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When Job Search Advice Isn’t Working

March 14th, 2018

K. recently emailed Liz and said:

“I am still searching for a position. I use JibberJobber everyday it seems. It does help me keep organized and sort out my connections from Linkedin and elsewhere. I have been doing this now for 18 months though and I don’t seem to be getting very far. I have watched and applied techniques from videos but I’m still not sure what I am doing wrong. I really would like a job with a company that has a good reputation for its people and management.”

First, kudos for recognizing what kind of company you want to work for. I recently landed a job, after twelve years, at a company (BambooHR – here’s one reason why: PaidPaidVacation) that has won many “best to work for” awards and it is AWESOME. I work with people who have worked with some of the big, awesome local companies and hearing them talk about the cultural differences and work environments honestly makes me sad. Bamboo is pretty awesome, but it’s sad to hear about companies who have cultures based on fear, power-hungry bosses who “can’t get fired because they have dirt on everyone,” unreal expectations, and working the employees so hard that everyone is (a) exhausted and (b) worried about losing their job.

A great culture exists. If I were to start a job search right now, I’d make a target company list based on the “best companies to work for” lists.  Can you even imagine LOVING where you work? That happens when a company makes culture a high priority.

That was the easy part of this post… the hard part addresses the idea of “I’ve done all the stuff and it’s still not working.”

In my first job search, 12 years ago, I couldn’t hardly get an interview. I later learned that this was because my resume, which everyone said was “awesome,” was not the right resume for the roles I was applying to. All I knew was that I was frustrated that no one would reply to me… I just got those lame, cold templated emails about not being the right one for the job.

It was mentally and emotionally exhausting to do what I thought was all the right stuff and get absolutely nowhere.

In this last job search, within the last few months, the same thing happened. I applied to a small list of target companies for a Product Manager role. One recruiter said “you are easily $175,000,” because of my PM experience throughout my career, and with JibberJobber. This time around I got interviews, and even second interviews, but I wasn’t landing anything. No offers (until Bamboo, but that’s another story).

Here’s what I learned: I have been doing “stuff.” In many cases, I’ve been doing “the right stuff.” But, frankly, I’m weird. My resume is weird, my background is weird. My skillset and history and even my communication style is weird. I’m not the cookie cutter best candidate… I’m weird. And let’s face it, my AGE is weird. Yes, age discrimination, I’m sure, played a big part in both job searches.

The normal job search stuff that works a lot of the time wasn’t working for me. Because I’m weird, I needed weird tactics and strategies. Maybe it’s the Paretto thing… 80% of the time the stuff works, but for 20% of the people, 20% of the time, you have to do something different. Maybe, K, you are part of the 20%.

Here’s my advice:

  1. Don’t take the core, principle-based job search advice and throw it out. Just figure it out, and adjust it where it needs to be adjusted. Make it unique to you. I had to do this. I had to figure out what “networking” meant for me, in my town, in my industry, in this small group of professionals I needed to network with. What does it mean for you? Maybe you are “networking” but not in the right way for you, for your location, for your industry, and for your target role (and the people who have, or hire for, that role right now). This analysis of the job search process is what helped me understand what I was doing wrong and, frankly, come up with the idea for JibberJobber.
  2. Get help. The problems in my job search would have been identified and addressed if I had hired a resume writer and/or job search coach. I’m talking about a real, professional, certified career professional. I found my career center was, unfortunately, useless. The guy who ran the career center didn’t have enough experience to help me, at my level. He might have focused on managing his staff, or helping recent grads get internships, but he was not equipped to help a professional with a few years of experience. That was a major disappointment. I know other career centers have better resources, many for free, but I’m saying invest the money to get a one-on-one professional who helps people like you. Find one who specializes in your industry, or has many clients like you (your age, your level, your industry, your locale, etc.). These career pros have been in the trenches with their clients. And they CARE. Your wins are their wins, Your heartache is their heartache (although they are in a different place, so it’s not soul crushing to them – a coach is not as emotionally attached as you are). If I would have gotten help I bet I would have had a job within weeks, maybe a couple of months. But I couldn’t see past the initial investment and I dragged my job search on way too long.
  3. Consider consulting, even if you don’t make any money from it. My first real job offer came after I had proven what I could do. I didn’t realize it at the time but someone I had recently met, and really respected, was watching me launch JibberJobber. One day he called and, as president of his company, offered me a job. “I’ve seen what you have done with JibberJobber and I’m impressed. I want you to help our company…”  I politely declined and kept my focus on JibberJobber. But I was honestly in shock. Why was it that when I was unemployed no one would touch me… as if I were a leper? But after launching a “simple” website I was all of the sudden interesting? It’s because people could SEE results when I launched. They could wrap their brain around what I do. I’ve seen this with consultants… whether they make money or not, whether they have clients or not. When you say you are a certain type of professional, and what you help with, people can understand that. You are “substantiating yourself.”  There is great value in this tactic.

