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Five Life Changes to Become More Supportive

April 5th, 2021

Last week I had an eye opening chat with one of my favorite people, Shelley Benhoff. You can watch it on YouTube here.

Pluralsight YouTube Shelley Benhoff

I asked Shelley about her advice for girls and women who are interested in a STEM/tech career. I also asked her for advice to guys who work with women in STEM, and how they can be more supportive. This has really been on my mind lately (as I was getting ready to talk to her about it), and I just can’t stop thinking about it. I recently woke up with some very specific ideas I think will help people be more supportive of women, and really, anyone, at work.

I have to say, I think most of us are trying to make work a better place. If that is you, think about these five ideas. I know they have helped me think about how I can support others.

First, nurture an abundance mentality.

I hate hearing people are mad that someone else got a job or promotion because of reasons outside of performance. Of course, this happens. And no, it is not fair. But you need to change your focus from disgust and hate and jealousy to thinking “okay, how can we make this pie bigger?”

Abundance mentality is so powerful. Instead of thinking “they got that job, and so there is no other opportunity for anyone else,” think “they got that job, and we are doing really well, and soon there will be more opportunities.” Abundance mentality is the opposite of zero-sum game theory. Zero-sum game says “if they get something, I don’t.” But during my entire career I’ve never seen where someone gets an opportunity and that shuts doors for everyone else.

Please, I beg you, start thinking about abundance mentality. There is an abundance of opportunity. We just need to find or create it. When you start to believe in abundance mentality it becomes a lot easier to support others, even when we think they got something we thought we deserved.

Second, celebrate wins of others.

When my wife and I bought our first house we were over-the-moon excited. The house was really nice for us, and where we were at. I had just gotten my first real (big) job, and we had a couple of kids. The house was big enough for us to grow into. And it had a (very old but functional) hot tub under a covered patio!

We had friends and family come over… you know how that is. People are curious to see how others are doing, so they come see your new digs. My wife was shocked when some people made comments that expressed jealousy, or other negative feelings. She really thought others would be as excited for as as we were, and was disheartened to hear comments that were less than supportive. We had a few conversations and she taught me an important lesson: Instead of comparing our lives and wins and accomplishments with others, we need to celebrate with them.

Is this easy to do? Not always. When you feel like you have worked harder, are smarter, etc., and you deserve goodness, and then you see someone else get what you thought you deserve before you get it, it’s hard. Shakespeare wrote plenty about jealousy. The old religious books write about jealousy. This is nothing new. Recognize that jealousy is not good, nor is it healthy. Work through the jealous feelings and get to a point where you genuinely care about others to the point of being happy for their wins.

This goes hand in hand with abundance mentality thinking. If you think the pie is a limited size it’s easier to be jealous. When you shift to an abundance mentality you can think “they got goodness, and we can all get goodness!”

Third, recognize your colleague has a whole world outside of work.

It’s critical that we think about people as humans. They have a mother, father, aunt, spouse, kids, even neighbors and other friends, outside of work. When you have jealous, unsupportive feelings about others you are discounting the goodness that others see in them. Maybe they donate their time or resources to good causes. Your lack of support impacts their ability to function and contribute to their other circles.

I think too often we see one another at work as a title, a role, and sometimes a competitor. We worry about what they’ll take from us, not realizing that when they get a raise, promotion, bonus, or even just recognition, that might carry over into how they parent, or their outside relationships. Why shouldn’t we be happy for, and supportive of them, as they have professional accomplishments?

Many times when we think about our own accomplishments we think about how that will change our home life, or our future. We need to think of our colleagues as humans, and afford them the same benefits.

Fourth, admit that you can’t possibly do it alone.

Funny story: When I was in college I had finally settled on a major. It wasn’t computer science… it was the business college alternative (computer information systems). I had two programming classes, and a handful of other tech classes. I looked at others in the college of business, especially marketing and management, and thought “well, good luck getting a job or having a meaningful career.”

Yes, I was immature, short-sighted, and dumb.

