with anything other than 12, 13, 14, or 15 years of experience. Given the length of your work history, this is likely to happen to you. Thus, in addition to the above recommendations, you should also:

  • Remove all education, training, or certification dates from your LinkedIn profile
  • Restructure how you present your experience on LinkedIn — do not list jobs prior to 2000
  • If you have older jobs that should be included based on your qualifications, consider listing then in the description of the last job you include

For example, if you worked at AT&T from 2000-2005, but also worked at Colgate-Palmolive from 1990-2000, instead of the listing the latter separately, include something like this in your AT&T description. After describing that role, drop down a couple of spaces and insert this:

Title — Colgate-Palmolive
Brief description of your achievements here.

Alternatively, you can also reference older experience in your LinkedIn summary to make sure it’s visible without dates.

Fourth, as to whether you dive into consulting, it depends on the same factors listed above. Do you have the financial solidity to go without revenue every month? Do you have an exceptional network you can leverage to win new business? Are you skilled at the sales facets of a consulting role? Are there specific strategies you can use to lower your cost of sales? Will improved networking tools such as a marketing brief make it easier for you to land new business? Do you already know how to employ LinkedIn and other social media to build a reputation for thought leadership in your field?

I hope I’ve given you some things to think about.

atc_3_headshot_rich_grant_125Rich Grant, Online career course instructor for Peak-Careers

I’d recommend staying where you are, but yes, take on independent contracting on the side. While it’s a good idea to plan for any “what ifs” regarding your current job, I wouldn’t suggest making any changes based on speculation that the “what ifs” will come true. A couple of clichés come to mind: “don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” as you might find yourself “going from the frying pan into the fire.”

It is absolutely a challenge to find a job at age 60, but it’s almost as difficult at your current age, or even at age 50. However, with your fresh skills and knowledge, and a supportive network, it can be done!

I found a new job in my late 50s, and here are the proactive steps I took. You might consider applying similar actions to your unique situation now, to benefit you if needed in the future.

Blog. Whether you create your own blog website or post articles on LinkedIn, get your ideas out into the public domain and show your subject matter expertise. I wrote career advice on my own site, and it was beneficial in my job search.

Be active in your industry. Participate in industry associations, and seek leadership positions. At the time of my last job search, I was the president of two career services and internship associations, and I had volunteered on a couple of committees of the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers. It’s a great way to build your network!

Interact with your network. It’s one thing to build your network, but the bigger challenge is maintaining your network. The occasional email, tweet, LinkedIn message, comment, or “like” goes a long way, but better yet, pick up the phone. Every time I saw a job posted at a university, and if I had a first or second degree connection there, I reached out to have a conversation on the phone.

Be active on social media. I used LinkedIn all the time to research where I was planning to apply to see who was in my network (1st or 2nd degree). During my last job search, I participated in a lot of Twitter chats, and on a career services chat, #CareerServChat, I exchanged tweets with a career services director who would soon become my boss.

As a result of that interaction during the chat and in the days following, I applied for her job opening and had a job offer within 6 weeks. Since then, my best career advice has been, “Don’t search for jobs; search for people.”

atc_3_headshot_perry_newman_125Perry Newman, Certified Social Media Strategist, Certified Personnel Consultant, Resume Writer, and LinkedIn Transformation Specialist

David, without knowing your prior tech background, it is hard for me to say what areas of technology you may be capable of moving into down the road, and whether you would qualify for a good paying job in these roles.

That said, my experience shows that IT people who work in and around the periphery of the sales process, such as your current role as a product manager and roles in pre and post sales engineering, tend to have a better chance of avoiding budget cuts since they are part of the profit generation process.

As for independent contracting on the side, that is always worth exploring. What I have seen from some in the 50+ crowd is several professionals, often with some being younger, combining forces to seek out team oriented rather than individual contributor type projects and assignments. They are likely to be longer lasting, higher paying and have a greater chance for repeat business. This is a project you can spearhead on your own.

atc_3_headshot_ron_auerbach_125Ron Auerbach, Author of Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success

First of all, it is only natural to grow worried about our financial future as we age. And wonder how much longer we can perform our jobs or at what point we’ll be let go. So David is not alone with his questions. It’s something each generation will ask when they reach their 50s.

