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Job Search Program: What a Job Search Strategy Looks Like (Part 6: Interview Strategies) #favoriteFriday

August 30th, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayIn this fifth part of Hannah Morgan’s 6 Steps to Job Search Success system, we talk about interview strategies. You can’t excel at job search tactics and then bomb every interview you walk into. Be purposeful and serious about winning interviews so you can get offers.

Read the post here: Job Search Strategy: Interview Strategies (5)

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Mark Stelzner On Messing Up The Job Interview

August 26th, 2019

Mark StelznerI read this story from Mark Stelzner, who is “kind of” a big deal in the HR space (he’s a BIG deal):

One Sunny Morning

In the story Mark talks about how he was on the way to a job interview, and there was an accident, and he helped, and, well, because he helped the interview went all kinds of sideways. I’ll let you read it in Mark’s own words, it is a short read, a very interesting story, and a SUPER ending (no, he didn’t get the job, the ending happened years and years later).  GO READ IT.

So how was the interview messed up? Was it Mark’s fault?

No. I hope that we would all do what Mark did, taking the time to help someone not die. The interview was messed up by the hiring manager. I don’t necessarily blame him, although I hope that in his same shoes I would have asked Mark for an explanation of why he looked the way he did. (seriously, if you haven’t read Mark’s story, go here. You won’t regret it :))

I love the follow-up story of the recruiter, and the choices she made.

People, here’s my request to you: We are all human, but let’s work to be more humane. Yes, the world spins rapidly. We’re trying to keep up with life, family, work, etc. But we have to slow down and care about humans, hearts, and minds. There is a lot of hurt around us, and we could all stand to gain from slowing down and helping others.

 

 

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Job Search Program: What a Job Search Strategy Looks Like (Part 5: Project Management) #favoriteFriday

August 23rd, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayOf course I love the fourth point in Hannah Morgan’s job search success program because it has a lot to do with JibberJobber! How else are you going to manage this massive project called the job search? Please don’t tell me you’ll do it with Excel and a spiral notebook!

Check out the project management part of Hannah’s program here: Job Search Strategy: Project Management (4)

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How Much Can You Control?

August 21st, 2019

JibberJobber ControlI saw an article on Twitter talking about trauma and PTSD, two topics I’m interested in. It’s a great article, especially if you or someone you know might be struggling with either (I bet everyone knows someone). The article is titled FIVE LIES WE TELL OURSELVES ABOUT TRAUMA.

Here’s just one snippet that really jumped out at me:

Jason: Early on, my therapist at the V.A. asked me what percentage of my daily life I believed I could control. My answer was 85 percent. He said that the average person will answer somewhere around 50 percent, and that trauma survivors often choose a much higher number, like 80-90 percent. In reality, he said, the truth is actually about three percent.

THREE PERCENT.

Makes me think that every bit of what has happened to me, good and bad, has little to do with what I’ve done, or me.

Makes me question how much control we have in our job search (or marriage, or anything). I have always believed that I have had a lot to do with the success of my career, relationships, etc. But THREE PERCENT?

I’m sure there’s a reason for that number. I’m not sure that every therapist would agree with it. Years ago I blogged about locus of control, which is the idea that we believe we have control over, or have a part in dictating, outcome.

I could imagine an argument that we have very little control over our “daily life,” where the emphasis is that we don’t control much of what happens, but we control how we react to it. I can see that side of the argument, and I agree that we need to react well, and that’s on us.

But if we don’t control more than 3%, why try? Why get out of bed? Why pick up the phone, why do your job, why not just life come at you?

I have now talked myself out of the 3%. We have control over more than 3%. Sure, there is luck, circumstance, environment, etc. But the people who want more control take control by making decisions. Go to school. Start a business. Go to the networking meeting. Move to a safer neighborhood. Use better language. Groom yourself. Do something. Be smart about it. And don’t sit there and remain a victim.

Control the 3% the therapist gives you. Then go out and find 3% more you can impact and then control. And another 3%.

Grow into your control.

