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Who Do I Contact In A Job Search?

March 29th, 2019

JibberJobber Contact ListMy friend Mark asked this question:

In laying out my job search strategy, I’m trying to devise lists of people I need to reach out to for coffee and informational interviews. So far, I’ve built a list of former prospects and clients from my last sales job. Would you have any other suggested sources you counsel job seekers to pursue?

This is a great question. Reminds me of when I sat down to put together my list of contacts I was going to reach out to. Imagine me sitting at a table, pen in hand, blank paper before me. I went to write someone’s name, then paused and thought, “no, I shouldn’t contact that person, because…”

  • Because that was an old customer, and it seemed like I shouldn’t reach out to them (perhaps unethical to do that?)
  • Because that was an old partner, who I had a great relationship with, but that company (kind of a competitor) shouldn’t know about my termination because of competitive intelligence reasons (yes, I really thought that)
  • Because that person would be great to work with, but I was a little embarrassed to reach out to them.
  • Because, because, because…

About twenty minutes later, I had gone through dozens of people’s names in my mind, and disqualified them before I wrote any name down! Twenty minutes and still a blank sheet of paper!

I disqualified all kinds of wonderful people for reasons I was really just making up.

I JUST MADE UP EXCUSES TO NOT WRITE THEM DOWN!

Here’s what I have learned since then: DO NOT disqualify anyone at this stage.

Your job is to simply write down people who you could, who you might, reach out to. This is not a legal contract. This is not a firm commitment. This is simply a list of people you might contact.

WRITE EVERYONE. Even people you don’t like. Just write names.

Now, back to Mark’s question… where do I get names from?  Start with categories. Mark said he already wrote down former prospects and clients.

What about people that you worked with at your last company? Especially those who aren’t at that company anymore?

What about anyone you’ve ever worked with? Go back one, two, three, ten companies, and list names that you can remember… colleagues you worked with. Bosses, peers, people who reported to you, etc.

What about your competitors? What companies did you compete against? List people who worked there in your role, or adjacent to your role.

Go to at least one association or professional meetup and find a plethora of your local peers there. List them.

What about your neighbors? Seriously. I know you haven’t had these types of conversations with them before, but list them. Don’t make assumptions and excuses, just put their names down.

What about people you go to church with?

What about parents of kids that your kids are friends with, or go to school with?

Have you gone through your LinkedIn (and Facebook, etc.) networks and listed people? Some will be useless as far as this job search goes, but be careful to not prejudge their value.

The key people you want to communicate with are those who are in your “space.” That is, people who are in your geographical location, or your profession, or your industry.

But there are plenty of people OUTSIDE of your space who know people INSIDE your space.

Are you going to job clubs?

Here’s what I love about networking with people at job clubs: they are networking more with your prospects than anyone else around you. They should help you get the right introductions.

So, start at the top level, with categories of people… then write down EVERYONE.

And that is how you start to make a great list.

How do you continue? As you talk to people you should ask “who else should I talk to, that you know?” Always ask for names and introductions. And your list, and networking efforts, will grow.

So will your need to use JibberJobber :)

 

 

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“How Does JibberJobber Help Me Find A Job?”

March 28th, 2019

JibberJobber complex job search processLeo asked this question:

How does JibberJobber help me find a job?

I’ve been thinking about this since he asked… my first thought goes to what I’ve heard over the years, which is slightly reworded but I have heard it a lot: How does JibberJobber FIND A JOB FOR ME?

It doesn’t. Nothing does. YOU have to find the job.

When I was a kid, growing up in Northern California, I loved hunting for snakes and lizards. I had to turn over every rock that I could, ever log that would move. It was exhilarating. Many rocks and logs didn’t have anything under them, but what if one had The One?  What if?

I had to do the work. I had to go outside, I had to walk around, I had to go to each rock or log, I had to turn them over… nobody and nothing would do the finding for me.

Oh, but what about job boards? They find me jobs, right?