So what can David do? Well one thing is take an honest assessment of his physical and mental health right now to see what kind of shape he is in. And look at his family history to see what kinds of serious illnesses tend to run in the family. This way, he will have an idea what potential health issues he may be at risk for.  David should also look at what aspects of his job may become too physically and/or mentally challenging. Maybe certain parts of his job could be farmed out to others. Or he could rely upon the assistance of younger people to help out. Many are glad to do it!

Another thing David can do is look at other jobs within the company that he would be able to do. And when, and if the time comes, take a proactive step of requesting to be moved into that role. There are many areas of tech were older people in their 50s can still be of value. For example, software and product testing. With an aging population, there are more and more products and apps designed to help them. Somebody who’s very tech-literate and knowledgeable, and in this age group, would be extremely valuable for testing and evaluation.

Another possible area within tech that David might consider is tech support (helpdesk). In the past, these jobs were solely in the office. But these days, a lot of it is being done remotely. And the physical demands here are pretty minimal. Plus, having been on the sales end helps because you understand why customers purchased it. And know the importance of providing great service and follow-up. So with sales being on the front-end and tech support being on the back-end, they complement each other perfectly.

Doing side work as an independent consultant or contractor is another option. And with David’s having done this before, it will be easier for him because he has experience and past clients. So this is always something that could be done at any time. And something that could be used in conjunction with other strategies. In addition, being older is a good thing! So people in their 50s and 60s have been around. And have tremendous expertise that lots of clients will be very happy to pay for. Plus, they’ll have younger people to do a lot of the physically-demanding work. So the contractor/consultant route has a lot of advantages.

The last thing I will mention is David’s possible move into training and/or mentoring. These are areas where being older is a good thing. Having greater wisdom and experience lead to better educating and mentoring the younger crowd. And having them learn from those who’ve been there for a long time. And with remote connections, like Skype for instance, people in their 50s and 60s can more easily handle the physical and mental demands.

So David should take comfort in knowing that there’s a place for older people in tech and other industries. And know there are several options available to him. It’s also good that he’s looking ahead. A big mistake is not planning ahead!  David should keep a close eye on what’s happening within his company and the tech sector. And use this to help plan his strategy and prove his continuing value. So keeping up with the industry is very important. First, it keeps your mind very active. And second, it helps you identify where things are heading so you can capitalize and seize opportunities.

atc_3_headshot_elvabankinsbaxter_125Elva Bankins Baxter, Certified Master Coach

Hi David, first,  Congratulations to you for thinking ahead about your next career moves. You are correct in your thinking that you may be laid off, downsized, terminated especially at this age and, you want to prepare yourself for what may happen to you in the near future.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Absolutely consider part-time consulting or project/contract assignments and get connected to recruiters who recruit people with your experience and qualifications to learn more.  You will quickly learn the hiring trends i.e., 1099’s, part-time W-2 with or without benefits and which positions are “in-demand” in your field.
  • Consider achieving or increasing your credentials and get the necessary certifications that will keep you a “sought after” candidate.  So, if a Project Management Professional (PMP) is appropriate for your software product management expertise…Go for it!
  • Research whether your current employer will pay or reimburse you if you obtain additional certifications…Attaining additional certifications indicates to decision-makers that you are a life-long learner and that you’ve kept yourself up-to-date in your field.
  • Your resume can be updated with any certification or credential as you begin the process of earning it.  Simply state that you are in the process of completing your credential and the target date for completion.  If you need to keep a credential up-to-date because it expired, then bring it up to date as soon as possible.
  • If there is a way to get involved in any security and audit projects at your company, now is the time to volunteer to get involved with any of those projects…by the way, you can get certifications in these areas as well.
  • Stay as healthy as possible, exercise regularly and get fit and stay as fit as possible.  Fight the urge to become a couch potato.
  • My last piece of advice: Don’t listen to those who will tell you that it’s over after age 55+.  I recently coached two clients who are well over 50 and they landed in full-time positions that paid very well and yes in the summer months. It’s not easy, however, it can be done.

