Anatomy of My LinkedIn Profile Header

December 9th, 2020

I’m diving into my Pluralsight Personal Branding course to redo it for early next year and thought it would be a good time to look at my LinkedIn profile. I like my header, and figured it is a good time to share what I like about it. As I go through this, think about what your header looks like. One of my main messages is to do your branding intentionally.

So here we go, with some elements of my intentional branding on my LinkedIn profile header.

Jason Alba LinkedIn Profile Header Anatomy

#1: The “Background photo”

Many profiles I see have the default background, which is FINE. Don’t stress about this. Some really cool background photos are extremely branded, with key words that communicate the brand. Those are custom-designed images (maybe you can make your own with a simple/free app like canva).

For a long, long time mine was just the default. When I talked a lot about multiple income streams, though, I finally realized I could (should?) put a background image that reinforced my interest in multiple streams.

I didn’t find an image I liked with MULTIPLE streams, but this was good. Plus, it reminds me of a really cool place I went to in Wyoming. It’s just peaceful. I doubt many people will get the subtle connection to multiple revenue streams but that’s okay with me. It looks nicer than the default image and it sparks joy.

Two sites to look for free images that might work for you (and your brand) are pexels and unsplash. Be careful you don’t do something crazy busy or weird. The point is to have something onbrand, not have people scratch their heads and wonder what the image has to do with your brand.

#2 YOUR picture (avatar)

This is really, really important. I talk about this in my course, and my LinkedIn profile course. Without going into detail, or the “why” of any of these, please make sure your image: is a closeup of your headshot; has a clean or uncluttered background; is approachable (SMILE!); doesn’t have weird or yucky or contrasting colors.

Bonus: Use the same image here as you do on other social sites. The consistency will ensure people know they are in the right place, as they go from profile to profile.

#3 Your name Part I

I encourage you to put the name people call you here, not your entire legal name. If your name has like 5 syllables but people call you “Tom” then put Tom! This should be consistent in all of your online marketing assets so people don’t have to wonder if they are looking at profiles for the same person.

#4 Your name Part II

In my “last name” I put: “, Product Manager”. This was very strategic because the name field is apparently higher weighted with searches, and at one time I wanted to show up higher in product manager searches. (I just gave you a really important tip to show up higher in search results)

# Your headline

I talk a lot about this in the LinkedIn course, and why and how to change this. This is a super important little snippet to update. By default, if you don’t update it, it will just pull in your title and company, like “Dishwasher at Big Company”.

I want you to be more strategic in what you communicate than your title and company. Mine looks like title(s) at company, but that is because I wanted to brand myself as a CEO and a product manager, while also increasing brand awareness of JibberJobber.

I might call this section the tagline, and LinkedIn used to call it the professional headline. I like “tagline” because you can (AND SHOULD) use whatever you come up with here anywhere else you use a tagline (even verbally).

#6 Your location

For many years I put something like “global” or “online”.  One day, though, I realized that it just didn’t matter anymore. I was trying to convey that JibberJobber was global, but then I realized people just wanted to know where in the world I was (not my services). So, put where you are.

IF you are mobile, open to moving to other locations, and are concerned hiring managers recruiters won’t want to relocate you, communicate that elsewhere (perhaps in your Summary). Something like:

I’m open to opportunities in Seattle and Miami,” or “I work with clients in Boston and Austin.” Either of those help me pull you out of just one geographic location and help me know you have interest or business in other locations.

So that’s it… a quick look at WHY I have my header the way I do. It’s all on purpose, just as yours should be. Check out the links I put in here for more information, especially the LinkedIn course.


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Bad News About the LinkedIn Export (email addresses)

July 10th, 2020

Recently I’ve had a few people ask about downloading their contact info from LinkedIn but not seeing email addresses. I guess I’ve been living under a rock since November 2018… obviously I hadn’t played around with this since then.

Years ago I wrote a post on how to export your Contacts from LinkedIn. They have moved links and reworded things, making it hard to do, so I got to update that post every once in a while. I figured since I was getting these questions I’d update it again. Here’s the post: How To: Import Contacts From LinkedIn (Step One is most applicable although Step Two should be interesting to avoid GIGO).

So, I’m a little embarrassed to say I wasn’t up on the news that they cut off the emails back in 2018. Like I say in that post, it’s their sandbox, and we are just guests. They get to make all the rules and take away toys.