Anyway, at my low point in this thinking I remember walking through the liberal arts building with the English and history majors. I remember thinking they made some really, really bad decisions. They chose easy majors to get through school, and would pay for it later when they tried to have a meaningful career. I regret that line of thinking.

Fast forward a bit and I had an epiphany: while I might be the one to create cool technology, or lead teams that created cool technology, without people who knew how to write and communicate and do other things, I would not be able to see the success I wanted. I needed other people. I needed their diverse skills and thinking.

Since then I’ve worked with some brilliant non-technologists. Wordsmiths, presenters, negotiators, leaders, etc. My thinking was so myopic I couldn’t understand why I’d need others around me. And then, when I had them around me, and I could see their brilliance, I realized I was probably the least important around.

No… even that is wrong thinking. We all contribute. We are all needed. We all add value.  Please, appreciate what others can bring, when they feel safe. Think about what you can bring when you feel safe! Appreciating this can help you move past the feelings of jealousy and into a place where you are supportive of others.

Fifth, remember others supported you, even when they maybe shouldn’t have.

At some point in your career you were wrong. You were new, stupid, immature, and probably made plenty of mistakes. I’m not saying that “marginalized people” are stupid or immature or full of mistakes, but I want you to remember that when you were a dork, or an expensive investment, someone took a chance on you. Whether that was hiring you in the first place, sending you to training, giving you a promotion, letting you work on a hard project or with a key customer, you have likely been the beneficiary of someone giving you a chance.

The reality is that someone supported you. I’m not saying they put you on easy street. I’m sure you have worked hard and taken advantage of opportunities. But I’m sure that some people thought, “Maybe I’ll give this person a chance and see what they can do.” I beg you to give this same opportunity to others. Help them with a chance, and then mentoring and coaching. Some of the most rewarding parts of my career have been when I’ve done that, and seen people step up, grow, and deliver.

Bonus, do all of this without any expectations.

I know how disheartening it is to support someone, to go to bat for them, and get nothing in return. Not acknowledgement, not a thank you, not even a head nod. Maybe, you support someone, and it bites you later.

Please support others without expecting or hoping that you’ll get anything more than self-fulfillment. The more you expect in return, the higher the chances people feel your intentions are not genuine. I’m not saying to give everything away and hope for nothing, but if you were to give and support because it is the right thing to do, goodness will come back to you. It might be through wealth and friendships, but it might just be through a peace of mind you get from a clean conscience, and knowing you have lived a good and noble path.

This is our life.

Our life is too short to be a jerk, harbor unfounded hatred, and be jealous. Sure, you could do that, but you’ll live in a level of miserable that you don’t need to. Doing the things above have allowed me to have more joy and happiness than when I don’t.

Let’s all work for an more enriching, meaningful life. Supporting others is a great way to get there.

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Personal Branding Course Updated for 2021

March 8th, 2021

Last week my newest course update went live. It is called Developing Your Personal Brand.

Pluralsight Developing Your Personal Brand Header

This course is about 2 and a half hours. I talk about what personal branding actually is, who has a brand, and what you can do to create the branding you want. I share specific tactics, tools, ideas, etc. In the last module I share examples.

When I got certified as a personal branding strategist a hundred years ago I had already written my book on LinkedIn, and I think I had written my book on Facebook. I had been blogging for years, and had been actively doing the personal branding tactics I was learning about. I was doing personal branding online and offline. I didn’t learn much in the strategy certification program because it was geared more towards people who hadn’t been thinking about personal branding… but it was good to make sure I was aligned with the best practices being taught to career leaders.

In my Career Management 2.0 course and on-stage presentations I talk about the two major components to career management: your network and your personal brand. I’ve been forced, on stage, to keep this to 45 minutes. That is really hard. Once, in Maryland, I went for almost three hours, which seems long but no one left and there were still questions after.

Personal branding got on my radar when my 2006 job search sucked and I realized part of it was my branding was non-existent. It hurt me to not have an intentional brand. So, I did a deep dive and came up with a structured approach to creating, developing, communicating, and influencing your brand.