Well, yes, kind of. They are a potential source of opportunities. But some of those opportunities are not real, some are only posted for compliance reasons (the hiring manager already knows who he/she wants to hire), and some… the good ones, have already gotten hundreds of applications.  It’s as if I were 9 again, and in line behind 20 other kids who were each taking a turn turning over the rock. By the time it got to me I guarantee there woudn’t be a snake under there!

JibberJobber will not find (or get) a job FOR you. But it is a tool that will help you along the way.

How?

Don’t think of JibberJobber as a tool to discover new opportunities. There are plenty of other tools, including LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, etc.

Think of JibberJobber as the tool that HELPS you stay organized, and manage the massive amounts of complex information that you take in.

For example, you find 10 jobs on Indeed that you want to apply to. Great. Spend your whole day doing that… but how do you know tomorrow, or next week, which jobs and companies you’ve already applied to? How do you know who has replied to you, and where you are at with each of those 10?

JibberJobber helps you keep track of when you applied, which resume you used to apply, when you should follow up, which ones replied and which ones you need to cross off the list.

JibberJobber is a tracking tool… and organizational tool… a management tool.

JibberJobber replaces the Job Search Spreadsheet.

JibberJobber is your personal CRM, as you work towards finding your next job, and as you nurture and grow your personal and professional network.

That’s how JibberJobber HELPS you find your next job.

You have a lot of work to do. But we do as much of the heavy lifting as we can.

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Recruiters Are Not A Waste Of Time (but)

March 22nd, 2019

Recruiter ThoughtsRecruiters are NOT a waste of time.

But, having a job search strategy that relies on recruiters is, for almost everyone, a waste of time.

Quote me on that.

#ShortestBlogPostYet

 

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Overstock was Overstocked: 250+ layoffs

March 21st, 2019

This makes me sad. I have had this tab open since yesterday and every time I go to close it, I hesitate.

I got laid off just a few months ago. It was really a life-changing, family-impacting event. Our financial plans were abruptly halted and modified. Our health insurance abruptly ended. The company-purchased life insurance (which was not my only life insurance policy) went away. There were other benefits that I was getting used to, but those were, I think, the biggest changes.

Oh yeah, I went from being a part of one of the hottest companies in my area, with a great title and being part of a super cool team that (almost) the whole company was excited about.  I lost my title and my position, which for many is their position in the world… their whole purpose.

This is what is happening to the 250+ people at Overstock. Their lives are about to change in a huge way. Perhaps it will be temporary… the market is hot right now and there are a lot of local high tech and funded companies. Some people, because of their hustle and network and skills, will have just a blip in their career path, barely feeling it. For others, though, some will barely (if ever) recover.

Listen, companies come and go. I was just looking at someone’s LinkedIn Profile and every company he worked at was like this: Company name (formerly ______) or Company name (acquired by / now _____).

Companies come and go. Good bosses (and bad bosses) come and go.

And both of those variables are outside of your “circle of influence.”

A company changing their strategy and focus, like Overstock is apparently doing, is outside of your circle of influence.

The impacts are far-reaching for you… but you can’t do much about it.

What can you do?

You can do what I call “career management.” You can be a continuous learner. You can build professional relationships (networking!). You can manage and dictate your personal brand. You can use JibberJobber RIGHT NOW.  You can be proactive in all of this stuff.

When is the last time you went to an industry or professional association monthly network meeting? I didn’t go, before my Big Layoff in 2006, because I felt like it was cheating on my company.

But when I got laid off, none of my loyalty mattered.

I should have managed my own career. Because no promise from anyone at my company mattered once I got laid off.

You have to take care of you. Just don’t wait to long to do it.

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JibberJobber: The Case To Import Or Not

March 19th, 2019

jibberjobber_import_menuRecently I’ve had a few people ask me how to delete a batch import (you can do it from here). That is, they imported a batch of contacts from LinkedIn or Gmail Contacts, and then found they had a bunch of garbage in JibberJobber, and wanted to delete all of the contacts from that import all and start over.

This happened to me after we did the Gmail Contacts sync, which is really cool in concept, but it dumped hundreds of garbage records into my database. Sadly, I don’t do the Gmail sync anymore… I just don’t want all of that crap in my system.

