How to: Organize Your Job Search

July 31st, 2015

Around the country I asked “who is using a spreadsheet to organize their job search?”  Hands went up, and faces looked disgruntled.  No one likes using the spreadsheet in their job search, except for people new to the job search, or people who like to tweak columns and rows, instead of networking to find their next job.

The spreadsheet is a band-aid solution that will be thrown away once you land your job.  Or lost when your computer crashes, or when you switch computers.

JibberJobber, on the other hand, is a long-term tool to use in this, and future job searches.  It is a plug-and-play tool that you just sign up for and start using.  It interfaces with your email, and if you are premium (free to $5 or $10/month) you can get email and SMS (where applicable) reminders of to-do items (aka, Action Items).

Check out this short video which explains the core benefits/tools of JibberJobber:

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Why Organize Your Job Search?

June 25th, 2015

I started JibberJobber as a frustrated job seeker.  While other people use JibberJobber, including entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, people who don’t work (but want to manage their network), I regularly go back to my roots as a frustrated job seeker.

I wanted to organize my job search with a spreadsheet, but that didn’t work out.  It was a mess.  A rat’s nest.  What if you just give up, and wing it?  Impossible. Once you get deep enough in your job search, you have to stay organized, or else too many opportunities get lost. I’m not talking about job offerings, I’m talking about opportunities to follow-up with people.

Using Excel is a great option, for about two weeks.  Then the amount and complexity of data, and what you are trying to track, get’s too messy. And you’ll be tempted to create more and more columns and sheets, only muddying things up worse.

Using a paper-based system (spiral notebook, sticky notes, day planner, writing on your arm, etc.) is an okay system, until you can’t read your writing, and can’t follow anything.

Both of those systems, though, are not long-term solutions.  I bet a month after you find your dream job (the one that will end in two to five years), you’ll not be able to decipher what you wrote.  It will become garbage, encoded to the point where no one can make heads or tails of it.

When we designed JibberJobber, we were looking for something that would be:

  • Fairly easy to use: This is a significant challenge because of the complexity of the task.  We try and hide as much complexity behind the scenes, but simplifying the UI is always on the top of our list.
  • Long term: I wanted something that you could use after you land your job, and in five years, and between job searches, and when you got freelance gigs, and even after you retired.
  • Actionable: collecting and organizing data is one thing… reminding you to act on something is another thing. I missed a key call with a hiring manager because my spreadsheet was messed up (hard to read), and it didn’t say “CALL THIS PERSON TODAY AT 10!!”  Instead, I missed the call.  I wanted JibberJobber to put those reminders right in front of you.

I learned from recruiters that they hate calling a candidate, asking about their interest in a job they had applied to, and the candidate not knowing what they were talking about.  I get that – it’s hard to remember everything, and sometimes we are trying to remember if we had sent a resume, or which resume we sent… or maybe we just mowed the lawn and our brain was somewhere else. But the message we send to the recruiter is that we don’t care.  That we’ve forgotten and our interest level was low to begin with.

Why have an organized job search?  So you can talk to people, even recruiters, and know what you are doing!  So you can sound interested!

JibberJobber helps you stay organized by allowing you to keep track of:

  • Contacts
  • Companies
  • Jobs
  • Interactions you have with any of those (aka, Log Entries)
  • Follow-up you need to do (aka, Action items)

You can even use your email to add new records (email2log).

Look, I know this can be overwhelming… here’s a video that will help you put all of this into perspective:

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How To Organize a Job Search (JibberJobber Competitor)

February 6th, 2015

Andy called me this week.  It’s been at least a couple of years since we chatted last.  He was asking about programs we have for coaches and job clubs… and noted that one of my competitors has since gone away.

My reply was that I have, over the years, seen a few JibberJobber competitors go away.

I’ve always felt that being in this business is kind of like playing leapfrog.  We have something cooler than you today, tomorrow you have something cooler than us, and we hop around the competitive landscape with a “I’m better than you (for the next 24 hours)!” attitude…

I almost cared in the beginning, but knew that if I always tried to one-up my competition, I would drive myself, and my team, nuts.  And we would focus on the wrong things.

I admit that some of our competitors have had way cooler things than we have had over the years.  Some of them today have cooler things (including the interface) than what we have.