That’s what this course is about. It’s for the active job seeker, the passive job seeker, the entrepreneur, and even the person who’s sat in the same chair for 30 years, getting close to retirement. Check it out here:

Developing Your Personal Brand

 

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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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Job Search Tool: The Job Seeker Newsletter

August 14th, 2020

Years ago I wrote about a very awesome tactic for networking and personal branding, with an emphasis on helping your network help you in your job search.

In most of my on-stage presentations I talk about it, and in a few of my Pluralsight courses I talk about it. This was not a flash-in-the-pan, whimsical suggestion. I think a regular newsletter for your network can be a super powerful tool.

JibberJobber Job Search Newsletter Typing Email

In the April 5th (2012) post I talk about the three things that go into your newsletter. This is seriously three SHORT paragraphs. Each paragraph has a very important purpose. At the end is a very specific call to action. This post, How to write a job search newsletter (1 of 2), is the nuts and bolts. Don’t let the simplicity trick you into thinking it isn’t a super powerful tool.

The next day, April 6th, I wrote How to write a job search newsletter (2 of 2). This is an important follow up where I talk about how to keep track of WHAT you have sent to WHO. I talk about how you would use JibberJobber to (a) figure out who you would email (and quickly get an email list for those you want to send the newsletter to) and (b) how to track, in JibberJobber, what you sent and who you sent it to.

Please consider including the job search newsletter in your job search strategy. It doesn’t take much time or effort, but could result in some great conversations, leads, and introductions.  The two links above are to short but important blog posts!

JibberJobber Job Search Newsletter at symbol

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Understanding Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills #careers

July 2nd, 2020

When I’ve hired, or evaluated candidates, in the past, I consider hard skills and soft skills. There’s lots of talk about soft skills and how important they are. At a point they supposedly become more important than hard skills. I want to share some important thoughts to help you put the two into perspective.

I recognize that some people don’t like the phrases “hard skills” and “soft skills.” I’ll let them debate that… for the purpose of this post it doesn’t matter what we call them… just imagine whatever favorite phrases you want :p

HARD SKILLS

Hard skills are the skills you need to do the job. If you are a widget maker and need to run machinery, can you run the machinery? Have you had training? Do you have certificates or licenses?

If you need to pull levers, how many times have you pulled levers? How many levers have you pulled in your life? Have the levers been different colors, or different sizes?

If you program, which languages do you know, and how proficient are you at those languages?

If you write (ie, a marketer), how much have you written? Do you write blog posts, or ebooks, or copy for websites, or manuals?

If you train people, what methodologies do you use? What size is your idea group, etc.

Hard skills can usually be trained in a classroom and on the job. You likely can learn hard skills for the rest of your career. I had some plumbing work done recently and the licensed journeyman plumber was stuck… he called in his mentor, a master plumber. They were both licensed but the master plumber had 30 years on the job and had seen a lot more than the younger journeyman. I appreciated that the journeyman plumber was wise enough to recognize he had reached his limits and wanted to consult with someone more expert.

JibberJobber Hard Skills

Hard skills can be hard to define. Usually we say things like intermediate or expert to describe our hard skills, but those descriptors can be meaningless. I know a programmer who said he was intermediate at a certain language but I would have said he was expert. There is too much subjectivity from the person self-assessing and too much interpretation from the person on the receiving end.

Tangent: This is why Pluralsight Skills IQ is so awesome for techies. Instead of arbitrarilly guessing your proficiency you can essentially rank yourself against thousands of peers and come up with a number that tells you what percentile you fall in. It’s way less subjective. If you can find something like that, to assess yourself against others, DO IT. Pluralsight Skill IQ is free, btw.

When Hard Skills Are Important

As a hiring manager I *might* ask you about your hard skills in an interview. If I do, it’s usually in the first interview, and less with each interview that follows.

I say might because I might have already looked you up and done a bunch of research on you before you come in. This is a critical concept… before you get an invitation to the interview I will have already answered this question:

Can this candidate do the job?