Many people who start using JibberJobber like to import their contacts from LinkedIn. It feels better to start with hundreds or thousands of contacts in JibberJobber than to start from scratch and build one by one. It’s like a little security blanket.

I propose, however, that you don’t do that.

I wrote about my thought process here: JibberJobber: The Case To Import Or Not.

I think importing hundreds or thousands of contacts gives you a false sense of security or accomplishment, specifically when it comes to the job search.

So what, then, would I do?

Simple: I would network with people, and make contact with them. This will almost always involve an email. I’ll email them to say “Hey, remember me? I want to talk,” or I’ll email them to say “Thanks for the great chat we had this morning!” Either way, they’ll get an email.

I’ll get their email address from their LinkedIn profile… that’s easy enough to do (one by one… not in bulk). But really, there aren’t shortcuts in one-on-one networking. And if I’m going to send an email as I network I might as well add the contact to JibberJobber then. I’ll use the Email2Log feature which allows me to put a special email address in the BCC field, at which time their name, email address, and the email content all go into JibberJobber.

One at a time, but I’m assured that the people I put in JibberJobber are relevant to me and my networking and my job search right now.

Will I go through my contacts in LinkedIn? Yes, absolutely. Will I use LinkedIn as I research? Of course. I’ll find their email address and hopefully, if they’ve updated their profile, see their most current title/company. But when I start to actually have conversations with them is when they’ll end up in JibberJobber.

Remember, you (as a job seeker) are doing strategic, purposeful networking. This is with people who might help introduce you to the right person as well as with people who can help you networking into a company.

Focus more on this type of networking, and informational interviews, than on worrying about automating and sending out mass messages.

I wish I had better news for you but these are their policies. Our task, as job seekers, is to work with what we have to accomplish what we need to… and we are still doing pretty well!

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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.


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:


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):


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!


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 ( 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.


Then, Save.

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


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 (



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Finding The Gold Vein In LinkedIn

November 16th, 2017

A gold vein is what every prospector wanted to find.  Imagine you are digging around hoping to find gold and you find a streak of gold that extends for a long ways… you just found a gold vein.  From wikipedia:


Find one and you are wealthy (as long as you can get the gold out :p).

In LinkedIn there is a section I talk about that I call “the gold vein of LinkedIn.” That is, you are digging around looking for the right contacts… and you can find a lot of relevant people you should reach out to!  It’s very cool and really, it’s been right under your nose the whole time.

Imagine you search for someone… a hiring manager or decision-maker.  For this example let’s say you are looking for a product manager, or chief product officer… anyone on the product team of a company.  You already know you’ll put in “product manager” + location in the search box, like this:


NOTE: LinkedIn has a limit on how many searches you can do per month. It is a ridiculous limit that is simply designed to get you to pay for an upgrade. There’s a super way to get around this loophole… more on that below.

On the search results you’ll find some excellent contacts… but you might not find all of the excellent contacts. What if you found a good 20 excellent contacts but you know there are more?  That’s where the gold vein of LinkedIn comes in.  Here’s what you do:

From the page(s) of the excellent contacts, on the right, you’ll see a list of other contacts under the header “People Also Viewed:”


This is a list of ten contacts.  Some of them are going to be as excellent as first contacts you found.  Others will not be relevant (like the last one on that list… a teacher at a school district (fine person, I’m sure, but not a product manager)).  I want you to focus on the excellent contacts.

The next step is to right-click on each of the highly relevant contacts and open the profile in a new tab. Then, from those pages, do the same thing: look at the People Also Viewed list, open the right contacts in new tabs, and do it again and again and again.

If you find the right ones you could easily have dozens of profile pages open at the same time… I’ve found this to be a better way of finding excellent contacts than just relying on the search results.

This is the easy part. Seriously, you need to actually reach out to those contacts with the goal of having a conversation with them (not just “connecting” on LinkedIn with them, which too often is just the dead end of networking).

So what about that limiting loophole? Instead of searching through LinkedIn, search for LinkedIn profile through Google (or bing or yahoo or whatever you use).

