New Thoughts on Job Boards for 2018

January 4th, 2018

Job 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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Comparing JibberJobber to Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics, etc.

August 28th, 2017

Last week I got an email from someone who is evaluating JibberJobber with a list of issues that is unsettling. One of them was this:

5) No comparison of your product with Microsoft’s CRM products

Yes, I have not done a comparison of JibberJobber with Microsoft’s products.  So I’ll do that now.  I might as well do a comparison of other CRMs, while I’m at it.

I’m not going to do fancy graphs or anything, and my comparison will be non-tradition, so brace yourself.

How does JibberJobber compare to Microsoft Dynamics?  The same way an elephant compares to a giraffe.  They are completely different beasts.

Let me pause on my comparison real quick and just state what JibberJobber is/does.

JibberJobber is a website (with a widget and mobile apps) to help (mostly) job seekers organize and manage their job search. Some people who are not job seekers use JibberJobber to organize and manage personal and professional relationships, and help them network for when they might be in transition. Or, they use it to help them manage their freelance gigs, prospects, etc.  Some companies use JibberJobber, but that’s not the standard, nor is it or has it ever been our audience. We need to get this job search audience taken care of before we get crazy and compete with the probably thousands of CRM offerings out there.

No other CRM that you have heard of does that. CRMs came about to help salespeople manage the sales cycle, including prospects and customers.

JibberJobber was designed for job seekers, based on CRM concepts (relationship management, etc.). But no CRM company sees any money in the job seeker to care about them. They care about charging lots of money to companies and hope their users (salespeople) actually use, and get hooked on, their systems.

Back to the comparison… money:

Microsoft Dynamics (365 Enterprise)… I don’t know for sure. But a google search shows this (click this image to go to the search results page):

jjblog_microsoft_dynamics_pricing

Cool.  $40 to $190 a month… or I guess Plan 1 is $115/user/month.

JibberJobber pricing is $60 a year (here’s the math: that is like paying $5/month, but we just charge it all upfront). It also includes the video library.

So, let’s say that Microsoft will be $480 on the low end, to maybe $1,380 per year.

Okay, I lied. I am going to include a chart that I spent exactly 3 minutes to make (2.5 to get Excel to open, and 30 seconds to make this comparison). In column 1 you have the annual cost of JibberJobber ($60). In column 2 and 3 you have different levels of Microsoft Dynamics:

jj_blog_ms_dynamics_cost

Comparison of features:  Look, we already talked about this. The question should start with “who is this for?” JibberJobber is for the individual job seeker.  Their purpose is to get a job.  Microsoft and other CRM packages is for salespeople, or business owners, or sales organizations. Their purpose is to increase sales… close more deals, upsell.  Elephants and giraffes.  Doing a comparison based on features is simply unfair.

Since you asked for it, here’s a customer review (the “most negative review”)… can you guess which software suite this was for?

jjblog_msdyn_customer_review

If you guessed Microsoft Dynamics, you are RIGHT!  But hey, I’m not daft.  Plenty of JibberJobber users have said similar things… “overly complicated,” and “hard to navigate around,” and other things like that.  Others have jumped in, learned it, figured out what they need, and get value out of it.

I know we have plenty of design issues, which we are addressing one by one. I’m not going to hide from that, or ignore it. It’s true. But we are working on it.

Should you use Salesforce, or Dynamics, or any other CRM?

Use the tool you want to. I hope that if you are a job seeker, you use, love, and recommend JibberJobber.  If you choose another system, great! I hope that whatever you choose helps you in your job search and career management.

If you need more comparison ideas, just go google “compare _____ to _____ in Google,” and you’ll get nice pretty graphs and information that might delight you. In the end, your job search success will not be positively impacted by spending weeks comparing all of these things.  It’s time to network, pick up the phone, reach out to people, message them, etc.

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JibberJobber Job Search Widget (Chrome)

July 26th, 2017

Do you use Chrome to surf the internet? Check out our new JibberJobber Job Search Widget (version 1), which helps you grab information from the sites you visit and enter that information into JibberJobber (as a new Job, Contact, or Company record)!

jibberjobber_job_search_widget

Simply click the “ADD TO CHROME” blue button, and you’ll have your widget on the top of your browser, like this:

jibberjobber_job_search_widget_installed

Then, just go to any page and click the icon (NOTE: It will want you to login to the widget, even if you are logged in on the website. Not sure why… added security?) For example, I went to my LinkedIn page and clicked it and this is what I see:

jibberjobber_job_search_widget_contact

Notice the name and URL were pulled in… I can easily type anything else I want in the form on the right… and then scroll down to find the Save button.  If I want to copy and paste from the page, I have to select the text from the page and copy first, then click the widget icon to open this form. I’m not sure if that’s a widget limitation or not, but if we can, we’ll make that easier in the next version.

Here’s a job I grabbed from Indeed… I’m getting used to selecting and copying the description, and then hitting the widget icon, so I can paste the description into the right place:

jibberjobber_job_search_widget_job

Like I said, this is the first version… think Beta… we are already putting together a list of enhancements for the next version. If you have any suggestions to make this better for you, please let us know (here’s the Contact page).