This is 100% a hard skills question. My invitation to you is this: communicate the answer to this BEFORE you even get to the interview.

How do you do that? There are a few elegant ways:

  1. Have a portfolio. A portfolio is not just for artists. You should be able to create some kind of documentation or collection of projects or thoughts or writing to showcase your work. If you can’t showcase your work because of confidentiality then here’s a simple suggestion: write some articles on LinkedIn or Medium or your own blog. The articles should showcase your professional breadth and depth and passion and experience. When I see your portfolio I should say “yep, this person can obviously do the job. The experience and passion and thoughtfulness is here.”
  2. Have testimonials. You can tell me you are qualified, but what if you had peers, colleagues, bosses, and customers tell me how good you are? There are many ways to collect testimonials… I usually recommend LinkedIn Recommendations. This is something you can’t fabricate or falsify, and they are pretty easy to get. I talk about how to do this in one of my LinkedIn courses on Pluralsight (one or two, I can’t remember which). Here’s a quick tip: too often recommendations are too generic and weak. I suggest you ask for a recommendation and say “It might read something like this” … and then hit the main points you want to hit (bringing out specific hard skills). I cover this in my course, but #AMA.
  3. Have ministories. In my personal branding course on Pluralsight I talk about crafting ministories… I think I talk about it in the LinkedIn profile course as well. These are SO powerful to (a) claim you have a skill, or can do a thing, and then (b) substantiate and quantify your claim using a simple story. These should be used on your LinkedIn profile, other online places where you market yourself, in social media interactions (like a post on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn), when you network with others face to face, and definitely in interviews.

Make those three things easy to find and understand.

The most important thing I want to communicate about hard skills is that they help you get into the interview. I do not ask you to an interview to see if you can do the job. By the time I have you in the room I assume you can do the job, but I might ask some qualifying questions to dig deeper into your hard skills.

BONUS: if you can quantify the value of your hard skills, all the better. When you show me you can do a certain job with a certain proficiency and you understand you bring value, I LIKE THAT.

SOFT SKILLS

Soft skills is the funny-named cousin to hard skills. This is the one I hear people saying “we need to rename that!” I don’t care what it is called but society calls it soft skills and I doubt we’ll see that change anytime soon.

JibberJobber Soft Skills

Soft skills are harder to quantify. “I’m a really good presenter” is very subjective. Too subjective. I once interviewed someone who was an excellent presenter… until this person did a presentation. I learned they thought they were excellent but I was cringing a lot.

It’s a lot easier to quantify proficiency in hard skills because we have tests and assessments, but there isn’t really a test or assessment for presenting. A presentation received very well by one person might have been received horrible by another person.

A lot of times soft skills are just kind of … felt. Perceived. Gut reaction. You might tell me you are a great listener but when we actually talk you do all of the talking, talk over me, and don’t give me a chance to talk at all. I’ve been there. It can be equally funny and frustrating.

Soft skills have to do with cultural fit. Is your communication style and demeanor a good fit for our team or our culture? I hired someone once who I thought was a fantastic fit… turned out they were a horrible worker. I have passed over people who had soft skills that were just not a good fit… either too quiet or too loud. This wasn’t anything I could read on a resume or LinkedIn profile… this is something I had to experience myself.

My courses on Pluralsight are all about soft skills… 36 courses and counting. How to communicate outbound (in writing, presenting, talking, etc.) and how to communicate inbound (becoming a better listener is one of my most popular courses)… there are probably a couple hundred soft skills courses on Pluralsight to choose from. If you want a 30 day pass hit me up and I’ll see if I can get you one.

When Soft Skills Are Important

A few months ago I was chatting with my fifteen year old who was asking what I do for Pluralsight. I told her I create soft skills courses…. courses on communicating, listening, working with different personalities, emotional intelligence, and job search and career management. She said “oh, most of Pluralsight’s courses teach people how to do the job and your courses help them get jobs and promotions!”

YES!

I wish I had written down word-for-word what she said because it was better than what I just wrote, but that’s the idea.

Soft skills help you get the job.