Good luck to you!!!

atc_3_headshot_gavan_ambrosini_125Gavan Ambrosini, Executive Coach, Career Consultant

Good for you for taking proactive steps into planning this next phase of your career.  Positioning yourself as an independent contractor is an excellent way to prepare for the unexpected.  You might even find that you enjoy project work more than your full-time gig and you can make the transition easily.

As for thinking about what areas of technology to focus on, it might be wise to explore trends you speak of as well as in AI and to explore how that will affect how we all live and work.  Your skills and experience can always transfer into something else that is in demand no matter what age you are.  The only thing between you and your age is your mindset. If you think your age is getting in the way to opportunities, then you are right.  If you think that you will be hired because of your skills and experience and value, then you are also right.  The key to getting hired is to position yourself in front of the right people and the right environment where people like, know and trust you.  Branding yourself as a consultant or a contractor is a great way to offer your expertise while giving you the flexibility to pick and choose the jobs that you want to do, not have to do.

I might also suggest you take this time to explore what you really want to do if money were no object instead of “shoulding” all over yourself. What are your values?  What gets you jazzed about the work that you do?  What are you naturally good at?  You can do an inventory on what your strengths are and preferences are and design an ideal job around what you love to do and what you are naturally good at. You could look at this next potential chapter as heading into your encore career.  Perhaps this is the time to do what you really want to do instead of what you have been doing because of the paycheck.  Now might be the time to learn and grow into this new arena, to expand your network and to get some needed education, experience or contacts.  You can move into a whole new direction that aligns with who you are–and not necessarily with what the market trends are.

Another great roundup!  You can see previous questions and answers here.



JibberJobber Upgrade: What You Get

August 24th, 2017

When you upgrade on JibberJobber you get a few things… including the new JibberJobber Video Library. This is a killer value because before it used to be $50 per course, but now all courses in the library are included, plus JibberJobber Premium Features for a year, for only $60.

I recently fixed video 03 of the new LinkedIn course, which is about the Above the Fold part of your LinkedIn Profile. The wrong video had been there before (sorry!).

This video is eight+ minutes of how to optimize the top part of your Profile, from the Picture to your name (an SEO trick?) to your professional headline to your summary (new info!!) to more.


$60 gets you that, and the other courses, plus Email2Log, importing, email reminders, and no limits on Contacts and Companies records.

At the bottom of every page you can click on Upgrade or Pricing to learn more or to do the upgrade…




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Key Tip When Emailing Someone About A Job Opening

August 22nd, 2017

When you email someone about a job opening, your email might go like this:

Hi John, I’m reaching out to you about the Product Manager job that is posted for your company.  I’d love to get an introduction to the hiring manager, would you make that introduction for me?

Of course, there are 500 ways to say that, that is just my example.  Here’s my tip: PUT A LINK TO THE JOB IN THE EMAIL!

Yes, I’m putting that in all caps because it’s that important!

When doing this, I’ve done it one of two ways.  One is to put it in the same sentence, like this:

…about the Product Manager job (link) that is posted for your company…

Or, below the paragraph (or at the bottom of your email)… you can do the “link here” or you can put the entire URL in.  Sometimes the URL is so long it will take 3+ lines. That is annoying, but at least if you sent me that I wouldn’t have to wonder if you are sending me to a phishing site… so, pros and cons.

…about the Product Manager job (see link below) that is posted for your company…

(put the link here)

You want to do this for two reasons:

First, I promise that one day you’ll forget where the link is, or not be able to navigate to it, and you’ll wish you had an easy link to see it.  The idea is that you’ll be able to easily find it in the original email to John.

Second, don’t assume that John knows what you are talking about. Even if he should know about it (he’s a recruiter, or he’s on the team that is hiring), he might have multiple openings, and having the exact posting could be very helpful.

Of course, you should go into JibberJobber and leave the link AND the entire job description in the Job record (the entire job description because sometimes the online posting goes away, and it would suck if you didn’t have it recorded anywhere, right?).

Take a few seconds to put this in every email you send when you are talking about a certain job and you won’t regret it :)

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Open Letter to Job Seekers from a Recruiter (my response)

August 21st, 2017

Last week I read Mary Faulkner’s post, An Open Letter to Job Seekers. I thought it was going to be a scathing response telling job seekers to not whine so much, and not make their jobs harder. Instead it was more of an apology, and a “here is what I have to deal with” message.  It was pretty nice.  Thanks, Mary, for sharing that.