But what I know is this: we’ve been around for (almost) nine years.  And we’ll be around for at least another 9 years.  I don’t know how many competitors are left, but I’m guessing that of the 20 or so that popped up after we pioneered this space, 1/2 are gone.  Cool features, cool interface and all.  GONE.  That means your data is gone.  When you need their tools in your next job search, you won’t be able to use them.

Why?

Sometimes they had investors that got cold feet.  Sometimes they were a one-man operation (nothing wrong with that), and when they got a job, they took their job search organizer off the back burner and put it in the freezer.  Sometimes they thought they were going to be rich and famous, and when they didn’t make any money, and couldn’t figure out monetization models, they did the oh-so-popular “pivot,” which means they were too smart to stay in a very hard business.

I don’t know why they pulled the plug.  But they have.  Even if the site is still up, if they haven’t blogged for months (or years), I would take that as a bad sign.  If they can’t take 10 minutes to blog, are they working on their system?  Would you trust your data to a system that has been neglected for years?

Over the last nine years JibberJobber has been accused of looking old.  Even the day after one layout update, someone emailed and said we looked like a site from the 1990’s.  You just can’t win them all.

But here’s what we do have: a dedicated team of programmers and QA, and myself, who have been working on JibberJobber non-stop for nine years.  We have grown, improved, added more features, enhanced and improved for nine years.  We don’t have an investor breathing down our necks telling us what features to add or remove, or what numbers we need to hit, or we’ll have to pull the plug.  It’s been a tough road, but we are in a position where we are here now, and we will be here for your next job search, and the next one…

I love getting emails from people saying this is their third or fourth job search, over the last nine years, that they are using JibberJobber for.  That is freaking cool.  Not that they are in job search three times, but hey, it’s the world we live in. I love that we are there for you.

If you don’t like our colors, or our boxes, or our reports… you can go check the other systems out.  It will make their day if you say you are sick of JibberJobber and you like them better.  Go for it.  But when they go belly up, or stop development of new features, or don’t fix bugs for months and months, or one day they just disappear… you can always come back.

We’re focusing on four words this year:

  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Reliable
  • Intuitive

I’m not saying we are awesome at those four things, but those are our focus for 2015, as far as development goes.  Each time we create a new work order, we are tagging it as something that will make JibberJobber easier to use, faster, more reliable, or more intuitive.  Do we have a lot of work to do?  Tons.  But we’re dedicated to doing this smart, so that we can be around for many more years.

Want to check out our competition?  Go for it.

Want to help us be there for you, for the rest of our career?  Join us.  Help us.  Give us suggestions.  Tell us what we fail miserably at… and how we can improve.  We are in this for the long haul.

And honestly, good luck to our competitors.  It’s not heartening to see so many companies pivot too early.  At the end of the day, we are all in this business to serve YOU.

 

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Focus Friday is Back: 10 Minutes of Awesome

January 20th, 2015

Last year I did a 10 minute focus webinar on one single topic every Friday morning.  I am now back in the saddle with this… and it’s a great way to end the week.  On my Focus Friday webinars we go over the one thing, and I try to keep it just at 10 minutes. I stay on for any questions… sometimes that’s another 10 – 15 minutes, other times there aren’t any.  The questions can be about anything.

You sign up once, then you get an email each week reminding you to come, and with the link to join.  If you can’t come, don’t worry… just don’t come.  You don’t have to email me to let me know.  Here’s the link to sign up:

JibberJobber Focus Friday: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5707327729143447042

I try to put the recordings up that same day… you can see the past Focus Friday webinars here.

This is different than the User Orientation, which will run between 60 and 90 minutes… usually on Wednesdays. You can see all of my webinars here.

 

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A Systematic, Process-Oriented Job Search #LizRyan

November 25th, 2014

I’m a sucker for a good job search story.  Enter a LinkedIn article by Liz Ryan, where she shares an awesome, inspiring letter from one of her job seeker clients, and then her reply.  Please read the entire thing – it’s kind of long but if you are in a job search, this will give you a boost that you just can’t get enough of!

How Doug Got Hired After Two Years of Searching

Doug’s story is our story… your story, my story.  We think that if we do a great job, we’ll have security (“I thought I was going to retire from that job.”).  We think that we can send out hundreds of resumes, because it’s a “numbers game,” and eventually someone is going to interview us and hire us.  We are absolutely appalled at the resume black hole and the salt-in-the-wound auto-responders.  Finally, when something comes along that gives us a semblance of control, we gravitate towards that.  We thirst for control, since we feel like we’ve been thrust into this dark fantasy world where we have NO control.  Doug talks about “Pain Letters” and a “consulting business card.”  It’s a great letter – read it here.

