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Pluralsight for Job Seekers? #Yep

September 12th, 2019

This post is part of a series of posts through next Friday, to promote (push!) the $100 off at Pluralsight. Instead of paying $299/year you can pay $199 a year and have access to their rich library of over 6,000 courses. Most of them are technical, and most of them are for technologists. But back in 2012, when they invited me to do my first course, they showed that they value soft skills and professional development. There are now around 200 soft skills or professional development courses in the library, and more on their way. Here’s a list of six of my courses I suggest for people in a job search:

Developing a Killer Personal Brand

No matter what you think about personal branding, it’s important. Neglect your brand if you want, but you’ll still have one. I say: you be the author of what your brand is, and create the narrative the way you want it to be. Otherwise, others will create it for you, and you might not like that.

Informational Interviews

I believe there are no silver bullets in the job search. But I have said, across the country, that if I were in a job search I would spend about 95% of my time on informational interviews. Seriously, 95%. Haven’t heard of them? Or, they aren’t working for you? Watch this course and learn how to do them well, and get your job search MOVING! Speaking of 95%… my new Job Search Program holds your hand as you put this into practice.

Working and Communicating with Different Personalities

In your job search you need to understand how to influence others, and why others act and speak the way they do. Working with others can be baffling… but the more you understand human nature, personalities, and why people are the way they are, the better you can work with, communicate, and persuade others. You might even learn something about yourself!

Becoming a Better Listener

Listening is about the most important aspect of communication… and I think we all have some room for improvement. Listening better will help you in your networking, your interviewing… in every aspect of your job search! This course has the most ratings and comments of any of my courses. Come on over and listen!

LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile

This is where most people (should) spend their time… making their LinkedIn profile better. This course is a how-to on every bit of your profile.

LinkedIn: Proactive Strategies

And then, this is Part II for your LinkedIn strategy. “LinkedIn doesn’t work for me!” Neither does that hammer behind your workbench. The tool works when you use it! In this course I teach you how to network on LinkedIn instead of assuming having an okay profile will get you your next job.

There are more courses that are appropriate for job seekers. But let’s do the math… if you only watch those 6, and pay the $199 for the year, you are paying about $33/course. But, for the $199 you get 12 months of unlimited access (think Netflix) to the entire library! That includes the full PMP certification courses… you could pay thousands for that elsewhere. Not to mention all of the other stuff you could get… even the introduction to programming, design, databases, etc. courses. More on that over the next few days!  Click the banner above to get your one year pass for $100 off… it’s only $199 for the next few days!

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How To Get JibberJobber Premium For Free

July 31st, 2019

jibberjobber-logoWhen you first sign in to JibberJobber you get a full seven day trial. The number 1 thing to do is to set up and play with Email2Log. It is the BEST JibberJobber feature because it allows you to populate your CRM tracking tool simply by sending emails.

After the seven day trial, you should want to continue using the premium features, as well as have more than 25 Contacts and 25 Companies. The easiest way to get free upgrades is by watching any Jason Alba course on Pluralsight. If you don’t have a Pluralsight subscription, get a 30 day pass (in JibberJobber mouse over Videos, click Pluralsight Videos, and get your 30 day code).

Watch any Jason Alba course and then go back to that Pluralsight Videos page in JibberJobber to get to the Tracker where you can self-report and earn additional JibberJobber premium days. Even if you watch the same course multiple times, report back and add more JibberJobber days. Here are six of my Pluralsight courses I recommend for job seekers. Note that you have access to all of Pluralsight during that 30 day period and there are excellent courses on almost everything related to a technical career, including project management, business analysis, and plenty of coding, design, and database courses.

As an example, let’s say you watch one of those courses every day for six days. You would go into the Tracker in JibberJobber and self-report… you’d earn 3 days * 6 courses = 18 free days of JibberJobber premium. Just for learning. Sounds good, right? If you wanted to watch each of them again, you could earn another 18 days. I currently have 32 courses in Pluralsight, so there’s plenty to watch in your 30 day trial.

If you run out, you can easily upgrade for $60 for the year.

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The JibberJobber Job Journal #favoriteFriday

July 19th, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayA few years ago I wrote about a new feature that is, in my opinion, one of the most important features in JibberJobber. The Job Journal is a tool where you simply write down your career success stories.

Why is that so important?

