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Stop Hiding and Start Your Job Search

December 21st, 2018

I talk to a lot of job seekers. I talk to a lot of coaches. Over the years I’ve had coaches say “if I tell my clients about JibberJobber they might waste their time on it, like they do on Facebook and LinkedIn!” I help them understand that JibberJobber isn’t a social network, so you won’t get lost looking at cat memes.

But their point was made, loud and clear. Coaches are concerned that job seekers are wasting their time.

That is because they are.

It is easier to do Thing A than Thing B, even though Thing A is meaningless. Example:

It’s easier to clean or organize your email than it is to email someone on your “chicken list.”

It’s easier to do some honey-do tasks than it is to go to a networking meeting.

It’s easier to revise your resume again than it is to get or go to an informational interview.

The things on the left are low-return, the things on the right are high-return. The things on the left are more comfortable, and easier to do.

They are also what I call hiding.

Check out this post I wrote in 2012 called Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

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Your Spouse’s Role in Your Job Search

November 30th, 2018

In 2010 I was inspired to write this post:

The Spouse’s Role in Your Job Search

I wrote this about 4 years after I got laid off because I had, by that time, worked with many job seekers, and was realizing that my personal experience with my job search and my wife was par for the course for almost everyone I talked to. That is, it is a very lonely experience, and we just didn’t know how to communicate during my job search.

We got to a point where we would communicate good news with one another, but the problem was that there wasn’t “good news.” I was running into brick wall after brick wall, with no real success. With all of these failures, with the lack of good news, I found that we weren’t communicating at all.

Not good for a relationship.

I wrote this post with 13 points and I am hopeful that it helps you recalibrate with your spouse during this exceptionally difficult period. I want you to take any of my points, and any others that you come up with, and then sit down with your spouse and have a real, open conversation.

The job search is not a time for a relationship to pause. I encourage you to keep the communication open and real, and realize that your job search is temporary, and hopefully your relationship will weather this hardship (and others) just fine.

Best wishes to you and your significant other as you navigate this very difficult period… together!

 

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Recruiters (and others) Smell the Blood of Job Seekers

November 16th, 2018

I had a fascinating conversation with a an HR friend of mine back in 2006, the year I lost my job and started JibberJobber. In this conversation he said “HR can smell blood from a mile away.”

It was as if the world stopped turning because he called me out, and I had a huge epiphany. You can read the original post here: I Smell Blood!

A year later I wrote Are You Bleeding? because by that time I had talked to a ton of job seekers and a common theme was that they were all proactively bleeding. The things they were saying, the way they were saying them, was bloody. It should an immense amount of hurt and grief.

I’m not one to take that away from you, for sure. I went through my own period(s) where I had hurt and grief. But I had to learn that spewing this hurt and grief was keeping me out of networking opportunities, and keeping my friends and contacts from referring me into the right people.

You don’t recommend someone who has fresh wounds that are impacting their thinking into an important networking opportunity. It was like these people were bleeding, and not realizing they were stalling their job search.

It was a hard realization for me, but a super important one. I hoe these two posts help you.

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Sanity in a Job Loss

November 9th, 2018

I recently wrote the post Job Loss Grief Stages. While doing so I was looking for old posts I had written about this topic and found this post from 2012:

Dumb Little Man: How to Keep Your Sanity After Losing Your Job

Dumb Little Man, btw, is a blog with “tips for life.” Anyway, in this post the author (Lesley Knowles) shares six IMPORTANT points to keep your sanity while you are also going through the mourning/loss stages.

Depression in the job search is real. In fact, a post by me (a guy) on depression in the job search is my most popular post, with over 500 comments. My issue was that I was used to being very logical and linear, and depression was clouding my thinking. Check it out here: Depression Clouds Everything.

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“Jobs are temporary in the new economy” (Grow Your Own Beef)

November 2nd, 2018

This is part of the Favorite Friday serious that I started years ago. One of the benefits of having blogged regularly for almost 13 years is that I have a lot of great posts from over the years. My writing style has evolved, but the ideas and principles have not.

