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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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Y’all! Job Search Courses on Pluralsight!

July 15th, 2019

pluralsight_transparentThis week I’m in the Dallas area giving four presentations, and two in Austin. I’m giving out Pluralsight 30 day passes (if you haven’t gotten one, message me), and encouraging professionals in transition to binge-watch and absorb anything they want… including any of my 32 soft skill and professional development courses, as well as Casey Ayers Business Analyst and Project Management (PMP) certification courses… and MORE.

As I was preparing a slide to suggest a few courses highly relevant to job seekers, I thought I’d share them here with you. These are just mine, there are plenty of other great courses in this library of over 6,000 courses. And these only represent about 20% of my courses…

Here are the courses I’d suggest for most job seekers:

A course on how to develop 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.

A course on 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!

How about a course on working with, and understanding, different personalities? Look, 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 is one of my favorite courses. It’s 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!

I have one course on optimizing your LinkedIn Profile, and another course on a proactive LinkedIn strategy. I wrote the book on LinkedIn over 10 years ago, updated it to multiple versions, and have done countless trainings and consultations on LinkedIn. In these courses we cut through the rhetoric and noise and get to the heart of optimizing your time on LinkedIn. No kool-aid drinking, just smart and doable actionables.

You can get all of these, and more, for free with a 30 day pass from Pluralsight. If you don’t know how, just reach out and I’ll hook you up!

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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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JibberJobber Is Relationships: Job Search, Gig Economy CRM, Just Networking

June 28th, 2019

jibberjobber-networking-professionalsLiz sent an email this morning to JibberJobber users quoting my blog post from 2016. This was from an email that Steve Krum wrote with feedback about JibberJobber. You can read it here.

The point of Liz’s email was this part of that post:

“JibberJobber is a versatile tool that helps you with career and relationship management where you are. Right now it might be in job search, tomorrow it might be in contact management.”

Here’s what I see:

College students use JibberJobber to keep track of important people they come across in their school career. Professors who have industry contacts (believe it or not, some professors have very healthy consulting side hustles), students who are “going somewhere” and have parents who are hiring managers or business owners, and guest speakers who come and share their time with the school. Students might not necessarily be in a heavy job search, but they should certainly be serious about real and long-term networking.

Job seekers, of course. Job seekers should be collecting too much data… and feel confused and overwhelmed. There’s no way around that. But JibberJobber, the job search CRM, helps alleviate a lot of the confusion and feelings of overwhelmed.

Gig economy and side hustle people use JibberJobber for the three main components: Networking, because you get your next customer through people. Target Companies, because consultants need to network with multiple people in their target companies, and Jobs because they might come and go, but tracking the actual jobs and contracts you get in JibberJobber is as key as tracking contacts.

Let me propose a bit of a stretch here… this might show you how crazy I am: I think JibberJobber is great for a grandma or grandpa who wants to track kids, grand kids, grand-nieces and nephews, cousins, etc. with important information like birthdays and when you communicated with them last, and when you should reach out to them again. A stretch, I know :)

My point is, JibberJobber is about relationships and networking and opportunities.

The idea is that you are tracking information instead of relying on your memory.

The idea is that you are networking, and don’t want to forget about or miss opportunities to stay in touch.

The idea is that you are on top of what amounts to a full-time job.

That is JibberJobber. That’s what we are all about, and why people, since 2006, have used JibberJobber.

Regardless of whether you are in a job search today or building your side hustle, do networking on purpose! 

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The Nervous Job Seeker: Do It Anyway!

June 14th, 2019

jibberjobber-nervous-chickenI need to tie up my post from Wednesday (The Job Search Interview Process Is Full of Emotions!) and my post from Thursday (The Job Search Program Better Than Sliced Bread) into my message for today.

So I have to reach out to people. Yesterday I emailed 33 JibberJobber users asking them if they wanted to take part in the Project HOPE alpha program. Then, I emailed 250 coaches and resume writers asking them if they want to learn more about the program, to offer to their clients, as affiliates.

Each time I was about to hit the send button I got all the wrong feels. Not excitement or happiness, but the what ifs. What if they hate me. What if they think I’m a charlatan. What if they are tired of hearing from me. What if they …. what if, what if, what if.

