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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:

LISTEN: HOW DO YOU DEMONSTRATE A SKILL LIKE LEADERSHIP ON A JOB HUNT?

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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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Podcast: Jason Alba and Valerie Sokolosky

December 16th, 2019

I met Valerie Sokolosky years ago through the Reach personal branding training. A few weeks ago I was honored to be her guest on her podcast series talking about my story. Our conversation includes job search (of course, that was the beginning), networking, branding, multiple income streams… you know, all of the stuff I like to talk about :)

Check it out here on Youtube:

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Depression Sucks: Darkness in the Job Search (Tips From the Arctic)

November 18th, 2019

JibberJobber Depression Arctic Darkness

Depression clouds thinking. Depression can cloud everything. My most-commented on post was, I thought, a throw-away that no one would comment on.

But depression is too real, and the post connected with people. Check out the post, and the comments, here.

I live in a valley surrounded by mountains. Sounds charming, but there’s way too many people who live here to make it as charming as a Hallmark setting. Instead, and unfortunately, the mountain/valley arrangement gives us what they call an “inversion,” where we get air trapped over our valley for a while. When I say “air,” think dark, yucky pollution.

Winter here is an issue. It can be dark, gray, cold, unwelcoming, and then you have the inversion. Seasonal depression… that’s what they call it.

I think some people get career seasonal depression. I did, when I was in my job search (exhibit A). Many people I talk to are discouraged and depressed, anxious and on-edge. It just comes with the circumstances. I continue to look for anything to help myself and others who tend to go down that path, and was really quite interested in this article on Fast Company titled

I live in 24 hours of darkness each winter. Here’s how I stay sane

Please take the four minutes they say it will take to read this article. I think the entire article is fascinating.. Below the article are related links… explore those, too. I’ll list the five things the author lists to do, but please read the entire article for context. I don’t want you to brush over this list and think it’s a good idea… I want you to internalize the ideas.

Whether you live in the Arctic and won’t see the sun for a while or you live in sunny Florida and see the sun as much as you want, if you are in a job search you might be in your own darkness. These tips can be a part of your remedy.

  1. Keep a routine. Just make sure that what you have in your routine is actually working. Ditch the tactics that aren’t getting you anywhere.
  2. Plan excuses to be social. Job clubs, anyone??
  3. Opt for a technical solution. I might suggest, for job seekers, turn this around and opt for a non-technical solution – that is, TALK TO (MORE) PEOPLE!!
  4. Find things to look forward to. This is why, in my Job Search Program, I talk about vision so much. You will land a job, you won’t be unemployed forever.
  5. Don’t fight the darkness. Recognize that the job search sucks, and accept it, but don’t accept defeat. Know your enemy, as Sun Tzu would say.

Here’s the article:

Fast Company Depression

 

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Slow is Fast, Even in the Job Search #ScaryConcept

October 31st, 2019

By the time I went to Bamboo last February (almost two years ago!) I had spent the last 12 years as an entrepreneur. Two ways I describe being an entrepreneur:

You eat what you kill.

This means that if you don’t make a sale, you don’t eat. Very, very different than drawing a paycheck. The “eat what you kill” mentally creates a sense of urgency that you don’t usually see walking down corporate hallways where people have salaries, insurance, benefits, and some semblance of security.

JibberJobber Eat What You Kill

Unemployed.

My friend Marc says that every day he wakes up unemployed, and has to go find work. He’s been an entrepreneur forever. I think this is a really healthy way of looking at it (he’s in the services business). Again, sense of urgency mindset.

JibberJobber Sense of Urgency

I then went into a bureaucratic organization. Not to bash on Bamboo… every organization has bureaucracy. But I went from hurry hurry hurry to slow down, slow down, it will be okay.

I remember watching the sales floor HUSTLE, always busy, and see their stats posted (and rising) on monitors throughout the day. I could just sit there and watch for hours (although I never did). I thought that a lot of the “slow down” mentality was funded by those hustlers on the floor. And in the ecosystem of a healthy company, that makes a lot of sense. Have people who are bringing in new business while you have strategists steering the ship and people carrying out plans in the background. Two seemingly disjointed operations happening at the same time, both of which have a profound impact on the other.