So there you go, my Wednesday morning wisdom. I’m sorry that this has taken so long… 18 months of looking is a special kind of Hell. I hope some of this resonates, and that you can make the right changes to get the right results. I’d love to hear back and see how things are going. One day you’ll make my entire week by saying “Jason! I got my dream job!”  That will be an awesome day!

 

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“Struggling with trying to network with professionals”

March 13th, 2018

We got an email from user “L” last week with two issues… I want to address one today. He says:

“I am struggling with trying to network with professionals.”

Not a whole lot of information in the email… what kind of struggling? They aren’t responding to your calls or emails? Or, you don’t know how to approach them in the first place? Or, you actually get to have meetings with them but then nothing happens from there?

When I started my job search 12 years ago I learned that networking was the way to go and applying online was a waste of time. So, I tried to figure out how to network. The problem was that, as an introvert and a technologist, I’d much rather sit at home and “do my job search” efficiently than take hours and hours out of my day and routine to go to a network event, or meet someone at a restaurant. The “hours and hours” came from drive time, getting ready time, and arriving early and/or staying late.

Did I mention introvert? The whole process could be exhausting, with a healthy dose of concern about whether this would be a fruitful meeting or if people would just think I was an idiot (second guessing myself has been one of my top skills).

Sitting in front of a computer was much easier, much more comfortable, and seemed a lot more productive.

But everyone knew, and said, that you had to network. What if it just wasn’t working?

Maybe, I figured, it wasn’t that networking wasn’t working, but that I wasn’t understanding it and doing it right.

The turning point in my networking journey came when I read Never Eat Alone. I can’t recommend that book enough. This was THE book that changed my mindset on networking. It wasn’t something to do so I could benefit, rather it was something to do so everyone could benefit. I went into networking opportunities with a completely different attitude and goals. It had now become fun and exciting. Instead of getting to network events late and skipping out early, I was anxious to be one of the first ones there and one of the last to leave.

What because of this?

I remember one conversation where I pretty much had a job offer in the bag, and at a networking event told this guy about it and said he should interview, because he was definitely a better candidate than I was. He got the job, and I got immense satisfaction knowing that I had a small part in that.

Seriously, it was thrilling to give that away to him.

That was a manifestation of my change in attitude. I wasn’t in it for ME, I was in it for WE. I helped and I gave. I went from “What can I get” to “what can I give you,” which was great. But the next transition was huge. It was: “Hey, I heard you mention this… you need to talk to so-and-so. I’ll send you an introduction today.”

Here’s what that looks like:

  1. I started at: What can I get? I’m in this for me… and this is why a lot of networking feels sleezy.
  2. Then, I transitioned to: What can I give you? This is a question you’ll hear from networkers, and it shows they are helpful, and ready to invest some capital into the networking bank… maybe hoping to draw on it later. Nothing wrong with being here.
  3. But then, something magical happened when I didn’t ask that question, and didn’t wait for them to know what they wanted (heck, I didn’t know what I… why expect everyone else to know?): “I heard you say this… you need to talk to my friend, I’ll do the introduction today.” This goes into really listening and caring, and then opening up your network (risking, to a degree, your own reputation) and proactively making an introduction.

#3 is why I was so excited to go to network meetings. I couldn’t wait to connect people, and really, really help them. This went way beyond the superficial smile and handshake and “we should do lunch” (the lunch that never happens). This was meaningful, and it was fun.

