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Soft Skills Deliver Hard Results: WOW!

January 22nd, 2020

Pluralsight Soft Skills MatterNOTE: not sure why the bunny pictures. But I figured “soft”… and bunnies are cute. And that is just the mood I’m in right now :p 

Check out this awesome post from HealthLeadersMedia titled Soft Skills That Deliver Hard Results. There are some super quotes in here… which I’ll include below.

I am a champion of soft skills. I generally like people, and want people to have rich and fulfilling lives. As long as I can remember I’ve cared about how people get that fulfillment, and have enjoyed learning about and from people.

JibberJobber is a tool to help people get back to fulfillment. I love talking to my users, and meeting job seekers when I present.

In 2012 I was asked to create a course for Pluralsight, which lead to me working on over 30 courses, many of which are soft skills courses. As I’ve been able to spend time and brain cells on soft skills I’ve fallen in love with the topics, which go broad and deep. From communication to listening to empathy to emotional intelligence to personality assessments to communicating up (and down)… I’ve been blessed to have my head in this space for a long time.

A few weeks ago my 16 year old daughter was chatting with me about my courses and she said something like: “It’s really cool that you can teach soft skills to programmers, who have really good hard skills, because when you have soft skills and hard skills… wow!”

Out of the mouths of babes, #amIRight? (<– Don’t judge too hard on that, I hear “am I right daily from my 10 year old son :p”)

Anyway, back to soft skills. I have always taken the position that the work I do on soft skills courses, along with my colleagues who talk about teams, HR stuff, project management, and other soft skills, add a very important and complementary line of thinking and training for people who are excelling in their hard skills.

Here are my Pluralsight courses. Did you know that if you watch my courses I give you upgrades on JibberJobber? If you don’t, ask us how… it’s easy.

Jason Alba Pluralsight Courses

Having said all of that, let me share some quotes from the article, which you need to read. It really is awesome. Read it here.

“It’s time to think about incorporating a culture of joy and love into your [work/company/team] to turn things around.”

“‘Soft” skills’ used in work environments are the new “‘hard” skills.'”

“if implemented well, softer skills can help healthcare organizations reap hard results in employee engagement, patient safety, and nurse retention and recruitment.” This article is for healthcare professionals, but the point is transferable to your industry. Soft skills can have a real impact on your culture and your bottom line, and other things: ” ‘hard’ issues like financial goals, patient outcomes, and patient experience that healthcare organizations are eager to achieve.”

“The American Medical Association estimates physician burnout costs range from $500,000 to more than $1 million per physician.” How much does burnout cost you, and your employer?

Culture. Empathy. Love. Joy. Resilience.

These are all words used more than once in this article.

Can you imagine working in an environment where those things are prevalent? Can you change your own environment by focusing on those things?

This is why I love the courses I get to work on at Pluralsight. Soft skills matter.

You can find my soft skills courses here:

Jason Alba’s soft skills courses on Pluralsight

Job Search Soft Skills

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Pluralsight Course: Leading With Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

January 10th, 2020

Pluralsight Leading With Emotional Intelligence

My latest course on Pluralsight is live, and I honestly think this is my most important course that I may do, ever.

Leading with Emotional Intelligence 

If you need a 30 day pass, let me know. I’ll see if I have any left.

I think if everyone in the world works on the five principles of emotional intelligence (EQ) with the proper intent (not to manipulate others). Of course, working on emotional intelligence means working on social skills (that’s the fifth of the five main pillars of EQ)… so better listening, better communication, etc. But the other pillars add perspective and context to EQ.

This course has explanations of EQ, as well as specific exercises you can work on right now to start improving your EQ. However, I had to keep this course close to an hour. If I had eight hours I would have used them up.

My ask is that you view this course as a beginning. It’s not a PhD level course. It’s not a masters level course. It is meaty, but there is much more to talk about. Let it be the catalyst to ask yourself the right questions (What do I do with this information? Where do I go from here? Do I agree with it all? Are there exceptions for me?).

