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2019 Career Resolutions for 2019 for Technologists

December 20th, 2018

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by a dice.com writer, asking what my recommendations for career resolutions could be for technologists. I had three things I shared that I thought were pretty darn good. You can see her article here: Career Resolutions Every Tech Pro Needs to Make for 2019

First, and I think the most important bit of advice, is to work on your soft skills. 

I was not the only one surprised by the results of Google’s study of what made their top workers so successful, where the FIRST seven of ten things were soft skills.

Isn’t that mind-boggling? The top seven most important characteristics of successful Google employees do not include technology skills!  I’m still shocked.

But I’m not surprised. Soft skills are so critical in today’s world, especially where there is a certain assumption of technical abilities.

I have 30 (and counting) Pluralsight courses that you can access that will help you with soft skills. You can see my soft skills courses on Pluralsight here.

While the primary audience of Pluralsight has been programmers, my soft skill courses are applicable to anyone. Want to become a better listener? Want to learn about leadership, management, even career management (of course)? I have that, and more.

I can offer you a 30 day pass on Pluralsight. Just get a JibberJobber account and then use the contact us to ask for more information.

Pluralsight costs around $300 a year, which is a steal considering what it would take to, for example, go to school or sign up for a boot camp. Many professionals around the world use Pluralsight to keep their skills up-to-date.  Sometimes they have special offers…

My main point is, for your career growth, work on your soft skills!

Second, help others.

When you help others, whether you need help as a desperate job seeker or you are totally comfortable in your day job, you are creating great value in your network.

I told the author of the dice article about an opportunity that I had… what would have been a sure job offer through the brother of a close friend. It would have been awesome. I was at a networking event a few days earlier and met someone who would have been the perfect hire. In my conversation with the hiring manager I said that I’d be happy to pursue this, but they really should have the other guy come in, too.

Long story short: the other guy was offered the job. And I felt awesome, for the small part I had in his success.

Helping others can be as dramatic as that, or it can be as simple as saying “yes, I would be happy to meet with you for 30 minutes.” Helping others means you make introductions, or make calls on behalf of the other person. It means you remember someone’s name, or just greet someone kindly. It means you speak kindly of others. There are hundreds of ways you can help others…. I hope that this can be a career goal for you in 2019 and for years to come.

Third, do The Thing you know you need to do.

When the writer of that article asked me (in an email) what every technology professional should have as a career resolution in 2019, the first and second things mentioned above came to mind first. As we were talking, I had another idea. It’s hard to say “all technologists should do this.” We’re talking about tens of millions, hundreds of millions of people.

My idea was the one at the bottom of the article, the one where I was cited. It was that you already know what you should do. There is, I’m sure, at least one thing that you should work on. I’m not sure if it’s to get better at a certain hard skill, or to expand your network, or to get ready for a a leadership role or to branch out as an entrepreneur… I don’t know. But I bet you know.

So my suggestion is to work on the thing that you know to do. I don’t have a silver bullet answer for you… you already have the answer.

So work on that.

Happy 2019!

 

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Epic News: My Next Pluralsight Course is Live (How to Have Difficult Conversations)

December 6th, 2018

For the last three years my time spent on Pluralsight courses was winded down significantly. I went from creating about twelve courses in a year (which was no easy task) to zero… I found that stopping that revenue stream left a significant void in my schedule and my income… which is one reason why I went to work for BambooHR.

Miracle of miracles, in October I was on a call with my main contact and we were talking about starting up again. And so we did… and today I get to announce that my 31st course is live! This one is on How to Have Difficult Conversations.

difficult_conversations_jason_alba

I’m proud of this course for various reasons. I think I did a really good job on the course, in general. With the help of Pluralsight and a peer reviewer, I think this is my most visually appealing course (although I make my courses so that you could listen to them on a treadmill, or without visuals).

The idea for this course came from listening to conversations at BambooHR. One of their unspoken themes is around having difficult, or crucial, conversations. In fact, they recently sent everyone the book Crucial Conversations. If that doesn’t tell you it’s on their mind, then what does?

Difficult conversations… with a colleague, a boss, a subordinate (I don’t like that word :/), a spouse, a neighbor, a loved one… with whoever. They are a part of our world. We may try to avoid them but we won’t avoid all of them.

An executive at Bamboo asked me to have a difficult conversation with someone, and said something like: Every time someone has a difficult conversation, good comes out of it. Every single time.

Avoid them if you must, but you are avoiding personal growth. You are avoiding better relationships and a better work or home environment. Avoiding difficult conversations will stunt progress.