I was nervous.

I was reminded of something similar I did thirteen years ago. Before I knew what I was doing, I wrote a press release. And without worrying about it, I pressed send. Because no one would see it, probably. I had nothing to lose… not reputation, not nothing.

I pressed send and that one piddly press release launched me into a whole new world. I got picked up by a podcast that was listened to by a lot of heavies in the job search space (from the outplacement and recruiting and talent acquisition end). That single podcast made JibberJobber legitimate. And within a week or two I was on a call with an outplacement company, starting to talk about a contract with them.

If I knew what goodness was to come out of that press release, I would have been way more nervous. I would have over-thought it, and probably got stuck in analysis-paralysis. I would have revised and revised and revised the press release, and probably have put it off.

But I was too naive to know what I was doing, and just did it anyway.

About a year or so later, I was writing another press release. I thought about all the goodness from the first one and did go into analysis paralysis. Too much was on the line to mess it up! I’m not sure if I even pushed that press release out.

Here’s my message: it’s okay to be nervous. It is not okay to NOT do what you need to do.

If you need to make the call, make the call. Today. Right now. Just start. You’ve been talking your whole life… you’ll figure out what to say. If you stumble, then recover from it. If you don’t recover on that call, then learn from it, maybe even script out your call or talking points for the next call.

If you have an email to send, SEND IT. What are you waiting for, better weather?  There’s no time like the present. Send it. And if you need to, follow up later.

We all have a “chicken list.” And it’s okay to not feel fully confident. It’s normal to have the emotions, as I explained in Wednesday’s post about emotions.

stop feeling like you have to get your nerves in check, and just DO what you need to do. It will get easier, you’ll be less nervous, and you’ll start to get results (assuming you are doing the right things).

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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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What To Do When Interviewers Don’t Know What They Are Hiring For

June 10th, 2019

jibberjobber-poor-communicationLast week I was talking to a friend of mine, a senior technical recruiter. We were talking about a scenario like this:

You read the job description and think: Yep, that’s me. I master all of those, except one, which I can learn quickly (and is probably not as important as the others)

You have your first interview: It is mostly aligned with the job description, but focuses on one or two functions (ignoring the rest)

You have the next interview: This is a little different, as the interviewer focuses on a different function (barely mentioning what the first interviewer focused on)

By this point you think “ah, two different people, who both understand the job, and each person will interface with you (or want something from you) in a different way than one another.”

Your next interviewer surprises you: This is a higher-level person… and they ask you questions that have nothing to do with what you understood the job to do, or what the other interviews focused on. It’s almost as if they are asking you about a completely different role.

Again, they know what they are doing, right? This is just a broad assessment, with each person tasked to focus on different things. No big deal.

Actually, it is a big deal. This scenario could lose you the job.

My recruiter friend said “Jason, this happens ALL THE TIME. In almost every job that we recruit for.”

How could this be?

When I interviewed at Bamboo last year, I printed off the job description from their company website. Oh wait, there’s another description on LinkedIn… print that, too. Oh my, there’s a job description I was emailed.

OH MY. They are all slightly different. Slightly, but materially.

Which is the right one?

There are at least three major parties involved in the job description creation and approval:

The hiring manager: This person knows exactly what (and sometimes who) they want. However, they might not be very good at communicating what they want.

The recruiter and that whole team: The people who are many times responsible for the final written job description, posting it, and sometimes having the first interviews with you so they can know who to weed out.

The approver, some higher-up: This person has their own understanding of what the role is and who will be right and what they will do. They aren’t as close to the team as the manager is, but they orchestrate a lot of teams and know how teams fit together.

jibberjobber-bosses-not-communicating

Imagine each of those people have a tiny misunderstanding of the role. And you, the job seeker, has a specific and perhaps a little bit wrong understanding of the role. Multiply those tiny misunderstandings by imperfect communication and assumptions, and now we have… well, a mess.

It might feel like you are interviewing for three or four different jobs.

“It happens all the time,” said this recruiter.

So, what can you do about it?

I have two ideas.

First, read, understand, and internalize the job description.