Leading With Emotional Intelligence Pluralsight Intro Slide

I try to answer the questions in the discussion section. I am also happy to answer questions via email or on Twitter or whatever. I want this to be the beginning of a discussion. Want more? Then let’s talk it through!

I hope you enjoy this course, and use it as a launching pad on a serious personal journey. I know I think differently now, after having spent time on the topic, and thinking through the elements of emotional intelligence.

Need a 30 day pass on Pluralsight? I might just be able to hook you up… let me know and I’ll see if I can get you a code to redeem. 

Leading With Emotional Intelligence Title Slide

 

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Cyber Monday Means Pluralsight’s Biggest Sale Yet (40% off)

December 2nd, 2019

That’s right: for $179 instead of $299 you get a year of Pluralsight. This is freaking awesome.

When people ask me what Pluralsight is I say “have you heard of LinkedIn Learning? That used to be Lynda? Anyway…. Pluralsight is like that, but they focus more on developers and technologists.”

Not a techie? Bear with me… it gets good for you, too…

First, for techies. Pluralsight finds the best of the best to teach technical courses. These are people who are flown around the world and paid bank to speak at conferences or do corporate training. They are deep into their fields of expertise, and are either passionate about teaching or they are learning teaching skills. Pluralsight then works with these content producers (aka “Pluralsight Authors”) to ensure they have quality audio, video, and visuals. You won’t see the scratchy audio or video quality you might see on one of the bazillion Youtube tutorials. A few years ago at the Author conference the CEO stressed again and again (and again) QUALITY in our courses. They want it, and they help us create quality.

I just counted around 300 “Learning Paths” that Pluralsight curates. Hundreds of them are for programmers and technologists. Here are some not-so-technical learning paths that you might find interesting. Remember, for the next few hours (until midnight tonight) you get ALL of this for $179 instead of $299! 40% off!

Pluralsight Learning Path Managing Projects PMP

Pluralsight Learning Path Adobe Video and Audio Production

Pluralsight Learning Path Being A Technology Manager

Pluralsight Learning Path Business Analysis

Pluralsight Learning Path Data Analytics Literacy

Pluralsight Learning Path Graphic Design

Pluralsight Learning Path Leadership Management for Project Managers

Pluralsight Learning Path Program Management Professional

Pluralsight Learning Path Project Management Professional

Pluralsight Learning Path Scrum Framework

I’ll continue to tell you when Pluralsight has sales. But be forewarned… I’ve never seen a discount like this before. Do it now, before time runs out:

pluralsight-40-off

 

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Biggest Pluralsight Discount Yet: Black Friday/Cyber Monday of 2019

November 29th, 2019

The last few Pluralsight discounts I’ve shared were pretty great: 33% off of $299. And then I saw this:

This weekend, for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 40% off! 

From $299 (the list price), the 33% off meant you got a whole year of Pluralsight courses for $199. But this weekend it’s better than that. 40% off means you only pay $179.

pluralsight-40-off

$179 breaks down to about $15 a month.

For $15 a month you get full and unfettered access to around 6,000 or 7,000 online courses (I’ve heard both numbers).

Yes, these have been designed for technologists. Yes, I know many technologists who are on Pluralsight all the time. Whether they are senior or junior, they use Pluralsight as their learning mechanism to stay up on technologies.

In addition to tech courses (there are even starter courses for those who are looking at a career change into tech), there are courses for product managers, project managers, business analysts, UX designers, and graphics artists.

Get that? Even if you aren’t technical, you can get value from the product manager, project manager, business analyst, etc. courses. That alone is worth a lot more than $179 for a year.

Let’s say that none of that interests you. Check out the Job Search Learning Path below … that is 20 hours of courses/learning for anyone in or preparing for a transition. My most important suggestions will be on personal branding and informational interviews.  Get it for those two courses, and then enjoy the rest, which can only help with your career.