Liz responds with two awesome follow-up assignments that EVERY job seeker should do. The first is to get on LinkedIn, and get a good profile.  The second assignment is awesome:

“The second assignment is to write to everyone you met in your job search, and thank them. Tell them where you landed and thank them for their support, even if they didn’t really do anything.

That’s okay. Tell them that you appreciate having them in your network. Maybe your note will be the spark that grows their mojo just enough to do something nice for the next person they meet, or to take a step for themselves”

This is such a powerful assignment. I don’t even want to call it a recommendation because I think that devalues it. It’s not a suggestion… this is a must-do assignment.

I have heard from hundreds of coaches and career professionals that they all say something like this: “when you land your next job, you need to continue networking!

And the job seekers says “Yes, of course, I’ll never let my network get stagnant again!”  You feel repentant, you are humbled, and even though you don’t like networking, you swear you won’t fall behind on your relationships again.

BUT YOU DO.  You get busy onboarding yourself at your next job.  You can take a breather and release the stress of being unemployed.  You get to play a bit, and of course you don’t have to go to any networking events.  Whatever resolution you had gets swept away in the new routines.

YOu aren’t bad… you just need some ideas on how to network moving forward.  And Liz’s assignment, to reach out to every person you met in your job search (and the people you knew before that, who you were in touch with during your job search), is THE TACTIC that you need to pursue.

Awesome stuff. Click the image to read the whole thing:

jibberjobber_liz_ryan_linkedin_article_doug

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JibberJobber Competition: JibberJobber vs. the Excel Spreadsheet

November 19th, 2014

Yesterday I was talking to a very successful career coach who said that he continues to recommend JibberJobber, but some of his clients say “oh, I’m already using Excel to track my job search…”  He knows the value of JibberJobber over Excel, but he can’t force people to change from Excel to JibberJobber.

I’ve talked to plenty of people over the years who have the same concern.  “I’ve already started on Excel and I don’t want to transition over,” or something like that.

I realize this can be a hard mental transition (although quite easy to implement).

This reminds me a of a delightful book I just read titled Selling The Wheel.  This is a really fast read, with a story about the guy who supposedly invented the wheel, and was anxious to get rich by selling it.  Max, the inventor of the wheel, was sure that everyone who saw the wheel would want one (or more)… but when he went out to actually sell the wheel, he learned that he had some serious competition. His competition was what people where already using to move things: camels, elephants, slaves, sledges.  Max didn’t realize that, even though his wheel had significant advantages to current ways of doing things, it would be hard for people to switch from the old, comfortable, familiar way, to some newfangled technology.

As I read this story, I totally thought about JibberJobber.  There’s a better way, but some people would rather use old and comfortable.

In this post, I want to share why I was audacious enough to think that a web-based job search organizer (aka, JibberJobber) could really be better than old and comfortable (aka, your Excel job search spreadsheet).

Here are three reasons I think people love Excel so much to track a job search:

Excel is familiar and comfortable.  Everyone has used Excel for something, at work, school or home.  We all understand spreadsheets.  I would argue that most people use 5% of the functionality of a spreadsheet… but that 5% is functional enough to track someone’s phone number and email, and when you talked to them last.  That’s pretty easy to do.

With Excel, you can create anything you want – you have complete control over the columns and rows.  Excel, as a blank slate, let’s you set up whatever you want: more sheets, more columns, more rows, and do whatever you want with them.  This can be, though, a double edged sword. I have heard from coaches over the years that some of their job seeking clients can spend weeks – really, weeks! – tweaking their spreadsheet.  On the surface level, it looks like you are being productive since you are setting up your tools.  Go a little deeper and you’ll find that too often, people who spend days and weeks tweaking are really hiding from the job search.  It’s a lot more comfortable tweaking a spreadsheet by yourself than picking up the phone and perhaps getting rejected.

Excel is a temporary solution, and you won’t need this information after you land your job.  I believed that once I landed my job I could go back to my cozy place and not think about the job search, which included networking. I heard that I would transition every two to five years, but I didn’t want to think about it at all… I knew that my spreadsheet was going in the virtual garbage can. Even if I did pull it up two to five years later it was turning into such a disorganized rats nest I was sure I wouldn’t be able to make heads or tales of it after I landed my next gig.

