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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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Pluralsight Channel: Jason Alba’s Career Management Courses

April 23rd, 2019

Another Pluralsight channel I recently created is called Jason Alba’s Career Management Courses. Again, if you need a 30 day pass, just let me know. Once you are logged in to Pluralsight, you’ll be able to see the channel (click the image below to get there, once logged in).

JibberJobber Pluralsight Channel: Jason Alba's Career Management Courses

The courses in this channel include:

Designing a Killer Job Search Strategy

Developing a Killer Personal Brand

Informational Interviews

LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile

LinkedIn: Proactive Strategies

Effective Email Communication

Effective Phone Skills

Presenting to the Boss(es)

Prioritizing Time and Managing Time for Greater Productivity

Building and Managing Your Career Plan

Becoming a Better Listener

Career Management 2.0

Writing and Marketing a Book

How to Get Your Next Promotion

Onboard Yourself: What to Do After You Land Your Dream Job

I hope this helps you with your career and job search goals!

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Pluralsight Channel: Jason Alba’s Path to Management

April 19th, 2019

I just created a “channel” on Pluralsight called “Jason Alba’s Path to Management.” This is a collection of currently 13 Jason Alba courses, which are listed below. To get to the channel, you have to login on Pluralsight (want a 30 day pass? Ask me…), then click the link for the channel (here).

jibberjobber-pluralsight-channel-jaon-alba-path-to-management

The courses there now, which will be added to as I do more courses, include:

Management 101

Leadership: Getting Started

Becoming a Better Listener

How to Have Difficult Conversations

Creating and Leading Effective Teams for Managers

How to Speak to Business Leaders

Prioritizing Tasks and Managing Time for Greater Productivity

How to Be a Great Mentor: Ge More out of Mentoring

Presenting to the Boss(es)

Working on a Team

Effective Email Communication

Working and Communicating with Different Personalities

Boosting Innovation: How Leaders Can Create Innovative Teams

Whew… that is a lot of learning! If you need a 30 day pass to Pluralsight, ask me.

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Two New Pluralsight Courses Added to the Tracker

April 17th, 2019

The last two courses I did were just added to the Pluralsight Tracker in JibberJobber. These were the courses I did after over a two year break. The first How to Have Difficult Conversations, which I was inspired to do because of my work at BambooHR. This was a big theme at that company, and they talked about it a lot. The course is one hour, thirty six minutes.

The second course is titled Boosting Innovation: How Leaders Can Create Innovative Teams, which is one hour, forty five minutes. This was a fun course to work on because I love the idea of innovation and creativity, and I love the idea of creating an environment where they are fostered and nurtured.

Once you watch those, or any other Jason Alba course, go into the Tracker (Videos, Pluralsight Videos, then it’s under Step 3), and click the plus button to show you watched it. You can do this as many times as you watch a course, even if it’s the same course over and over.

jibberjobber-pluralsight-two-new-courses

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Hacking Pluralsight to Learn More, Faster

April 12th, 2019

Pluralsight is a superb library of thousands of in-depth technical training courses designed for programmers, IT professionals, and anyone in the tech space. I have over 30 soft skill and professional development courses in Pluralsight. Watching any of my courses qualifies you to get free JibberJobber upgrades. I can get you a 30 day pass to the entire Pluralsight library! (to get your 30 day pass, first get a JibberJobber account, then click Videos from the top menu)

pluralsight-jason-alba

Some of my courses are designed for job seekers (Designing a Killer Job Search Strategy, Informational Interviews, a course on your LinkedIn Profile and another course on a proactive strategy for LinkedIn, etc.), some are designed to help you be a better communicator (Becoming a Better Listener, Presenting to the Bosses, Working and Communicating with Different Personalities, Effective Phone Skills, Effective Email Communication, etc.), some are designed to help you in your career (Career Management 2.0, Building and Managing Your Career Plan, etc.)… you get the point. See all of my courses here.

Disclaimer: as a “Pluralsight author” I get compensated for every minute… indeed, for every second that anyone watches any of my courses. Whether you are a paying member or use the 30 day pass and don’t spend a dime (you don’t even give them your credit card on the 30 day pass!), if you watch my course, I get compensated.

So, you got your 30 day pass… you have access to thousands of courses (there are over 100 soft skills courses, 30+ of which are from me, and tons of courses on everything from database design, game design, UX, project management, and of course, a plethora of programming courses)… how do you get the MOST out of your Pluralsight experience? Here are two hacks to get more out of your Pluralsight experience:

Change the Video Speed

This is my top tip. The default speed is, of course, 1x. You can go up to 2x, in .1x increments… Is 1.5x good enough for you? Do whatever feels comfortable… 1.3x, 1.5x, etc. It’s up to you. Here’s the deal: if you listen to a one hour video at 1.5x, it takes 40 minutes to go through it. You save 20 minutes! (Did you think it was 45 minutes? Here’s an easy explanation of how that math works – intriguing, I know :p)

To change the video speed, start to play a video, then in the lower-right area of the video player click on this button, to see the speed options.  Only do it as fast as you are comfortable… but if you can do more than 1x, you’ll finish a course faster, and be able to watch more courses!