Having difficult conversations, with planning and purpose, and do wonders.

Spend 94 minutes on my course, and you should be on your way to having better difficult conversations!

Want free access to my course? Want 30 days of full Pluralsight access, at no cost to you? Leave a comment or message me and I’ll tell you how. No obligation… 

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Soft Skills Pluralsight Review Thoughts by Steven McEvoy

June 7th, 2016

stevenMcEvoy_headshotSteven McEvoy is a senior systems analyst and DevOps professional in Canada.  Earlier this year he wrote a really cool blog post (Jason Alba – Pluralsight, JibberJobber, Author and more) just about my courses… here are some of my favorite parts:

Okay, that title is pretty cool.  I work in a home office (with a distributed team, of course) and sometimes it’s easy to feel alone and not remember some of the things I’ve accomplished. Just seeing those three major accomplishments is pretty cool.  For job seekers: when you feel lonely, alone, or unaccomplished, start listing (aka brainstorming) ANY accomplishment you’ve ever had. EVER. Big, small, everything. This could be a running list that will grow.  You might be surprised at all the cool things you’ve ever done, but have forgotten. Need a pickmeup?  That is it!

“I am very impressed with Jason’s presenting style. He is engaging, entertaining and honest. His courses are great.”  Here’s a bit of the backstory: When I sat down to do my first Pluralsight course I was quite lost.  I was just finishing a run of speaking for a few years in person. Probably hundreds of presentations on a stage, and I don’t know how many dozens of webinars. From a stage I feed off of the audience’s energy. The first laugh I get is all I need to keep going.  In a webinar, I get way less feedback, but I do monitor the chat window, and sometimes there are others who are talking.  I had trained my presentations skills to be optimized for a live audience.  But doing a recording course? WAY different. In my live course I like to have very few words on a slide.  In a record course, I don’t have eye contact, I can’t gauge engagement, and one word slides, I think, weren’t going to work.  Anyway, this is too long to say: it took me a while to find and hone my style.  And I’m really grateful that it’s appreciated. For job seekers: sometimes (many times?) we just have to get out of our comfort zone, whether we want to or not.

“He teaches on a wide range of skills and competencies that will help you grow, but not just in your abilities at work these skills can transfer to all areas of your life.” Yes….  my hope is that your soft/people skills will improve and you will have richer relationships, at work, and outside of work. Imagine improving ourselves so we are better in all of our relationships, not just the ones at work. For job seekers: you can tell an employer the obvious (that you are good at your job) but can you illustrate the benefits they will get from your job well-done?

“I will warn you once you start learning with Jason or Pluralsight you won’t want to stop you might become hooked…” That is pretty nice to say :)  For job seekers: What are you doing, or what can you do, to have employers and network contacts “hooked” on you?

I recently submitted the proposal for my 30th Pluralsight course.  30 is a lot… I don’t know how many authors have that many courses.  I’m glad to offer a 30 day pass to JibberJobber users, where they can watch all of my courses (or any of the almost 5,000 courses) at no cost.  After 30 days, a monthly subscription is a low $29.  Bonus: Every time yoiu watch a Jason Alba course, report back and we’ll upgrade you on JibberJobber for a few days. There is no limit to this bonus. Learn how here.

 

 

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New Course: Building and Managing Your Career Plan

May 26th, 2016

This is my 29th Pluralsight course: Building and Managing Your Career Plan.

This course is a good complement to Career Management 2.0, which I did in 2013. The Career Plan course is all about figuring out where you want to go, and creating and working a plan to get there. Career Management is more about rethinking job security and your role in your career path.

This new course is only 95 minutes long. Every time you watch it you can a few days of premium JibberJobber . Just turn on the course tracker in JibberJobber and let us know you’ve watched it there.

Not a Pluralsight user?  That’s okay… I can hook you up with a 30 day unlimited trial. Each time you watch a Jason Alba (that’s me!) course, you can self-report and get a few days of JibberJobber upgrade.  Watch a course, get a JibberJobber upgrade… again, and again, and again.

Pluralsight is an awesome library of learning content, mostly for IT professionals (developers, server admins, SQL pros, graphics designers, etc.).  There are over 100 soft skills and professional development courses in the library,  and almost 30 of them were done by me :)

Get started in just a minute or two with these instructions, and then self-report for JibberJobber upgrades.

ps_building-managing-career-plan

 

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LinkedIn Summary vs. LinkedIn Experience Sections

March 29th, 2016

I got this question from Derek, who saw my LinkedIn Optimization course on Pluralsight (which you can get access to for free… read below):

“I just completed the course on LinkedIn Profile Optimization and feel that I have a strong above the fold profile which the video was mainly focused on.