It was beautiful, really.

But to the point of this post. I went from entrepreneur mindset to hearing almost daily “slow is fast, fast is slow.” This, they said, came from Special Forces, and it meant to slow down, do things right, and you wouldn’t have to spend time cleaning up messes later. You could make better progress over time by going slow and purposeful than if you just throw a bunch of spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks.

But from my previous 12 years it was really frustrating to “go slow.”

When I created the Job Search Program I chose six weeks as the length of the self-guided coaching “course.” I’m still not sure what to call it (maybe that’s why I said “program”)… but six weeks feels awful slow to me (as a job seeker). Who wants to sit around for six weeks until stuff happens?

Granted, if you are doing the program you should start to see results in week one or two. Traction, conversations, introductions, referrals, etc. You are likely not going to notice that YOU are getting BETTER at these conversations… but that will happen, too.

Slowly.

I would argue that spending time doing your job search strategically, and doing the right things at the right times, is better than spending two to ten hours on job boards frantically applying for whatever you think might work for you.

Here’s the message I want you to walk away with: the results you might see (or not see) probably feel excruciatingly painful. Too slow. But trust the process, trust the system (as long as they are principled) and work the system. Results should come.

My job search was slow but my system was completely flawed. Get the right system, work it, and you should see results.

Need a system? Check out the Job Search Program. It uses informational interviews + accountability + follow-up to help you have the right conversations with the right people.

Job Search Program Effective Job Search

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STOP Handing Out Resumes In Informational Interviews

October 30th, 2019

JibberJobber Informational Interview Nervous

As part of the Job Search Program I talk a lot about the rights and wrongs of informational interviews. A major mistake people make is giving out a resume at the end (or at any time) of an informational interview.

Why is this a mistake? Aren’t you open to getting hired?

Yes, of course! But in my version of an informational interview you are having a peer-to-peer, colleague-to-colleague conversation with the other person. The minute you become a job seeker you change the dynamics of the relationship. They are in a position to help, you are in a position of hurt.

I’m not saying it’s bad or shameful to be a job seeker. Nor am I saying you need to hide it.

But for this 20 or 30 minutes I want you to remember who you are… a professional project manager, or analyst, or whatever you are. NOT just an unemployed person.

Even though you are not currently working you can still talk with expertise and authority about your field. You have expertise and experience and can have a great conversation. Don’t forget that.

Have a great conversation and then immediately hand them a resume and you go from expert and passionate to needy and desperate.

JibberJobber Informational Interview Resume

Maybe you are needy and desperate… but you don’t need to wear that on your sleeve.

So what do you do? Here’s how you have your cake and eat it too:

If they ask for your resume simply say “oh yeah, I’ll shoot that to you when I get back to my computer.”

This shows them that indeed you are there to have a really good conversation with them, not to use them and their position to try to get your resume in front of HR.

If they don’t ask for your resume, follow-up in an email about your meeting. I would NOT send a resume then… but continue the conversation, following-up on referrals, and maybe send a link to an article relevant to our conversation.

Can you talk about your job search? Sure. Can you ask about openings they know about? Sure. But don’t push a resume to them right away. There will be a perfect time for that, and it’s not at the very beginning of your conversation.

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Pluralsight Course #34: Understanding Your Audience

October 21st, 2019

My Pluralsight journey, which started in 2012, has been quite a ride. It’s been crazy. And it’s been awesome. I was recently talking to someone who said that with all of the work I’ve put into my courses I could have gotten a Ph.D.! I dont’ know about that… and no, you don’t need to call me Dr. Alba… but I have spent thousands of hours since 2012 thinking deeply, studying, researching, and then teaching soft skills and professional development topics.

Last week my 34th course was launched: Understanding Your Audience.

Pluralsight Understanding Your Audience Jason Alba

I was excited to work on this course because, as I told my contact at Pluralsight, everything I’ve done has centered around understanding my audience. I take you on a bit of a journey as I’ve had to understand my audiences for my books, for JibberJobber, for marketing partnerships… If you aren’t understanding your audience how are you creating any content? Are you creating content for you, or simply based on assumptions?