Why does this happen? 

With Gmail, I have a bunch of email addresses in my address book (aka Google Contacts) that are just garbage. Someone I am not in contact anymore, or addresses that are system generated but there is no human behind them. I have more than one “support@_______.com” address in my Contacts!

What’s more, and this is exemplified better with LinkedIn, just because I waived at someone doesn’t mean I want them in JibberJobber. If I accept you as a first degree contact in LinkedIn, does that mean we will ever have a conversation? Not necessarily. Of the thousands and thousands of contacts in my LinkedIn first degree network, there are thousands and thousands that don’t need to be in JibberJobber, ever.

Why do we have an import/sync function, then?

Frankly, because “everyone” wanted it. Other CRM systems have it, and people don’t like the idea of entering Contacts one-by-one. It really is convenient to click a few buttons and have all of your contacts from one system in JibberJobber. I think, also, that people like coming in to JibberJobber with hundreds or thousands of contacts that they’ve imported, rather than none. The feeling is that you have a network vs. you have no one to talk to.

What is the answer?

I rarely import or sync. I want to control how contacts get into my system. Hands down, my favorite way to get data into JibberJobber is with Email2Log. Why? Because if I email you, there’s a good chance I want to actually have some kind of relationship with you. I can control who and what gets into my system easier than I can with an import, which is likely to import junk contacts.

If I were to start fresh today, using JibberJobber for a job search, I’d skip the import and just put people in manually or with Email2Log. Honestly, that’s what I’d do.

Is there no other way? 

Well, yes, there is actually. If you really want to dump your LinkedIn Contacts or Google Contacts into JibberJobber, I’d suggest you do this:

  1. Export your Contacts (from either system, or Outlook, or wherever you have them) to a csv file (csv opens in Excel, or imports to Google Sheets)
  2. Look at every single record and delete the record (row) of each Contact that you don’t care about, don’t want in JibberJobber, don’t recognize, etc.
  3. While you are there, it wouldn’t hurt to remove any columns that you don’t care to have in JibberJobber.

What we used to say in the 1900’s was “garbage in, garbage out.” Clean up your list before you import records… and you’ll have a much nicer database.

Anything else?

If you do import garbage, you can do what some people want to do and delete the entire import. This is great, unless you have added more information on a Contacts, or created Log Entries and Reminders.

Or, you can do what I do… just delete the bad records one at a time when you come across them. This is a more passive approach, and you have to be okay to see bad records every once in a while… this is fine for me.

And, now you know :) 

 

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Laid-off: I’m Sorry or Congratulations!

March 18th, 2019

jibberjobber-congratulationsFor years my wife and I would say that when someone tells us that they are getting laid off we say “congratulations!” This is because this transition could be wonderful things for you. It could mean that you are leaving an environment that you’ve outgrown, that you are positioning yourself for something great to come.

That was my situation in 2006 as I was laid off from a toxic environment with a boss who stressed me out all the way to an urgent clinic to see if I was having a heart attack. Alas, it wasn’t that, it was “only” the result of a mismatch of integrity that manifested in physical stress to the point of a pre-ulcer.

I ended up starting JibberJobber, and down a very unpredictable but rewarding path.

So yes, for me, congrats were in order. And my wife and I would project that to others, giving them hope and inspiration, letting them know that great things were in store for them.

But, it’s not always that way. Last year when I was employed full time as a program manager some things in our life changed. Fortunately, I had the sense of mind to realize that that job was only one revenue stream… not my entire livelihood. That perspective would prove to be critical come October, when I heard “Your last day will be….”