These, and other tricks, can be found in my LinkedIn for Job Seekers video course. I used to sell it for $50, but now you can get access to it, and dozens of other videos and courses, PLUS a full year of JibberJobber premium, for only $60. That’s a savings of hundreds of dollars, and a value that can help get your job search on the right track!  Just login to JibberJobber and click on Upgrade in the bottom menu and then you’ll have access to this (and more) on the Videos page:



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Microsoft and LinkedIn Integration: Resume Assistant

November 13th, 2017

Last week Kylan Nieh of Microsoft/LinkedIn announced the newest integration called Resume Assistant. It looks really cool:


The only think I’d like to point out is that my advice is to have the wording and messaging on your LinkedIn Profile be different than, but complementary to, your resume.

The resume format and wording is pretty standard… strong action verbs that are past tense, short bullet points with plenty of quantifications, generally one or two pages, etc.

If I see this during a LinkedIn Profile consultation I always talk about changing it so that it’s a more interesting read, taking advantage of what LinkedIn offers, and more on-message for people reading your Profile (who are not necessarily looking for a resume format).

If you have a LinkedIn Profile with better wording, that is more enticing, will that transfer well to a resume?

(If it does transfer well to a resume, I think you have some work to do!)

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Ask the Coach #7: LinkedIn Privacy Expectations?

October 20th, 2017

This question is from the client of one of our coaches… Perry Newman asked me to share it amongst the group to see what everyone thought. Perry’s client, Grant, asks:

My question for you was about LinkedIn and the “letting recruiters knows your open” feature. Does this put anything on your profile for your connections to see? I saw it said we try to keep it private, but cannot guarantee. I have seen profiles in the past where it says “open to new opportunities”… for obvious reasons at this point I don’t want that on there for my colleagues to see and because I deal with some of our biggest customers day in day out whom I have connections with this could cause concern on their side too (if they even see it).

This is a really good, and very important, question.  Since I wrote a book on LinkedIn, and have done a gabillion trainings on LinkedIn (the most current is in the JibberJobber Video Library), I’m going to chime in.

jason-alba-125Jason Alba, author of I’m on LinkedIn – Now What, creator of the video course LinkedIn for Job Seekers, and CEO of

Here’s the bottom line: Assume that anything you ever do, or put, on any website, including social media, and LinkedIn, is visible to anyone. Period.

Seriously, there are no guarantees of privacy. Want multiple extreme examples? There are too many private pictures that people have shared on Snapchat (that website who’s promise was to not allow anyone to share or keep pictures) online. How is it that Snapchat has implied a promise that they would keep these private things private, but they are out in the public?

There is no guarantee, ever, of privacy or security online. Ever.

Even the biggest companies with the best security teams have had problems with privacy and security. Think Equifax (oops!), and many others (click the orange slideshow button to be depressed about this whole topic).

Here’s my bottom line: do not trust that any company will or can protect your private stuff, including your private status of looking for a job. No matter what LinkedIn says (you already said they cannot guarantee it, so there’s your answer from them), you should keep your private stuff offline if you are worried that it might get out.

Let’s assume, though, that they guaranteed it. Imagine the following scenario: Your best friend sees your status as being open to a new gig, and he immediately screenshots it and emails it to his local recruiter contacts to “help” you.  So much for privacy.

No site can plug the loophole that security professionals call “social engineering.”

atc_3_headshot_craig_toadtman_125Craig B Toedtman, Job Search Consultant, Career Adviser, Coach, Executive Search Consultant

As the LinkedIn fine print indicates, privacy can’t be guaranteed. My advice would be to refrain from turning the signal on. More importantly, make certain your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and separates you from your competition through your work experience, recommendations, and all avenues available through LinkedIn. A good recruiter will search for all qualified candidates without regard to whether the “open for opportunities” switch is on. If you are the right person for the specific job, you will be found, and the recruiter will reach out to you. At that point, you should stress the importance of maintaining confidentiality as long as possible.

atc_headshot_john_sattler_125John Sattler, Certified Personnel Consultant and Certified Professional Resume Writer

The feature merely prompts the software to allow your profile to show up in relevant searches run only by those with LinkedIn’s Premium Talent Solution Subscription. This is an expensive subscription, running between $1200 – $12,000 annually, per person, which pretty much means only serious recruiters are involved.

NO, enabling LinkedIn’s recruiter alert does not flag your profile in any visible way.

This link gives step-by-step instructions on how to find, enable, and use the “share career interests with recruiters” prompt:!

This link shows exactly what will be shared with recruiters:

On the privacy issue, what LinkedIn seems to be saying is, ‘although the software is designed NOT to allow your profile to appear in searches run by a representative of your company, we can’t guarantee it.’