Transitioning from comfortable/familiar (spreadsheet) to JibberJobber can just seem like it’s too much.  But it isn’t too much, and here’s why:

The transition doesn’t mean you have to take all of your spreadsheet stuff and copy it into JibberJobber.

I’m guessing that you have a lot of data you’ve logged in your spreadsheet.  Some of it is active, some of it is just a placeholder. Not everyone or everything you’ve logged is going to come up again in your networking or job search.

Personally, I would keep the spreadsheet, and refer to it if I had to, but going forward, from this minute on, I would start to use JibberJobber.  Meet someone new?  Put them in JibberJobber (not in the spreadsheet).  Network into someone new at one of your target companies (where the target company is in your spreadsheet)?  Quickly add you target company into JibberJobber (it takes all of 30 seconds, if that), and then put that new contact in.  You don’t have to copy and paste, or transfer over from the spreadsheet… just stop using the spreadsheet and start using JibberJobber, and you’ll find that the main contacts you are networking and communicating with end up in your JibberJobber account.  These are the ones that are on the top of your list, and need more of your attention….

Every once in a while, go back into your spreadsheet to see if there are people who have slipped through the cracks, and reach out to them.  When you do, add them into JibberJobber and remove them from your spreadsheet.  You’ll find that the names and information in your spreadsheet will be whittled away and your JibberJobber database will be rich with real, current information and relationships.

Bonus, this is a lot easier than you might think.  With the Email2Log feature (which is premium, starting at $5/month and up to $9.95/month, depending on how many months you pay for at once), you can add contacts and companies simply by emailing your contacts (which you are already doing), or by forwarding emails to the JibberJobber server.  While we have import tools, the Email2Log is the easiest way to get relevant information into JibberJobber quickly, and with virtually no effort.

Email2Log is the secret weapon to transitioning from your existing tracking system to JibberJobber.

You can import existing files, or sync your Gmail Contacts, but the people you are emailing today, and tomorrow, and this month, are the people who you need most in JibberJobber… at least today. You are probably already emailing them, so the next time you do, add the Email2Log address, and even their company, just by hitting send.

Some people like to import all of their contacts from LinkedIn, but this isn’t critical.  Sure, it gives you the impression that you have a lot of “contacts,” but are you communicating with any of them?  Or does having a big list of people who you think you should know just stress you out, since there is a huge list you are not quite ready to contact, but think you should?

Imagine if you started your job search over today.  What would you do differently?

I ask myself this question with my own business (which is more like being in a job search than I would have guessed).  Sometimes stopping what you have been doing and starting over new gives you a chance to make the changes that you should have made earlier, but just never got around to.

Sure, starting a new system can be a bit daunting. But getting started now doesn’t mean that what you’ve done for the last few months is all for naught.  It was really Phase I of your job search and learning experience.  Now it might be the right time for Phase II.

But what are the BENEFITS of switching to JibberJobber?

Okay, so transitioning isn’t really a big deal… but is it worth it?  Here are some benefits of JibberJobber over an Excel or paper tracking system:

The more you get into it, JibberJobber will be as comfortable as Excel. I know at first it can be confusing.  For many,this is the first time you’ve ever seen what a CRM (customer relationship management) system looks like, and for many, this is the first time you’re doing a very proactive strategic outbound networking campaign.  This whole experience is overwhelming… but the more you do it, the comfortable it will get.  Add a few Contacts and a few Log Entries and you’ll realize how easy and intuitive it really is.  Especially with Email2Log.

JibberJobber won’t waste your time with design tweaks.  Remember the guys tweaking their spreadsheets for weeks (which I call “hiding from your job search”)?  You won’t feel like you need to do this.  We designed JibberJobber for job seekers, and WE have been tweaking for the last 8+ years, so you don’t have to.  Of course there is flexibility, withe Manage Columns on the List Panels, custom reports, user-defined fields, etc.  But those are simple, easy changes you can make when you want to… this allows you to focus on what you need to do (call and meet with people!!), and not fiddle around with technology.