Because it is all about what and how we brand ourselves. I’ve interviewed people who were not prepared with stories and examples, and people who were prepared. The contrast is huge.

I want you to think about your career wins, big and small, and figure out how those wins can become stories to demonstrate your capabilities.

Check out the entire post here: What is the Job Journal?

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Are Job Boards a Waste of Time? Hint: NO. #favoriteFriday

July 12th, 2019

jibberjobber-favorite-fridayAbout a year and a half ago I wrote a post about job boards… I’ve been a little back and a little forth on them over the years. In my experience they were largely a waste of time. HOWEVER, they are not to be thrown out completely.

What I talked about back in January of 2018 still applies… these are TOOLS. Work them,  but don’t let them own you.

Read the whole thing here: New Thoughts on Job Boards for 2018

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What is JibberJobber? Intro to Career Management and Job Search Video

July 10th, 2019

In this short 4+ minute video I explain what JibberJobber is. There are plenty of features, but the core features match up with the most important things you are doing in your job search. Not using all of JibberJobber? That is okay! Use the core features, and stay on top of your job search!

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The Job Search Program Better Than Sliced Bread

June 13th, 2019

jibberjobber-sliced-breadA bit of history on this “better than sliced bread” phrase.

There was once a time in history that was so horrible where people were so deprived, that they had to buy bread and then cut it into slices themselves.

I know. Traumatic.

According the Wikipedia, A guy named Otto, living in Iowa, invented the sliced bread machine in the early 1900’s. He built his first prototype in 1912 but it was not meant to be. A fire destroyed it. Humans had to wait, and labor unfairly with bread and knife, for sixteen more years before he “had a fully working machine ready.”

Of course, this new machine was a commercial success. Now we could spend less time slicing bread and more time [fill in the blank].

So yeah, pretty great stuff.

As an aside, and in case you ever go on Jeopardy!, did you know that in 1943 (during WWII) the U.S. Food Administrator Claude R. Wickard banned sliced bread “as a wartime conservation measure”? Boo and hiss. The ban started  on January 18, 1943 and, due to public outcry (which I’m guessing was pretty loud) only lived less than 50 days, ending on March 8, 1943 (even though the Food Distribution Administration was “prepeared to take stern measures.”

Long live sliced bread! Read the wikipedia article, you’ll get a good chuckle.

JibberJobber

In May of 2006 I launched JibberJobber. It was, at the time, what I thought was the greatest thing since sliced bread for job seekers. JibberJobber was something never before seen for job seekers. at that time in history, career coaches and the like told job seekers to follow up. To be organized with all of their networking and applications and interviews.

How?” asked the masses.

We don’t know!” replied the experts. “Create an excel spreadsheet! Or, here’s a one page form you can print off and fill out (by hand – gasp!) to stay organized!

I found myself in a job search from January, Friday the 13th, in 2006, and soon figured out that I was doing it wrong. Then I figured out the whole job search world was “broken.” Long story short, move over sliced bread, enter JibberJobber!

Cue the applause.

Here we are, 13 years later and many man hours of development invested into JibberJobber. Things are going well. There is still much work to do, but it’s good.

I say “every 18 months” I have a brilliant idea. I always share them on this blog or from stage when I speak. And now it’s time to share my most recent 18 month moment of brilliance.

Project HOPE

jibberjobber_project_hopeI know it’s not cool to share the internal code name of a project externally, but there you go. We refer to this as Project HOPE. This comes from my conversation with legendary Dick Bolles (author of the iconic job search bible What Color is Your Parachute?), when he summed up my message as one of HOPE.

I don’t know what this product will eventually be called.

Project HOPE will go into alpha testing on Monday with a handful of active premium JibberJobber users. These are people who are deep into their job search, and using JibberJobber heavily. They are serious about getting out of the job search. I will give them the core of Project HOPE to go through. I will be anxious to get their feedback (and oh boy, they’ll give it to me!).

I expect the first version of Project HOPE, probably beta, to be available for everyone in four to eight weeks. And it can’t come soon enough.

