Step Away from Your Job Search

June 1st, 2021

I recently wrote a tweet about “stepping away.” This is based on a project I was working on, and getting stuck. I could stare at the screen for minutes… er, hours, and make no progress. Or, I could walk away.

I chose to walk away and address it the following day, which inspired this tweet (I’m also including Jacqui’s response/forward):

I am reminded of my Big Fat Failed Job Search, from early 2006. The economy was great, talent was getting picked up quickly, and I was there all alone not even getting replies to emails or applications. I spent hour after hour getting nowhere. It was frustrating and depressing.

I later found myself on a podcast talking to some recruiters. One of them said the average job seeker spent something like ten hours a week on their job search. I said that didn’t sound right to me… the people I met at job clubs were definitely spending more than ten hours a week. I said I spent about ten hours a day, Monday through Saturday (that is 60 hours a week) on my job search. The guy yelled at me, insinuating that I wasn’t being honest, and saying that I was an anomaly.

I left that podcast in disbelief that people in my situation, hungry, desperate, and in need of a new job (and income) would only work on it ten hours a week.

I’m certainly not promoting 60 hours a week. It was exhausting, especially since I wasn’t making any progress. Of course, 60 hours a week of good tactics that were producing results would have been different. I’ve always known I should have done a job search differently… not spent nearly as much time on job boards and done some REAL networking and follow up (which is why I created the Job Search Program system). But one thing I wish I would have done back then was to STEP AWAY.

60 hours of unproductive, depressing work was not helpful.

If I could counsel my younger job seeker self I would say to step away, every day.

Figure out the most important things I needed to do each day, and do them early in the day. Then, instead of restlessly tinkering on job boards, hoping to find something, I’d say go out and do something productive.

Ideally it would be some networking thing… whether that is with a neighbor or on a call with someone I met at a networking event. Call someone, talk to someone, practice your branding pitches, ask how you could help them, develop and nurture a relationship, ask for introductions, learn about titles, roles, companies, opportunities, networking events, etc.

I spent about 100% of my time on my computer and about 0% of my time doing stuff from that last paragraph. Which is why 2006 was the year of my Big Fat Failed Job Search.

Step away and get your other stuff done. I’m sure you have laundry, dishes, maintenance, exercise, reading, etc. that you should do. Somewhere in the back of your brain you have something nagging at you. It sounds like “I really should do this… but…”

My “but” was that I felt I needed to do my job search until I got a job, and then I could get to those other things. Guess what? Neglect will catch up with you. Neglecting a drip could turn into thousands of dollars of water or mold damage. Neglecting pest control could turn into a multi-thousand dollar infestation problem. Neglecting relationships, neglecting your physical health, neglecting your mental health… all of these things come at a cost. Some costs are bearable. Other costs can be overwhelming.

I was in that situation because I had neglected my network and my personal brand. And I paid dearly for it.

I know how emotionally draining a job search is. I know how much anxiety there is. I know.

I also know how important it is to get your work done, and then STEP AWAY.

It’s hard to relax, and to enjoy… but you have to do that. You need to maintain some healthy balance in your life. You will be a better communicator and networker if you have this balance. Read, clean, fix, work, rest, relax, fish, hike… whatever you need to do to get that healthy balance.

Whenever I thought of any of this during my Big Fat Failed Job Search I had one thought:

If I spend time on anything other than landing my next job I am cheating on my family. I’m cheating on my future. 

That was unhealthy, untrue self-talk. If I had a coach, they would have told me to get off the computer. Ten hours a day of fiddling was not good. I’d much rather do one hour a day of very strategic techniques than 10 hours a day of fiddling. That’s the gist of the Job Search Program. And this is my formal invitation to you:


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Personal Branding Course Updated for 2021

March 8th, 2021

Last week my newest course update went live. It is called Developing Your Personal Brand.

Pluralsight Developing Your Personal Brand Header

This course is about 2 and a half hours. I talk about what personal branding actually is, who has a brand, and what you can do to create the branding you want. I share specific tactics, tools, ideas, etc. In the last module I share examples.

When I got certified as a personal branding strategist a hundred years ago I had already written my book on LinkedIn, and I think I had written my book on Facebook. I had been blogging for years, and had been actively doing the personal branding tactics I was learning about. I was doing personal branding online and offline. I didn’t learn much in the strategy certification program because it was geared more towards people who hadn’t been thinking about personal branding… but it was good to make sure I was aligned with the best practices being taught to career leaders.

In my Career Management 2.0 course and on-stage presentations I talk about the two major components to career management: your network and your personal brand. I’ve been forced, on stage, to keep this to 45 minutes. That is really hard. Once, in Maryland, I went for almost three hours, which seems long but no one left and there were still questions after.

Personal branding got on my radar when my 2006 job search sucked and I realized part of it was my branding was non-existent. It hurt me to not have an intentional brand. So, I did a deep dive and came up with a structured approach to creating, developing, communicating, and influencing your brand.