1. Learn everything you can about the job description.

Go through it again and again, line by line. Understand what they are asking for. If you need to, make notes on it. Heck, rewrite it in your own words! You should be able to talk about every single part of the job description.

Be careful to not latch on to one or two parts of the job, and redefine the description by just those parts.

If you have doubts or questions, email your contact (maybe the recruiter, or a friend, or someone you have networked with at the company) to clarify. In my interview last year I said “I understand all of this, but why does this person also need to be an expert in Photoshop?” “What?? Oh, that must have gotten there from a copy and paste from a different job description.”  Oops. I spent time wondering if I needed to learn Photoshop, and it had nothing to do with the actual job. Just ask and clarify.

Be ready to go into this job interview understanding (or at least having great questions) the job description.

2. Point the interview back to the right role.

As the interview gets further and further away from the job description, you can bring it back, without dancing around it.

Recognize, of course, that some questions that seem weird or outside of the job description might be strategic, to uncover how good of a fit you will be on the team or at the company. But generally, you should be able to tie every single answer back to the job you are interviewing for. To do that, though, you have to go back to #1, and totally understand the job based on the description (or your digging).

It would not be inappropriate to ask a clarifying question, such as:

“Based on the job description, I thought the role of this job would do more of [THIS:________] than [THAT:_________]. Is that what you understand?”

Feel free to dig down on this part of the discussion. Being precise about the role and expectations is not bad at all. In theory, you are there to evaluate the company and opportunity and team as much as they are evaluating you (but emotions are way different, depending on which side of the table you are sitting!).

You could also ask:

“What would success look like (or, how would you measure success) in the first 3 – 6 months?”

I find this to be not as effective as the question above, but it could help you get more clarity for the role. Besides, it’s a solid interview question for “candidates.”

I know that we, as candidates, assume the people who bring us in know what they are doing. Look, people have been saying “recruiting is broken” and “hiring is broken” for decades. There’s a reason for that. You can’t assume they know what they want, or that they communicate well with one another. Go in ready for some obvious poor communication and assumptions on their end that have preceded you. The two steps above should help you be more prepared in that situation.

 

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Another Tactic To Quantify Your Cultural Fit and Soft Skills

June 6th, 2019

Yesterday I wrote How To Quantify Your Cultural Fit And Soft Skills. I shared a simple tactic that is just one piece of the puzzle to help people understand that you have certain soft, hard to measure skills.

Another way to quantify your soft skills and how well you might fit into my company or team is to write articles or posts. You can do this on LinkedIn easily. One the homepage of LinkedIn, simply click the Write an article link:

write-linkedin-article

This is super easy for anyone to do. We all have LinkedIn profiles…. your writing platform is just one click away. It’s free and couldn’t be easier. Plus, you might even get one or two people to read what you write :p (more on that below)

Another popular place to write and pontificate without setting up a blog is Medium. Here’s one of many examples:

jibberjobber-medium-soft-skills-articles

Medium is a very cool system that is free, allowing you to put up the same article you might have on LinkedIn (or on a personal blog). In fact, plenty of people have their own website for their brand, and then link to medium posts they have written.

Are you in leadership? I want to have a better understanding of the breadth and depth of your leadership skills. I can get only so much from interviews, and from a resume. If I find 10, or 100, of your articles about leadership, I can get great insight into your breadth and depth of leadership.

Same thing for communication, empathy, customer service, strategy, listening, etc.

Write articles that help me understand the breadth and depth of your thoughts in these areas, and I might think “her resume is okay, but wow, her articles really show that she has the experience and skills we need for this role, and I think we’ll really like her on this team!”

Of course, writing great articles doesn’t mean you are a great leader. Maybe you stink at it. But, I think a great article strategy could go a long way to communicate your proficiency in something that is hard to otherwise quantify.

Finally, what about this notion of no one reading your stuff?

My answer is: I don’t care.

Honestly. If no one reads your stuff, that’s okay. Because you have them there, waiting for the right person and the right time.

The right person is an influencer, or hiring manager, or someone on the panel interview. The right time is when you are in the hot seat, being evaluated.

Even if no one else has read your article, you wrote it for that person at that time. And that should be worth it.

Imagine if you had a dozen, or dozens, of these kinds of articles just waiting for that person at that time!

