Inside The Calm Before The Storm

December 16th, 2016

So, I announced a big transition recently, with part two of my transition coming next week.  This week has seemed quiet, from a user perspective, but there are LOTS of things happening.  Many people are working at full capacity to get this next chapter of JibberJobber ready for you…

I’m anxious to see it all roll out… hopefully Monday or Tuesday. For now, have a great and safe weekend :)

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Myths and Realities of Old Person Job Search #AgeDiscrimination

December 15th, 2016

My good friend Norm from NYC sent me this Wall Street Journal article titled Five Myths About Landing a Good Job Later in Life. The author, Anne Tergersen, “writes about retirement” for the WSJ.

It’s a pretty optimistic, encouraging, happy article.  The five myths, which she busts, are:

Myth 1: I’m not going to find a good job.

Myth 2: You can’t take time off, or you’ll never get back into the workforce

Myth 3: I’m not going to make as big of a contribution as I did in the past.

Myth 4: The only type of work available to older applicants is part time.

Myth 5: The chance to be an entrepreneur has passed me by.

It is encouraging to read her article, and see the stats she presents to prove that those are all myths. The hope is abundant.

That is… until you read the comments.  The 125+ comments tell a different story. The story from the trenches is that age discrimination is alive and well.

I’ve been going over some of my old Ask The Expert interviews and age discrimination has come up. I’m a firm believer that it exists.  Recruiters and career coaches caution you to not let age discrimination become THE excuse for you not finding a job.

I agree that we shouldn’t fixate on age… I’ve seen the results of fixating like that.  EVERYTHING happens wrong because “I’m too old, no one wants to hire someone my age.”

Depression sets in, you lose any speck of confidence you used to have, and you know have a convenient scapegoat for all of your job search failures.

I have seen it. I have even had my own scapegoats.  It is a waste of time and energy.

I’m not saying it’s not real. What I’m suggesting is to not let it (your age) be the excuse for not making progress.

When your age becomes your brand, you have a branding problem. And, as CEO of Me, Inc… as VP of Marketing for Me, Inc, you have a task: to rebrand yourself.

Instead of being “that old guy/gal,” you need to be “the person with expertise that we haven’t seen, but we need!”

Instead of being the person who is “too expensive,” you need to be the person they “need to hire, and it’s a bargain to get you.”

Think of the old adage: turn your (perceived) weaknesses into (perceived) strengths.

I know, I know, this is much easier said than done. But I’ll tell you, you aren’t the only one with a problem in your job search. Be creative, be purposeful, be strategic, be smart, and attack the problem head on.  The goal is to get your next great job, not to try to change how discrimination works.

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Awesome Journey of a Job Seeker (Felix Feng)

December 14th, 2016

Take the time to read this very awesome and insightful article by Felix Fang: I spent 3 months applying to jobs after a coding bootcamp. Here’s what I learned.

This is a MUST READ for anyone in job search. Think about Felix’s processes and what he tracks and does. It’s a very strategic, purposeful journey.

In his first “pro-tip,” he links to a list of companies that people are collecting where it is easy to apply, as opposed to the ridiculous application systems that require you to copy and paste parts of your resume.  This is super cool: The github “easy-application” list.

Felix talks about the resume black hole and networking into companies.

Felix is a developer.  Even if you aren’t a developer, you should be able to glean quite a bit of wisdom, and correct your tactics and strategy.

Have you thought about sharpening your saw, and becoming a better candidate, even as you interview?  Read Insight #3 and see how someone intent on getting a six-figure offer did it.

Insight #4 is about dissecting your personal brand, and how you come across to others.  It’s critical that you understand how your branding may be hurting your job search!

Felix also talks about questions you could ask during the interview.  Don’t make the mistake of not asking smart questions!

Insight #5 is hard because, well, I’m impatient.  But if you don’t respect the longevity of the job search, and sprint, you might wear yourself out and be less-than-effective.

Here’s what I want you to get out of this article: tactics and strategies and ideas.  More than that, though, I want you to see what your “competition” (other job seekers) is doing. I want you to see that it’s not just a apply-and-pray approach.  Please, be smart, strategic, and purposeful as you spend your time in this job search!

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job title, keywords or company
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What is your “Primary Claim?”

December 13th, 2016

When I do LinkedIn Profile strategy sessions, I talk about your “primary claim.” What is the thing (or small collection of things) that you are promising to your future employer? Or, put another way, what is your “value proposition?”

I like focusing on a primary claim because I think too many job seekers… well, pretty much everyone, including marketing professionals for companies, don’t narrow down to the main, primary thing. We are afraid of getting too specific, lest we leave something out of our marketing message.  What if we narrow our message down and exclude people who would otherwise hire us, or pay us money?

Better to just give the entire list of our offerings, or claims, right?

I challenge you, like I challenge the people I do a LinkedIn session with, to figure out what your PRIMARY claim is. If you had to narrow it down to one phrase, or tagline, what would it be?

You can tell your story, and help people understand your breadth and depth, with what I’ll call secondary claims (and some other techniques/tools), but make sure you understand and communicate your primary claim.