Yes, this was only one revenue stream. Yes, great things could be in my future. But, I was about to, once again, realize the depth of devastation that a layoff could inflict on a family. These included:

Financial plans needing to be readjusted. When I got the job, that February, we got a new and significant revenue stream. This would allow us to take care of business and personal debt in a way that we couldn’t have imagined before. We didn’t get to live lavishly, but we certainly saw an path to getting out from under the debt stress. When I was given notice of my last day, the message was “and you won’t be able to work on your debt the way you thought you would.”  Fortunately we had (a) other income streams, and (b) opportunities to create more, or ramp up existing, streams. What if the job was 100% of our income, though? It would have gone from being a considerable annoyance to putting us out on the street (sounds dramatic, but I’ve been doing JibberJobber for 13 years and I’ve seen and heard stories like that).

Health insurance changes. Or, I should say, health insurance evaporating. If you’ve read my blog much you have probably seen my posts on surgery without insurance. It hasn’t been our choice to not have insurance. And we definitely know it’s risky. More risky than what we are comfortable with. But, with my job I got insurance. It was a nice feeling. We were in the system, and kept track of our deductibles, etc. We felt safer, and that we could take care of some health things. And then, it all went away. The feeling of safety went away. Health insurance is a luxury that people who have jobs get. Or people who have a certain income level get (we make too much for the affordable care act, but too little to pay the super high cost of paying your own insurance).

Purpose. I was on a cool team building a cool product working for a cool company around cool people. Then, I got booted out of the club. In Covey’s book, 7 Habits, he talks about what your center is. If your center is your title, or your professional purpose, or being attached to a cool company, then you are setting yourself up for a problem. Especially now, with companies ready to change employees like you change your clothes, do not rely on the fulfillment you get from work to be your center. That will change, or go away, and you don’t want to have no center.

So, congrats, or I’m sorry?

I don’t know.

I’m back to my core income streams, and focusing on strengthening them so if I get another opportunity like I had last year, I’ll be more prepared. I feel, for me, a congrats is in order. But I’ve had a hard time saying goodbye to what I had, what I was building, what I was a part of, and what I was becoming. Thank goodness my mind has been in “career management” all these years, with an emphasis on income streams.

I hope that for you, once the “I’m sorry” wears off, you get to see the beauty and security of “CONGRATS!”

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JibberJobber Contacts Detail Page: Copy Email Address

March 15th, 2019

For a while the little icon next to an email address wasn’t working right. We swapped it out with a new process… instead of right clicking the old icon, now you just click on the copy icon and it will copy the email address (and name) to your clipboard.

Super simple, but just a bug fix for something that hasn’t been working for too long.

Step 1: Click the icon next to the email address here:

jibberjobber-copy-email-address

Step 2: In the To box of your email client, right click, paste, and you should see this:

jibberjobber-paste-email-address

Easy peasy. Sorry it took so long to fix this little bug :)

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How To Start A Job Search

March 12th, 2019

7 steps to start a job searchI started my first real job search in 2006. Even way, way back then, going to the “want ads” from newspapers was an outdated strategy. Now, no one talks about using newspapers. But there is still plenty of confusion on how to start a job search. Below are the steps I suggest to anyone who is ready to start their job search

7 Steps to Start a Job Search

1. Stop, calm down, take a moment.

One of the worst things you can do is react to panic and fear. I know unemployment can be one of the scariest and most emotional situations of your life. Let me encourage you to really take a pause, calm down, get in the proper state of mind for what could be a complex but doable process. But please, go into this with the right mindset.

2. List job titles you want to pursue

It is critical that you know what your target is, and specific job titles is part of your target. In my 2006 job search I listed two roles I wanted, and in the course of my job search I added a third (more exciting) title. Your list can change with time, so don’t worry about committing to any particular title, but you should have a list of titles to pursue. Eventually, this list should be whittled down to something manageable (instead of including every job title that you are qualified for).

3. List companies you want to work for

You must have a list of target companies where you want to work. This will help you in various ways, including focusing your networking efforts and search on the right companies. Also, when people ask how they can help you in your job search, you could say that you are looking for introductions to specific target companies (I suggest you name three or four specific companies).

4. Make a list of network contacts

This is one of the harder lists to make because we tend to second-guess whether people should actually be on the list or not. You think of someone, then before you write them down talk yourself out of listing them for one reason or another. Let me encourage you to skip the second-guessing, and just list EVERYONE that you can think of on your network contacts list. You might not communicate with all of them, but as your job search goes on and on, it might make sense to reach out to people who you had earlier passed over.