The premise of Project HOPE is to address three big problems that every job seeker I have talked to are facing:

  1. Loneliness. It was during my job search, in 2006, that I was acutely lonely. I had people around me, for sure. But I felt like I was the only person in this pathetic situation of being unemployed. People didn’t know what I was going through, how life shattering it was, and how to help me. I didn’t know, either, so I couldn’t help them help me. It was an extremely lonely journey to go through.
  2. Depression. Let’s cut straight to the chase.. instead of talking about the emotional roller coaster in the job search, I want to focus on depression in the job search. I was depressed. I didn’t know it, but that depression had an impact on what I did, and the results I saw. My depression drove my job search, and depression is a horrible driver. No matter how happy job seekers look when you “network” with them, I bet there’s a hint (or a flood) of depression behind that smile.
  3. The Right Things. My first thought in the morning was “Oh boy. Let’s do the same 10 things today that I’ve done the last month… things that aren’t getting me anywhere. Am I doing the right things?” The right things are tricky. I remember going to a 2 day job search training, learning some exceptional tactics, and then a week or two later getting fed the “and here is a list of job postings you should apply to”… from the same people who taught this class! This is after they said “don’t waste your time on job boards.”  Confusing a little? What SHOULD we be doing as job seekers?

My program addresses those three things. I want to help you feel less lonely. I want to attack depression, and inspire hope. And I want to help you understand what the right things are.

How? 

I combine a few ideas and principles that I’ve come across over the last 13+ years talking with hundreds of career experts, and thousands of job seekers. From the bottom of Florida to the top of Washington state, from job ministries and MBA programs to living rooms and the phone, I’m distilling what I would advise you to do in the job search.

I’m combining this with my friend’s (phenomenal business success coach Mark LeBlanc) success principles that he teaches small businesses, who have remarkably similar/identical needs that job seekers have.

And really, I think this is the greatest things since sliced bread.

I think it can be the greatest thing, for job seekers, since JibberJobber. And combined with JibberJobber… wow!

Project Hope is a 6 week audio program. Each morning you listen to my voice (after bete feedback I plan on redoing it, and having me be on screen) and I walk you through your day. I train you in best practice job search tactics, starting at what you should do today, and then building every day for six weeks. It starts out pretty simple, baby-stepping you into the program, but soon you are doing the right things.

This program will not consume your day. In fact, for the first couple of weeks I expect it will take 30 to 60 minutes each day, which means you’ll have plenty of time to do your own stuff. It also means that if you are working a full-time job, you will be able to do this program.

As time goes on, as you learn more skills, as you learn Mark’s principles, the tasks get a little harder. But they also should produce more results to get you closer to the right job.

We are in the process of enhancing the audio recordings with a user experience in JibberJobber that will allow you to navigate through each day, see what your tasks are for the day, and provide accountability.

I wish I had this program in my job search to train me on best practices, help me know what to do each day, give me another voice in my head to listen to, and to provide accountability.

Is Project HOPE a coaching program?

No. Well, maybe kind of.

It is not customized coaching. You and me, we don’t talk. You listen to the recordings. I don’t give you specialized, unique-to-you next-steps and action items. We don’t break in the middle to prep you for your interview tomorrow.

It is a recorded program where I coach you on what to do and think today, and tomorrow, and the next day, until you land a job.

As I mentioned, it will not consume your day. You can make it as big or small as you want. It is designed to be something you can do every day without feeling like it is overwhelming.

So yeah, it’s kind of coaching. As I’ve written and recorded the program I’ve felt like I was your coach, your friend, your mentor, your cheerleader.  Does that mean it’s a coaching program? Not a full on program like my coaching friends have. If you need a coach, get a coach. If you are a coach, this might complement what you offer.

How much will this cost?

jibberjobber-moneyThis will not be in the JibberJobber premium package, which is only $60 a year. That’s as low as we can go for now on the JibberJobber side.

Right now the pricing is $397, however I’ll have an introductory price of $197 (I’m not sure how long I’ll have this price).  I realize that some of you are already paying for JibberJobber, and a resume, and a coach… I am not here to break your bank. I’m also not a government funded or charity program. I have bills to pay (I hate to even have to say that but I am continually asked why JibberJobber is not free (“Don’t you know job seekers have no money!!??”) .

When you are done with six weeks, you will have continued access to the program. You can start over, or start over at week 2 or 3 or whatever, or just listen to the Wednesday of week 6, as long as you want. You’ll also have new tools in your toolbox and enough training to allow you to do your own program after the 6 weeks is over. This program is about empowering you, not tying you to a 6 week program.

What about coaches and resume writers?

If you are a career expert (resume writer, coach, etc.), I want to empower you with this product for your clients. Email me (Jason at JibberJobber.com) to learn more about the affiliate program.