Along the way my relationships with individuals grew and strengthened, my reach expanded, and I was fulfilled. It was AWESOME.

In summary, to a very vague question I give you two suggestions: First, get Never Eat Alone. I hope you absorb it the way I did. Second, transition from a “what can I get” goal/attitude to a “I’m going to give something to you today… not sure what, but I’m listening for where I can add value, and will give it” attitude. This gamifies networking, makes it fun, and puts you in a much different position.

Have a more specific networking question? I’m all ears. Leave a comment or email me.

 

 

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New: Push Reminders to Google Calendar! (almost a Google Sync)

March 12th, 2018

We have been working on something that we hope you love. You can now push your Action Items (aka Reminders) to Google Calendar. This is not a two-way sync because we don’t want all of your Google stuff on your JJ Reminders panel, and we don’t want all of the Log Entries on your Google Calendar… so we’re starting with just putting things you need to do in your job search pushing from JibberJobber to Google Calendar. Based on the feedback we get we might expand this, and if this works well we’ll work on other calendars (outlook.com is next, I think).

How do you do this? It’s in beta, so it’s a little hidden… but it only takes a few minutes to set up. Here’s what we suggest:

FIRST, SET UP A NEW CALENDAR IN GOOGLE

On the left side of your Google Calendar (not in JibberJobber), you’ll see a list of your calendars. There is a plus icon (see the red number 1, below)… click that to add a new calendar to your calendars (see the red number 2, below).

jibberjobber_google_calendar_1

After you click the plus icon, click New calendar from the dropdown.

jibberjobber_google_calendar_2

On the New calendar page, add your new calendar. You can see how I did it below.

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Now, your new calendar will show up with your other calendars :) That was easy!

jibberjobber_google_calendar_4

NEXT, TELL JIBBERJOBBER YOU WANT TO SEND REMINDERS TO THE NEW CALENDAR

In JibberJobber, mouse over Logs and choose Send to Google Calendar (this will be put in other places later, once we are out of beta).

jibberjobber_google_calendar_5_5_6

On the next page click the button to Connect to Google Calendar.

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Then, Google wants to know what account you want to send to… I have more than one, but I work out of my @gmail calendar.

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Google wants to know that you are legit, and not a bad guy or a bot, so here’s one last verification… just click Allow (if you chose the right account)

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Then, they want to know which calendar to send it to. You can see I have various calendars to choose from… choose the one you just created, then click Submit.

jibberjobber_google_calendar_choose_calendar1

Now you are sending Reminders!!

NEXT, CREATE A REMINDER IN JIBBERJOBBER TO SEE IF IT WORKED!

Create a Log Entry, and then click on the Reminders tab and put a Reminders date (put something for today, in a few hours).

jibberjobber_google_calendar_10

That’s it… every time you do this we queue it up and send it to the Calendar.

NEXT, VERIFY THAT IT WAS SENT ON YOUR GOOGLE CALENDAR

Go to your Google calendar, make sure your JibberJobber Calendar is showing, and see if it showed up. Mine looks like this (note each Calendar is color coded… my JibberJobber calendar happens to be purple).

jibberjobber_google_calendar_11

That’s it! After you take a few minutes to set this up you don’t have to think about it anymore. You can hide the new JibberJobber calendar from your view, if you want, or you can go into JibberJobber and disable this feature and stop sending stuff.

Note that if you close something in either place it does not close it in the other place… so it’s not doing task management (yet).  Let’s see how this goes, and the feedback we get, and we’ll decide where to go from here.

Let us know if you have problems or suggestions :)

 

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How I Found A Job (9/20): The First Interview

March 9th, 2018

I have one real suit. I know this is a casual company, but my personal policy is you dress a little nicer than the company, and I didn’t think a suit was out of line. I scoured the company pictures and videos and saw at least one where a guy was in a white shirt and tie… okay, suit should be fine.

BUT, is my suit outdated?

I am not a fashionista, something my kids point out almost daily (those shoes, dad??? That shirt with those pants??). They all have really nice style and I seem to be style-blind with clothes.

Would I walk in and my suit might fit just a little off, or the suit color be to 1900s, or the shoes and suit and tie and belt not look good?