Understanding your primary claim makes it easier for you to communicate what you need to in interviews, while networking, and on your marketing documents (resume, profiles, etc.).

Communicating your primary claim well makes it easier to know how to talk about you. This is a profound concept. If you can communicate your primary claim well, the people on the receiving in can know how to communicate about you. If you don’t know what your primary (or secondary) claims are, how in the world are they going to talk about you the right way?  Don’t rely on luck when it comes to your branding.

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Office Party Don’ts

December 12th, 2016

Check out this very relevant and timely article by Gail Miller, titled My Humiliating Holiday Office Party DON’T: Yikes!

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Big Announcement #1: I’m Transitioning

December 9th, 2016

Yes, you read that right. Surprised?  So was I.

Lest you think I’m talking about transitioning from JibberJobber… well, no. I’m definitely not.

Many of you know that for the past four years I’ve been working with Pluralsight to develop their soft skills and professional development content.  That has been a fun ride. I planned on giving them another three years, but as any JibberJobber user knows, things change.

I have created thirty one awesome courses (well, at least 30 of them are awesome :p) that have been watched by many of Pluralsight’s customers.  In 2015 I worked on fourteen courses… no one does that.  It was insane.  I figured doing fourteen courses would entitle you to a therapist and a masseuse… alas, I got neither :)

What I did get over the last four years was an amazing education. I learned from Aaron Skonnard what a startup CEO looks like, talks, and how he/she thinks.  I learned about culture in a different way than I had every been exposed.  I learned that the heart of a company is the sales team.  Er, perhaps it is the environment and culture.  Or, perhaps it is the strategy, vision, and execution.  Oh wait, it might just be hiring amazing people and enabling them to do stuff. Or, actually, they kept telling us that we (the content producers) were the heart or key of the company’s success.  What success?  Massive revenue growth.  Unicorn status.

So, I’m transitioning FROM doing Pluralsight videos.  What am I transitioning TO?  That will be the Big Announcement #2, hopefully the week of the 19th.

What I learned is that no matter what your plans are, if you aren’t in 100% control, then things will change.  I learned this almost 11 years ago… when I got laid off (Friday the 13th, January of 2006).

It was then that I decided that I would have multiple revenue streams. I didn’t want want one employer to be able to yank 100% of my personal income.  JibberJobber was started as a project in the hopes that I would eventually make $100 a month… which would be that mental safety blanket when I landed my next job.  Fortunately, I wasn’t good at landing my next job.

Anyway, if I have any regrets about the past four years with Pluralsight, it is that I neglected JibberJobber.  Sure, I worked on it. Sure, my team kept working on it.  But looking back on it now, I think there are many product manager things that I should have been doing that I simply didn’t do.

That is being corrected.

So, hang tight… I have a Big Announcement #2 coming in about a week.  It’s something we’ve been working on for a while now, and we’re really, really excited to finally roll out the first phase of it.

Any guesses?

Oh yeah, one final thought. I really think Pluralsight is awesome, and I’ll continue to do whatever I can to help them grow. I’m not leaving on bad terms, it’s just a change in their needs. If they come back with some more work, I’d be happy to look at it. So, yeah, that’s where we stand :)

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LinkedIn and Microsoft: It’s done.

December 8th, 2016

Today is an historic day. Microsoft officially acquired LinkedIn (it’s done). Here’s LI’s announcement: LinkedIn and Microsoft: Next Play

Fear not. In their announcement they said “Our members still come first”.  Whew!

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Recruiter Plans for 2017

December 7th, 2016

Check out these plans by 20 different people in the recruiting space: 20 Recruiting Pros Share Their Plans for 2017

Interesting that more than one say they are going to do LESS with LinkedIn. And multiple people are going to do more networking, and have more face2face and phone time.

If you are serious about your job search, and your career, you need to know the hows and whys of what recruiters do and think.  Read it now

 

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31 Predictions for Job Search in 2017 (make that 32)

December 2nd, 2016

Hannah Morgan polled some of her friends to ask for predictions for the 2017 job search.  You can read them here: 31 Experts Share Predictions for Job Search in 2017

Here are my predictions:

The job search in 2017 is going to be… unpredictable.  We have not only a new president of the U.S., but we have a new kind of president. The economy seems to be doing great right now (super low unemployment in my state) but I wonder what will happen if the racial tensions continue to increase like they have over the last year+ (and especially in the last few months). I wonder what will happen with international relations (specifically, with the new administration, and the direction they go with other countries), and how that will impact jobs, careers, hiring, and the value of a dollar. I’m not talking about the exchange rate… I’m talking about how much can you buy with a dollar? I wonder what will happen with the $15 minimum wage, and how those fighting for it will be impacted (jobless) by companies that replace them with robots and automation.  I wonder what would happen if masses of federal employees suddenly lost their jobs as the new president eliminates (or significantly reduces) entire sections of administration/bureaucracy (EPA, Dept. of Education, etc.). Can you imagine hundreds of thousands of former government employees looking for a job?

