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2019 Career Resolutions for 2019 for Technologists

December 20th, 2018

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by a dice.com writer, asking what my recommendations for career resolutions could be for technologists. I had three things I shared that I thought were pretty darn good. You can see her article here: Career Resolutions Every Tech Pro Needs to Make for 2019

First, and I think the most important bit of advice, is to work on your soft skills. 

I was not the only one surprised by the results of Google’s study of what made their top workers so successful, where the FIRST seven of ten things were soft skills.

Isn’t that mind-boggling? The top seven most important characteristics of successful Google employees do not include technology skills!  I’m still shocked.

But I’m not surprised. Soft skills are so critical in today’s world, especially where there is a certain assumption of technical abilities.

I have 30 (and counting) Pluralsight courses that you can access that will help you with soft skills. You can see my soft skills courses on Pluralsight here.

While the primary audience of Pluralsight has been programmers, my soft skill courses are applicable to anyone. Want to become a better listener? Want to learn about leadership, management, even career management (of course)? I have that, and more.

I can offer you a 30 day pass on Pluralsight. Just get a JibberJobber account and then use the contact us to ask for more information.

Pluralsight costs around $300 a year, which is a steal considering what it would take to, for example, go to school or sign up for a boot camp. Many professionals around the world use Pluralsight to keep their skills up-to-date.  Sometimes they have special offers…

My main point is, for your career growth, work on your soft skills!

Second, help others.

When you help others, whether you need help as a desperate job seeker or you are totally comfortable in your day job, you are creating great value in your network.

I told the author of the dice article about an opportunity that I had… what would have been a sure job offer through the brother of a close friend. It would have been awesome. I was at a networking event a few days earlier and met someone who would have been the perfect hire. In my conversation with the hiring manager I said that I’d be happy to pursue this, but they really should have the other guy come in, too.

Long story short: the other guy was offered the job. And I felt awesome, for the small part I had in his success.

Helping others can be as dramatic as that, or it can be as simple as saying “yes, I would be happy to meet with you for 30 minutes.” Helping others means you make introductions, or make calls on behalf of the other person. It means you remember someone’s name, or just greet someone kindly. It means you speak kindly of others. There are hundreds of ways you can help others…. I hope that this can be a career goal for you in 2019 and for years to come.

Third, do The Thing you know you need to do.

When the writer of that article asked me (in an email) what every technology professional should have as a career resolution in 2019, the first and second things mentioned above came to mind first. As we were talking, I had another idea. It’s hard to say “all technologists should do this.” We’re talking about tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people.

My idea was the one at the bottom of the article, the one where I was cited. It was that you already know what you should do. There is, I’m sure, at least one thing that you should work on. I’m not sure if it’s to get better at a certain hard skill, or to expand your network, or to get ready for a a leadership role or to branch out as an entrepreneur… I don’t know. But I bet you know.

So my suggestion is to work on the thing that you know to do. I don’t have a silver bullet answer for you… you already have the answer.

So work on that.

Happy 2019!

 

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Have You Ever Been In A Healthy Mentoring Relationship?

August 11th, 2018

In school they talked a lot about the power of mentors. “Go find a mentor,” they would say. Someone who was further down the path than we were… someone who could help us land our next job, or deal with an interesting boss, or navigate our career, or help with networking, etc.

I have always been a fan of mentoring. I never found ONE mentor, I found mentoring from a lot of people. I figured everyone had something to offer me, and I recognized that I might even have something, some mentoring value, to most people (as long as they were willing to receive it).

There are two big parts to mentoring: the mentor and the mentee. There are also rules, perhaps mentoring etiquette, of a mentoring relationship. Two of my currently popular courses on Pluralsight address the dynamics of a great mentoring relationship. One is on how to be a great mentor, the other is on how to be a great mentee.

Why are these courses among my popular courses? Because companies recognize the value of mentors. Because we all need mentors. Whether you are on the mentor side or the mentee side, check out those two courses. And if you have a JibberJobber account, go to the course tracker and self-report for extra JibberJobber premium upgrade days just for watching the courses.  If you aren’t on Pluralsight you can get a 30 day pass if you are a JibberJobber user – just login, mouse over videos, and click the first option (Pluralsight videos) to get started.

Any questions? Reach out through the Contact link!

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Book Recommendation: Learn How The Experts Do It

January 17th, 2018

There are a few reasons I am recommending this book, none of which have to do with the fact that I know the author Steve Thomas and his awesome wife Kris. I want to share this book because Steve has built a really cool company and is helping a lot of people. He is also a brilliant communicator, and if you have anything to do with fundraising, or non-profits, or marketing, you should learn from him.  If you are a job seeker, you can learn from his email (below) as far as formatting and message, and from his book on how to communicate with people and ask for things when you are uncomfortable.