Soft skills help you get promotions.

When I bring you in for an interview I want to know if you will be a good addition to our team. I want to know if you’ll be as “cultural fit.” That doesn’t mean I want to hire you if you will fit in… maybe I’m looking for someone to shake things up and bring us up a few notches. But I definitely want to know about your likability or coolness factor. I’m not looking for the most popular or likable person, but I certainly want to know if I’ll like working with you.

My team and culture are different than where you just left. I don’t want to go backwards on our team environment, for sure. The only way I can really assess that is by bringing you in and chatting with you. Behavioral questions give me an insight into your soft skills and communication. Listening and watching how you think, react, respond, and treat others gives me insight into your soft skills.

By the end of the first interview I usually know whether you can do the job or not (see hard skills, above). I will have an idea of your soft skills, and whether I think I’d like to work with you or not. If I think you can do the job and you might be a good fit, and I might like working with you, you make hte cut and might come in for another interview. Usually this is with a panel, or with other people. Of course they’ll ask about hard skills because they haven’t done the same level of research on you as I have, and they’ll want to know “can this person do the job?” But when we all circle back and talk about the candidates I think most people will come back with their gut feel. By that stage everyone should be qualified to do the job, so hard skills isn’t much of the conversation… we tend to focus on who we “like.”

How does someone “like” you in an interview when they know you can do the job? It comes down to your soft skills. Your emotional intelligence. Your likability.

The Great Thing About Hard Skills and Soft Skills

I think the great thing, and a hopeful message, is that you can learn and improve your hard skills.

And, you can work on and improve your soft skills.

Improvement in either area will take time and practice and intention. But you can definitely improve.

And that is why I hope to continue creating courses for you.

 

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The Time To Look For a Job Is NOW! (Even Through Quarantine)

May 13th, 2020

Sad.

A friend of mine posted that he is sad, and snappy. This line particularly stuck out from a long facebook post:

Maybe you weren’t at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy. I know this person was living a great life. He isn’t wealthy but he really was living a great life. Rich with friends and doing what he loved. And then everything is taken away.

Combine that with news that we are at 24, I mean 27, I mean 30, I mean 33 MILLION people unemployed. And those are just those who have reported for unemployment insurance. I guarantee there are more. Not to mention people who had their own businesses who have shut down.

It feels like no one is hiring (here’s a link to a spreadsheet of who is freezing hiring). Except that companies are hiring (here are some jobs in Utah for product managers (my dream job) and UX/designers).

Whether you are part of the unemployed, the furloughed, or whatever, there is absolutely no reason to NOT do job search stuff right now.

In my Job Search Program I guide you on a six week journey of informational interviews, or, as I say, “networking on steroids.” Even with all of the economic question marks right now, with no one knowing what Fall or Winter will look like, there are things you could do for your job search. I’m not sure if you’ll land next week (people are getting hired right now) or in a couple of months, or early next year, but you need to get ready. You need to do things to put you in the running.

So what can you do when it feels like there is nothing going on, and no options? Here are nine ideas:

Personal Branding Activities To Do Right Now

JibberJobber Personal Brand Blue Orange

Fix up your LinkedIn Profile. This is your professional landing page and it shouldn’t suck. Here’s my Pluralsight course on that…

Write something to let people see your subject matter expertise, thought leadership, and/or professional passion. This could be as simple as ONE LinkedIn article (here’s my LinkedIn course for proactive strategies)… just think of it as a smart email. Or, you could write a guest blog post for someone with an established blog. Or, consider your own blog (post once a week, or once a month?), or start tweeting. But you gotta share your expertise somewhere, if you want your personal brand to grow.

Fix your email signature. This is what I call the “secret weapon of personal branding.” Secret because everyone could easily have one, but hardly anyone does it well. Strip out useless info (including inspirational quotes) and come up with clearly branded statements to help others know who/what you are.