This link explains how LinkedIn protects your privacy with the recruiter alert enabled:

I believe this is a reasonable caveat on Linkedin’s part. The software has millions of lines of code handling millions of searches a day. I doubt anyone would guarantee there never will be a snafu.

Should this stop you from using the feature? It’s your call but my opinion is absolutely not. I know the feature can work well.

When you see “open to new opportunities,” or something similar on a profile, the profile owner did this themselves. LinkedIn used to offer a ”Job Seeker Badge,” though it has been discontinued.

This video shows how LinkedIn “Premium Job Seeker” works:

This link shows how to find LinkedIn Groups that will help with your job search:

atc_headshot_sonia_cerezo_125Sonia Cerezo, Certified Professional Career Coach

Dear Grant,

I would suggest you make sure your LinkedIn profile is spot on. Be sure you use all the space available in the summary section, and use industry keywords several times through your profile. It is also important to have recommendations and endorsements. When updating your profile be sure to turn off your notification button, once you are done then turn it back on.

The next step is to contribute, share or like something daily. This increases your opportunities to be found quicker.

The most important thing to remember, whether actively or passively looking for a job, you are in the driver’s seat don’t assume others will find you. LinkedIn as a research tool, so make the most of it. Once you have identified recruiters connect with them outside of LinkedIn either by calling or emailing them and tell them you are conducting a confidential job search.

If they only way to connect is via LinkedIn, send them an invitation to connect but don’t connect with them yet. Inform them about your discreet job search and include your email so you can connect offline, then send your resume and take it from there.

Remember recruiters are working on many positions they need to fill, so don’t feel bad about following up with them. Also, be sure to keep a list of the recruiters, with follow-up dates. Once again, this is your job search, so don’t be shy about touching base.

Wishing you the very best!

Thanks to the coaches who chimed in! To see past Ask the Coach questions and responses, click here!

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LinkedIn Title When You Are Unemployed?

August 1st, 2017

This is a post from a few years ago, but just as relevant today: LinkedIn Current Title When You Are… Unemployed?

The big question is, do you brand yourself as what your profession is, what you want it to be, or that you are unemployed?

Check out the post and the comments… and feel free to add your two cents!

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LinkedIn for Job Seekers, Fifth Edition Video Course

July 12th, 2017

Today I am adding the twenty three videos that make up the fifth edition of the LinkedIn for Job Seekers course into the JibberJobber Video Library.

I used to sell this as a DVD, then as a streaming course, for $50.  But now you can get this course, AND all of the other courses, AND JibberJobber Premium, for one year for only $60. It’s like it’s Black Friday all the time around here :)  Just login and then click the bottom link to upgrade to get access to this course, the rest of the video library, and all JibberJobber Premium features.

There are still a few tweaks I need to clean up, but instead of making you wait to access it, you’ll have the whole thing today or tomorrow. We’ll do our cleanup in the background and hopefully you won’t notice anything amiss :)

Here are three videos that you’ll like:

LinkedIn Search Optimization: one of the reasons people upgrade is to get better search results. I tell them, why not learn how to use LinkedIn search better, so you get better results whether you upgrade OR NOT?


Asking for and using Recommendations: LinkedIn has made a big deal out of skills and endorsements, but Recommendations is, in my opinion, much more powerful. This is a great opportunity to network, and get specific language you can use for your personal branding.  In this video I teach you what you are really after (what kind of language is valuable to you), how to ask for a Recommendation and get one that is awesome (instead of vague dribble), and then what to do with the Recommendation once you get it.


Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Below The Fold: LinkedIn made some HUGE changes to your Profile in 2017, and it’s so important to understand what we can do to still have people find, read, and be impressed with our Profile.  The beauty of my LinkedIn Profile writing system is that you can add to it and tweak over time… you don’t have to sit down for to solid days and pour all of your creativity into it. Let’s make your Profile great!


Those are just three screenshots… you can see the videos are about ten minutes long…. I tried to make them shorter because all the experts say we our attention spans are too short for anything over three minutes, but really, there’s just too much to say. So, you get about ten minutes to learn what you need to learn.

Here’s the table of contents… I’ll add and update this over time to keep it current.