JibberJobber helps you network for many years to come.  Let’s say you use it, then land your job, then in three years you are in a job search again.  You can log into JibberJobber and find all of the information you put in, just as you left it.  It will be easy to understand what you did, when you did it. Whereas my spreadsheet was turning into a confusing rats nest, JibberJobber will be a place that is easy to come back to. I remember an early user landed his dream job, then came back two years later when he was in transition, and said “Jason, it’s like coming home!”  We’ve been around long enough to experience this many times with our users.  We’ve been here every time they’ve been in transition.

Those three benefits address the three reasons people like Excel that I listed at the top of this blog post.  Here are some other benefits:

JibberJobber is your long-term networking tool.  Every job coach and resume writer will tell you to keep networking, even after you’ve landed your job.  It’s a pain to do.  Even if we got into a networking groove when in job search, starting a new job can be consuming.  But we should network, even when we are not in transition.  Even if we are introverts.  Even if this is my dream job, and I’m not going anywhere.  Networking is the new job security.  And JibberJobber is the tool to help you do it.

JibberJobber is a follow-up, network nurturing, and relationship tool. Keith Ferrazzi says “if you want to be better than 95% of your competition, all you have to do is follow-up.”  As I’ve traveled the United States, I’ve talked about the importance and power of NURTURING relationships.  All of this follow-up, nurturing talk is really difficult, though, if you are relying on a stack of business cards, relying on your memory to remember who is who, and what, why and how to follow-up. Take a lesson from sales professionals and use a system (JibberJobber!) to help you follow-up and nurture relationships throughout the rest of your career!

JibberJobber continually improves and adds new career management features. We started out as a simple replacement to the job search spreadsheet… and over the years it made sense to add other functionality.  Like the Job Journal, where you can record past accomplishments that become part of your stories, and the Interview Prep area, where you can wordsmith how you are going to respond to interview questions and networking situations. There is also a coaching interface, which brings more value to the relationship between you and your coach.  As we hear about really cool best-practices in career management, we wonder “should this be built into JibberJobber?”

JibberJobber is the hub for your career and networking information, regardless of any networks that tend to come and go. Find a contact name and email on a job posting?  Or meet someone on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Twitter? Did you  read about them on a press release?  Did someone make a face-to-face introduction to someone you want to follow-up with?  No matter where you get your information from, JibberJobber sits comfortably in the middle, as the hub and information gatherer.  Social networks come and go in popularity (refer to MySpace), but that shouldn’t impact whether your relationships come and go, too.  Have one single hub (JibberJobber!) to store information from disparate sources of information.

We’re constantly thinking of how to make things easier for you. As web users, we continually find coolness on other websites and think “we should do this on JibberJobber!”  Even though we are ancient in Internet years, we are continually trying to improve the value we bring you, and your user experience.  I promise your Excel spreadsheet is not thinking about you the way we are 😉

We’re constantly working on getting data in.  Getting data into any system can be a pain. Sometimes there is no alternative to just typing a name and number in.  But we are continually thinking “how can we take this from 7 clicks to 4 clicks,” or “could we import this data?”  Some of our tweaks have been big (the Gmail synchronization) while some have been small and almost unnoticeable (changing the order of fields on the Add Contact page, so that the first three fields are the main three fields you should have on every Contact).  We’re also thinking of the next phase of Email2Log, and some amazing functionality that we could do with emails you send to the system.

We’re constantly thinking of how to get data out.  This is not just a repository of data, but it’s a tool to help you with the right information, at the right time. This might mean getting Action Item alerts via email or SMS (a premium feature), or showing you what you have going on this week every time you log in, or showing you how many open Action Items you have this week and next week from any page you are on.  Perhaps it is the custom reporting tools and the export functionality that is at your fingertips… whatever it is, we want you to (a) feel like this is YOUR DATA, and it’s not trapped in some system that you don’t own, and (b) can get your data out in a way that is meaningful to you.

The interface with your daily email system and processes makes this a very easy system to use. Email2Log is the “killer app” in JibberJobber.  The idea that you can send emails all day long, and have that create Log Entries, Action Items, Companies, Contacts, and more, is simply awesome.

We want to give you peace of mind.  Recently I got an email from someone who had just started using JibberJobber. He said “I actually slept all through the last night now that I am feeling organized.”  This struck a chord with me and reminded me of the feelings of anxiety you have as a job seeker.  There are so many unknowns, and so many things that are out of your control.  Let us help you get the organizational thing under control, and empower you so that you can have your own peace of mind in this very tumultuous time.