Networking Activities To Do Right Now

JibberJobber Networking Chatting

Make your list and check it twice. Really, spend some time on this. If you are bored at home you have time to do this. Your list becomes your game plan. It can be the most important list you ever make. Do it in a spiral notebook, or a spreadsheet. Or, if you are serious about career management, keep track of your contacts in JibberJobber. We were designed to replace the job search spreadsheet!

Figure out your target companies. This is also a critical part of your game plan. You’ll want to figure out how you will network into those companies. Maybe you do research on LinkedIn and figure who does, or has, worked there. You can spend a lot of time planning and preparing… time that most of us have right now.

Call someone TODAY. And tomorrow. And pretty much every day. Do this strategically. Not just to chat, but to have an “informational interview.” This is, I think, the most effective job search tactic you can employ. I know it might feel weird, and you might feel uncomfortable. But do it anyway. It will be worth it when you land your dream job. Here’s a course you can get on Pluralsight (the free 10 day account will get you full access) on Informational Interviews. If you are serious about your next job, get on the Job Search Program.

Multiple Income Stream Activities To Do Right Now

JibberJobber Multiple Streams of Income Money

Brainstorm and list ways you could make extra money, even if it is only $100/month. I am super passionate about creating multiple income streams so that when your main stream goes away you still have income. Read this post to see how it worked out for me. There are plenty of lists online you can research to see what might work for you. I’m not saying to burn the ships and become an entrepreneur (although that might be right for you). But imagine making a few hundred, or a few thousand bucks a month that don’t go away when your job goes away.

Learn from others who have multiple revenue streams. I’m not talking about the tons of people on Youtube that are like 18 and telling you how to get rich like they did. Maybe you read books to learn (Multiple Streams of Income, Rich Dad Poor Dad, etc.). Maybe you talk to friends who are entrepreneurs. Maybe you talk to financial advisors. Maybe you talk to the 15 year old kid who is doing stuff (because they aren’t afraid to fail, like us older people are). How you create your other income stream(s), I have no idea. But you can get ideas and inspiration from others to create your own recipe for success.

Try something. People ask me if they should major in entrepreneurship at school. My answer is NO. Why wait to get a degree on how to be an entrepreneur when you can try something right now? Whatever your skills are I bet you can find someone to pay for them. Walk dogs (seriously), paint numbers on curbs (seriously), clean window wells (seriously), or whatever. Dave Ramsey’s go to alternative revenue stream he always recommends is to deliver pizzas. This requires hustle but you can make good money doing that. The biggest issue is usually getting over your pride and other false constraints and just jumping in.

Do something. Don’t get overwhelmed with things out of your control… each of the nine ideas I listed above are in your control.

If you are wondering what this has to do with finding a job right now, or job search activities, every single one of these nine tasks can be a part of you getting your next job. I’ll never forget the phone call I got in 2006, out of the blue, essentially offering me a job. Why? Because I had started JibberJobber. I showed what I could do, I showed I had hustle, and creativity, and could get things done. And I had a job offer. Just starting my own revenue stream led to a job offer. Mind blowing.

You got this.

JibberJobber Like a Boss

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Podcast: Jason Alba and Valerie Sokolosky

December 16th, 2019

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

Check it out here on Youtube:

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The Difference Between Branded and Nobody #personalBranding

September 24th, 2019

Almost two years ago I hung my shingle out and looked for a full-time job. I had JibberJobber at a point where it didn’t need (or want) my full attention, Pluralsight wasn’t ready for anymore of my courses… and I had time. I also needed a change of scenery. And heck, if I had time, why not look for something where I could get paid, and create one more income stream?

So I did what I had been talking about others doing for years and I became a job seeker. It wasn’t as fun as it sounds, but it was definitely more fun than years early, in 2006, when I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Long story short, I got a job, and here’s how it started: I found a posting on LinkedIn that was just plain weird. It fit me perfectly and I couldn’t imagine it would fit anyone else. I applied, thinking it would go nowhere, but I got this reply from the hiring manager, a VP (I blurred out his name but then thought he wouldn’t really care :p):

Jason Alba Rusty Lindquist

Up to that point the only response I got to any applications was a canned automated email or crickets. And now I get this flattering response from the VP. When I told my wife about his response she thought for a minute and then said “he probably says that to everyone who has applied.” I was pretty stoked, but she brought me down to earth :p

Long story short, I got hired, months later Rusty left, and a few months later they pulled the plug on my whole program. So I got nine months in corporate, refreshed my ability to “politic,” and had a fun time working my tail off on something that was just destined to die (well, as long as Rusty was there it wasn’t. That’s another thread, though).