5. Create and refine your job search marketing material

I could make an entire list of your job search marketing material, the most obvious of which is your resume. In addition to your resume (and at least one general cover letter), you need to have some basic statements down. These include your Me In 30 Seconds (aka Elevator Pitch) statements (you could have various statements for different audiences) as well as a response to “tell me about yourself?”. Expect to use these statements regularly and refine them almost every time you use them.

6. Figure out your job search organization system

No doubt I recommend JibberJobber (I’m the creator of JibberJobber) instead of job search spreadsheet. Whatever you use, know that this organizational system is a central part of your successful job search. I quickly outgrew my spreadsheet in about two weeks, as do many job seekers, because as a job search goes on you add more contacts, companies, and jobs, and you want to log interactions between any of those records. Again, I could write a great deal on this, but suffice it to say you’ll need some system to stay organized.

7. Reach out to contacts with purposeful requests

This is one of the hardest parts of the job search for many people because this is where we start to communicate with people. We generally like to help people, not ask for help from people. But we need to work through those feelings and ask our contacts for help. Please, do not ask them to “review your resume.” Imagine you get ONE request from each friend. Do you want to use your one request for a review of your typing? NO. Purposeful requests include meeting (in person or on the phone) or asking for introductions to people who have your target titles or work at your target companies. Each purposeful request changes based on who you are making the request of, but please don’t waste your first (and maybe your only) request with something trivial.

These are my seven steps to start your job search. Did you notice that I didn’t include networking with recruiters? Perhaps you should network with recruiters, but in my experience, it is generally a waste of time. Focus on the steps above, iterating and going through each of them as you get closer and closer to your dream job.

My goal would eventually be to have as many informational interviews as I could get, which is a very powerful job search strategy. Each of the steps above can lead up to a great informational interview strategy.

 

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We are simplifying JibberJobber… now, you simplify your job search

March 5th, 2019

Years ago I hired a UX contractor named Udi… a super cool guy who taught me a lot about UX. UX is “user experience,” and refers to what you see on a page, with the goal of helping you do what you need to do. We’re not talking as much about graphics, colors, or graphical design as we are talking about how we simplify the user experience so that you can do what you want to do without being distracted or overwhelmed.

An example: on the homepage, the signup form had too many form fields to fill out. Udi said that we want to reduce the number of choices a user has to make… and every field was a choice. Interesting, isn’t it?

Another thing Udi told me was “I’ll be taking out more than I’ll be putting in.” Because JibberJobber was about eight years old back then, and we didn’t design with UX at a central focus (our focus was functionality). There was a bunch of clutter (there still is too much clutter :p).

Sometimes removing things is… good.

So, we’ve been on a journey to clean, and simplify. As I think about this, I can’t help but thinking about how this applies to my users. As job seekers, we sometimes have things we need to remove. Have you ever heard a thirty second pitch that has so much unnecessary information that it doesn’t do anything good for the job seeker? REMOVE the stuff that isn’t important! Please, go through your thirty second pitch and figure out what is important and what is a distraction!

Furthermore, what are you doing in your systems and processes that are not getting the hoped-for results? Are you doing things that are wasting your time? Are you doing things that are not productive? Are there things in your process that you should simplify?  Apply some UX concepts to your job search and focus on the most important results you want, and then work backwards from that.

I hope that the changes we roll out are not too noticeable. My hope is that people just say “JibberJobber is easy to use” and “I know what I’m doing.” If they say “wow, this is a lot cleaner than it has been” then we’ll know how far off the mark we’ve been :p Many of the changes are subtle, but that subtleness reduces what I call “mental friction.” The goal, as Udi says, is to reduce choices. At first that rubbed be wrong, but really, using JibberJobber should be easy and intuitive (even if what we accomplish on the back end is not easy).

Your goal, as a job seeker, should be communicating the right messages to the right people and getting closer and closer to your next job. Now, what can you simplify?

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