Awesome Journey of a Job Seeker (Felix Feng)

December 14th, 2016

Take the time to read this very awesome and insightful article by Felix Fang: I spent 3 months applying to jobs after a coding bootcamp. Here’s what I learned.

This is a MUST READ for anyone in job search. Think about Felix’s processes and what he tracks and does. It’s a very strategic, purposeful journey.

In his first “pro-tip,” he links to a list of companies that people are collecting where it is easy to apply, as opposed to the ridiculous application systems that require you to copy and paste parts of your resume.  This is super cool: The github “easy-application” list.

Felix talks about the resume black hole and networking into companies.

Felix is a developer.  Even if you aren’t a developer, you should be able to glean quite a bit of wisdom, and correct your tactics and strategy.

Have you thought about sharpening your saw, and becoming a better candidate, even as you interview?  Read Insight #3 and see how someone intent on getting a six-figure offer did it.

Insight #4 is about dissecting your personal brand, and how you come across to others.  It’s critical that you understand how your branding may be hurting your job search!

Felix also talks about questions you could ask during the interview.  Don’t make the mistake of not asking smart questions!

Insight #5 is hard because, well, I’m impatient.  But if you don’t respect the longevity of the job search, and sprint, you might wear yourself out and be less-than-effective.

Here’s what I want you to get out of this article: tactics and strategies and ideas.  More than that, though, I want you to see what your “competition” (other job seekers) is doing. I want you to see that it’s not just a apply-and-pray approach.  Please, be smart, strategic, and purposeful as you spend your time in this job search!

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Dream Job Lost: Plan for Moving Forward #Sree

July 26th, 2016

Many years ago I came into contact with Sree Sreenivasan. Back then Sree was a professor at Columbia (and a dean there, as well as the Chief Digital Officer), and a tech reporter for WNBC, where he actually featured JibberJobber twice, in NYC.  About three years ago he announced he was leaving Columbia to be the Chief Digital Officer of The Met (aka, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC)… what he said was his dream job.

Last month Sree announced that he was leaving The Met.  I saw this two minute video of him, talking about what he did.  I hope the video embeds well.. if not, go here and watch it. My commentary below this video (scroll down).

I have to say, I was surprised to see that Sree is moving on from The Met. Sree has always seemed to have the perfect career… he had a lot of power and authority, influence and impact, opportunity, and he was in an extraordinary position to meet lots of new people and have real, deep relationships. To jump from over 20 years at Columbia to a new employer was a leap of faith… and here we are, three years later, moving on.

Let’s dig into his video… first I’ll comment on some of his important points, and then I’ll end with an observation that he didn’t talk about:

“I was angry for a little bit”  I too was angry (for a long time).  He said he had to channel his anger… as did I.  I know you will feel a lot of emotions, even anger at whoever did this to you (and maybe at yourself).  Channel that energy into something useful, and don’t nurture resentment and bitterness.

“I put it on Facebook” Seems kind of obvious but too many people don’t do this simple thing: REACH OUT. Maybe not on Facebook, but to your network.  Reach out and let people know that you need help, and that you will accept help, and how they can help you.  Don’t do the job search thing alone!

“I made a google form” (asking what he should do)  This was brilliant… it served a few purposes: (1) it made people think about Sree and what his next move could be, which surely would (2) make them think about how they could help him achieve that (hopefully with introductions and leads). It also (3) invited people to share positive thoughts and ideas with Sree.  As you know, at any point in a job search it’s easy to get into a pity party and think negatively about yourself.  I found that after weeks of rejection and non-response, I started to actually believe that I had nothing to offer, and my prospects for the future were getting darker by the day.

“This could happen to you” This has been my message for over ten years. I don’t care how happy you are, how much of a producer you are, how great your company is… so many variables are at play here, that you have no control over, that no one is safe. Feel safe?  You better STILL be preparing for a change in career.

“What is your Plan B, C, D” Quick… if you had to change jobs right now, what is it to?  What is your Plan B?  Let’s go a little further and think about your Plan C and D and maybe even more.  You might be insanely loyal, but you are only doing yourself a disservice if you don’t have a Plan B (and C and D, etc.) AND aren’t preparing for those plans.  I had no Plan B, and learned that making it up on the fly was hard and painful.