The point of this post is not about my last job, or its demise. It’s that I impressed the hiring manager enough that he would respond to me in such a way as he did. Yesterday I was thinking about this and realized that it wasn’t necessarily my background… sure, I’ve done some really cool things, and everything I have done was perfect for this role… but I know tons of people who have done amazingly cool things. Would Rusty have given them the same kind of response?

I’ve heard sayings like “if you aren’t on LinkedIn you don’t exist” and “if I can’t find you on Google you don’t exist.” Not true. There are plenty of people who have no online presence who exist and are very successful. But, as I was thinking about why Rusty would respond to me that way I thought it had to do with how I presented myself and my experiences on my LinkedIn profile.

I’m not going to say that you “don’t exist.” But, I can tell you that as a hiring manager, if I’m down to the last five or ten profiles, and they are all pretty lame (I call them skeleton profiles), but one stands out because not only does that person have the experience I want, but they explain and dig into their careers in a way that they are memorable and prove they have what I’m looking for, I’m inclined to be more interested in them than you.

Skeleton profiles on LinkedIn don’t help you. Not looking? Congratulations… but you might be looking soon :p

Let me suggest one of the most important courses I’ve ever done for Pluralsight… I just tweeted this yesterday:

The concepts in that course are timeless principles. In the olden days we called it reputation and reputation management. Now we call it personal branding. Who knows what it will be called next. Whether you use LinkedIn or Instagram or whatever, there are principles. And that’s what I go into. The course is 2 hours… if you want a 30 day pass to the entire Pluralsight library let me know.

Pluralsight a Developing Killer Personal Brand

Since I started out with talking about LinkedIn, let me also recommend my LinkedIn courses… the first is on optimizing your LinkedIn profile and the second is on developing a proactive strategy on LinkedIn.

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Another Tactic To Quantify Your Cultural Fit and Soft Skills

June 6th, 2019

Yesterday I wrote How To Quantify Your Cultural Fit And Soft Skills. I shared a simple tactic that is just one piece of the puzzle to help people understand that you have certain soft, hard to measure skills.

Another way to quantify your soft skills and how well you might fit into my company or team is to write articles or posts. You can do this on LinkedIn easily. One the homepage of LinkedIn, simply click the Write an article link:

write-linkedin-article

This is super easy for anyone to do. We all have LinkedIn profiles…. your writing platform is just one click away. It’s free and couldn’t be easier. Plus, you might even get one or two people to read what you write :p (more on that below)

Another popular place to write and pontificate without setting up a blog is Medium. Here’s one of many examples:

jibberjobber-medium-soft-skills-articles

Medium is a very cool system that is free, allowing you to put up the same article you might have on LinkedIn (or on a personal blog). In fact, plenty of people have their own website for their brand, and then link to medium posts they have written.

Are you in leadership? I want to have a better understanding of the breadth and depth of your leadership skills. I can get only so much from interviews, and from a resume. If I find 10, or 100, of your articles about leadership, I can get great insight into your breadth and depth of leadership.

Same thing for communication, empathy, customer service, strategy, listening, etc.

Write articles that help me understand the breadth and depth of your thoughts in these areas, and I might think “her resume is okay, but wow, her articles really show that she has the experience and skills we need for this role, and I think we’ll really like her on this team!”

Of course, writing great articles doesn’t mean you are a great leader. Maybe you stink at it. But, I think a great article strategy could go a long way to communicate your proficiency in something that is hard to otherwise quantify.

Finally, what about this notion of no one reading your stuff?

My answer is: I don’t care.

