Job Search Pain and Paper Cuts

December 10th, 2020

This morning I was feeling my index finger where I had a paper cut.

Ah… the infamous paper cut. We’ve all had them. I think my worst might have been a cardboard cut. Yuck.

Anyway, I was rubbing my index finger… you know when you get a paper cut that has healed over, but there’s still a flap of skin there?

Only, this morning, it wasn’t there. In fact, I haven’t had a paper cut for… maybe years. I was feeling for something that had hurt quite a bit (okay, I’m a wimp)… but it has since completely healed over. No pain, not even any indication that there had been harm.

And while I was realizing I was trying to feel for something that has long passed, I thought about YOU. I thought about the immense pain of a job search. The massive inconvenience. The embarrassment, and the humility required to do some of the things a job seeker has to do.

I would guess most people are out of their comfort zone when they are in a job search. Networking for fun, when you have a job, is one thing. Networking out of complete desperation and fear is quite another. Actually, almost everything you do out of desperation and fear is not fun.

Pain. Damage. Hurt.

I know my paper cut is a pretty weak example of pain. But even my emergency gall bladder surgery, or my broken ankle (which probably caused  the most pain I’ve ever been in)… all of those things sucked. And here I am, without pain in my gut, with a functioning ankle that doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it did before… healed. The pain has passed and I’m relatively whole.

I am here to tell you, from the other side of job loss, that your pain will one day be gone. The humiliation, the fear, it will be gone. It will not only be a memory, it will be a faint memory. And while you fret about it every minute of every day, in the future you’ll go days where you don’t even think about it.

You will be whole and healed.

You might not be able to see it from where you are sitting now, but trust me, it will happen.

Let me know how I can help.

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Anatomy of My LinkedIn Profile Header

December 9th, 2020

I’m diving into my Pluralsight Personal Branding course to redo it for early next year and thought it would be a good time to look at my LinkedIn profile. I like my header, and figured it is a good time to share what I like about it. As I go through this, think about what your header looks like. One of my main messages is to do your branding intentionally.

So here we go, with some elements of my intentional branding on my LinkedIn profile header.

Jason Alba LinkedIn Profile Header Anatomy

#1: The “Background photo”

Many profiles I see have the default background, which is FINE. Don’t stress about this. Some really cool background photos are extremely branded, with key words that communicate the brand. Those are custom-designed images (maybe you can make your own with a simple/free app like canva).

For a long, long time mine was just the default. When I talked a lot about multiple income streams, though, I finally realized I could (should?) put a background image that reinforced my interest in multiple streams.

I didn’t find an image I liked with MULTIPLE streams, but this was good. Plus, it reminds me of a really cool place I went to in Wyoming. It’s just peaceful. I doubt many people will get the subtle connection to multiple revenue streams but that’s okay with me. It looks nicer than the default image and it sparks joy.

Two sites to look for free images that might work for you (and your brand) are pexels and unsplash. Be careful you don’t do something crazy busy or weird. The point is to have something onbrand, not have people scratch their heads and wonder what the image has to do with your brand.

#2 YOUR picture (avatar)

This is really, really important. I talk about this in my course, and my LinkedIn profile course. Without going into detail, or the “why” of any of these, please make sure your image: is a closeup of your headshot; has a clean or uncluttered background; is approachable (SMILE!); doesn’t have weird or yucky or contrasting colors.

Bonus: Use the same image here as you do on other social sites. The consistency will ensure people know they are in the right place, as they go from profile to profile.

#3 Your name Part I

I encourage you to put the name people call you here, not your entire legal name. If your name has like 5 syllables but people call you “Tom” then put Tom! This should be consistent in all of your online marketing assets so people don’t have to wonder if they are looking at profiles for the same person.

#4 Your name Part II

In my “last name” I put: “, Product Manager”. This was very strategic because the name field is apparently higher weighted with searches, and at one time I wanted to show up higher in product manager searches. (I just gave you a really important tip to show up higher in search results)

# Your headline

I talk a lot about this in the LinkedIn course, and why and how to change this. This is a super important little snippet to update. By default, if you don’t update it, it will just pull in your title and company, like “Dishwasher at Big Company”.

I want you to be more strategic in what you communicate than your title and company. Mine looks like title(s) at company, but that is because I wanted to brand myself as a CEO and a product manager, while also increasing brand awareness of JibberJobber.

I might call this section the tagline, and LinkedIn used to call it the professional headline. I like “tagline” because you can (AND SHOULD) use whatever you come up with here anywhere else you use a tagline (even verbally).

#6 Your location

For many years I put something like “global” or “online”.  One day, though, I realized that it just didn’t matter anymore. I was trying to convey that JibberJobber was global, but then I realized people just wanted to know where in the world I was (not my services). So, put where you are.