That’s what this course is about. It’s for the active job seeker, the passive job seeker, the entrepreneur, and even the person who’s sat in the same chair for 30 years, getting close to retirement. Check it out here:

Developing Your Personal Brand


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The Job Search Program is INTENSE! (Updates)

March 4th, 2021

Last night I finished rerecording the Job Search Program, a six week program that focus on working an informational interviews strategy.

Currently the whole program is audio (with a bunch of text supplements), but once the editor is done with my videos it will be audio and/or video. I’m excited to have this updated with video even though I wish there was a better looking model :)

As I was recording last night there was one line that jumped out at me… I tweeted it here:

Yes, the program is intense. As you move through each of the weeks the tasks get increasingly more challenging. I start of gently so you can get your sea legs, and feel some confidence that you can work the program, but the reality is that within a few weeks you might feel uncomfortable. I’m okay with that. When I was in my job search I was uncomfortable 24 hours a day. I did things that were hard and out of my comfort zone. And, I like I said in the tweet (and the program), I’d rather do the hard things that get me back into a great job than do the hard things that come with long-term unemployment.

So, no apologies. But you have my support and my enthusiasm. If you are a Job Search Program customer, reach out to me. I invite you to, multiple times, email me. I want to know how you are doing, what your challenges are, and how I can help. Seriously, reach out to me.

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Job Search Tool: The Job Seeker Newsletter

August 14th, 2020

Years ago I wrote about a very awesome tactic for networking and personal branding, with an emphasis on helping your network help you in your job search.

In most of my on-stage presentations I talk about it, and in a few of my Pluralsight courses I talk about it. This was not a flash-in-the-pan, whimsical suggestion. I think a regular newsletter for your network can be a super powerful tool.

JibberJobber Job Search Newsletter Typing Email

In the April 5th (2012) post I talk about the three things that go into your newsletter. This is seriously three SHORT paragraphs. Each paragraph has a very important purpose. At the end is a very specific call to action. This post, How to write a job search newsletter (1 of 2), is the nuts and bolts. Don’t let the simplicity trick you into thinking it isn’t a super powerful tool.

The next day, April 6th, I wrote How to write a job search newsletter (2 of 2). This is an important follow up where I talk about how to keep track of WHAT you have sent to WHO. I talk about how you would use JibberJobber to (a) figure out who you would email (and quickly get an email list for those you want to send the newsletter to) and (b) how to track, in JibberJobber, what you sent and who you sent it to.

Please consider including the job search newsletter in your job search strategy. It doesn’t take much time or effort, but could result in some great conversations, leads, and introductions.  The two links above are to short but important blog posts!

JibberJobber Job Search Newsletter at symbol

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Project Hope: The Job Search Program #InformationalInterviews

July 29th, 2020

In 2006 I lost my job. It was a devastating experience for me and my family. It drilled into the core of who I was, and how I valued myself. I was afraid of not being able to provide for my family. The stress had long-term impacts on how I think about money, the future, “job security,” etc.

Now, 14 years later, I have created a tool for job seekers to help them organize their job search. It is a great tool that I’ve invested 14 years and gobs of money into. Last year, though, I came out with what I think will be my biggest value to those in job search. It is a six-week program focused on helping job seekers get into interviews. You can learn more here:

We called it, internally, Project Hope. As a job seeker I had lost hope. I was in a dark place. The discouragement was heavy. In Project Hope (aka, the Job Search Program) I tap into the brilliance of Mark LeBlanc’s decades of study and systems to help small businesses get more clients. With his permission I adapted some of his systems and teachings for job seekers. I created a six-week program that walks you through simple but important tasks to work on every day for 6 weeks. The program is simple, and forgiving, but there is work to do.

If you know someone who is in a job search, please share this with them. Proper actions can overpower despair. Results can bring someone out of hopelessness. Traction can lead them to their next role. The “introductory” price right now is $197. The feedback has been very favorable. And getting a “thank you” from people who have used this program and landed a job has been so rewarding. Here’s the link to share:


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What Is JibberJobber (in videos)? A Job Search CRM…

July 13th, 2020

I was recently asked for some video explainers for JibberJobber, prior to doing a presentation to a job club. This is what I sent:

This 4 minute overview explains what JibberJobber is and how to not be overwhelmed (or, to focus on the most important parts of JibberJobber):

The one minute video on the homepage gives a conceptual overview:

This 4 minute introduction video gives a quick overview of JibberJobber, and emphasizes the Getting Started videos:

If nothing else, go through the Getting Started Videos table of content page to see what topics you might be interested in

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The Job Search and Career Seminar Series

June 22nd, 2020

Last week I finished my three week six session series on job search and career stuff, sponsored by Pluralsight. I posted the entire series here… you can watch each of the six sessions as well as download the slides (nothing special there) and see what Pluralsight courses and other resources I talked about.

Feel free to share this… lots of people should be needing this stuff pretty soon…

Pluralsight Free Seminar Series: Job Search and Career Sessions

Here are the individual YouTube videos:

The Interview Process

Personal Branding While in Transition

Job Search Processes and Systems

Networking with Humans

Onboarding Yourself in Your Next Job

Personal Finances for Job Seekers

Enjoy, and share!