“Save money” I know that most of us are living paycheck to paycheck, but we need to save for a rainy day. I had $1,000 in savings by the time I got laid off, and within one week spent it all on car repairs. Whoops!

“What are you offering the world today?” You need to think bigger than “I do a good job, and my boss knows it.”  What are you doing today that would make other companies and hiring managers say “wow, we want that!”

“People want to help you… “ When I was speaking in SoCal a few years back and made this point, a lady on the front row said “no one wants to help me, least of all my family.”  It was really sad to hear her talk about how she had zero support.  I would argue that in most cases, we all have people who want to help us… even if we don’t think so. Our family, friends, neigbors, colleagues, etc.  don’t want to see us suffer like this.  Here’s a big eye-opener, though: the people you might be sure will help you might not be able to… too busy, not know how, or not realize that you look to them for that much help. But please, believe that people want to help you.

“You have to be willing to accept the help” which is “very difficult” to do Yes, very, very difficult to do. We are generally good at giving help, and just unaccustomed to receiving help.  It takes heaps of humility to accept help graciously.  Get good at this.

What does Sree not talk about? He doesn’t talk about how he has spent years being nice, working on great things, and nurturing real relationships. His Twitter account has over 7o,000 followers (granted, not all of those are real people) because he is a giver, and a networker.  Sree has a contagiously charming personality, and people like him.  He has helped many people, and when you meet him in person you instantly like him.

I know that has a lot to do with the results he had with his Google form… he had a network, with real relationships, and actually tapped into that network.  You could too. I’m not saying you can’t be an introvert, but I am convinced that we all need to get much better at real relationships with people: family, friends, colleagues, etc.

Thank you, Sree, for being a great example to us!

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Story of a Job Interview

April 6th, 2016

Vincent Wright passed this cool youtube video along to me… what an amazing experience!

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Cover Letters Are About Preference: Here’s Mine

March 15th, 2016

Since announcing my contract sales positions on LinkedIn, Facebook, and this blog, I’ve gotten a number of emails. Some of them ask for more information. Others include a resume.  Not many include what has historically been called a “cover letter.”  “Experts” have poo-pooed the cover letters for years, causing job seekers to wonder “should I include a cover letter?”

Here’s a recent post citing a hiring manager at Bain on cover letters, which he says are NOT OPTIONAL.

My experience is this: I honestly have no idea if you are doing the “spray and pray” method of job search, if you are really interested in doing sales, or if you are going to give this an honest effort.

The lesson learned, for me, is that cover letters are ESSENTIAL.  I want to know that I’m not just a number, and that you read up on the opportunity and that you know something about JibberJobber.  Bonus, of course, if you are a JibberJobber user.

If you send me an email with just a resume, I don’t have much to go on.  You are asking me to sift through all kinds of data and draw a conclusion that amounts to “this person would be great for this job!”   Don’t make me sift, and don’t make me draw conclusions… give me, in your cover letter, helpful information, such as:

  • that you think you are qualified for the job, because ________.  I was talking to a recruiter who said that 80% of the applications he got (which was over 10,000 a month) were NOT QUALIFIED.  Come on people… we are better than that.  Want to stand out, and be part of the 20% the recruiter wants to seriously look at?  Tell the recruiter or hiring manager that, and why, you are qualified.
  • That you are interested in this job, and think you could excel at it, and why. Are you self-motivated? A hard worker? Driven by a commission-based compensation model, which means you have unlimited earning potential?  Do you have lots of recruiter and HR contacts?  Have you done sales before, and you are ready to get a lot of “no” answers while you find the “yes” answers? Are you a relationship builder, and love to help people come to proper solutions?

Can you ask questions? Sure.  You can let me know that you have some questions, and you look forward to learning more.  We could do that on a phone interview, or you could email me your questions.  But realize that getting me on the phone is as valuable as getting a prospect on the phone… you want to start that relationship (and so do I).

Let’s get a little more personal, and have more of a human touch.  Please, please start sending this type of information as you apply.  For every recruiter that poo-poos the idea of a cover letter, realize that there is an inexperienced hiring manager looking at this stuff who really wants more than just your name and a resume, which somehow looks the same as the thirty other resumes they’ve just been given.