JibberJobber is as inexpensive as you want it to be.  About two years ago we moved most of the features to the free side.  We simply just gave away what others had paid for in the past.  You can upgrade for $9.95 a month, or if you upgrade for a year you get 50% off (so it comes out to $5/month)… and most people do that for the Email2Log (and extra storage).  But if you don’t have any money, then enjoy almost every feature of JibberJobber, including our customer support that we pride ourselves on, at no cost.

JibberJobber makes you a smarter, and more valuable, professional.  A few years ago I was talking to a recruiter who said “If I was hiring someone who needed CRM experience, I would totally want to interview JibberJobber users.”  Did you realize that using JibberJobber was on-the-job training? You are kind of reprogramming your brain to think about relationships, both with people and with data, differently.  Using JibberJobber helps you understand different thinking, different software, different interfaces, and how to think about these complexities differently.  You didn’t know using JibberJobber is actually something you could add to your resume, did you? :)

There are more benefits, but I should stop before this post becomes so long it should have been a book. I hope this has been helpful to you, if you have been wondering about transitioning from your spreadsheet to JibberJobber.

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JibberJobber to Organize a Job Search AND to Help Entrepreneurs Launch a Business!

November 7th, 2014

Here is a great question from A.A.:

I am a job seeker and I am developing a business. My business is very different from the job I am doing. I want to use jibberjobber to track both but I am not sure if it is possible to separate them within one profile. Can you advise?

The short answer is, yes, definitely use one JibberJobber account to track both of these endeavors.

Technically, I would use tags to help you keep the two separated.  So, when you add a new contact, tag them as job_search or business.  Or, you can tag them as both job_search and business.

I’ve found, over the years, that many of my personal and professional relationships are not constrained to just one bucket.  For example, this last week I reached out to two long-term friends to ask for professional, business-related introductions.

Also, I did not tag either of these friends as friends, personal, business, referral, or anything like that. Perhaps I should, but for now I simply have just created a Log Entry for each of the requests, and their responses.

When their contacts reach out to me, I simply use the Referred By field to keep track of who introduced me to who… that has proved to be invaluable over the years.

In addition to that scenario, I track personal things in JibberJobber, such as who I call when I need an appliance fixed, or when my garage door breaks.  I don’t like having to track those types of people, but I do like having one place to store names and numbers, and even track when they service my stuff, and how much I pay them.

JibberJobber has become my central information hub… it started out as a job search tool, and for me very quickly evolved to a small business CRM and a personal business tracker.

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Why Tell Your Network What You Do When They Already Know What You Do?

October 23rd, 2014

Someone at the Business Insider took one of my LinkedIn Articles (The Question That Makes Job Seekers Sound Stupid) and chopped it up to make an article on their website.  I’m thankful that they attributed it and linked to JibberJobber.

The comments are pretty lame, however.  It’s sad what people say when they are anonymous.  Here’s the first comment, from “anonymousl_66”):

Dippy article. I get the point of not looking desperate by saying “I’ll do anything”, but if you’re asking friends in your network if they know of any openings, they’ll already have a pretty good idea of what you’re qualified … because they know you.

This is a brilliant assumption.  I had the same assumption assumption when I was in my job search.  If someone “knows me,” then why in the world would I have to tell them who I am, or what I do, or what I’m looking for, or how they can help me?

If they care about me, they’ll definitely know the answers to all of those things, right?

WRONG.  

Absolutely wrong.

Okay, maybe *some* of your friends will know what you do, but do they really know what that means?  If someone is talking to them about a problem they are having, will they know enough to say “oh, my good buddy Dippy_66 does exactly what you are talking about!  He says he’s a product manager, but I know he specializes in all the stuff you are talking about!”

I bet less than 5% of your “friends” know enough breadth and depth about you, what you have done, and what direction you want to go, to really help like this.

The other 95%?

They want to help, but they might not know what you do, or what you want to do.

You see, product manager, as well as most other job titles, can be ambiguous and misleading.  They might not know that you are a master of getting a product from idea to completion, or taking it to market in a big way. They might not know that you specialize in B2C… or wait, is it B2B?  And what do those things really mean, anyway??  You can summarize “product manager” as easily as you can summarize “HR” — they are just too broad.

It’s easy to “assume” that our contacts “know” what we do, but sometimes we don’t even understand the full breadth and depth of what we do!