Honestly. If no one reads your stuff, that’s okay. Because you have them there, waiting for the right person and the right time.

The right person is an influencer, or hiring manager, or someone on the panel interview. The right time is when you are in the hot seat, being evaluated.

Even if no one else has read your article, you wrote it for that person at that time. And that should be worth it.

Imagine if you had a dozen, or dozens, of these kinds of articles just waiting for that person at that time!

 

 

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How To Quantify Your Cultural Fit And Soft Skills

June 5th, 2019

I was recently chatting with a few people about the reality of quantifying how good you are at soft skills, professional development, and how you could somehow show you would be a good team and cultural fit.

Pluralsight has solved this problem for technical skills. They have what is called Skill IQ, which allows you to take an assessment and come out with a score of how proficient you are in a certain skill (such as programming, design, graphic arts, etc.). These skills are easier to assess than soft skills.  “How do you do this programming thing?” can have one, or a best, answer. However, “Are you a good listener” is…. too subjective.

Pluralsight-IQ

I had a friend who sent me his resume. A developer, he had a section of his programming languages, with a designation from “novice” to “expert” by each language. Skill IQ is a much better way of communicating how good you are at any particular thing because they are based on the assessment, and compared with other people who take the assessment. Not only are you getting your own score from the assessment, you can see how you compare to others. That is really cool, and much better than a self-assessment of “expert” or whatever.

Personally, I think you can come up with some good questions that can help you assess soft skills, but I haven’t put too much thought into how that would work. Maybe one day I will.

For now, I have a suggestion on how to help quantify your soft skills, your professional development, and your cultural fit. This is right in-line with my blog post from yesterday, on the two things you need to prove in the job interview process (one of them is the cultural/team fit).

First, go to YOUR profile in LinkedIn.

The easiest way to get there is to click on your picture, name, or title from the top-left of LinkedIn:

jibberjobber-edit-linkedin-profile

Then, scroll down until you see the “Add profile section” button.

This comes up pretty soon after you scroll down (sorry if this part gets outdated, LinkedIn changes things regularly):

jibberjobber-edit-linkedin-profile-add-profile-section

Then, lick on Accomplishments, then Courses.

When you click on Accomplishments, you get more options, including Courses. I have seen a lot of people add courses to their Profile… this is where they do it from. Note that if you click on “Courses” you can add ONE course. If you want to add any more you have to click on the PLUS icon. Or, just always click on the PLUS icon!

jibberjobber-linkedin-add-courses-profile

Then, add your course information.

I put the name of the Pluralsight course I created (I figure if I created it I can claim I watched it, right?). You would put the names of any courses you took anywhere… if you want access to my Pluralsight courses (I can get you a 30 day pass), just reach out to me (Jason@JibberJobber.com). I don’t know what the number means, so I’m just putting what course number it is for me (this one was my 31st course), and the third box is to associate that course with a particular job title from your Profile.

I put (Pluralsight) in the course name because I think that adds validity/credibility.

jibberjobber-linkedin-add-pluralsight-courses-profile

Then, Save.

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

jibberjobber-pluralsight-courses-profile

As a hiring manager I’m not going to look at that and say “Oh, Jason took an innovation course. Now I know he is innovative.” Or, assume that I’m good at having difficult conversations, or that I’m a leader. I’m not going to assume any of those, but I will have a better understanding of what you are interested in, where you are looking to improve, etc.

When I was on Dr. Paul Jenkin’s podcast last week I spent time looking at his bookshelf. I do this when I go to people’s houses… I want to know what they read, what books they buy, and what interests them. This helps me know where their mind is, what they do and think about in their spare time.

This is similar. This is your “bookshelf” to give me a little more insight into you. It’s not a perfect assessment of your soft skills, and how you’ll fit into my team, but I think it can contribute to me having a better understanding of those things about you.

Plus, it’s free, and easy to do. In the time you scanned this blog post, you could have added three courses :p

Again, if you want a 30 day pass to Pluralsight, hit me up (Jason@JibberJobber.com).

 

 

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