 

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Spouse’s Role in a Job Search, and under 5% Unemployment Rate

February 5th, 2016

I just got pinged from a blog post, which included a link to one of my most favorite blog posts.  Joyce is a photographer in Houston, and wrote about her husband’s layoff.  Please read this. For all of the politicians celebrating the terrific under 5% unemployment rate, this is the reality of today’s world, when a layoff happens:

Curve Ball

In her post, Joyce links to a post I wrote six years ago, titled The Spouse’s Role In Your Job Search.  I have 13 points there… please read that, too, and share it with people who need to read it.

In my comment to Joyce, I wrote:

I just read about the super low unemployment rate that everyone in the U.S. should be celebrating… just like had 10 years ago when I was in transition. It felt like everyone was happy about how great the economy was, but in my house, the unemployment rate was 100%

A low unemployment rate when I was unemployed meant that there was something wrong with me.  Nothing made sense in that logic, but it didn’t help my thinking or attitude.

This is why I do what I do.  Because there are real families and relationships and lives impacted.

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city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Getting Started on JibberJobber? Orientation Videos vs. Getting Started Videos (the difference)

November 30th, 2015

Last week I got this question from someone new to JibberJobber:

“Can you please explain the difference between the approx 20 Getting Started Videos and the 9 Orientation video series. Combined, it is over 5 hours of material – kind of daunting to learn a tool that should simplify my job search.”

Great question… we have had the Orientation videos for so long, and only added the Getting Started videos recently enough that I didn’t think about differentiating them.  Here’s what they are (you can find both of these on the menu at the Videos page):

The JibberJobber Orientation is a recording of one webinar, which was split into 9 clips that are around 10 minutes each. This is the “welcome to JibberJobber” introduction, including a history of JibberJobber, and my linear idea of what you would want to know/do to get started.  I expect that after going through this orientation, you would have an excellent idea of what JibberJobber is, and how it could be a great tool for you.

The Getting Started videos are recordings from 10ish minute live webinars I used to do on Friday mornings, called Focus Fridays.  I would pick one topic and try to completely explain in about 10 minutes.  We wouldn’t go into any other topics.  After I did a bunch of these, I decided to figure out what order to put these in so a new user would get the most value out of them, and then they could watch any of them they wanted.  While the Orientation (above) is a 90 minute “welcome to JibberJobber!”, the Getting Started is a buffet of topics that you can pick and choose from.  Want to go deeper on Topic X, but not ready for Topic Y?  Just browse through the videos on the Getting Started page and watch the topic that is most relevant to where you are at right now.

If I were just getting started on JibberJobber today, here’s what I would do:

Start to watch the Orientation, go put JibberJobber into perspective, and get an understanding of what it can do.  I find the questions I commonly answer about List Panels (how to filter search results, how to add, remove, or reorder columns) are covered in the Orientation videos.

I would then just cherry-pick topics from the Getting Started list, based on what I’m ready to do in JibberJobber.

I hope this helps explain the difference.  I don’t intend for anyone to watch hours and hours of videos before they get started… most people get it enough to get started, and then come back to the Getting Started as a reference tool.  Here are the topics in Getting Started… which interests you the most? (click here to find these videos)

  • Getting Started: Introduction (1)
  • Getting Started: Overwhelmed? Watch this! (1.5)
  • Getting Started: Homepage & Widgets (2)
  • Getting Started: Setting Up Tags (3)
  • Getting Started: Email2Log Setup (4)
  • Getting Started: Email2Log Advanced (5)
  • Getting Started: Log Entries and Action Items (6)
  • Getting Started: Verifying Action Items and Log Entries Got In (7)
  • Getting Started: Log Entries and Action Item List Panel (8)
  • Getting Started: Optimizing the List Panel (9)
  • Getting Started: Managing Duplicates (10)
  • Getting Started: Exporting from LinkedIn (11)
  • Getting Started: Importing from a CSV File (12) (entirely new design as of November 25, 2015)
  • Getting Started: Recurring Action Items (13)
  • Getting Started: Calendar Views (14)
  • Getting Started: Interview Prep (15)
  • Getting Started: Job Description Analysis (16)
  • Getting Started: Events on Jobs (17)
  • Getting Started: The Job Journal (18)
  • Getting Started: Account and Preferences (19)

You can ALWAYS just reach out to us and ask us for help on anything you are stuck on… don’t feel like you have to watch any of these videos (although, many times we’ll reference videos or blog posts when we reply)

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Courage, Entrepreneurship, The Job Search

November 20th, 2015

One of the benefits of spammers commenting on old blog posts is they bring the old blog post back to my attention.  Such is the case when a spammer left a comment on this post: Courage and the entrepreneur.