The video didn’t focus on the experience section and what to write based off what you did at the company. You touched on writing mini stories for the summary and experience sections, I am not sure writing only mini stories will give the best overall picture in the experience section. Do you have another video on pluralsight that helps enhance the content for the experience section?”

This is a great question. After doing group trainings and one-on-one consultations for years, I feel like my “best answer” is jelling pretty good. Of course, there are exceptions, but in 99% of the one-on-one consultations I do, and the Profile critiques I’ve done, the answer below will be appropriate.

It’s critical to think about the LinkedIn Profile as one single marketing document.  If you break up the sections of the Profile, and think about them as a critical reader (recruiter, hiring manager, prospective funder, partner, prospect, customer, etc.) might, you could probably guess that some parts are more important than others.  For example, your Professional Headline is not only at the top, but it’s a part of your “mini profile,” and seen in other places on LinkedIn (other than your Profile page). On the other hand, the best way to contact me, or the seeking sections, are largely ignored (by design, because they are so far down the Profile).

If we think about the Profile as a single marketing document, the question is, what is the single message of the document?  I am now counseling my consultation customers to have that single message communicated in a concise and clean way in the Professional Headline.  This is what I call your “main claim,” or your primary claim.  Then, your Summary has five to seven secondary claims, ALL OF THEM SUPPORTING THE MAIN CLAIM.  These can be communicated in various ways, my favorite of which is the mini-stories.

You can see all of this in action in my LinkedIn Profile Optimization course on Pluralsight for free.  How?  JibberJobber users get a free 30 day pass to Pluralsight, which means you can watch this, and dozens of my other courses (including the LinkedIn Proactive Strategies course), during your 30 day window.  Click here to see how you can have access within a 60 seconds – no credit card required.

Okay, so in the Pluralsight course, it’s clear how to position the secondary claims and make your Summary much better than the status quo.  Derek gets that, but wonders what to do in the Experience section, which some people call the job description – the parts in each of the jobs you list in your Profile. This really isn’t a job description, although some people treat it that way. I suggest you make this more about YOU and less about the job.

How do you do that?

I think the best way is to use the exact same strategy as what you used in the Summary section. That is, secondary claims (that all support the primary claim in the Professional Headline), with mini-stories that (a) present the claim, (b) give a “for example,” and (c) quantify the results.

Mini-stories are SO powerful. When you align them with your primary claim, you give further evidence and support that your primary claim is valid, and that you are focused and understand your value.

What I normally see is resume-like statements that are super concise, and super dry and boring. Worse, they look cliche. They look like what anyone else would write that has your same job history, and is making the same claims, and is looking for the same job you are looking for.

Okay, you think, maybe that’s not so bad.  To be honest with you, having resume-speak on your Profile is better than the weak, non-information that I see on too many Profiles. So kudos for having anything that helps me understand you more.

But what I’d rather see you have in your “experience” sections are mini-stories that each (a) make a claim, (b) give me a meaty for-example, and (c) tell me why it matters (ie, the quantification)… this is what we accomplish with mini-stories, and (d) support the primary claim. This last part is important so the reader doesn’t get sidetracked by irrelevant information.

That’s my recommendation… from the summary all the way down through the Experience section… claims, quantification, and alignment.

Do you have a different idea? Leave a comment and let us know!

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JibberJobber Orientation, Free Week Upgrade

February 16th, 2016

If you have watched the nine JibberJobber Orientation videos, you know you get a week upgrade just for watching them.  Each time you watch them.  While you can watch them once a week, let me recommend watching the Pluralsight courses, for variety :)  Anyway, how do you get the free upgrade?

Of course, you can reach out to us through the Contact form and let us know you watched them, and we’ll upgrade you.  But if you like self-service, simply follow the instructions to get a Pluralsight account, turn the Tracker on, and then you can self-report on the Tracker page.  Instructions are here.

As a bonus, once you have done that, you are simply a click away from watching any Pluralsight course at no cost to you… including any Jason Alba course which will earn you additional 7-day upgrades.  Click the link to learn more, and get started today :)

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How To Make The Presentation Of Your Life!

January 25th, 2016

My 27th Pluralsight course was published last night: Presenting to the Boss(es).  This is a course designed to help you prepare for, perform, and follow-up on, the most important presentation of your life.