The regular price is not a big deal (ten bucks), but for the next few days you can get this kindle book for only 99 cents.  What are you waiting for?  Here’s Steve’s email… go get this book!

Hi Jason,

My name’s Steve Thomas.

You and I are connected through Linked In. Our connection might not be any deeper than that. But I suspect you do understand the opportunities that come from some of these connections.jibberjobber_donoricity_book

If you are a nonprofit professional or fundraiser or know someone who focuses on communicating with donors, you might find my 99 cent Kindle book promotion interesting. (On Monday, Amazon will reset the price back to $9.99).

About 4 years ago, I set out to write a book telling the secret to raising more dollars from donors. It took much longer than I expected. Candidly, it was really challenging to write what I know.

I own two advertising agencies that create powerful fundraising day in and day out for nonprofit clients, year after year. These strategies were born in the trenches of that fundraising work.

What’s very cool, is that not only do these strategies raise more money, donors will love what you’re doing.

I’m not a professor or ivory tower PhD who teaches the theory.  I raise money for a variety of nonprofit clients. And using these strategies we’ve been successfully raising money for years.

The book is:

Donoricity: Raise More Money for Your Nonprofit with Strategies Your Donors Crave

That’s right Donoricity.

You pronounce it like electricity, simplicity or felicity.

I’m pretty pleased with it, and I think you’ll love it if you live in the fundraising or donor development world.

Donoricity will help you if:

  • You’re feeling that your communications aren’t connecting with your donors.
  • You’re sick of fundraising that’s embarrassing.
  • You’re weary of programs and systems that don’t really fit you.
  • You’re wondering if there was something missing from your fundraising efforts.
  • You’re thinking that there just had to be a better way.

Donoricity was born in the trenches of fundraising and marketing. It’s real-world tested. It works.

The solutions you’ll find in Donoricity will help organizations from start-up to huge.

You can get the first chapter on audio, see my video and find out more at Donoricity.com.

As I mentioned, beginning today, I’m offering the Kindle version of Donoricity for just 99 centsMonday, January 22nd, the price goes up to $9.99.

So for 99 cents you can see for yourself and improve your donor relationships. It’s a good value. And I think you’ll find it refreshing.

Thanks for checking it out. Let me know what you think.

st

Did you get the book yet?

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Eric Shannon on Job Search Strategies and Tactics

January 5th, 2018

You probably haven’t heard of Eric Shannon. He’s a super cool guy, and really smart. He’s also been in the job board space for 20 years. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve had a few calls and emails with him over the years, and I respect everything he’s shared with me.  So now it’s my turn to share something awesome, from him, with you.

eric_shannon_linkedin

Eric wrote a post titled Use big-ticket sales techniques to get in the game – how to land the interview you want. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen. It’s deep, and kind of long, but it’s definitely a post I can stand behind.

As a bonus, his followup is a post on how to land the job offer. Great stuff!

 

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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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The Shift In Your Marketing Message #JobSearch

December 27th, 2017

As a hiring manager I look for two very important things. It is your job to communicate the right message for both of these, but not necessarily at the same time.

The first thing I need to know is that you are technically competent for the job. Whether you are a mechanic or a programmer or a teacher or a whatever, I need to know that you can do the job. I need to know you have a minimum breadth and depth of experience and skills.

You can communicate that with stats and stories. This is done on a resume and LinkedIn Profile and anywhere else. A super powerful tool is a blog (or Medium articles, or even LinkedIn articles), or perhaps a portfolio. You use the right language (jargon) and can talk about things at a technical level.

There comes a point in my evaluation of candidates (aka, job seekers) that I assume that everyone I’ve whittled it down to has the right abilities to do the job.

This next thing is the deal breaker. By this point I’m not wondering about whether you can the job or not… I have something more important to decide: will you fit into my team?

Understanding that I have three or four or ten or more candidates in front of me, all of which can actually do the job I need to fill, the most important thing becomes which one will be the best hire? Which will fit into my team and culture without disrupting it (I don’t want jerks, and I don’t want a “bull in the china closet”)? Which hire will make me look good with my colleagues and bosses?

I’m not saying that I disregard technical abilities at this point… but I’m keenly sensitive to picking someone that I’m going to want to be around for 8+ hours a day for the next few years.

How in the world do you communicate that?

It’s not all about enthusiasm. And extroverts don’t necessarily have the upper hand.