I wrote this post in May of 2009… JibberJobber was barely three years old. As I read this it reminds me of the feelings of despair and anxiety while much of my world thought I was killing it in my business.  I’ll be the first to tell you that starting a business, while a great learning experience, is really, really, really hard.  On many levels: financially, personal relationships, sanity, etc.  Here’s my post from six years ago… not much has changed.

Sometimes I think I’m nuts. Even though I’m more sane than others.  But seriously, what am I thinking, doing my own business? Where’s the safety net in that??

Sometimes I think I’m dense. Even though I got a hecka lot of education, and feel like I’m rather witty.  This “dense” thing comes mostly when I compare myself to others.

Sometimes I’m lonely. Even though I have a terrific wife and family support, and thousands upon thousands of people who read my stuff in my blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  But when I’m sitting in my office, all by myself, with hours to go in the day, wondering which thing I should do next, I wish I had a team working with me.

Sometimes I feel poor. Especially recently as we paid for a new baby, a broken van and car, my doctor’s visit to get my calf looked at, working on getting our basement finished, and payroll… but then I think about the families I met in Mexico who know what poor, and poverty, and hunger, are, in a way that i’ll never have to know.

Usually I’m hungry. Not for food, but for success.  Actually, not even crazy-wild success, just the kind of success that pays the bills for a family with a modest lifestyle.  That’s what i told my publisher, and why I swore I’d make money from book sales.

Most of the times I’m scared. Scared of failing.  Or scared to take steps backwards.  I often wonder if I’m the right guy for the job, and then I just get back to work, day after day, to get the job done the best I can, and hope that indeed, I could be the right guy for this job.

I’m an entrepreneur.

I feel privileged, and hope that I don’t mess this up.

I feel like this is bigger than me… much bigger than me.

I feel like thousands of people need me to keep on plugging along, as my stuff (whether it’s JibberJobber or my books or DVD or blogs whatever) are making a difference to them.

I feel like my future is in MY hands. Not the CEO of Enron, or some board of directors, or some cranky boss… but my own hands.  Please let me not screw this up.

I’m an entrepreneur. While it isn’t easy, it’s rewarding.  I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Check out the great comments from back then.

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How To: Allow Your Coach to See Your JibberJobber Data

August 28th, 2015

Be default, your JibberJobber data is private.  No one can see it except you. This is not a social network… this is a private tracking and organizational tool.

However, it might make sense that someone else sees (and interacts) with your data.  For example:

  • You have a coach who wants to see what you are doing, so they can help you better.  Allowing a coach insight into your database could enhance your relationship with them, and their effectiveness to you.  Click here to see the list of JibberJobber Certified Career Professionals (these are people who have gone through our certification program, which means they understand JibberJobber pretty good!).
  • You have a parent or spouse or brother or neighbor or BFF who you allow access to because they are your accountability partner.
  • You really, really, really trust someone else to see all of your stuff, and even have access to add to your account (like, add a Log Entry).

I strongly encourage you to only do what I’ll show you below with people that you know and trust to the highest degree.  Furthermore, if you grant a coach or accountability partner access to your account now, when your formal relationship concludes, I encourage you to remove this coaching relationship, so they don’t have access to your private relationship management tool forever.  It goes without saying, if you grant someone access, you should probably be careful what you write about them if you have a contact record for them… :)

First, mouse over tools and click on My Coaches:

jibberjobber_my_coaches_tools_menu

Next, click Add a Coach (which will open up #2, the boxes):

jibberjobber_my_coaches_add_a_coach

Next, invite the person to be your coach in JibberJobber:

You can do this by adding their username, if they know it, or their email address (which is associated with their account).  Either way, ask them what their JibberJobber username is, or what email to put in.