 

 

 

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How To Organize Your Job Search / What Is JibberJobber

April 27th, 2017

This is the video that we are going to put on the front page of JibberJobber soon:

How to Organize Your Job Search (JibberJobber) from Jason Alba on Vimeo.

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Five Purposes of Resume

March 31st, 2017

jacqui-barrett-poindexter_headshotJacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Master Resume Writer, wrote a great post titled I disagree with career experts who claim the resume has just one purpose.

I have heard, and have probably written about, the one purpose for a resume: to get you into an interview.  But Jacqui’s post brings up some great points.  She says the five functions of a resume, in addition to getting interviews, are:

  1. Equips interview conversations.
  2. Focuses your career message and saves you time.
  3. Conveys your value to interview committee members.
  4. Supports professional reputation.
  5. Spurs deeper interview conversations.

Check out her post for deeper thoughts on each of those.

One of the most important things to understand about a resume is that the resume writing process is a process of self-discovery, understanding what value you bring to potential companies, framing your value proposition(s) in appropriate and compelling ways, and even gaining self-confidence that is grounded in fact.

If you didn’t get any of that from your resume writing experience, you might want to call a resume professional.

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Insider Information Video Library Preview: Ash Buckles

January 5th, 2017

Last month I introduced the new video library. This was my Big Announcement (read here).

I have been working on transcribing the Ask The Expert Interviews I did a few years back, and I finally have the FIRST Insider Information interview edited and transcribed.  Well, actually, it’s not as edited as I would have liked. There are a few sentences that I wish were edited out (where we talk about editing… how ironic). And, I was being attacked by a fly during most the the interview… and by the end you could see my patience had worn thin :)

Nonetheless, this is a great preview to what we’ll have in the video library. This interview is with a hiring manager and is only 34 minutes long.

Too long, you say? Yes, it is. But remember, you can search on keywords or topics, and we’ll highlight the certain parts of that interview that meet your search criteria just for you.

Over the course of this year I’ll add as many interviews as I can, with hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters.  I even have some interviews with ATS providers… so you can get a feel for what and how they think, and how that affects you.

To get a taste of what’s coming, check out the interview below, with Ash Buckles.  Ash shares a lot of good insight into the hiring process.  We learn what this hiring manager thinks about resumes, digital dirt, your presentation, how to talk about gaps in your work history, and more.

If you like where we are going with this, you can pay for access to the entire Insider Information Video Library (which includes my LinkedIn videos, and more).  The pricing is simple:

  • month to month: $9.95 a month (upgrade now)
  • one year: $99 (bonus: plus an extra 6 months, as we ramp up the content) (upgrade now)
  • BEST DEAL: one year, bundled with JibberJobber one year: $120 (bonus: plus an extra 6 months, as we ramp up the content) (upgrade now)
  • NOTE: If you are a career coach or outplacement firm, email me for special bulk pricing: Jason@JibberJobber.com

Here’s the interview with Ash… enjoy!

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How To: Avoid Duplicate Entry in JibberJobber

September 22nd, 2016

Recently a user said, about JibberJobber (or really, any CRM): “it just takes too much time – I can barely remember to copy JibberJobber…”

In other words, the user is saying he doesn’t like to put infomraiton somewhere, and then have to remember going into JibberJobber and putting it in there, too.  In the CRM world this is called “duplicate entry,” and it really is a pain.

That is why we created the Email2Log function, which is part of the premium features.  Here are two scenarios:

Yucky Scenario

Okay, this isn’t totally yucky… but it is the way that requires more work, and more thinking.  It’s the same thing you would do with any system… a spreadsheet, a CRM, a spiral notebook.

You send someone an email saying “nice to meet you, can we meet for lunch on Friday?”  After you send the email, you go into JibberJobber and see if the person has a Contact record. If they don’t, you add it, and then you add a Log Entry to that Contact record.

This is “no big deal,” except for the fact that it takes more work (it is duplicate entry, since you put info in your email, and then put info into JibberJobber).  Sometimes you’ll do the JibberJobber entry when you have time, which for me means never.  It’s just mental clutter that nags at you. Who needs that?

This way works, but there is another way…

Delightful Scenario

You send someone an email saying “nice to meet you, can we meet for lunch on Friday?”  This person is not in JibberJobber, but don’t worry… you don’t even have to open JibberJobber to add the information you want to add.

In your email to that person, simply put your Email2Log email address so that when you send the email to your new contact, it also goes to JibberJobber… where we parse your email and (a) create a new Contact record (if we can’t match the recipient to an existing contact), and (b) take the email and make it into a Log Entry on that record.

Better yet, if you have multiple recipients, it does the same for each one (if the recipient correlates to a Contact record, then put the Log Entry on the existing Contact record… and do not create a duplicate Contact record, OR, if there is no Contact record, then create a new one). If you have 20 recipients on an email, it will do all of this, automatically, for you!

Better yet, you can create Job records and Company records, and even Follow-up (or, Action Item) reminders, all from your email.

This is very powerful, and helps you focus on doing a job search, and not populating a database.

Here’s the Email2Log getting started tutorial:

Here’s the Email2Log advanced tutorial:

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