Career Management Defined

December 22nd, 2014

Over the last few years I’ve given hundreds of presentations titled Career Management 2.0.  I’ve done webinars which people from around the world have tapped into, to listen to Career Management 2.0.

I’ve thought about this for years.  Career Management replaces “job security.”  I’m sure career experts can give you a five, seven, or even twenty-one point list of what  Career Management means… if I had to, I could come up with long list, too.

But here’s the bottom line: I’ve boiled Career Management down to two things:

  1. Networking, which includes growing your network and nurturing individual relationships, and
  2. Personal Branding, which is simply how others would define you (or, whatever elegant definition you want to give).

I can (and do) talk for hours about this stuff.  I’m passionate about it.  When I lost my job in January of 2006 I still believed in job security.  I didn’t think that a guy like me would have a problem finding a new job. I did “all the right things,” and so somehow, someone owed job security to me.

Of course I was wrong.  And along my journey, I finally realized that the power I was looking for was only that which I would create. Where I needed to start is listed above… and it’s the exact same two things I still focus on today.

As we close the year out, take some time to let this settle in.  What have you done to strengthen your network this year?  What will you do next year?

What have you done to strengthen your brand this year?  What will you do next year?

If this is top-of-mind, you’ll have a fun career.  Transitions will come and go, but they’ll be much less painful, and shorter, if you internalize Career Management.

 

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Paul in Minnesota: 22 Levels Deep…!

December 5th, 2014

On this morning’s Focus Friday webinar I was astounded to read a comment from Paul in Minnesota about how many levels of connections he reached before he landed his job.

Some context: on many of my webinars, I’ve repeated one of the greatest things I learned in my own job search, which is that you find your job leads from your third and fourth degree contacts, not from your first and second degree contacts.  This is such a profound concept…. the idea that as we develop relationships with people, we continually ask for introductions.  More often than not, you won’t have your first or second degree contact. Unfortunately, the way LinkedIn works, they mess up how we track this.  But in JibberJobber we can track down to the nth degree.

Anyway, Paul wrote this comment on our webinar today, in response to talking about the free vs. premium levels of JibberJobber (note that we were talking about the email2log feature… which is premium, but the tracking to of referrals is in the free level):

“[The upgrade is] totally worth it.  I would say it’s the best investment for  your job search. I got down to 22 levels of contacts before I landed my position and JibberJobber was the tool that helped me keep track. (No way I could have done this on my own).

I’ve heard this type of gratitude for JibberJobber before… and I love hearing it (especially on a Friday, what a great way to end my work week :)).  But what floored my was what Paul was doing: 22 Levels?

That is so awesome! That is how an effective job search is done!  Talk to people, ask for referrals, do informational interviews….!

Great job Paul! An inspiration to us all!

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A Systematic, Process-Oriented Job Search #LizRyan

November 25th, 2014

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

How Doug Got Hired After Two Years of Searching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jibberjobber_liz_ryan_linkedin_article_doug

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

November 7th, 2014

Here is a great question from A.A.:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

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Break Down Expert Job Search Advice (say NO to the ATS!)

November 5th, 2014

louise_kursmark_headshotLet’s dig into the post from yesterday, and dissect some of Louise Kursmark’s advice.  It’s a short article, but there’s simple stuff that every job seeker needs to be doing. Lines from her post are in bold, my comments are not bold, and indented.

>> I think that obsession(with gaming the ATS systems) is a distraction from the real work of job search.

Again, you are hiding from the job search.  There is no silver bullet.  ATS is one tiny aspect of the job search, don’t become obsessed with gaming it.

>> Even if your resume is a perfect match for the job posting, you have a very small chance of being chosen for an interview. 

Why? Because statistically, jobs posted online are not real jobs that are begging real people to apply. Some (probably those from big companies) have already been filled with internal candidates, but are posted just to satisfy regulations or policy.  Others are, unfortunately, and without integrity, fake jobs that are luring people in just to collect names and numbers.  Sometimes they are just feeling out the market, and seeing what’s out there.  But for the real ones… have you heard how many people apply to openings?  It’s way to many, really.  And those that are getting through are not necessarily the right candidates.  Many right candidates are getting weeded out through errors in the logic of the automated system.  They don’t call it the “resume black hole” for nothing.

>> … it’s easy to spend a lot of fruitless time trying to rise to the top of a very large pool.

Lots and lots of people are playing this losing game.  Why throw your hat into a system that is proven to be so ineffective and discouraging, and really, one that doesn’t really work?  Especially when there are more effective ways to land a job.

>> My advice: Have a keyword-rich, simply formatted resume that stands a reasonable chance of making it through the ATS.

And here is the simple truth about what you need for a resume.  Keyword rich and simple format.  That’s it.  Do that, then MOVE ON to the next part of your job search strategy!