IF you are mobile, open to moving to other locations, and are concerned hiring managers recruiters won’t want to relocate you, communicate that elsewhere (perhaps in your Summary). Something like:

I’m open to opportunities in Seattle and Miami,” or “I work with clients in Boston and Austin.” Either of those help me pull you out of just one geographic location and help me know you have interest or business in other locations.

So that’s it… a quick look at WHY I have my header the way I do. It’s all on purpose, just as yours should be. Check out the links I put in here for more information, especially the LinkedIn course.


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Of Shovels and Holes and Jobs

December 7th, 2020

You probably know I’m a fan of Dave Ramsey. Last month I wrote this tweet:

Dave is very principle-based, and his advice is meant for each of us, no matter where we are at. I love how instead of saying to start with six months of emergency fund he says to build up to just a month. One month is much more doable than six months, right? If you made $60k a year, you’d have to have $30k for a six month emergency fund (kind of… you could reduce that amount by what you pay in taxes, probably). Who can fathom building $30k into an emergency fund? I can stomach the idea of building $5k, but $30k just seems impossible.

And so he says to start with the one month, then build to three months, then build another three months. And then you are in a good place!

In my tweet I talk about the other part of emergencies… the part that hopefully gets you back into an income stream before your emergency fund runs out. When I ask how employable you are, I’m talking about things like:

  • What skills do you have, or can you learn? Pretty important to convince someone you can actually do the job, right?
  • Who do you know? Or, as they say, it’s not who you know, but WHO KNOW’S YOU! If this sounds like networking, it is.
  • What do people know about you? Or, in jargon: What is your personal brand?

My final thought on the tweet is to BUILD your employability… or any of those three things. Please, please become more employable. I don’t want you to spend months, even years, figuring out how to replace lost income. I want you to enjoy your career, which isn’t done when you are fretting to figure out how to provide for the basics (like a roof over your head).

JibberJobber Ramsey Shovel Hole

One of the analogies Dave uses that I love is that of the hole and the shovel. For example, he’ll have someone call in who is $100,000 in debt but only makes $20,000 a year. They have a very big hole (their debt) and a very small shovel (their income). Contrast that to someone who calls in and has $500,000 in debt (“WOW!!”)… but has $400,000 of income. They have a very big hole, but a massive shovel.

For most people, your shovel is your job. But when you create multiple income streams, or your partner has a job, you grow your shovel from just your job income to all the income. Creating a bigger shovel with more than one income stream is an immensely powerful concept. Businesses do it all the time. Remember the old, original Amazon, which sold books? They have since diversified into streaming video and hosting websites and a slew of other things. When we diversify our income we create opportunities to grow our shovel. The diversification can also create a buffer to protect us from unforeseen threats, such as a job loss or a pandemic.

Of course, filling in the hole, reducing expansion of the hole, or stopping more holes, is also critical. Can you imagine only needing a little bit of money to pay immediate bills, without worrying about loans and mortgages and other typical debt? I hear being completely debt free is so liberating. Even if you lose your job you won’t have your debtors breathing down your neck for past due payments.

In summary:

  • Build your emergency funds.
  • Build up your shovel.
  • Reduce the hole you have to fill.

These are three core elements to having financial peace, which can lead to financial freedom, setting you up for financial wealth.

P.S. Here’s an example of Dave talking about the shovel/hole (at minute 3:20):

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Weekly Summary of To Dos and Already Completed

December 2nd, 2020

I got a question yesterday from Cecilia, asking:

“Is there a feature or method to create a weekly to-do. and ‘have done’ list?”

There are two ways to see something like that. Hands down, my favorite is on the homepage, right when you login. What you see on the screen are called “widgets,” which are like “tiles.” Note that these widgets can be repositioned by dragging them.

You should see a widget called Reminders, which will show you all of your action items you’ve set up, right on your homepage. I have this widget at the very top because I want to see what I have coming up this week more than anything else:

JibberJobber Reminders homepage

The other widget you want is the Log Entries widget. This shows all of the things you have done (or, logged). It’s a nice way to see how busy you were. More importantly, it’s an important widget to regularly review to see if you should follow up with anyone. Make a habit of looking at this maybe at the beginning and end of each week to see of there are follow-up opportunities that you didn’t explicitly make into action items.

JibberJobber Log Entries Widget Homepage

Another place that you might find interesting, because it’s not bound by the week, is the Reminder’s Dashboard. You can get there by clicking on the Reminders main menu link. This shows all open action items you have in the system… pretty convenient to look through, unless it is overwhelming. In which case I applaud you for making good use of the reminders system (aka, action items), but give you full permission to IGNORE this report. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed to the point of not doing what you need to do. Here’s the top of that page:

JibberJobber Reminders Dashboard

Hope that helps!


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