Pluralsight Playback Speed to listen to more courses

Watch a Course on Your Mobile, Even When Offline

When you are on your mobile device, you can choose courses to watch while you are offline. This will download the course and allow you to play it from anywhere (think: while 30,000 feet in the air, while your phone is on airplane mode!). This means you can learn while you work out, while you are on the subway, while you are on vacation in the mountains (I know, I know)… anywhere. Once you get back online, the app communicates to the Pluralsight server and shows that you have watched the course. Remember, you still need to go into the Pluralsight Tracker on JibberJobber if you want to report having watched the course and get JibberJobber premium upgrades.

Here are the instructions to get and use the Pluralsight mobile app (you probably don’t really need instructions, but here they are).

Pluralsight Mobile App

Watch Jason Alba Courses while you do dishes

I put a lot of work into each course. I had fun doing the visuals, and spent hours agonizing over how things looked. I also realized that my courses did not require visuals to learn about the topics… the visuals were a nice complement but not necessary. I’m not saying don’t pay attention to the visuals, but if you want to just listen to my courses, as you work around the house, or drive to work, go for it! Think of my courses as something of a podcast, or audio booklet. If you feel like you are missing out on a certain visual, you can always switch back over to your mobile or PC and watch them.

Remember, after you watch any Jason Alba course on Pluralsight, go to Tracker in JibberJobber and report them to get free JibberJobber upgrades! There’s no limit on this.

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How To Start A Job Search

March 12th, 2019

7 steps to start a job searchI started my first real job search in 2006. Even way, way back then, going to the “want ads” from newspapers was an outdated strategy. Now, no one talks about using newspapers. But there is still plenty of confusion on how to start a job search. Below are the steps I suggest to anyone who is ready to start their job search

7 Steps to Start a Job Search

1. Stop, calm down, take a moment.

One of the worst things you can do is react to panic and fear. I know unemployment can be one of the scariest and most emotional situations of your life. Let me encourage you to really take a pause, calm down, get in the proper state of mind for what could be a complex but doable process. But please, go into this with the right mindset.

2. List job titles you want to pursue

It is critical that you know what your target is, and specific job titles is part of your target. In my 2006 job search I listed two roles I wanted, and in the course of my job search I added a third (more exciting) title. Your list can change with time, so don’t worry about committing to any particular title, but you should have a list of titles to pursue. Eventually, this list should be whittled down to something manageable (instead of including every job title that you are qualified for).

3. List companies you want to work for

You must have a list of target companies where you want to work. This will help you in various ways, including focusing your networking efforts and search on the right companies. Also, when people ask how they can help you in your job search, you could say that you are looking for introductions to specific target companies (I suggest you name three or four specific companies).

4. Make a list of network contacts

This is one of the harder lists to make because we tend to second-guess whether people should actually be on the list or not. You think of someone, then before you write them down talk yourself out of listing them for one reason or another. Let me encourage you to skip the second-guessing, and just list EVERYONE that you can think of on your network contacts list. You might not communicate with all of them, but as your job search goes on and on, it might make sense to reach out to people who you had earlier passed over.

5. Create and refine your job search marketing material

I could make an entire list of your job search marketing material, the most obvious of which is your resume. In addition to your resume (and at least one general cover letter), you need to have some basic statements down. These include your Me In 30 Seconds (aka Elevator Pitch) statements (you could have various statements for different audiences) as well as a response to “tell me about yourself?”. Expect to use these statements regularly and refine them almost every time you use them.

6. Figure out your job search organization system

No doubt I recommend JibberJobber (I’m the creator of JibberJobber) instead of job search spreadsheet. Whatever you use, know that this organizational system is a central part of your successful job search. I quickly outgrew my spreadsheet in about two weeks, as do many job seekers, because as a job search goes on you add more contacts, companies, and jobs, and you want to log interactions between any of those records. Again, I could write a great deal on this, but suffice it to say you’ll need some system to stay organized.

7. Reach out to contacts with purposeful requests

This is one of the hardest parts of the job search for many people because this is where we start to communicate with people. We generally like to help people, not ask for help from people. But we need to work through those feelings and ask our contacts for help. Please, do not ask them to “review your resume.” Imagine you get ONE request from each friend. Do you want to use your one request for a review of your typing? NO. Purposeful requests include meeting (in person or on the phone) or asking for introductions to people who have your target titles or work at your target companies. Each purposeful request changes based on who you are making the request of, but please don’t waste your first (and maybe your only) request with something trivial.

These are my seven steps to start your job search. Did you notice that I didn’t include networking with recruiters? Perhaps you should network with recruiters, but in my experience, it is generally a waste of time. Focus on the steps above, iterating and going through each of them as you get closer and closer to your dream job.

My goal would eventually be to have as many informational interviews as I could get, which is a very powerful job search strategy. Each of the steps above can lead up to a great informational interview strategy.

 

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