 

 

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How To Quantify Your Cultural Fit And Soft Skills

June 5th, 2019

I was recently chatting with a few people about the reality of quantifying how good you are at soft skills, professional development, and how you could somehow show you would be a good team and cultural fit.

Pluralsight has solved this problem for technical skills. They have what is called Skill IQ, which allows you to take an assessment and come out with a score of how proficient you are in a certain skill (such as programming, design, graphic arts, etc.). These skills are easier to assess than soft skills.  “How do you do this programming thing?” can have one, or a best, answer. However, “Are you a good listener” is…. too subjective.

Pluralsight-IQ

I had a friend who sent me his resume. A developer, he had a section of his programming languages, with a designation from “novice” to “expert” by each language. Skill IQ is a much better way of communicating how good you are at any particular thing because they are based on the assessment, and compared with other people who take the assessment. Not only are you getting your own score from the assessment, you can see how you compare to others. That is really cool, and much better than a self-assessment of “expert” or whatever.

Personally, I think you can come up with some good questions that can help you assess soft skills, but I haven’t put too much thought into how that would work. Maybe one day I will.

For now, I have a suggestion on how to help quantify your soft skills, your professional development, and your cultural fit. This is right in-line with my blog post from yesterday, on the two things you need to prove in the job interview process (one of them is the cultural/team fit).

First, go to YOUR profile in LinkedIn.

The easiest way to get there is to click on your picture, name, or title from the top-left of LinkedIn:

jibberjobber-edit-linkedin-profile

Then, scroll down until you see the “Add profile section” button.

This comes up pretty soon after you scroll down (sorry if this part gets outdated, LinkedIn changes things regularly):

jibberjobber-edit-linkedin-profile-add-profile-section

Then, lick on Accomplishments, then Courses.

When you click on Accomplishments, you get more options, including Courses. I have seen a lot of people add courses to their Profile… this is where they do it from. Note that if you click on “Courses” you can add ONE course. If you want to add any more you have to click on the PLUS icon. Or, just always click on the PLUS icon!

jibberjobber-linkedin-add-courses-profile

Then, add your course information.

I put the name of the Pluralsight course I created (I figure if I created it I can claim I watched it, right?). You would put the names of any courses you took anywhere… if you want access to my Pluralsight courses (I can get you a 30 day pass), just reach out to me (Jason@JibberJobber.com). I don’t know what the number means, so I’m just putting what course number it is for me (this one was my 31st course), and the third box is to associate that course with a particular job title from your Profile.

I put (Pluralsight) in the course name because I think that adds validity/credibility.

jibberjobber-linkedin-add-pluralsight-courses-profile

Then, Save.

The courses will show on your Profile, under Accomplishments, like this:

jibberjobber-pluralsight-courses-profile

As a hiring manager I’m not going to look at that and say “Oh, Jason took an innovation course. Now I know he is innovative.” Or, assume that I’m good at having difficult conversations, or that I’m a leader. I’m not going to assume any of those, but I will have a better understanding of what you are interested in, where you are looking to improve, etc.

When I was on Dr. Paul Jenkin’s podcast last week I spent time looking at his bookshelf. I do this when I go to people’s houses… I want to know what they read, what books they buy, and what interests them. This helps me know where their mind is, what they do and think about in their spare time.

This is similar. This is your “bookshelf” to give me a little more insight into you. It’s not a perfect assessment of your soft skills, and how you’ll fit into my team, but I think it can contribute to me having a better understanding of those things about you.

Plus, it’s free, and easy to do. In the time you scanned this blog post, you could have added three courses :p

Again, if you want a 30 day pass to Pluralsight, hit me up (Jason@JibberJobber.com).

 

 

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The Two Things You Need To Prove In The Job Interview Process

June 4th, 2019

Prove Job InterviewI’ve been interviewing job candidates since almost the beginning of my career. And, I’ve been in my fair share of interviews. I’ve come to realize that there really isn’t anything secretive about the process… sometimes they feel wonky, or weird. But there are just two things that you need to somehow get across in the entire process.

Note that “the entire process” includes every communication you have with people who are making the hiring decision, which includes your resume, LinkedIn profile, online social presence, etc.