>> Then, spend less time applying to posted openings and more time getting referrals into the companies you’re interested in.

Get out of the resume black hole and go compete in a different space… the competition is much easier, and nicer, because too many people are afraid to network, or are doing it entirely wrong.  Be the person who learns to love it (you don’t have to be an extrovert to love networking), and do it RIGHT!  Also, to Louise’s points, do this purposefully and strategically, not haphazardly.

>> Use your network to find a connection, ask for an introduction, and start a dialogue.

This, my friends, is networking.  This is more effective than going to network meetings, being nervous or shy, and then going home thinking “I networked!”  You may have, but what Louise is suggesting is to do it right, and go deeper, and be relationship-focused.

>> Rather than applying for a job, have a conversation about the company’s needs and how someone with your background might be able to help.

Again, this is networking.  And this hints to informational interviews as well!

>> Become a real person rather than a piece of paper or collection of keywords.

You do this by focusing on conversations, relationships and real networking, rather than throwing your resume into the black hole…

>> Even if you don’t (get interviews), you’ve built another strand in your web of connections that will ultimately lead you to your next job.

Building these strands, or let’s go further and say this fabric, is what I call career management. It is having strong relationships over time, not just during this hard transition, and it is helping people understand who you are (and how they can help you)… it is long-term.  It is the new “job security,” and it’s all in your control.  It’s why I say you need to use JibberJobber, forever! (yes, a little fanatical there, but I get to do that on my own blog :))

>> And isn’t it more satisfying to have a colleague-to-colleague business discussion than to be judged (and rejected) based on a mysterious set of keyword qualifications?

You know who has control over the keywords?  NOT YOU!  You have control over, which means influence on, your relationships and communication, but not on the arbitrary keywords that someone chose. And you don’t have control over who else applies, or how their resumes compare to yours in the ATS black box logic.  Work on what you can control… !

I love Louise’s no-nonsense advice… thanks again for letting me share it!

 

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What Are Your Guiding Principles?

October 3rd, 2014

david_safeer_headshotI get David Safeer’s newsletters, and this was had an idea that was too good to not share. David is a management and leadership consultant – read about him on the front page of his site.  He’s done a very nice job communicating who he is and why he is relevant to his right audience.

In his most recent newsletter he shares his “business principles,” which are business principles “to achieve outstanding performance.”  It made me wonder, what are my business (or life, or marriage, or father, or entrepreneur, or CEO, or product manager, etc.) principles?

He says he wrote these almost ten years ago, and that reviewing them now, there are NO changes to make.  To me that indicates they are indeed principles instead of tactics, which can and usually should change over time.  Go check out his list – it really reads like a short book on how to do better in business.

As I read his list I had three thoughts:

  1. His list is about people and relationships, not about numbers.  He says: “I am convinced that people are THE key to a successful organization, so my thoughts about business principles turn often to the people side of things.”  Where do your thoughts about your principles turn?
  2. Can you create your own list of principles?  This could be like a personal business plan, or map, that helps you make decisions and be true to yourself.  What would be on your list?
  3. Once you have a list, this is a great way for you to stay relevant. How?  Read on…

Being relevant is an interesting concept.  When I started JibberJobber I thought people would talk about me and JibberJobber for a long time. I got interest and buzz at first, but then things died down, and I found I had to continually put something interesting and/or new in front of people.  I wrote a book on LinkedIn, and that did it (for a while).  But then 40 other people wrote books on LinkedIn, and I wasn’t THE expert anymore. I was losing relevance.  I had to do other things, which I did. I still do other things to stay in front of people and try to stay relevant.

Why do you think LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook make so many changes to their systems? Some are good and needed, others are simply to get press.

When David put his guiding principles in front of me, he shot back up to “relevant.”

Think about this for YOU.  What can you do to remain relevant with your audience?

Don’t get me wrong, this is not just a branding/networking thing. I think having guiding principles is AWESOME.  I encourage you to work on your own.  And, use what you come up with as a reason to get back in front of your network contacts and create a bit of buzz or conversation.

 

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New JibberJobber User Orientation Videos Are Up

October 2nd, 2014

I just updated the JibberJobber User Orientation Videos in the Video Library – click here to watch them.

Remember, to make the videos full-screen, scroll to the bottom and right of the box the video is in and then click the full-screen icon (the middle arrow is pointing to it):

jj_videos_full_size

If you want to catch a live orientation, or get on the Focus Friday’s calls, sign up from this page.