This might be a presentation where you are pitching something to a prospect, informing your board of directors, showing your product to your product manager, demo’ing concepts on stage in front of a huge audience, or simply asking for a raise.  The outcome of your presentation could be that your career takes off, accelerates, that your project gets more funding, or that you buy your team more time and resources to get the project finished.  Or, if the presentation goes poorly, you might get fired, all of your team loses their jobs, the company dies, you lose customers, you miss market opportunities, etc.

This is The Performance Of Your Life. And this course helps you know how to do a great job before, during and after.  The three modules are:

  1. Preparing for an Outstanding Presentation (42 minutes)
  2. Optimizing the Presentation (52 minutes)
  3. Debriefing and Follow-up After the Presentation (30 minutes)

You can get free access to this course by following these instructions: not only will you be watching this course within a couple of minutes, but you’ll also earn another seven day upgrade: Pluralsight 30 day pass and free JibberJobber upgrade instructions

If you watch this, or any, course, please rank it (unless you didn’t like it :p) and leave a comment!

presenting-to-the-bosses-course

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Time Management and Productivity: Pluralsight Course

January 14th, 2016

My most recent Pluralsight course came out two weeks ago (Dec 31), it’s titled: Prioritizing Tasks and Managing Time for Greater Productivity

You can get free access to this course by following these instructions… not only will you be watching this course within a couple of minutes, but you’ll also earn another seven day upgrade: Pluralsight 30 day pass and free JibberJobber upgrade instructions

Job seekers qualified to work in the U.S. can also qualify for a year pass to 50 courses, including 5 of mine, courtesy Pluralsight: White House TechHire program

If you watch this, or any, course, please rank it (unless you didn’t like it :p) and leave a comment!

jasonalba-ps-time-management

 

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How to Get Free JibberJobber, and Your 30 Day Pass to the Pluralsight Library

January 4th, 2016
See the most current list of Jason Alba courses here. (if that link doesn’t work, click here)

For the last few years, I have been creating video courses on Pluralsight.com.  Pluralsight has a vast library of online courses designed to help programmers be better programmers.  The instructors (aka, authors) are the best of the best.  They asked me to create a course on using LinkedIn, and I’ve since finished over two dozen courses for them. My courses are all under the “soft skills” umbrella, which includes job search, how to work with others, and how to excel in your job (aka, professional development).

In March of 2015 I announced (here) that you can now get access to all of my video courses on Pluralsight… this provides a great savings to you! You can easily get an account on Pluralsight with a code you get from JibberJobber.  There’s an old video I put together to show you how to do this – just scroll down to the bottom of this post.  Or, check out the easy, step-by-step instructions, below.

Each time you watch a Jason Alba course on Pluralsight, return to the JibberJobber Tracker and report it, and we’ll upgrade you for a few days on JibberJobber!

How to get access to the courses, and get free upgrades on JibberJobber:

Step 1: Login to JibberJobber

Getting a JibberJobber account gives you multiple benefits. First and foremost, it is your personal relationship management tracker, which helps you keep track of your contacts, target companies, jobs you apply to, freelancing gigs, etc.  It’s your long-term career management tool.  You get a free account for life and have the option to upgrade and downgrade easily. You can pay for an upgrade, or you can watch Pluralsight videos and get free upgrades.

Step 2: Click on the link in the orange box

Directly under the main menu, once you are logged in, is this orange box. If you don’t see it, go to Tools, then Pluralsight Videos, and you can proceed from there. Simply click the link in the yellow highlight to get started (and go to step 3).   See the triangle icon on the top right?  That will minimize this box to your main menu… which you can pull down when you want.

jibberjobber_tracker_turn_on

Step 3: Get your code

On this page, click the link on the right to get your 30 day pass code:

jibberjobber_pluralsight_30daypass

When you click the link, you’ll see your code… just copy that code and you’ll paste it on the next page…

jibberjobber_pluralsight_signup_step2

Once you’ve copied the code, click the Signup on Pluralsight button.

Step 4: Signup on the special Pluralsight page

You only have 5 required fields… and they don’t ask for a credit card!  This is simple, fast, and no commitment! You get here by clicking the blue Signup on Pluralsight button from step 3.

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Step 5: Back in JibberJobber, turn on the Tracker

When you go back to your JibberJobber window or tab, you’ll see the blue box, step 3, has changed. Click the link, which will take you to a page to verify that you have signed up on Pluralsight (see below).

jibberjobber_pluralsight_tracker_turn_on

Simply click the Turn on Tracker button, and you’ll see the tracker.

jibberjobber_pluralsight_turn-on-tracker

Step 6: Indulge! Binge! Watch all the courses you want!