The problem I have is that in my experience, no recruiters were like what you describe.  Most of the time what I got from recruiters was crickets. Ignored. Nothing. Not even an email confirmation…

It was like dealing with an entity that didn’t exist. Or, someone who didn’t give a rip about me.

I get that perhaps you (I say this generically to recruiters, not specifically to Mary) might want to help people, and that you care about people. But when you give me NO response, no feedback, no leads, no nothing, and this happens dozens and dozens of time, I’m left confused.

You see, I’m already in a tailspin… this job search is something new for me… I don’t quite understand it. I think I’ve had a pretty cool career, and my resume explains most (but not all) of my awesomeness.  Well, I *thought* that… day after day of the job search wears on you. No responses from recruiters, wasting time on job boards, trying to network, etc.  And getting nowhere. Day after day, feeling like I’m going backwards, as the threat of money runs out, or my ability to pay for my mortgage slipping away.

Scary. Lonely. Confusing.

I want to meet recruiters like you, but my experience with recruiters was on the other side of the spectrum.

I respect that you are human, and have feelings. I understand that you have process and system problems, and work challenges. But somehow I think that you are the experienced one in “our relationship,” and you know what’s going on, and you can help me make less mistakes. I assumed that we had a relationship.  I assume that you have a grip on your job, and are professional, and will act as a professional.

I just don’t feel it, or see it, on my side. I want to, but that hasn’t been my experience (yet).

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JibberJobber Job Search Widget, Version 2!

August 18th, 2017

We have released the new version of the Job Search Widget. This is on the heels of the first release almost a month ago, and we have incorporated the requests we’ve gotten.  This makes the widget more robust and functional.

Most of the functionality is similar to what we had before, but note:

  1. the first arrow, we changed Description to Job Description. Never a bad idea to be super clear :)
  2. Super awesome additonal functionality, we are now doing associations like you see on the web and mobile apps… so from this new Job, you can associate Contacts and Companies. Like on the web, start typing a name and you’ll see a dropdown of options to choose from. This is a superpower of JibberJobber… to map all of the connections and companies and contacts… and now you can do it with the widget.
  3. We also added the Tags to a new record.  Tags are also a very powerful part of JibberJobber, and an important way to organize the data you are collecting.


If you have any requests, let us know! The next big project for this team is to go into version 2 of the mobile app.  I expect great things :)

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Not in a Job Search? Start Using JibberJobber Now…

August 16th, 2017

Most people who read my blog and use JibberJobber are job seekers.

I say most… but there are a few users who are not in a job search.

I have users who are “happily employed.” They are competent, they make good money, and like what they do.

Why would they use JibberJobber? We originally created it as a tool to organize and manage a job search

Because they know how easy it is for things to change.

You know what’s amazing? The tens of thousands of people at Enron who one day had a great job, the next day they were locked out of their building and their entire retirement fund was dried up. Ouch.

They were competent, they made good money, and some of them even liked what they did.

And then it dried up.

Can you imagine being forty and having to start preparing for retirement from the beginning?

Can you imagine being sixty four, months away from a great retirement, and then learning that NO, there is no money?  WHAT DO YOU DO??

Oh, but Enron is an example that is too dramatic, right? That just doesn’t happen to everyone, or many people, right?

I have a phrase I use in my presentations to job clubs: “getting Enroned.” It means you are doing your job, either well or extremely well, and all of the sudden, due to no fault of your own, you have no job (and none of the promises, like retirement). It goes away overnight.

Focus on this:

“no fault of your own

I’ve heard many reasons for this… including:

  • You loved your old boss, but you got a new one and you are like oil and water. There’s no way that you will both be employed for much longer.
  • You are part of the back office and the sales team just announced they lost their biggest contract, and sales will be down by millions.
  • The investors of the company you work for just pulled some funding off the table, and have demanded that the execs start trimming fat and cutting costs.
  • You were recreating on your own time and got poked in the eye with a branch, and now you have recurring medical conditions that have a serious impact on your performance. It was an accident, but you can’t do your job, so you are gone.
  • You love your job but one day go to the office and can’t get in. Turns out your boss was doing illegal stuff and not only is the company (including you) under investigation, the boss is IN JAIL.
  • You have done an excellent job and your company is getting acquired. The only problem is, the acquiring company already has someone who does your job, and they aren’t about to get let go. You are out.
  • Someone accuses you of something inappropriate and for some reason the investigation isn’t thorough, and before you know it you are on the street wondering what just happened.
  • The boss’s boss’s boss’s admin doesn’t like you… and you are done.