Further, perhaps someone knows us from five or ten+ years ago.  Back when we were an Accounts Payable manager… they don’t know that since then we’ve finished school, got an MBA, and have been working as a finance executive.  They might remember that we were really fun to work with.  We did a good job, but in the downtime we had fun hanging out, playing pranks at the office, etc.  What are they going to tell people – that we were the funnest person in the office?  While that might be a cool distinction, it’s not necessarily going to help you in your job search.

Is that what you want them to communicate about you?

Even further, what if they knew us to be that AP manager, and they heard we were going to go to school to pursue a career as a finance executive.  What they might not have known is that when we went to school we realized we hated all-things-finance, and went on to work in the non-profit space… they won’t know that we’re looking for opportunities in that field.

Or what if we did have a great career in finance (and they knew that), but now we want to change careers and do something completely different?

Assuming our network knows what we do, or want to do, is a gamble.

When I was in my job search my wife of 11ish years asked “what do you do?”She seriously asked me what I did for a living, and what I was looking for.  She was asking because her friends were asking her, and she didn’t know how to communicate it.  She needed me to share, in my own words, what I was looking for, so she could empower her friends (aka, contacts) to help us.  She had been there during the degrees, the job promotions, etc., and I thought she “knew” me well.  She should have known the answer to her own question. But she couldn’t communicate it right, or even well.

Anonymous_66, take that gamble if you want, but I have learned there is a simple fix to not lose everything.  That is: communicate effectively, and empower your network to work with and for you!  This is one reason I’m SO BIG on recommending that job seekers send a monthly newsletter.

One last story.  When I started speaking professionally, I would be asked “how do you want us to introduce you?,” or “do you have a bio we can read?”

I wanted the introduction to be casual, informal, and not read like a robot, so I ignored the professional speakers advice and responded with something like “you know me well enough – I’m sure you’ll do a good introduction.  Just don’t make it too long.”

That’s my style – casual, friendly, and let’s get to the main event.  But I didn’t realize what people would actually say about me.  I wanted them to focus on X, and was pretty sure they would.  But no one focused on X… they all focused on A, B, C, or Y, Z… anything but X.  It was frustrating listening to these introductions, and I finally broke down and wrote introductions for each presentation.

The same thing is happening with your network.  They don’t know about your X… but they might remember A, B, or C.  Or they might assume Y or Z.

This is exactly why job seekers need to continually clarify who they are, and what they are looking for… even (especially) to their besties, even (especially) to their spouse, and to anyone who is willing to help them in their job search and networking.

And that, my friends, isn’t so Dippy.

 

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JibberJobber in the News (TheMuse.com, Time Magazine, Philly.com): Organize Your Job Search

October 22nd, 2014

I don’t share this as often as I should, but I’ll share it today. JibberJobber is regularly recommended by career professionals as a great tool to organize and track your job search.  You already know about TheMuse.com article (I blogged about it here), where we were #2 on the list of 10 Job Search Tricks That Will Change Everything You’ve Been Doing.

Yesterday Time Magazine reprinted the article, written by Anna Runyan.  We’ve been in US News and World Report and a few other magazines, but I think this is the first time we’ve been mentioned in Time (and a nice mention it is!).

time_magazine_jibberjobber

Not too long ago in Philly.com, Rita Friedman recommended JibberJobber as the tracking system you should use. The article is What’s in your job search toolkit?  I should note that in her article she talks about elevator pitches, your credentials, your interview stories, and references… all of which you can track and store in JibberJobber.  She says “with these tools you’ll be ready to dive into a serious job search.

I guess it’s worth mentioning that someone at Business Insider took one of my LinkedIn articles and used that to create an article on Business Insider.  At least they gave it attribution :)  The comments there are the kind that destroy faith in humanity… but I’ll blog about that tomorrow :)

Updated 10/27:

I forgot to mention we were also recommended in this article in the Huffington Post: 3 Ways to Energize Your Job Search and Get Hired Now! (thank you Mary Eileen Williams)

Thanks to the career professionals who recommend JibberJobber, and welcome to the new users who have found us through those recommendations!

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How To: Use a Contact Manager (JibberJobber is a Contact Manager)

October 17th, 2014

david_bradford_headshotI’m reading David Bradford’s book Up Your Game, and on page 41  he talks about using a contact manager.