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How To Get a Networking Introduction (insight from Hunter Walk)

August 18th, 2014

One of the bigger problems I see with job seekers is that they don’t know how to get networking introductions.

hunter_walk_investor

On LinkedIn, Hunter Walk wrote this article: Why Most VCs Won’t Intro You To Other VCs (Unless You Follow These Steps). He wrote it for entrepreneurs looking for money from VCs, but every single point he makes is something a job seeker should understand and internalize. In my own words (read his post here):

  1. Do your work upfront!  Too many job seekers have very vague requests for help. Most vague requests are about as helpful as this: “I’m looking for a job.”  Geesh!  Can you tell me ANYTHING about you, what you’re looking for, what you want to do, etc.?  I can’t help you if I don’t know if you want to be a lifeguard at the local rec center, or a CEO of a multi-national company!  When you do your homework, you’ll know how I might be able to help you… and you’ll be able to have a better conversation.    Ignore this at your own peril (or, extended job search).
  2. DO NOT name drop… without permission.  Hunter is kind of a big deal… and I’m sure has this happen all the time.  If someone didn’t say “tell them I sent you,” then DON’T TELL THEM THEY SENT YOU!  You can say “oh yeah, I know Jason…. I just read his blog post and ….”  But don’t say “Jason sent you.”  You will ruin your credibility and likely come across as a liar, perhaps ruining two relationships with one unfortunate white lie.
  3. Don’t ask your contact for too much.  If you want an introduction, make it super-easy for your contact to facilitate the introduction. This means you write something they could forward… why the introduction is happening, etc.  Make it easy for them to forward something without thinking too much.
  4. Follow-up with the person who made the introduction for you.  It’s critical that you do this, if you want to improve relationships and get more introductions.  When someone follows-up with me, no matter how good the meeting went (even if it didn’t happen), I can trust that the person I’m introducing will respect my contacts.  I want to help more.  If I don’t know what you are doing with my introductions, I am not inclined to give you more.
  5. Keep the person posted about what’s going on.  If you trust someone enough to ask for an introduction, and they trust you enough to do the introduction, why not keep them abreast of what’s going on, even outside of that introduction?  Keep them posted perhaps monthly or quarterly…. stay on their radar.  I wrote about this using a job seeker newsletter, which is a monthly email that I personally think every job seeker should have.

Too many people want to finish the job search and never, ever do it again.  But the truth is, we will do it again… regularly.  We need to figure out how to make this type of stuff be part of our DNA… how we work, how we communicate, etc.  Whether you are looking for a job, funding, or customers, this is basic communication and networking stuff we need to internalize.

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JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). Free for life with an optional upgrade.

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Ask The Expert: Fred Coon, Outplacement and Job Search Expert

April 25th, 2014

My call with Fred Coon was awesome.  There were a lot of gems throughout this call.  I have two regrets:

  1. We didn’t have more time.  It seems like Fred just skimmed the surface on an 8-step plan… I think we could have talked for hours more.  BUT, what he was able to share in 90 minutes was a great foundation for anyone.
  2. I asked Fred, impromptu, to provide a little banjo music in the back while I wrapped it up.   He did, I wrapped up, and I mistakenly stopped the recording when I was done instead of when he was done.  I’ve never been banjo’d before… it was very cool :)

Below is our conversation.  I encourage you to take notes, and if you want, let us know what impacted you most, and the minute mark of that impactful moment, so we can get to it easier.

Enjoy!  (vimeo provides a full screen option comes on after you click play, but there is no visual… you can put this on while you do something else (like take notes?))

See past Ask The Expert recordings here.

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Don’t ask people to connect on LinkedIn until…

April 21st, 2014

If I can, I like to connect people.  It makes me feel good, and some of my contacts simply must connect with one another – they are that cool or complementary!

I recently made a connection between two people, and I suggested to one of them to NOT invite the person to connect until they actually had a conversation, and started a relationship.

Why?

Too often I see people who will take an introduction, ask the person to connect on LinkedIn, and then… nothing.

Folks, connecting on LinkedIn IS NOT NETWORKING!

Focus on the relationship!

Can you help that person?  Can they help you?  Is there a reason to have a relationship?  Can you nurture the relationship?  Can you get and give value through the years because of a relationship?

Have a conversation.  Then, in a month, or next quarter, have another conversation (or send an email).  And do that regularly.  Over time. Take the relationship from nowhere to somewhere.

The problem with starting out with a LinkedIn invitation is that too often, many times, I see this:

  1. Invitation is extended.
  2. Invitation is accepted.
  3. Relationship doesn’t go anywhere.

The LinkedIn connection is not a relationship, and it is not networking.  It gets in the way.

So, first work on establishing the relationship, and the LinkedIn invitation/connection is something for later. Don’t let it take the place of the relationship.

what where
job title, keywords or company
city, state or zip jobs by job search

JibberJobber is a powerful tool that lets you manage your career, from job search to relationship management to target company management (and much more). Free for life with an optional upgrade.

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