In this post, Grow your own beef, I talk about a “three part formula” for either getting a job or having career stability (in a world where it seems like no one has career stability). The three parts are:

  1. Have real subject matter expertise that the market currently cares about,
  2. Have the right credentials, if they matter.
  3. Have the right network, and nurture it.

Read my original post, where I flesh these ideas out, here.

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21 Surprising Ways To Waste Time In Your Job Search #FavoriteFriday

March 25th, 2016

Almost a year ago I wrote 21 Surprising Ways To Waste Time In Your Job Search.  As I look over the list, each point is as relevant today as it was then.

Don’t cheat your job search.  Don’t rationalize that you need to veg, chill, or recharge, when you are really just avoiding the hard work that needs to get done.

Check out the list (it’s a quick read), and then get on to the work that you really need to do today!

 

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Favorite Friday: Are you in a job search, or are you managing your career?

September 19th, 2014

One is short-term, one is long-term.

For one you need a band-aid, because it is temporary problem, and for the other you need smart diet and exercise, for long-term strength and results.

I wrote about this first in March of 2007, when JibberJobber wasn’t even a year old.  Then I shared it again in 2009.  It’s time to share it again.

Job Search vs. Career Management

What are you doing?  Are you acting like a job seeker, or are you investing in your long-term career? I know it can get tricky to do long-term stuff when you really just need to get your paycheck back, but I challenge you to think of everything you do in today’s job search as a part of your long-term career management strategy.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of throwing everything away once you land your job.  You’ll need it all – contacts, strategies, etc. – in all future job searches.

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Favorite Friday: LinkedIn Professional Headline: Yours probably sucks

April 11th, 2014

This is from July 2010, on my LinkedIn blog.  It is a really short post about that uber-important branding statement next to your picture on your LinkedIn Profile.

The post took a life of it’s own when people started asking for feedback on their headlines.  Fortunately, Peter Osborne jumped in to respond to people… I finally had to close the comments before it became a full-time job!

Here’s the post – click here to read the excellent comments:

So many times I see LinkedIn Professional Headlines that … well, suck.Yours probably sucks (unless you got my LinkedIn book or my LinkedIn DVD, as I talk about this quite a bit in those).

Here’s a quick test:

(a) Does your LinkedIn Professional Headline have your TITLE?

(b) Does your LinkedIn Professional Headline have the name of your company?

If it has either of these you have a great chance of having a sucky professional headline.

Why do I say this?

  1. The title doesn’t tell me a whole lot. If it’s a big title in a small company I’m not impressed. If it’s a regular title in a company or industry I’m not familiar with, I might not really know WHAT YOU DO.
  2. Beyond that, though, your title doesn’t tell me WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). I don’t care that you are a CEO, or analyst, or any of that other stuff. If I SHOULD care, I can find that in the rest of your LinkedIn Profile, right?
  3. Use your Professional headline as a change to educate me on why I should care about you. Title/company doesn’t do it.
  4. With regard to the company, most companies I see out there have cute names… that mean nothing to me. They are not branded enough to tell me anything. Thus, putting the name of a no-name company in your headline does not help me understand your value proposition… IT ONLY TAKES UP SPACE.

How’s your LinkedIn Professional Headline?

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Favorite Friday: Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List!

April 4th, 2014

By March of 2007 I had gotten an idea of this so-called chicken list, which still scares me, and had been consumed by the idea of wasting time in a job search.  Here’s a post I wrote in March of 2007 about making sure your honey-do list doesn’t take time away from what you should be doing in a job search:

Where's Your Honey Do List?  I know you have one...Last week I encouraged you to get your Chicken List out and make “that” call – the call that has been scaring you.

That encouragement does not transfer over to your Honey-Do list.

A job search is more than a full-time job. You almost have to create the wheel, and reach deep inside yourself to do stuff you haven’t had to do for a long time (create a resume, create elevator pitches, etc.). Its hard to change your mindset from “sell my company’s product” to “sell myself.” And then on top of all of this, you are the one that has to execute the strategy! Its a HUGE job!