Communicating that you will fit in well can be done through stories, of course. Share, for example, a time when you had a very challenging task or project that could have exploded/imploded… and how the team pulled together (and your role in that). Show you will fit in by your choice of language, and the way you treat people (interview at a restaurant? Be cool and kind to the servers!). Recognize that every single thing you do, that I or my team can observe, is part of the interview: how you walk in, how you treat people at the front desk, what you do in the waiting area, etc.

So there you go… you have two important things to communicate: one is that you can do the job, the other is that I will want you to be on my team!  Work on your communication so I can know that you are the right person to hire!

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You Are The Product: Learn Product Management and Product Marketing

December 22nd, 2017

I once hired a guy who had sizzle. Everything about him was right.

Until he came to work for me.

Then I learned that he was all sizzle, no steak.

Don’t get me wrong, he was a nice guy. People liked to be around him (generally). But when it came to doing his job, well… ahem.

Worse, for me as a manager, my colleagues (other managers) would ask me to harness him because he was causing problems in their divisions (spending too much time chatting with people, not work-related at all).

In the last 12 years of doing JibberJobber and my own job search, I’ve met plenty of people who were all steak, no sizzle. That is, they were very competent in what they did (from electrical engineers to dentists to marketers to you-name-it), but no one knew it. They didn’t have peers or colleagues who thought about them, talked about them, etc. They enjoyed a quiet life with a good job until the good job went away… their puny brand went away in the first gust of wind.

I’ve developed an amazing tool in JibberJobber.  Yes, there is a lot to do before I’m satisfied, but really, it’s an amazing tool.  We have an amount of breadth and depth that no one else has (for job seekers).  I’ve done a decent job at being the senior product manager here… but, who really knows about JibberJobber?

Well, plenty of people. I used to go to resume writer and career coach conferences… and have spoken at many of them. I used to network a lot with recruiters and outplacement companies. I have spoken at job clubs from Seattle to Miami, from Boston to San Diego, and plenty of places inbetween.  If you search “job search organize” (or any version of that), you’ll likely find JibberJobber.

Why, then, do I get people who sign up today and say “I have been looking for you for months and couldn’t find you! Why are you hiding?”

So, JibberJobber is great, but we are hard to find? Yep (sometimes).

I think many of you suffer from the same problem. YOU ARE GREAT, but the right company/employer is not finding you. Even though your resume is on Monster, your profile is pretty okay on LinkedIn, and recruiters are supposedly looking for you.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

I submit that while you are pretty good at being the Product Manager of You, you are not very good at being the Product Marketing Manager of You.

When I started JibberJobber it was partially because it was my comfort zone. I was comfortable thinking about and designing web apps. I was comfortable working with developers and QA and figuring out how to get the idea from my head to the web.

I was not comfortable talking to people, networking, giving my 30 second pitch, and otherwise sharing my branding messages.

I was comfortable as Product Manager of Me, but not as Product Marketing Manager of Me.

Here’s the real issue: many times, the actual product doesn’t matter. It’s all in the marketing.

Haven’t you ever gotten something that was marketed well, but the actual product was a let-down?

I’m not suggesting that you, as a product are or will be a let-down. I’m just saying that you might have been focusing too much on the product and not enough on the marketing.

So let me give you this challenge: over the next week or two, figure out what MARKETING YOU means. Make a plan, build a list of tactical, actionable things you can do, and then work your plan. Become the best product marketing manager (of you) that you can!

You really can’t have one (a great product) without the other (marketing your product).

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When You Lost Your Job But Aren’t In A Hurry To Start A Job Search

October 26th, 2017

Over the years I’ve chatted with a bunch of job seekers. I’ve talked to executives who have gotten laid off with a nice severance package that gives them income for three, six, sometimes twelve months.

How nice would that be?

Here’s the message I hear from them (and some others, who have a healthy savings account): I will start my job search right before my severance runs out.

They choose to delay their job search while they have income because, why not?

I know that you are burned out from working what seems like around-the-clock, seven days a week.

I know that you welcome a break from working in a fast-paced environment with lots of pressure.

I realize you are ready to reconnect with your family, who you haven’t had time to connect with for many years.

I know what it’s like to feel like you can finally relax, even go on a real vacation where you aren’t bothered with emails and calls.

I get it.

And sure, if you want to take months off, especially because you’ve earned it, or you deserve it, then do it.

But what does this really look like?  Will you do anything for your career while you are taking time off and postponing your job search?

Fine, don’t apply to jobs online.  But please, please do the things I list below. Not because Jason Alba told you so, but because I’ve seen too many people regret their choice to postpone their job search, and then go through difficult months of no income.

Sign up for job alerts.  In my experience LinkedIn alerts are the best, and most applicable, to higher-level professionals. Even if you don’t apply to any of them, just watching what positions come through, and what companies are hiring, will be helpful as you get your mind ready for a job search.