 

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New Thoughts on Job Boards for 2018

January 4th, 2018

jibberjobber-thoughtsJob boards. Should you use them? Do you use them but feel guilty?

If you pay attention to career experts, they say to not waste time on job boards. But as a job seeker, this is where it feels most comfortable.  There’s a disparity somewhere… and a conflict.

I’ve been “down” on job boards sometimes, but I also recognize the value of job boards.  Here’s the real issue:

If you spend all (or most) of your time applying to jobs on job boards, you are generally wasting your time.  Or, you are investing your time in tactics that are less likely to get you closer to landing a job (that’s the more tactful way of putting it).

Why?

Any job seeker who has applied for a job knows about the great frustration of applying online. Specifically, uploading your resume, and then having to copy and paste info from the resume into a long form. This can easily take 45+ minutes per application.  If you do a few of these a day you spend more than half your day applying to jobs. This is mind-numbing, and for anyone who has been involved in process improvement, it’s frustrating.

What’s worse, the stats on job boards are not in your favor. Nick Corcodilos says that less than 3% of jobs are filled by people who apply online. So spending your time on job boards is like fishing in a hole that has little-to-no fish. Maybe that’s because so many postings aren’t real? Maybe it’s because the hiring decisions are generally made before a posting ever goes online? Maybe it’s because hiring managers like employee referrals more than random applications?

That’s the conventional wisdom: don’t use job boards (as a major part of your job search).  But again, we’re left at the conundrum!

My recent experience shows that job boards indeed have value.

As a job seeker I can get a thumb on what’s going on and who’s hiring from postings. Job boards make it easier to do “competitive intelligence” and learn about the landscape… who is hiring, what are they hiring for?

Here’s a tip that not many people talk about: the effectiveness of any job search tactics depends on many factors, including your level (executive or entry level), your location (small town or big city), your industry, etc.

Let me suggest some effective ways to use job boards:

  1. Use job boards to find leads on roles for companies you might not have heard of, or openings at companies you are interested in. This is lead generation and information gathering. This is your way to keep up on what the market looks like, what’s available, movement at companies, and even company changes/strategies.
  2. Use email alerts to avoid spending too much time searching on job boards. For my level and experience I’ve found LinkedIn to be the best, most accurate source of real postings. You might find other boards to be better. Set up email alerts so you are just checking your email daily instead of spending time in the black hole of job boards.
  3. When you find roles, study them. In my first big job search I was looking for project manager and business analyst roles, and had never heard of product manager roles (which is what I really wanted, I just didn’t know they existed). Job boards are a great place to find trending roles and things that you might not have heard about before.
  4. As you prepare for interviews (or your targeted resume, or cover letters, or even networking), print out ten postings of the title you are interested in and study them. You should find consistent words and phrases and you might fish out something unique here or there.  All of this will help you make a better communication plan. You should pick up on jargon, and trends within your role. This is one of the best ways I can think of to quickly come up to speed on things you need to know, and be able to talk, about.

And really, it’s okay to apply to jobs online. In my experience, even when networking into companies you’ll hear “apply online, and then call this person.” Applying online gets you in the system.

My advice, though, is to not spend hours everyday applying online. Apply for jobs that you are really interested in, and then network to learn about some of the “maybe” jobs.

The biggest problem with job boards is when they consume your job search time. Make sure you use job boards in a balanced way (implement other tactics, like networking!!), and use them in the right ways (as opposed to just finding openings and applying online!).

That’s my take for job boards in 2018.

 

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I Believe in Cover Letters

January 2nd, 2018

Over the years I’ve heard, and written, about cover letters. The big question is should you really spend time on them?

YES, absolutely, is my answer.

When I’ve been a hiring manager I’ve read every cover letter I got. First, I skimmed it. If the resume showed the person was competent and could do the job, then I’d go back to the cover letter to see if I could pull out more information.

Should you really take the time to write a cover letter? You have nothing to lose (it’s never bad to write one), and only good to gain (if you do it well).

With that in mind, let me point you to my friend Barb Poole’s LinkedIn article titled 7 Cover Letter Myths You Should Consider. Read each of them… not just to get sold on cover letters, but to learn how to write better cover letters!

barb_poole_cover_letters

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Announcing the Daily Activity Report

December 18th, 2017

This is a powerful report to help you see what you have done (and give you reminders for what you need to do). This is a powerful report!

jibberjobber-daily-activity-report

You can find it under Reports, then Daily Activity Report.