You have an unlimited pass for 30 days to watch whatever you want. Whether you watch beginner technology courses, or all of the Jason Alba courses, take advantage of the 30 days pass.  Here’s a simple “hack” to help you watch courses faster: How to Lifehack Pluralsight Videos.

You get an upgrade for every Jason Alba course you watch. Feel free to browse around and check out the great entry level, intermediate, and in-depth courses that meets your needs.  From programming to graphics design, user design, photography, graphics, animation, and of course professional development, there are plenty of courses to help you with your furthering education goals.

Step 7: Back in JibberJobber, go to the Tracker Page and click the eyeball icon (aka, “self report”)

Once you have turned on the tracker, you should see a page like this, with a list of courses. The icons to the right, which the three arrows are pointing at, are what you click on to say “I have watched this course,” and then we’ll add another week of JibberJobber premium to your account. Please be honest with your clicks. Even after your 30 day pass expires, you can still watch courses (if you pay for a Pluralsight account), and click on these icons to get more JibberJobber upgrades.

You can see that if you watch the same course multiple times, you will get multiple upgrades.  Watch what you need, as many times as you need.

jibberjobber_pluralsight_tracker_page

Step 8: Watch more courses… you have less than 30 days left!

Okay, we give you a 30 day pass.  After the 30 days, the cost of a full membership is only $30 a month.  It’s a very affordable upgrade.  And if you buy that, and continue to watch my courses, you can get free JibberJobber premium… which means you don’t have to pay for JibberJobber.

How can we do this?  We don’t get a referral fee when you sign up on Pluralsight, but we do get a little kickback when you watch my videos.  This is explained on the Pluralsight blog here. The bottom line is that watching Pluralsight courses, even though you haven’t paid for a membership, makes up for not upgrading on JibberJobber, and so we pass the benefit along to you in the form of an upgrade.  It’s a win for you (great content at no cost), a win for Pluralsight (they get exposure and branding, and maybe you’ll evangelize them to your next employer) and a win for JibberJobber (because each hour you watch adds to the total royalty we get from Pluralsight… which is not insignificant). So really, watch as many courses as you want, and don’t feel bad about not paying.  And please let others know how valuable the courses and content is.

Here is the most current list of my courses, all of which get you an upgrade.

Step 9: Tell a friend

I’m sure you know someone who could use the courses (who couldn’t use the courses on LinkedIn, or informational interviewing, or becoming a better listener, etc.?) this, and it helps me when you spread the word to others!

Here’s the video that shows how to do this:

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How to Be a Better Mentor, How to Be a Better Mentee (new Pluralsight Courses)

November 17th, 2015

I recently finished two courses on mentoring (HERE), one is for mentors, the other is for mentees (HERE).  I hope that all of us can say that we have a mentor, even if it is an informal mentor.  And don’t underestimate who you are: I’m sure others are looking at you thinking you are their mentor.

The problem is that we are not trained to be mentors or mentees.  I have always heard “get a mentor” but I have never been in a class that talks about what to do to be a better mentee.  And being a mentor? It’s like you are all on your own, left to figure out how to do it and what to do.

These two courses were designed to help you be much more strategic, purposeful, and effective in your mentoring. Finally, some training.  There are three great options you have for getting access to these courses:

  1. If you haven’t done so yet, use the 30 day pass we offer through JibberJobber, to watch an unlimited amount of Pluralsight courses.  You can get started within a few minutes, don’t need a credit card, and as a bonus, for every Jason Alba course you watch, you can claim another 7 day upgrade on JibberJobber.  Watch the same course 5 times?  Claim 5*7 days of upgrade on JibberJobber!  Here’s a video that shows you how to get your 30 day pass and claim the upgrades on JibberJobber.
  2. If you’ve already used your 30 day pass, let me encourage you to pay $30 for another month.  $30 for this type of training, and the ability to watch as many courses as you want, is very inexpensive. You’ll have unlimited access to all of my courses (23 published right now), and any of the 4,000+ other courses… and you can pay $30 month-to-month.
  3. You might work at a company that already has some licensed seats that would give you access to Pluralsight.  If you don’t, talk to your boss and have them contact the Pluralsight sales team. There are discounts for companies that buy multiple seats, and you might be able to have this training at your fingertips because of your employer’s training budget!  I can put you in touch with some Pluralsight sales people if you want an introduction.

So there you go… free, or $30 out of your pocket, or using your employer’s training budget. Any way you do it, it’s a great, great deal. Below is the video showing you how to get free access, and free JibberJobber upgrades:

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