The first things you need to prove is that you are technically competent.

Can you actually do the job? Most of the job seekers I talk to think they are the best fit for the job because they’ve gone through the job description and know they can do every bit of it really, really well. In my job last year at Bamboo I went through the job description and thought “I can do all of this (with one exception),” and “my heavens, no one should have this weird of a background or list of proficiencies!”  (The exception was a bullet point that was mistakenly copied over from another job description for a completely different role. The lesson there is that not all job descriptions are bullet-proof, and many of them would probably be about a C-)

Can you do the job? If so, how do you prove it?

Do you use stories? When I had this role before, I found that the processes were too limiting and my team wasn’t able to really contribute the way they should have. We worked on optimizing some processes and policies, which allowed my team to work much more efficiently, and get more work done. I was able to create those optimizations because I’ve worked in similar teams for years, and had an intimate understanding of what needed to happen.” Not a super story, but you get the point.

Do you use quantifications? One of the most important things you should have on your resume is a list of quantifications of how what you have done has made improvements. Did you raise scores at the school? Did you sell more widgets than anyone else? Did you open more offices, help more people, improve the satisfaction score? Where you working with hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions, or billions? Put numbers on those things, and impress me. Give me something I can sink my teeth into.

Do you use testimonials? I find that allowing other people to talk about my proficiencies is sometimes more powerful than me “bragging” about them. You can ask for testimonials (you should do this!) and coach people on how to give one that has merit, and isn’t just a good-ol-boys-club-fluffy- statement. Or, you can say something like “People I have worked with would say” or “People who have hired me” or “People who have reported to me” and then some statement that, once again, makes your case in a meaningful way.

Perhaps you prove your proficiency in other ways, but those are the main three I can think of right now. Of course, the vehicles you use to do this could be varied, depending on your audience. Maybe you use a personal blog, or LinkedIn articles, or write on Medium, or speak at local events… the list goes on and on. But don’t use those vehicles without understanding WHAT and WHY.

One last point on this: if you asked me to coach you on this, I would suggest that this is a career management strategy, not just a job search strategy. In other words, this is a long-term strategy, not just something you do while you are in a job search.

The second thing to prove is that you will fit into the culture of the team and organization.

JibberJobber Team CultureI have interviewed people who, technically, would have been excellent hires. They would have done such a good job at the job. But, they were not cultural fits.

This comes down to how nice you are. What your emotional intelligence (EQ) is. How perceptive you are.

Look, I know that sometimes there are some very technical things that need to be done and it just doesn’t matter whether the person is good with people or not. Maybe you can isolate them, or by the very nature of the job, they will not be around people. But in today’s world that isn’t super practical. Team members want to enjoy who they work with. They don’t want to go to work with anxiety because of a conversation that might happen (I’ve been there).

Working with horrible people who are good at the technical part of their job is miserable.

How do you show that you are not a horrible jerk?

You could tell people how nice and great you are. But I know a narcissist who is excellent at convincing people about how nice and great they are. I’ve seen people, who were supposedly nice and great, hired, and became a cancer to the organization.

How do you help convince people that you really are cool?

Again, stories. These stories could be about pulling a team together, or working with difficult people, or how you have contributed to a team culture. “Tell me about a time when…” and relate it back to how you work with others, which can give me insight into how you will work with me, our team, and our customers.

Again, quantifications. Perhaps these quantifications have to do with helping employees stay in a company or on a team longer (which is a real issue), or bringing more people to your team (growth), or satisfaction scores. How can you quantify any part of your niceness and previous cultural fit?

Again, testimonials. Let others talk about and for you. This is how most LinkedIn Recommendations are… focusing more on your soft side and how great you are to work with. There is nothing wrong with asking people for specific testimonials and recommendations, but there is something wrong with not having any to show.

I’m not sure I can say which is more important: the ability to do the job, or the culture fit. I think it will depend on many factors, including what the pain points are the company has experienced. Maybe they had someone that was a jerk but good at what they did, and they are reeling from that pain. Or, they have a bunch of nice people who aren’t good at what they do, and they know they need to hire better for competency.

Your job, as a job seeker, is to someone prove both of the things above. Feel free to let me know how it goes!

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