They will get an email from JibberJobber saying you have requested the relationship, and they have to click a button to agree to this request.  Once they click this button, assume they have access to all of your data.  BE CAREFUL!

Finally, you might consider following up with the person who you invited… 

Just to be sure they got the message, and acted on it.

There is an alternative to this process… your coach can go into their Coach Dashboard and reverse this process, which sends YOU a message asking for permission to be their coach (and access your data).

As long as you totally trust the other person with your data, you should be good to go. Note that this was originally designed (9 years ago) for recruiters, but I got feedback from recruiters that they should not have that level of access to my job search, because they could do bad (unethical) stuff with it (that would not benefit the job seeker).

 

 

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job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). Free for life with an optional upgrade.

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New Course: Resumes and Self-marketing (for Software Developers)

April 14th, 2015

Last week my newest Pluralsight course went live: Resumes and Self-marketing for Software Developers

This is a course on what to do with your resume… how to use it to self-market, and basic understanding of the resume as a marketing tool.

Remember, for any Jason Alba course you watch on Pluralsight, and as many times as you watch it, you can get an additional 7 days of JibberJobber Premium… no limit! Follow these steps (or scroll down and watch the new video below the image to see exactly how to watch this for free, and get additional Premium on JibberJobber!).

Here’s Pluralsight’s announcement on Facebook:

 

pluralsight_course_resume_facebook

 

Not sure if I’ve had anything on Facebook associated to me with that many likes!

Here’s the video on exactly how to do this:

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). Free for life with an optional upgrade.

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The Hardships of Layoffs (“It’s Just a Business Decisions” with Real Impact)

March 24th, 2015

“It’s just a business decision.”

You’ve heard that before, right?  The message is “we don’t hate you… it’s not about you or your personality or your skills… it’s just bottom line dollars and the health of the company.  And, by laying you off, we can still have a company where we employ others… so while this is hard, at least we aren’t causing everyone to lose their jobs.”

I get, and in general, agree with, that message.

However, there’s an interesting side-effect of the layoffs that seem to be unprecedented…. or at least different than what happened in the 60’s and 70’s, when (I’m guessing) the notion of job security was really made part of the thread of the idea of careers.

Check out the first line from this article from Bay Today (a newspaper):

“A young man who just bought a house, and whose wife just gave birth to a child is among 21 more layoffs announced today at Ontario Northland.”

Does Ontario Northland have any obligation to protect someone who “just bought a house”?  Or someone who “just gave birth to a child”?

Usually those factors are not decision-makers/breakers on whether someone should keep their job or not… but is a company somehow responsible for their soon-to-be past employees, and the life-changing decisions they have made?

Initially, my response is “no.”  I think of the board meetings I’ve been in where I know the board members would have sympathy/empathy, but they would be clear that the company is not responsible for helping you make your house payments.  After all, that was a personal choice… probably not dictated by the company.

After my initial response wore off, I remembered when I got my first real, out-of-college, career job.  I bought a house and a newer car, and was immediately burdened with a debt load that I wasn’t used to.  We could handle it, with my new salary, but it was a lot of money going out the door!  If I lost my job then I would have been in a world of hurt.

It would have been my fault, but, as I’m writing this my impression is that when a company hires us, they give us a life-changing event.  Usually it’s a step up, financially and professionally.  There are expectations of us bringing our best to the job, and them “taking care of” us.  There is an idea that they’ll pay us enough to do our job so that we don’t have to sleep on the streets, or worry about how we are going to pay our bills.

But if companies don’t take their role seriously, and have more loyalty towards employees, and they continue to dispatch employees like they are simple pawns, people will have a harder time making other life-changing decisions, like purchasing a home, settling into a community, getting married, having kids, etc.

Maybe I’m off my rocker on this one, but this morning as I read this line about the young man who just bought his first house, and his wife who just gave birth, I wonder how different things would be if there were a different kind of loyalty towards employees so making life-changing decisions was less stressful.  Like I think it was just a few decades ago.

But maybe I’m just naive. 

 

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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