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Understanding Headhunter Ethics #AskTheHeadhunter

August 20th, 2019

JibberJobber Recruiter Job Seeker AnxietyWhen I was in my 2006 job search I thought that recruiters, headhunters, etc. would be my best friends. I thought I would get on their radar, they would be excited to know I was available, and hustle to get me my dream job while they were working towards some sweet commission. Talk about a win-win!

Turned out that there was only one friendly interaction with a recruiter, and that was the one who finally candidly said:

“Jason, you’ll get yourself a job before I get you a job.”

It was this recruiter who helped me understand that no, I wasn’t special to him, and no, he wasn’t going to get me my next job. It really was all on me.

I had a gross misunderstanding of how recruiters worked, and what they would “do for me.”

In yesterday’s Ask The Headhunter post titled My headhunter is competing with me!, Nick Corcodilos goes deeper into this relationship. I think it’s critical for us, as job seekers, to understand how we work with (and don’t work with) headhunters. Why? Because if we have the wrong expectations we will be working the wrong way.

Here’s insight that I needed to understand back in 2006:

 “The [recruiter’s] goal is to fill the job, not to get you a job.”

Read that five times. Print it out and put it on your bathroom mirror and your monitor. You have to understand that recruiters don’t work for you. And unless you fit something they are looking to fill, they have already passed you over. There’s no “file” where they keep hot candidates like you. They’ll tell you they’ll file your stuff away, but I’ve heard more than one recruiter say their “file” got too big, so they just deleted everything so they could start from scratch.

This knowledge was unsettling to me at first. But then it became freeing. When I understood that I was going to find a job for me before any recruiter would, I realized that I had to do the right stuff in my job search. The wrong stuff was to get 30+ recruiters “working for me.” Because none of them worked for me. None of them even thought about me for more than 20 seconds (which was how long it took to think about their open jobs and whether I was a great fit).

It was all on me. Instead of me being a tool to the recruiter, they were a tool to me. And that tool was best left in the toolbox while I did a real job search.

I’m not saying recruiters suck, or are ruthless, or have no soul. They simply have a job to do. We, as job seekers, haven’t understood their job, and so we have expectations that are not only unfair but unrealistic.

Understand how that part of the job search world works and you can spend your time where you really should.

Read Nick’s post to understand, and then take personal responsibility in your job search and get on my Job Search Program. The $197 cost will be worth it.

 

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A Daily Job Search “Coach”?

August 19th, 2019

JibberJobber Job Search Coach ProgramThea Kelley was one of my alpha testers of the JibberJobber Job Search Program. She gave me regular and important feedback to help polish the product. In fact, over the years she’s given me great feedback and input on JibberJobber, and my LinkedIn stuff. While I’ve not met her yet in person, we’ve communicated a ton over the years, and I’ve appreciated her friendship and the way she thinks.

I love her post from today titled A “Coach” You Can Afford: the Jibberjobber Job Search Program. She helps me see my own stuff from a different perspective. She should help me see things differently, considering her specialty is as a job search interview coach. If you are getting interviews but not winning them I highly recommend you invest in yourself and get an expert to help you win. The alternative is too costly.

Speaking of too costly, Thea writes the average job search is five months. YUCK. If you make $50k a year, 5 months represents a loss of almost $21,000 in income. How much should you pay to reduce that? Every month is worth a little over $4k. Thea writes:

“It would help to have a coaching call with a job search expert every morning, but many job seekers can’t afford that level of support.”

And that is where the JibberJobber Job Search Program comes in. Even from me, though… go see what Thea writes on her post about it.

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Job Search Program: What a Job Search Strategy Looks Like (Part 4: Presenting Yourself) #favoriteFriday

August 16th, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayThe next in Hannah Morgan’s Job Search Success program is on presenting yourself. This is such a critical part of your job search and career management, and I don’t want you to mess it up!

I talk about presenting yourself in written and verbal forms, and having a marketing plan.

Read the post here: Job Search Strategy: Presenting Yourself (3)

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Calling All Cool Companies: Why Do You Discriminate?

August 14th, 2019

JibberJobber Age DiscriminationLast year I applied for a product management job at a local SaaS company. It was one of those “best places to work” companies… one that had Silicon Valley wages (which is a big deal where I live), and got all kinds of recognition for their cool software.