So why do you think that you can knock things off the honey-do list? I know, you are now “working from home.” And you “have time.” And you “need a break” from the job search.

I know you have a hole in the wall. I know your toilet needs some work. I know you should really paint, or weed, or change wallpaper, or shampoo the carpets so you can have a better work environment.

But none of those things are really going to get you closer to getting your next job. Or next client.

So put the Honey-Do list away until the weekend. Pretend that your new job (that is, the job of finding a job) has you tied up from early in the morning until dinner time – and stop fooling yourself that doing honey-do’s right now is a good use of your time.

It isn’t.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to be sexist, or offensive. This post is not intended just for those in a job search. You know you have some kind of list that distracts you from doing important stuff. If you don’t have a “honey,” I bet you still have your own “to do” list. Same thing.

And finally, this is not a ticket to not do anything that needs to be done. I’m just saying that there are some things that are not as high a priority as working on your job search (or career management, or small business development, or your job – even if you are underemployed!).

Reading that post now makes me wince a little.  That is some harsh advice.  You can tell where my mind was at.  The message is important.  You can see Deb Dib’s insightful comment here.

Leave your own comment below….

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Favorite Friday: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

March 28th, 2014

Here’s another favorite I wrote in May of 2012.  I’m surprised it didn’t become a Favorite Friday before now: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

Many years ago I worked as a clerk at the FBI.  I was bored beyond description.  There really wasn’t anything to do, as our department was overstaffed.  Some of my colleagues picked up projects from the analysts, but I was too low on the totem pole to do anything like that.

So I found myself organizing, and then re-organizing, and then re-organizing my file folder drawer.

You have to understand, as a clerk, I really didn’t have anything important in my file folder drawer.  The exercise was about as useful as sorting, and resorting, and resorting the garbage.  It didn’t help anyone or anything… it just burned time.

Do we, as job seekers, do this?  I know I did.  Here’s my ode to this wasteful, rut of a practice:

This post is for anyone in a job search, no matter how long you have been at it.

Looking back at my job search I found I did activities that were safe and comfortable, but of very little value to my job search.

I refer to this as HIDING from the job search.

Some people hide, in the name of being busy in a job search, by doing things that are seemingly good:

  • going to networking clubs/groups/meetings, but just to go, not to actually network.  And if they do “network,” they aren’t following up, they are just collecting business cards,
  • applying to jobs online, as if it were they most important thing to do in a job search,
  • researching companies, industries, trends, or current events (um, that’s called reading the newspaper… reading the newspaper doesn’t necessarily land you a job),
  • going to one-on-one networking meetings (coffee, lunch, breakfast, etc.) without a real purpose or strategy that is directly tied to getting a job,
  • ______________ (what are YOU doing that is not leading towards your job?)

I was HIDING from my job search with these fake, non-productive activities for three reasons:

  1. These activities are comfortable. We  gravitate towards comfortable, don’t we?  Heaven forbid I got outside of my comfort zone, even if it meant I was doing a something that could produce real results.
  2. I didn’t know any better. I *thought* I was a smart guy, and I could figure it out on my own.  I didn’t want to read books, articles, blogs, etc. about how to do a job search.  I was better than that advice written for “most people.”  I wasn’t “most people.”  I was unique (just like you think you are unique).
  3. Doing those activities are socially acceptable, and at the end of the day you can “feel good” about how hard you worked. When someone asked how it was going, you could tell them how many jobs you applied to, or how many network meetings you went to, or some other metric.  Metrics seem meaty, but those metrics were the wrong things to focus on.

I should have been more consistent at picking up the phone and calling people.  I should have realized (or learned) how to identify target companies, network into those companies, and do real informational interviews.

If I would have spent time on other (high value) activities my job search would have been completely different.

Do you want YOUR job search to be different?  Where are you spending your time?  On activities with potential for high return, or HIDING from the hard stuff?

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