This course invites you to dig deeper… to try to understand who they are more than just demographic data. I want you to understand who they are, why they do things, the root of their thinking, and how you can best connect with your audience.

Whether your audience is on the other end of an email or phone call, in front of you while you present, or across the table from you in a one-on-one, you can understand your audience to a point where your communication becomes more effective.

If you love it, rate it. And leave a comment.

If you want a 30 day Pluralsight pass please reach out to me. I think I can find one or two laying around :p

And now, I begin scripting my 35th course! Wahoo!

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Career Change: From Cashier to Software Engineer #HomeDepot

October 18th, 2019

When I was at the Pluralsight Live conference in August they showed this video… it was so freaking inspiring! Take three minutes and watch this:

The “OrangeMethod,” Home Depot’s “in-house skill development program.” Wow.

I’ve heard that The Home Depot is a great place to have a career. This video showed the awesome story of Jennifer, who started out as a cashier, and had the opportunity to grow into a software engineer role.

Talk about a career change!

Many of the people I talk with through JibberJobber, The Job Search Program, and through my speaking opportunities are ready for a change. These changes can be big or small… but they are in a point in their life where they need to make decisions about their careers moving forward.

A question everyone should ask is “should I stay on this path I’ve been on? Why?”

You should also ask “What if…?”

What if you could learn to do something more rewarding?

What if you could make more of an impact in the world (even if you make less)?

What if you could, like Jennifer, make A LOT more money than what you have?

What if you could retool yourself, add new skills, and do something that only “smart” people could do?

What if, what if, what if…

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think that any of my courses were on Jennifer’s radar. My soft skills courses don’t teach you how to be a developer… but there are around 6,000 other courses in Pluralsight that do. And I’m proud to be associated with an organization that is passionate about helping others find and develop skills that can improve their lives as well as the lives of those around them.

I’m not saying you have to be a software developer. I am only asking, inviting, you to think about “what if?”

Why not me?

Why not now?

Career transition is a real thing, and maybe, just maybe it’s the right thing for you.

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The Job Search Program Focuses on Networking

October 16th, 2019

When I talk about the Job Search Program to career professionals (resume writers and career and job search coaches) I say that it is designed to help the job seeker have “the right conversations with the right people.”

Networking is a funny, misunderstood beast. The joke is that it is, for job seekers, a four-letter word. Not many people like to do it. It feels fake, and many people can’t wait to land a job so they don’t have to network anymore.

In my job search I remember finally dragging myself to network meetings and making up goals like “I will get 10 business cards today,” or something just as lame. I wasn’t focusing on having right conversations and didn’t even understand who the right people could be. I was just going for a number because, sometimes, the job search really is a numbers game. So I thought.

Job Search is Not a Numbers Game

Enter the Job Search Program. This is a six week self-guided kind of coaching program where every single day I give you three tasks to do. And then you work on them. They are not fake tasks… they are intentionally designed to get you closer to having the right conversation with the right person. Every day builds on previous days. You start out kind of slow, setting up a good foundation, and then as you learn and practice and gain confidence and practice more, you find yourself having conversations with people in your target industries, then target companies, then target departments within your target industries, and next thing you know you are talking to decision-makers about opportunities just for you.

This program is unlike anything I’ve seen. It might seem very simple but the premise is that you are doing the right things and getting real traction, instead of hoping that in the numbers game model you are getting closer to the right number. I played that game and it sucked.

Here’s part of an email I got from Noah, who is in week one:

I am really enjoying the process so far! The messaging and advice is very clear and the overarching theme of self-empowerment through provided prompts/benchmarks seems well crafted. I especially appreciate the built-in daily accountability, which is critical for anyone who is serious about putting in the effort to achieve the goal they want.

Ready to stop doing stuff that isn’t getting you anywhere? Check out the Job Search Program here. The normal price is $497 but right now we have an introductory price of $197.

JibberJobber Job Search Program

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