As I was doing company research I found a picture of their team. There were maybe about a hundred people in the picture. After scanning the picture for about a minute I realized: I would never get hired there.

Why?

Because I’m 45, not 25.

If you are in your 50’s or 60’s you are shaking your head saying “45? That’s young!”

It’s not young to recruiters, or hiring managers, or company owners. It’s old.

That company picture showed a team of about 100 people, all of which looked like they were in their 20’s.

Look, I don’t hate young people. But I do hate discrimination. The most blatant and widespread discrimination I see for job seekers is age discrimination. It could be because most of my audiences are first Baby Boomers, then Gen X, and I might get one or two Millennials. I hear about the problem when I speak… loud and clear!

Last night I was checking twitter and this issue came up. I wrote this:

Truth. My age was brought up THREE times by an executive. That is three times too many.

My age was once called during a meeting with about eight people for being much older than everyone else in the meeting. I was “one of the old guys.” The insinuation was that I was not up to speed on how things were done. I was too shocked to know how to respond to that, and kept quiet.

Another time I was told that my resume needed to be different, and better, than what younger people could have. I was too old to have a regular resume. Would I like another set of eyeballs to look at my old man resume?

How do you respond to that?

Maybe I could go to HR… right? Yeah, right.

There’s a lot of talk in the tech space about females in technology (as developers) and in management (at the executive level and on boards).

I would like to piggyback on the discrimination conversation. Not to hijack it or take anything away from the topic of discrimination against females, but I want to hear what companies, especially tech companies, say about “old people.” Old, as in thirty to seventy.

Age discrimination is REAL. I feel sorry for all of the hip and cool youngsters who are happily employed now… they have no idea the hell they’ll face when they are in their forties and beyond, looking for a job. They’ll be outdated and washed up.

So where are you, leaders? What do you have to say? What are you doing about age discrimination? From where I sit, you are doing nothing. You are complicit. Please, prove me wrong.

I imagine I’m going to hear one thing from you: #crickets

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The 3 Best Qualities That Get Software Engineers Hired

August 13th, 2019

JibberJobber Software EngineerThe Software Engineering role isn’t going anywhere. Since 2001 the software engineering role has grown rapidly in demand. And in 2015, became a job function that many could receive an education on relatively easily and start earning $80,000 per year at a minimum.

Thanks to places like Khan Academy and now online programs offered by universities, you don’t need a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in order to land a Software Engineering role. But with that accessibility to higher wages and plenty of market demand for the job, comes saturation. And with saturation means competition.

We’re going to cover some of the best qualities you can show in your Software Engineering interviews to stand out as the top 5% of candidates, impress your interviewer and get hired.

Is Software Engineering Really in High Demand Still?

The first thing to cover is the question, is Software Engineering still in high demand? The answer is, yes. Software Engineering is still a very high demand position. And it’s accessible to many of those who want to be remote workers as well. More businesses are continuing to find ways to introduce technology into their workforces in order to reduce labor costs or advance revenues. This is a wonderful time to be a Software Engineer, even with the increase of candidate competition.

Is The “Software Engineer” Role Is Great For Entry-Level Professionals?

Yes. It’s true. You can be an entry-level applicant and still get $80,000 per year at a minimum. This is because the market is still showing signs of higher demand than supply of workers. Meaning, compensation for the position is still steep for the business.

If you are a recent graduate or even someone who decided a 4-year university wasn’t for you, Software Engineering could still be a feasible career path for you.

The 3 Best Qualities That Will Get You Hired As A Software Engineer

Software Engineers often present similar concerns to the employer when interviewing. They lack certain skills that employers value. And when the candidate shows signs of these common characteristics, it can often mean lower salary expectations for the employee or more junior positions that the employer finds them suitable for.

We’re going to cover the three best qualities (and why they’re the best qualities) to show to your potential employer in order to stand out as one of the highest quality Software Engineer candidates.