Have lunches or breakfasts with people. This is networking… connecting with individuals one-on-one. Not as a job seeker, but as two professionals, two colleagues. This is your chance to learn more about their company, their industry, their career, etc. It’s a chance for them to learn more about you. These breakfasts should be low-stress but high return. What’s the return? Strengthening professional relationships. In a few months, when you are ready to really start your job search, you’ll likely get value out of having stronger professional relationships.  I would try to do this at least once a week.

Sharpen your saw. Remember when you finished school and you could finally read the books you wanted to? This is a repeat of that. Pull out those books that you’ve heard about and have always wanted to catch up on, but never had the time. There are plenty to choose from, classics like 7 Habits and Good to Great and Win Friends and Influence People, newish books like 4-Hour Workweek and eMyth (I know, they aren’t so new), or any books you’ve heard people you’ve worked with talk about. Do light reading, heavy reading, industry reading… use this as a time to improve yourself.

Sharpen your saw, Part II. Why not spend a month watching my soft skill and professional development courses on Pluralsight? Becoming a Better Listener, how to mentor (both as a mentor and a mentee), management skills, leadership skills, communication skills, etc. Whether you learn from my courses or other courses, take time to improve YOU.

Work on your personal marketing. Learn about and work on your brand, your branding statement(s), your resume(s), your LinkedIn Profile, your website, your business cards, etc. You’ll probably want to work with a professional on these things… it’s really hard to do this about and by yourself, and at your level you have too much to lose if you delay landing a job past the point you had planned.  Why don’t you take time now, when you aren’t in a rush, to have all of this prepared?

Perhaps there are other things you should do… my message is to do what you have planned: relax, reconnect, etc.  But also don’t neglect YOU and your career during this period.

When you finally do jump into the job search you might just be shocked at how hard it is, and how long it takes.

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JibberJobber Video Library: How Business Owners Hire (Cheryl Snapp Conner, PR Firm)

October 9th, 2017

I interviewed Cheryl Snapp Conner for almost forty minutes, asking her how she hires, What do you look at, how do you find your people, what do you think about resumes and LinkedIn Profiles… what really matters?

This is one of many videos in the JibberJobber Video Library, which is included in the $60/year upgrade. Not only do you get great videos on how to use and optimize LinkedIn as a job seeker, but you get great interviews from hiring managers.  Confused on weird or conflicting advice about how to get a job? The buck stops here, with these interviews.

Cheryl has a rich career history, including running PR at one of the biggest firms in Utah (Novell), then starting her own very successful PR shop which has employed and trained many PR professionals. She is also a Forbes superstar, because of her own writings as well as mentoring other Forbes superstars (like Devin Thorpe and Josh Steimle). She is a regular at networking events, either as an attendee or a speaker. She’s a GIVER, and is always up for helping and offering advice or introductions.

So how does someone who is this busy, successful, and sharp hire people? What do they look for?  She has created an awesome company and culture, and this is someone you want to know and learn from. How do you get there?

She shares this, and more, in our interview. Just upgrade on JibberJobber for $60 for the year and you can watch it now (and get access to other interviews, and the JibberJobber Premium features):

jibberjobber_video_library_cheryl_snapp_conner

What else is in the JibberJobber Video Library?

Here’s the write-up I did about the tech recruiter Robert Merrill.

Here’s the write-up on hiring manager Kristi Broom.

The insights in the videos are amazing!

 

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Job Search Tip: Have Something New To Talk About

September 26th, 2017

When I started JibberJobber I reached out to anyone I thought was relevant to talk to about it: coaches, resume writers, recruiters, outplacement companies, the press, etc.

And then I reached out to them again, and again, and again…

And then finally I didn’t have anything new to talk to them about.  I was out of “message” ideas.

As an entrepreneur I learned that you have to have something new and interesting to talk about when you go back, especially as you go back repeatedly.

This is an important concept for job seekers, especially as the months go by.  “What’s new?” “Nothing,” isn’t going to cut it.

What can you find that’s new to talk about?

Your “new” target companies and titles you apply to are always good to talk about. “Oh, I didn’t realize you were looking at jobs at that company,” or “Oh, I didn’t realize you were looking for those types of jobs.”

Have you learned anything interesting about your industry, companies, etc.? Have you written any articles on LinkedIn?

Those are just a few ideas… you need to come up with your own ideas.  Marketing professionals even have a “marketing calendar” where they’ll map out, or schedule, what they will talk about, when, and with who.

It makes sense, since you are marketing yourself, that you do something similar, doesn’t it?

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