David is the consummate networker who has also had a terrific career.  He’s a grandpa living in Utah and just recently was the CEO of HireVue, and before that, CEO of the amazing Fusion-IO. He is active on social media and has a big, giving heart.

Back to the “contact manager” concept.  In the olden days (well, actually, even today) most people had not heard of a “contact manager.”  Everyone had heard of a Roladex, which is an old-fashioned device that sat on your desk, and allowed you to quickly flip through cards that had your contacts’ information on them so you could find their phone number and call them.  Here’s a modern-looking roladex (image courtesy wikipedia):

roladex_image

According to what I’ve found online, ACT! was the first digital contact manager – that is, a contact manager on a computer.  It was 1986 (where were YOU in 1986??) and ACT! would be the first of hundreds.  There were a few others that you probably haven’t heard of, the one I briefly used was Goldmine.  Today you have likely heard of the massive $5B/annual company Salesforce.com.  Perhaps there are thousands of CRM systems now.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management… and this software has mostly been designed for sales professionals.  Some of them LOVE the software, and live-and-die on CRM, and others abhor CRM (because they are people people, and not software nerds).

The Roladex, and the little black book of contacts, were for anyone trying to keep track of their friend/family, etc.

CRM was really mostly for salespeople.  Who else would pay that much for software that was that hard to use, when all you really wanted was a place to write down a phone number?

When David wrote about using a “contact manager” in his book, I got excited.  He is not using it as a sales professional, he’s using it as a real contact manager!  He’s using it to keep track of who is is meeting, what their important phone information is, when he communicates with them, and when he needs to follow-up.

Let me break that down, and make this a “how to” post.  This is more of a “how to get value out of a contact manager” than how to use any bells and whistles.  And just for fun, I’m going to use “JibberJobber” instead of “contact manager.”

First, store your contacts in  JibberJobber.

You can store all of them, but you don’t need to.  Don’t get stressed that one system (perhaps your email contact list) has contacts that are not in JibberJobber, or that LinkedIn doesn’t have all of the same contacts as you have in JibberJobber.  Recognize that these are different systems with different purposes.  The purpose of your contact manager (JibberJobber) is not to have the contacts everwhere else, but to serve as a central repository of IMPORTANT contacts that you are, can or want to nurture.  If someone comes into your life through LinkedIn, eventually they’ll probably end up in JibberJobber.

Second, record information about those contacts.

When you first enter a contact, you likely won’t have all of the information you could put in about them.  I usually start with just the first name, last name, and email address.  As my relationship progresses, or as we exchange more and more emails, I will find out other information, like a work address or phone number, which might be in their official work email.  Just collect this information as you get it, and gradually enter it into JibberJobber.  Don’t stress about not having it to begin with…

Third, record important communication as “log entries.”  

When you reach out to someone, or respond to them, log it into JibberJobber.  I don’t do this all the time, but as I’m starting a relationship I’ll log any communication just to put a timeframe around how fast or slow our relationship is forming.  Once I have a strong relationship with someone, I find myself logging communications less, but the quality of what I’m logging increases.  For example, we meet at a networking event and I send you an email.  I’ll log that email, even though it’s not going to have anything more substantial than “nice to meet you – let’s get on a call next week.”  A few years later I’m not going to log every email we exchange, but if there is something big, or important, then I’ll log that.  Don’t beat yourself up for not logging everything… you’ll get used to what you really want to track and what you don’t need to.

Fourth, indicate when you need to follow-up with your contacts.

This might be one of the hardest things to do, and track, for people who are starting to get serious about networking.  Why?  Because the more you network, the more follow-up you can do!  And it feels rotten to meet people, start a relationship, and then forget when to follow-up, or who they were, or why you should follow-up, etc.  In JibberJobber, you’ll create “action items,” which is basically a due date on a log entry.  You can even create recurring action items, which means you can say “Ping Johnny every quarter,” to help you nurture relationships over the long-term.

Keith Ferrazzi says that if you want to be better than 95% of your competition, all you have to do is follow-up.  We know this, but there’s a reason why 95 out of 100 people don’t do it: it’s hard to manage!

Let JibberJobber be your contact manager and your follow-up tool.

The focus is not on sales, rather on relationships.

Are you ready to get serious about this yet?  Jump on a User Orientation webinar, and let’s start by taking baby steps together.

 

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