1. Communication Skills

Most Software Engineers lack communication skills. Or people skills in general. This is because a majority of their talents lay in the ability to write great computer code. Employers will consider you a top percentile candidate when you can show them that you can communicate effectively and clearly to non-engineering employees. This is a tremendous value to the employer because you are able to more easily bridge communication gaps between Software Engineering and other departments.

2. Business Experience

Having any type of business experience is a great skill to highlight as a Software Engineer. It may seem inapplicable since you are wanting to showcase your coding abilities. But when you can communicate to the employer that you understand their business and how it works, you will stand out. Employers want to know that Software Engineers have a deep understanding of their business so that when developing code it more directly aligns to what the business is going to value from. This is a skill that many Software Engineers either lack or choose now to show, but should.

3. Management Experience

Management experience is another key skill set. Software Engineers are notorious for being difficult to collaborate with. Both within the Software Engineering group and outside of it. This is because Software Engineers feel as though other departments of business “don’t understand the code”. Having management experience means you could better direct the engineers that you are working alongside and help them to see the value in working with other departments.  Sharing any type of management experience and positioning it to the employer as you being able to be a “change agent” within the engineering group is a great value.

These Skills Really Make Me a Top Candidate?

While all three of these skills don’t seemingly align with Software Engineering, they are the keys to you being the most valuable Software Engineer to the business. It’s because you can act as a translator to the rest of your team, ensuring that work that’s being produced is correct and also delivered efficiently.

Many businesses suffer from having waited weeks or months for Software Engineers to deliver work, only to find out that it doesn’t meet the business requirements. This causes the business to hemorrhage resources. If they see these 3 qualities in you, they can feel assured that you might not be an engineer that goes that direction, ultimately making you a top percentile candidate.

Be sure that you position these qualities or prior experiences as those that will help you do a better job in Software Engineering. For example, “understanding the business” is key to producing great features for the Users. All you have to do is state that. That’s the way to align the positioning between these qualities and your abilities as a Software Engineer.

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. He writes more articles like this one over at Algrim.co.

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Some Poems Don’t Rhyme

August 12th, 2019
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter Master Resume Writer Poetry JibberJobber

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter Master Resume Writer Poetry JibberJobber

My friend, Master Resume Writer Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, often posts her original poems on Facebook.

I have an uncomfortable relationship with poetry. I loved Shel Silverstein’s work when I was in elementary school. I still love it.

My favorite memorized poem is:

Star

Far

Easy to remember, right?

And there are all the roses are red poems you’ve heard…. tons of them.

And then there’ are what I consider antipoems: Haiku. Poems based on syllables and not rhymes? How could that even be poetry???

At the end of the last school year I went to a poetry reading evening at my kids’ high school. Every poem was shared that evening… even the poems written by kids who weren’t there. I volunteered to read three or four. Some of them rhymed, some didn’t. But that night, they all touched me. They came from deep places and talked about real concerns. It was beautiful.

Some poems just don’t rhyme. And that is okay.

Why am I writing about poetry on my job search and career blog? Because I had planned my career decades ago. It was going to be linear, structured, predictable, safe, and go according to plan.

Now that I’m 45 I look back and my career has been none of that. It has been squiggly, random, back-tracked a few times, holding my breath many times, and just not really sure of anything.

But somehow, someway, it all worked out.

I’m a planner. I respect planners. But I’m here to tell you that what you should plan for is change. Plan for flexibility. Plan for Plan B and Plan C and Plan Z. Plan to trust others, and be let down. Plan to go all-in and have it all fall apart. Plan to be out of work for months, maybe years. Plan to adapt.

Your career plan will look a lot more like a Haiku than a roses-are-red.  If what you are looking at is unconventional, untraditional, then how would you plan and prepare for that?

Learn. Learn new stuff. Excel at what you do.

Embrace change. Love change. Be excellent at change.

Find opportunities. Sniff them out and act on them.

Be a student of careers and income streams.

Be financially savvy, and don’t limit your options because you overspend and are over-leveraged.

Some poems don’t rhym, and it’s okay. They can still be beautiful.

Some careers don’t go as planned, and it’s okay. You can still enjoy the ride, and have an awesome ending.

Related post: Do You Enjoy Your Career Hike?

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