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Updated Informational Interviews Course on Pluralsight!

February 25th, 2020

Look what I got in my email Friday night:

Pluralsight Informational Interviews

Go to the Informational Interviews course

I’m counting this as my 36th course, even thought it replaces one I did back in 2012 (or was it 2013?).

After doing my first course with Pluralsight, in 2012, I pitched them a course on informational interviews. By that time I had been speaking a lot on stage and was passionate about informational interviews as the best tool/tactic/strategy for job seekers.

Here we are in 2020 and I continue to believe (and) say that. I can’t imagine a more important way for you to spend your time, especially the time you have control over (quiet time, time when no one is reaching out to you, which I had in abundance in my job search).

Beyond being the best tactic for job seekers, it is an excellent tactic/strategy for people who are ready to really, seriously, and strategically network. It’s an super tactic/strategy for small business owners who are looking for partners, customers, investors, etc.

A friend of mine is a professional speaker. He asked “could I use this to get more speaking business?” ABSOLUTELY.

Informational interviews is simply strategic, purposeful networking. It is networking with a system instead of accidental networking.

I believe in informational interviews so much I created a 6 week job search program that focuses on using informational interviews to find leads, and get you closer to job interviews.

Otherwise, for a hour+ course, click on this link to the Pluralsight Informational Interviews course. Need a 30 day pass? Hit me up :)

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Podcast: “I’m a leader, how do I communicate that to employers?”

February 6th, 2020

Don Jones, one of my friends from Pluralsight, invited me to an interesting conversation he was going to have with a job seeker. This guy had plenty of leadership skills but wasn’t quite sure how to best communicate that in his job search.

Listen here:

Jjason Alba Don Jones Job Search Podcast

This conversation was only 39 minutes… and I got a chance to talk through job search strategy and tactics. We talked about personal branding, of course, and a bunch of things that I think will help you in your job search.

You can either play it in your browser, or on a podcast service, or just download it from Don’s page, here:


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That Time I Networked With Randy

January 9th, 2020

JibberJobber Network Clubs

A hundred years ago, in 2006, I forced myself to get to a network meeting for job seekers.

When I say forced, I really didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to take the time, which I thought was not as productive as sitting on my laptop monitoring Monster job postings, and hoping to be one of the first to apply. I didn’t want to network with people who didn’t have a job because, frankly, I judged them to be broken, or unhireable, or whatever. Yes, I was that much of a jerk. I know some of you have the same thoughts, though.

But really… what good would networking with people who didn’t have a job be? How could those who needed, and couldn’t give, help me?

I was a short-sighted dork.

But on that fateful morning, after a couple of false starts and fake attempts, I walked through the doors and experienced something that would be life changing.

As we went around the room so everyone could introduce themselves, I listened in awe. You see, I was expecting broken people with bad careers and having made poor career choices. But I heard person after person share their 30 second pitch, and was shocked that the people in the room were accomplished professionals. They were well spoken, well dressed, and really cool people.

Why were they there, then? Every person had their own story (which they didn’t share in their 30 second pitch). I learned about company mergers and acquisitions, I learned that I wasn’t the only one who had a toxic boss, I learned about discrimination, and other things that go into downsizing. Of course, some people were there because of their own doing… but it was there that I looked around and realized:

I was not alone.

For about six weeks I had been alone. Very alone. And lonely.

But going to a network meeting with job seekers was exactly what I needed to start to heal. Instead of sitting on Monster waiting for a new posting to apply to, judging myself and wondering what was wrong with me, I could talk to, listen to, and learn from people who had great careers and were also unemployed.

It really was an epic moment for me.

And then there was Randy. Randy was at least ten years older than I was. He was, in my mind, an executive. When he did his 30 second pitch I thought “oh my, that is almost exactly my pitch!” Project management, product management, general manager. The difference was that I was coming out of a tiny company with little-to-no mentoring, and very small-scale experience. I guessed that Randy had 20 years of REAL general manager experience. He was the real deal.

Randy came, a few weeks later, to say he landed a job, and thanks for everything. He then pulled me aside and told me about how LinkedIn was so critical to his job search. I was hesitant… I was already looking at job boards all day and felt like I had too many accounts elsewhere… did I really need to get on LinkedIn, too?

Laughable, I know.

Randy made a huge impression on me. I saw in him what I could be in the next 10 or 20 years in my career. I saw a strong, self-confident professional who was at a not fun part of his career, but held his chin up and moved forward, optimistic that he would land well.

He gave me hope for the future. His example encouraged me to move forward. He helped me understand that job clubs were not full of broken people or losers.

Whether you go to job clubs to learn about job search techniques (mine were outdated), to network with others (job seekers make some of the best networkers), to get your name out there (stand in front of 30 or 60+ people and give a good 30 second pitch and you’ll start this process), or just to be around other humans… I don’t care why you go. Just go. Go so that it can be your lifeline.

You never know, maybe YOU will be someone else’s lifeline.

Here are some other posts I’ve written about job clubs over the years:

10 Reasons to Frequent Job Clubs

The Power of Job Clubs

The Power of Job Clubs and Job Ministries

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