Any of these sound familiar?  These are not “with cause” reasons to lose your job, but the result is the same: you are out of a job! 

It’s kind of like being in an accident… even if it wasn’t your fault, and even if the insurance money comes your way, or you can sue for damages, you still lost something. It’s just rotten all around.

Losing your job, for whatever reason, can be unsettling. Sometimes it’s unfair, many times it sucks, and of course, sometimes it is a blessing in disguise. But you are still left jobless.

This is why some people who use JibberJobber to organize and manage contact relationships and target companies are happily employed. Because they know that something might happen, and they want to be as prepared as they can.

What does that mean? How do they use JibberJobber?

They are adding contacts, new and old, to their system. It’s a lot more fun to start a job search (and network) when you have a list of names than to be freshly laid-off, staring at a blank piece of paper trying to come up with your network.

They are logging conversations, or important information (like birthdays or contact info or who we met info). A name becomes a relationship once you start adding this additional information about your contacts.  This is real, meaty stuff you can use to take the relationship to the next level.

They are tracking companies they might be interested in working at. They might have customers or vendors or partners they work with, and have a company record and relevant contacts listed… what an awesome bit of intelligence they’ll have when it’s time to start networking into companies!

They are using it as a networking and follow-up tool, because networking is not just for job seekers! JibberJobber allows you to log and track conversations, emails, etc., and set up reminders to remind you to follow-up. Networking without follow-up is like eating without food!

Should you use JibberJobber? YEP! Start now… when you are in transition, you’ll be very grateful!


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The Job Search Plateau

August 15th, 2017

I’m doing Body for Life, again. Basically, it’s a program that combines eating (6 small meals a day, with high protein, low fat, and healthy carbs) with specific workouts. It is the best program that I’ve ever tried, and I hope to do it for a few more twelve-week cycles.

Yesterday, I was taking a personal inventory and I felt like I was plateauing. I was eating well (for five or six days, lol), and I have been working out diligently, and honoring the rest that my muscles need to rebuild. I’ve seen progress here and there, but yesterday I felt like I was doing the stuff, but not making the progress.

I’ve been here before, mentally.  Back in high school I remember getting to a point where, no matter what I did, I didn’t move up to the next level in the gym. I was plateauing then, and I didn’t know what to do about it. I just suffered through it for a few months without great mentoring, and it sucked.

When I plateau now I’m inclined to add a cheat meal. It (my diligence, the system, the process) isn’t making a difference, anyway, so why not have a burger or three.

That’s my little Shoulder Devil talking. I know what’s really happening.  Somewhere, somehow, what I’m doing is good, and there is something happening in my body, even though I can’t see it. But I’ve done Body for Life a few times and when I push through what feels like a plateau, I get to a point where I see results again, and then other people see results (!!). In other words, even though it didn’t seem like anything was happening, something big was happening. I just needed to stay disciplined, keep with the system, and keep doing the RIGHT things. No matter how much gabbing that dumb Shoulder Devil does.

As I was contemplating all of this yesterday it made me think about how this applies to the job search.  I know that I mostly felt like I wasn’t making progress in the job search… I was on a plateau. No matter what I did, no matter how many things I did “right,” I just wasn’t making progress.

Unfortunately, I was doing more things wrong than right, I just didn’t realize it.

But here’s what I know, because I’ve seen it many times over the last eleven years with my JibberJobber users: Doing more of the right things, and less of the wrong things, consistently, over time, gets you closer to landing the job.

Even if you feel like you are plateauing, and many job seekers do, keep doing the right things, day after day, consistently. Get advice from people in-the-know who can help make sure you aren’t doing the wrong things.  Keep doing the right things, and you’ll work through the plateaus.  I know I will.

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