01: Introduction

02: The Landing Page

03: Profile: Above the Fold

04: Profile: The Summary

05: Profile: Below the Fold

06: Profile: Adding Rich Media

07: Profile: Wrap-up

08: Giving Recommendations

09: Receiving Recommendations

10: Companies

11: LinkedIn Groups

12: LinkedIn Jobs

13: Optimizing Search

14: X-ray Search

15: Communicating with Others through LinkedIn

16: Settings and Privacy

17: Status Updates and Posting Articles

18: BONUS: Exporting Contacts (for backup)

19: BONUS: Cleaning Exported Contacts

20: BONUS: FAQs I Get About LinkedIn

21: BONUS: Importing into JibberJobber

22: BONUS: Ten Things to Do or Know Right Now

Want access to this? Go to JibberJobber, login, then click Pricing or Upgrade at the very bottom.  You’ll see this new course up by tomorrow night under Tools >> JibberJobber Videos.



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LinkedIn Open Candidates: Letting Recruiters Know You Are Available

April 20th, 2017

My friend at a top eMBA program asked if I recommend turning on the Open Candidates section of LinkedIn, for job seekers.

Haven’t heard of Open Candidates?  That’s okay, I haven’t talked to anyone who has.  The blog post in October 2016 is titled: Now you Can Privately Signal to Recruiters You’re Open to New Job Opportunities

Basically, what they are trying to solve with this solution is letting recruiters know that you are looking (or open, or available), without letting your current employer know.  It’s supposed to help you be an undercover job seeker, and not set off the alarm at your own company (lest you get fired for looking).

It’s a cool idea, and I don’t not suggest it. I honestly don’t know how effective it is… how many recruiters are getting notified that you are now available?  If they aren’t seeing this anywhere, then it’s not doing much good, right? However, it’s a simple process to turn on, and it could help, so why not?

If you are really concerned about a current employer seeing that you are broadcasting yourself as a job seeker, even though they are paying your salary, then I would probably recommend you DO NOT turn this on. Why?

LinkedIn says: “You can privately indicate to recruiters on LinkedIn without worrying. We will hide the Open Candidates signal from recruiters at your company or affiliated company recruiters.

Sorry, but my paranoid self thinks that this could go wrong. LinkedIn says to not worry, but what if they make a mistake and somehow, a recruiter (or worse, my boss) at my company sees that I’m open?  What if the recruiting company they outsource to finds my resume and submits it?  But, you say, LinkedIn said “or affiliated company recruiters.”  What if they make a mistake, and don’t know about all of the affiliated company recruiters?

What if all the technology works fine, but, well, didn’t you know that recruiters talk?  They are human, after all. And they can get you in a heap of trouble.

So, turn it on? Yes, unless you are in a confidential job search.  Then, stay confidential, and don’t trust that technology mean to broadcast your availability to keep you confidential :)

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I Guess LinkedIn Really Isn’t a CRM. Huh.

December 20th, 2016

Over the years I would get invitations to connect with people on LinkedIn, and they would say “I use LinkedIn as my CRM…”

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager. Think Salesforce, Highrise, even the oldies ACT! and Goldmine.  There are hundreds of CRMs.

JibberJobber was designed with “relationship manager” in mind… because we need a tool to help us manage the relationships we have with people we meet and want to meet. As important, we can use a tool that helps us with our follow-up, etc.

So yeah, chuckle and shake my head was my standard response for people saying they used LinkedIn as a CRM.  For a while, it really didn’t have any CRM functionality.  Then, they bought a CRM startup, and … nothing. Years passed and people still didn’t know the features were there.  My message to people was “use LinkedIn as it was designed… to find people, and be found by others, but get a real and independent CRM for relationship management.”

There are various reasons to get a different system for CRM, but for me the most important was that LinkedIn had (and has) a history of taking away features that we (the users) tend to find useful, but for some reason they don’t want to keep around anymore.

Remember Answers? Events (I never cared for it, but of all the features that LinkedIn removed, this was the one that I heard the most complaints over)?  How about the ability to view profiles of third degree contacts?

All pretty much gone.  Check out this article at their help center: Relationship Section of Profile – No Longer Available

What does this mean?

It means that you should always separate your CRM needs from your social tools.  Always.

I feel bad for the people who used LinkedIn as their CRM… because in a few months, all of the rich data they’ve entered there will *poof* away, just like the history of Answers.  Bleh.

And… use JibberJobber for your CRM needs.


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