Job Seeker Learning Path Course Sequence:

Course Duration
Designing a Killer Job Search Strategy 1h 43m
Developing a Killer Personal Brand 2h 00m
Resumes and Self-marketing for Software Developers 1h 40m
Relationship Management and Tracking for Your Career 1h 47m
Informational Interviews 1h 45m
LinkedIn Strategy: Optimize Your Profile 1h 55m
LinkedIn: Proactive Strategies 1h 29m
Effective Email Communication 1h 33m
Effective Phone Skills 1h 19m
Becoming a Better Listener 1h 36m
Onboard Yourself: What to Do After You Land Your Dream Job 1h 20m

This ends on Monday night… don’t wait though. Invest in yourself and learn all year.

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PMI Certification Prep: PMP (Project Manager) and PgMP (Program Manager) on Pluralsight

November 6th, 2019

“But Jason, I’m not in tech!”

Oh yeah? What industry today doesn’t have tech?

And what career path would not benefit from tech-related certifications?

Jeremy Jarrell PluralsightCheck out the Pluralsight learning path titled Program Management Professional – PMI-PgMP® Exam Prep. There are six courses by Jeremy Jarrell, who teaches you how to prepare for the PMI Program Management Professional certification. You can actually get this prep for Pluralsight’s low $299/year price… considerably lower than taking a year of university classes. I know having a PMI certification specializing in program management would be helpful for me to land a program manager job!

You think project management is cooler than program management?

casey-ayers-pluralsightPerhaps it is… for you. Why don’t you go over to Casey Ayers‘ learning path titled Project Management Professional – PMI-PMP® Exam Prep, which has FOURTEEN (14)!! courses to prep you to become a certified project management professional. Think that won’t open some career doors? Holy cow. Again, the super low price of Pluralsight to get you PMP exam prep blows my mind.

Invest in yourself. Invest in your education. These are two great learning paths that easily justify the price of a full year membership on Pluralsight (right now it’s only $299/year). In addition to those learning paths you get access to EVERYTHING on Pluralsight. Crazy.

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Get More Out of Mentoring (Pluralsight Courses)

October 25th, 2019

pluralsight_transparentI have two courses on mentoring on Pluralsight. One is for the mentee and one is for the mentor. On the mentee course (How to Be a Great Mentee: Get More out of Mentoring) I responded to a question from Joseph, and I wanted to share that response with you. Joseph asked if I had any recommended reading (about mentoring). I responded with this:

This might come as a surprise but the first book that comes to mind is one of the best books on deep interpersonal relationships and I think is required reading: How to Win Friends and Influence People. I strongly recommend this as an excellent book for mentors and mentees alike.

The second “book” is actually a category of books that I find so inspirational: biographies and autobiographies. I find inspiration in learning about the journeys that others have… what challenges they had, who impacted them, what advice they have picked up along the way, what principles they live by, etc. As I read those I can get a better perspective of my own journey. When I have a random conversation with someone now I can go up 30,000 feet and think “this might be one of those profound moments or people along MY OWN journey.” This perspective, I think, will help us become better learners and mentees.

Probably not what you expected, but those are the two that came to mind first and strongest :)

In our discussion I followed up with this link, and think that John Maxwell’s Mentoring 101 would be an excellent read.

I’m sure it’s very good. But I still think my best recommendations are the Friends book and any biographies.

What do you think?

jibberjobber-mentoring

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Pluralsight 33% off for Next 3 Days

October 22nd, 2019

I just got notice that you can get the full Pluralsight library for 33% off today, tomorrow, and Thursday. They don’t do this very often, and saving $100 is freaking awesome.

Pay $199 (instead of $299) and you get 365 days of all the Pluralsight you can consume! Click here to check it out.

Are you a techie? This may be the best investment you’ve ever made into your continuing education. There’s a reason top programmers at huge companies use Pluralsight… you can’t get this up-to-date training from anywhere else. The breadth and depth is astonishing.

In addition to technical stuff there is a full PMP (for project managers) test prep learning path, as well as courses for business analysts, product managers, user experience (UX) designers, graphics designers, technical writing… and of course data. Data is HUGE right now, and will be for many years to come.