Sometimes this actually does matter. Probably not as often as we think, though. But it was something on my mind. It was mental junk that could impact my “performance” at the interview.

I drove to BambooHR, planning to get there about 20 minutes early. If there was traffic or a car accident this would have been a problem… 12 years ago I would have left to be there about 45 minutes early. But I figured 20 minutes would be good. I had watched every BambooHR video I could, read more blog than I could count, and scoured their site and Instagram and Youtube for any information that would help. I also had the job posting practically memorized.

I felt ready, and this took my nerves down a bit.

Getting a new job is such a life changing event. Do everything you can to land the right job for you. Take it very seriously and realize that you have but a few minutes to impress everyone, from the front desk person to the people in the parking lot to the person you interview with.

When I was a speaker I had a routine I’d run through before getting on stage… one of the things I would do is mentally chant LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FIELD! I would be done in an hour, and do everything I could to make it the most memorable, impactful experience for attendees. I took this same approach for my interview: leave it all on the field.

By the time I got there I was kind of exhausted. I had prepared very well, but I hadn’t slept well. But I was going to do the best I could in the few minutes I got.

I went to check-in met one of the company founders (and got him mixed up with the other one, thank goodness I didn’t mention his name), and then Rusty came down to meet me. With a smile as big as his personality, we exchanged pleasantries and went to his office.  For the next hour or so we had an indepth conversation about my background, history, experience, and things I had done.  He put a lot of our conversation on the white board, which I thought was cool and interesting. It was insightful to see what he captured from what I said, and if he wrote something that I felt might be incomplete later I was able to drill down on that.

It was fun, honestly, and going through my accomplishments over the past 12 years (and a little pre-JibberJobber), I felt like YEAH, I am pretty accomplished! How in the world did I do 3 books, create a professional speaking business, run a startup, and do 30 Pluralsight courses?  And a few other things here and there… wow, I wasn’t as incompetent as maybe I had thought.

Before I knew it I was headed back to my car. It went well. Actually, it went REALLY WELL. I can’t imagine having done it any better.

I left the office knowing that I would likely come in on Thursday to meet with two more people, and hopefully soon after that I’d hear, if they liked me, about an offer.

Time to wait. And as I mentioned earlier, time to apply to other places, because if I didn’t get this perfect opportunity I’d be crushed. So I was already starting to put guards in place to deal with that.

 

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How I Found A Job (8/20): The Interview Process

March 8th, 2018

When Rusty and I got on our first phone call he said he’d like to have me come in and interview with him directly. This was a very important role and he wanted to get going as soon as he could.  Could I accommodate his quick-turn around schedule? DEFINITELY. This is RIGHT, and I’ll do what I can to make it easy and smooth for him.

Normally, I think, I would have had a phone screen with a recruiter, and maybe a Hirevue interview… but could I come in on Monday morning?

I’ll be there.

The speed this was happening was another sign that this was serious, and he looked at me as a good fit. It was exciting… but the problem was it was more information to help me fall more in love with this company.

The last company I fell in love with (12 years ago), after the interview, I started to mentally do the work.

This time I fell in the same trap. I couldn’t sleep at night, and was waking up at 4pm. My mind was going.

Please let this happen. Please let this work.

By this time, as I learned more about the company, I had already mentally discarded all of the product manager jobs I was applying for (and hadn’t gotten any positive response from).

Nothing was interesting to me anymore, except being on this team, in this company, to change the world.

Please, let it happen.

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How I Found A Job (7/20): Responding to Their First Outreach

March 7th, 2018

The first communication I had from anyone at BambooHR for this job was shocking.

It was a personal LinkedIn message from the hiring manager that was not cold or off-putting, not impersonal or prescribed.  It was also flattering, and showed that he had looked at my LinkedIn Profile and saw that I might be a perfect match.

I was blown away. I was flattered.

After all of the cold communication or non-communication I had from the other companies I had applied for, I was in shock. I showed my wife who said “he probably says that to everyone who has applied.”

Maybe.  Maybe he just had that personality, but I didn’t think so.  The question he asked is why I was interested in that role? Me… the CEO of JibberJobber, someone who had pushed out 30 Pluralsight courses… why in the world would I be interested in that role?