Check out this two minute video to see why this will be one of your favorite reports:

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“Will you review my resume?” How to Review someone’s resume

September 13th, 2017

Raise your hand if you love it when someone asks you to review their resume.  Me neither.

It’s not my thing. I don’t have the brain to go into the detail on something like that… maybe it’s just that I don’t want to be your eleventh grade English teacher… maybe it’s because resumes are boring… maybe it’s just because I’m not nice.

Or, perhaps I assume that what you are really saying is “take my resume and you’ll be so impressed, you’ll feel obligated to send it to a bunch of people at your work, or in your network…!”

Okay, all of those excuses are my problem. The truth is, if you are a close friend I’ll definitely check out your resume. However, I also send you to some other resources who are much, much, much more qualified than I am to review your resume.

Having said that, if you ever feel like you should, could, or want to review someone’s resume, here’s my primer on what to look for.  I’m no expert, so take it for what it’s worth.

Proofread: You are looking for typos and grammar. I look for consistency in periods at the end of the bullets. I hate it when you have a bulleted list and some lines have a period while others don’t. Aside from that you are looking for any typo (too easy to do, hard for the job seeker to find), or grammar that just doesn’t make sense. Also, look for a strong action verbs at the beginning of each bullet, and consistency on each bullet with these verbs.

Messaging: What is the primary, main message the resume conveys?  Is that aligned with the role they are applying to? This is critical. If someone wants to list their entire history, but only 30% of it is relevant to what they are looking for, their resume will not be effective. A resume is not a brag sheet… it’s a marketing document. Make sure the marketing message is the right message for the audience and purpose.

Substance: The resume should be meaty. The reader should walk away thinking “wow, this person is qualified! They have done some great things in their career!” The easiest way to do that is by quantifying achievements… that is, are there percentages (“increase production by 400%”) or hard numbers (“decreased expenses by $200,000”)? I’m not saying that has to be on every line, but every time a resume shows a quantification it strengthens the message that you really get results.  The hiring managers wants someone who will get results (as opposed to someone who might just bring drama, be a warm body, etc.).

Story holes: After you read through the resume do you feel like something is missing? Specifically, if your friend is trying to paint a picture of their expertise, or show what they have done in the past (something that is valuable to the job they are applying to), is there a complete, compelling story? I’ve seen resumes that start to build up to a narrative and then end it at a point where I think “did you do anything? Or did you fail? I don’t get it…”  (see note below on cover letter)

Distractions: On the other end of the spectrum from story holes is having stuff that should not be there. Is there information about roles that is better suited for a different job? In other words, perhaps your friend worked as a gear head at one company, but they are applying as an analyst at another company. They need to bring out skills that an analyst has or needs… don’t talk about the screwdrivers they were so good at. Instead, talk about how they analyzed screwdriver brands, quality, etc. to pick the best screwdriver for the job.  Think: transferable skills. Again, this isn’t about listing all the stuff they have done (brag sheet), rather it is about showing they have the skills and experience to do the job they are applying to. If something does not support their main message, or show they are qualified for the job they are applying to, take it off.

Those are the main things that I look for on a resume. It doesn’t take terribly long to do this… it’s pretty clear where a resume is missing the mark. As long as you think of a resume as a marketing piece that is trying to compel the reader to think about you differently, and not just a list of cool stuff you’ve done, you should get closer to a great resume.

Finally, let me talk about the cover letter.

I recently had a call with a recruiter who said “send me your resume, and an email with either a few paragraphs or bullet points to specifically talk about the main things my client wants.”  This is also known as a cover letter. I believe a cover letter is a “must!” A cover letter is a great complement to the resume, and can fill in some gaps that a resume just isn’t formatted to address. Like, “I’m perfect for this job because,” “I want this job because,” “Here is a little more information about your particular needs, and how I fill those needs.”

Maybe the person getting your resume should already understand that you are the best person, the right fit… but remember, they have a bunch of resumes that all kind of look the same. Writing a few paragraphs to show you are the right fit, add more information that just don’t belong on a resume, and even express enthusiasm is well worth your time.

Now you have the cheat sheet to review someone’s resume… I hope this can help you help them. If you are a resume writer who does this for a living, feel free to add your two cents in the comments!

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