Are you any of those? Or, are you interested in a career change?

I find myself pointing people to the amazing field of UX right now. It’s an exciting area and there is a ton of work to be done. I remember hearing a recruiter last year say that they can’t find any UX experts (that they could hire, because they were all working) in all of Utah.  That’s pretty impressive.

Of course, you get access to over 100 soft skills and professional development courses. Not to overwhelm you with too many courses but even if you just listened to any of my 33ish courses, as well as courses by my colleagues who do courses on communication and professional relationships and teamwork and other soft skills, including Dan Appleman, Shelley Benhoff, Casey Ayers, Stephen Haunts, Alan Ackman, Amber Israelsen, and others. If you get bored of my soothing voice and ideas, check out any of the many others.

Look, $199 is a KILLER price for this amount of continuing education. Don’t wait for your employer to invest in you. YOU need to invest in you.

If you are serious about career management you can’t go wrong with a Pluralsight course, and 33% off is music to my ears :)

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Pluralsight Course #34: Understanding Your Audience

October 21st, 2019

My Pluralsight journey, which started in 2012, has been quite a ride. It’s been crazy. And it’s been awesome. I was recently talking to someone who said that with all of the work I’ve put into my courses I could have gotten a Ph.D.! I dont’ know about that… and no, you don’t need to call me Dr. Alba… but I have spent thousands of hours since 2012 thinking deeply, studying, researching, and then teaching soft skills and professional development topics.

Last week my 34th course was launched: Understanding Your Audience.

Pluralsight Understanding Your Audience Jason Alba

I was excited to work on this course because, as I told my contact at Pluralsight, everything I’ve done has centered around understanding my audience. I take you on a bit of a journey as I’ve had to understand my audiences for my books, for JibberJobber, for marketing partnerships… If you aren’t understanding your audience how are you creating any content? Are you creating content for you, or simply based on assumptions?

This course invites you to dig deeper… to try to understand who they are more than just demographic data. I want you to understand who they are, why they do things, the root of their thinking, and how you can best connect with your audience.

Whether your audience is on the other end of an email or phone call, in front of you while you present, or across the table from you in a one-on-one, you can understand your audience to a point where your communication becomes more effective.

If you love it, rate it. And leave a comment.

If you want a 30 day Pluralsight pass please reach out to me. I think I can find one or two laying around :p

And now, I begin scripting my 35th course! Wahoo!

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Career Change: From Cashier to Software Engineer #HomeDepot

October 18th, 2019

When I was at the Pluralsight Live conference in August they showed this video… it was so freaking inspiring! Take three minutes and watch this:

The “OrangeMethod,” Home Depot’s “in-house skill development program.” Wow.

I’ve heard that The Home Depot is a great place to have a career. This video showed the awesome story of Jennifer, who started out as a cashier, and had the opportunity to grow into a software engineer role.

Talk about a career change!

Many of the people I talk with through JibberJobber, The Job Search Program, and through my speaking opportunities are ready for a change. These changes can be big or small… but they are in a point in their life where they need to make decisions about their careers moving forward.

A question everyone should ask is “should I stay on this path I’ve been on? Why?”

You should also ask “What if…?”

What if you could learn to do something more rewarding?

What if you could make more of an impact in the world (even if you make less)?

What if you could, like Jennifer, make A LOT more money than what you have?

What if you could retool yourself, add new skills, and do something that only “smart” people could do?

What if, what if, what if…

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think that any of my courses were on Jennifer’s radar. My soft skills courses don’t teach you how to be a developer… but there are around 6,000 other courses in Pluralsight that do. And I’m proud to be associated with an organization that is passionate about helping others find and develop skills that can improve their lives as well as the lives of those around them.

I’m not saying you have to be a software developer. I am only asking, inviting, you to think about “what if?”

Why not me?

Why not now?

Career transition is a real thing, and maybe, just maybe it’s the right thing for you.

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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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