For me, there is too much up in the air. I hope for the best, but I’m not going to hold my breath.  The vile and nauseating hate that we’ve seen on social media, and in some of our communities, is what can destroy America. That means destroying companies, jobs, lives, futures.  I want to see a people that is more focused on giving and serving and loving and helping than on spewing hate just to make a political point. I see this on my Facebook feed from all sides, and it’s disheartening.

What does this have to do with jobs?  Everything. Because this attitude, and these changes, are becoming the fabric of who we are. How much do we hate? How “tolerant” are we?  How much do we feel like we need to say?  I’ve seen and heard things that have caused me to think “never will I hire you… ever.”  The one comment from someone on Facebook lost them any chance they have of working at JibberJobber, or any company or project I manage in the future.  People are a lot more concerned about their political side (aka party) winning than they are at taking personal responsibility for the things they can really have an impact on. Too bad it’s easier to sit there and type vile and opinion, in the name of being politically active, than it is to actually do something to better yourself, or help someone else.

My prediction for jobs is that it will be business as usual in 2017. Some people will be really, really good at it and have very short job searches.  Others will work towards months and even years of unemployment, as they refuse to really learn how to network, really focus on their messaging (or, personal branding), as they refuse to figure out how to develop multiple streams of income.  Everyone will be up for a new job, as companies continue to focus on specific projects and then let people go, as opposed to offering decades of employment.

More people will continue to catch on to this concept of career management, but too many will whine and complain and get further and further behind.

Sounds bleak, but here’s the hope: YOU can control what YOU do.  Not what companies or other job seekers or ATS manufacturers do.  YOU control every minute of your day.  Focus on things that will help you have more control of your career, and create the lifestyle you want and need.  This can be impacted by outside forces (the new president) but it is not all up to him. It’s up to YOU. Once you internalize that, the future can look brighter than it ever has!

Here’s 31 predictions that are more optimistic than mine: <strong><a href=”http://careersherpa.net/31-experts-share-predictions-for-job-search-in-2017/”>31 Experts Share Predictions for Job Search in 2017</a></strong>

what where
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The 24×7 Job Search

December 1st, 2016

I have a friend who has a regular, traditional job. It’s enjoyable and rewarding… but his day is quite different than mine.  As an employee, he goes to work at 7 or 8, and is done by 4:30 or 5:30.  He said he leaves work and doesn’t really think about it until the next day.

As an entrepreneur I get to work in the morning, leave in the evening, and think about it ALL THE TIME.

Just like a job seeker.

There is no holiday celebration without thinking about what you have to do next.

There is no evening hours where you get to just be home, doing hobbies, chilling, etc., without wondering if that recruiter will email you back tomorrow.

The stress level can be through the roof, for sure.

Having done this for almost eleven years, let me share some things I’ve learned:

Create time boundaries.  Start and end your “work” (aka, job search) at certain, predefined times each day.  You need to respect your sanity, and your family time.  And your family needs to respect your work time. Define it, carve it out, and work to the schedule.

Make sure you have specific tasks to do. Fill up your calendar with things to do. I hear from a lot of people that the hardest thing to do is completely be your own boss, which means you can define how you spend your hours.  For lots of people, that is asking too much. Sit down, plan out your day(s), and then stick to it.

Exercise. I know that taking time away from the job search feels like you are cheating on the job search, but you HAVE TO take care of yourself physically.  I didn’t do this during my job search and I spent years catching up to being healthy (still working on that).  Look, you have enough problems. Don’t create another one by letting your body get to a point where you can’t function normally.

Eat right. If anyone needs comforting, it’s a job seeker. I get that.  But don’t get it from comfort foods. I challenge you to take this time, during your job search, to eat healthier than you ever have.  You need to be at the top of your game, just like a top-performing athlete. So why not eat like an athlete would?

Do the right things, avoid the wrong things. Don’t do busy work just to feel productive. Think about what you are doing, and make sure you are doing things that are getting you closer to one more interview, to one more networking contact, to one more meeting.  Avoid things that really don’t have to be done (with the exception of neglecting things that can erupt and become a big problem later).

Respect family relationships, especially with your spouse. I neglected my relationship with my wife for months during my job search. I didn’t realize how this would impact our relationship. Would I should have done was gone to my wife for strength and comfort, instead of waiting to go to her when I was strong and whole again.

Ignore the haters. You’ll get lots of advice, and read lots of news about how great the economy is. I listened TOO MUCH to things that I shouldn’t have listened to. This job search isn’t over until you land the job you want.  Focus on THAT, not on things that are really only distracting you.

Enjoy this time. I know, it’s easy to say now that I’m not in a job search. But this really can be a choice time.  You get to do things you normally don’t do (like network with all kinds of people, and even help and serve others). You get to take more time for yourself than you did when you worked 60 hours a week.  Whether it’s working on your health or sharpening your say (taking some classes), take advantage of this “down time” and really enjoy the journey.

Boundaries and systems are important… what would you add?

what where
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city, state or zip jobs by job search

JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). Free for life with an optional upgrade.

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