I responded thusly:

jibberjobber_bambooHR_linkedin_response

It took me a while to write that. I am a prolific writer, they say, and I wanted to write a novel. HIRE ME! PUT ME IN, COACH!  Alas, a lot of writing and backspacing, and that is what I came up with.

This was a bit nerve-wracking, because by this point I found the perfect role at the perfect company. I could make a difference in a company that was making a difference in the world. They had almost ten years of purpose and I would add value, based on my eclectic experience that others couldn’t understand.

But Rusty understood. And he reached out to me and treated me with dignity. I don’t need my ego stroked, but every job seeker knows that being treated with dignity, as a human, is rare.

If there’s anything you can take away from this (today’s post), it is this: Treat your communication as very special, and spend time writing and cleaning your messages. Make sure you know what you want to say, what you don’t need to say (and would only be a weird distraction), and send THE RIGHT message.

But then, stop second guessing yourself and hit send.

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How I Found A Job (6/20): Is BambooHR Really A Target Company? And Applying Online

March 6th, 2018

Yesterday was the day at my new job at BambooHR where I could state my tenure in months instead of weeks. I’m on Month Two.

In the last post I talked about finding this job, Program Manager, at BambooHR. But I had to go through some mental wrestling to come to terms with this. The companies I had been looking at were more familiar to me (I heard about them a lot from friends, and drove by them all the time). The commutes would have been awesome, as I mentioned. And it would have put me into the product manager network locally, a group I found a little hard to network into. Remember, being an entrepreneur is not looked at as a benefit by a lot of corporate people.

I had to ask myself, was BambooHR really a target company for me?  Back in 2017 they included this very blog as one of their top 25 HR blogs. I was a lot more familiar with their industry and customer and user (and the issues HR faces) than a high interest rate lending company or a contact lense company. I’m sure I would have settled in and done a great job, and enjoyed those… but there would be a few learning curves.

That’s part of career management, though: learning, adapting, etc.

BambooHR was perfect, with one little exception: the commute.

Going from a down-the-hall commute to a twenty something mile commute would mean changes. I’d be in traffic… rush hour! Bleh!

We have the exact right number of vehicles for our family… as long as I don’t need a car :)  That means a $5,000+ expense so we don’t have to double up… plus the cost of insurance, gas, etc. to add a new car. Double bleh.

When I put everything on paper, though, BambooHR was definitely a great option. In fact, something weird happened: As soon as I applied to BambooHR, every other company and opportunity because completely uninteresting to me. When I read the posting again and again, and slept on it and then read it again, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, anywhere else.

This was made for me, and meant to be!

So I applied. Online. You know, that thing some experts say to avoid at all costs? What if my resume got overlooked like it had from other companies? What if it got lost? What if, what if, what if…

All I knew was that I had now pretty much invested all of my hope in this one company and one job.

Because of what happened 12 years ago, when I was sure I had found the right job at the right company, and then I got the horrible, cold email saying they chose someone else, I knew that I couldn’t trust that this was the one. I had to keep doing things … the right things, in my job search. So, as hard as it was, I kept looking, and kept up my job search.

This was good because I needed to do something while I waited. And keeping my job search going helped me feel like I was doing something right, especially if this fell through.

I should mention, the application process on BambooHR was pretty sweet, which is good, because it was their software that they sell to others for applications :p Don’t you hate all of the online application pages that feel like they suck the soul out of you? That’s not the experience I had applying online.

I hit send or submit, and then crossed fingers… hoping.. waiting…

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Ask the Coach #8: How To Do An Undercover Job Search?

March 5th, 2018

This is part of a series. You can see the others here, at the Ask The Coach category.

K asks “How do you keep your current employer from finding out about your current job search?

This is a great question… you don’t want to look for something and then have your employer find out and let you go… ouch. Just because you are looking doesn’t mean you are leaving, right? Sometimes, even a toxicish boss is better than no paycheck. (SOMETIMES)

Here are the coach replies:

atc_headshot_denise_taylor_125Denise Taylor, Career Coach, Chief Inspiration Officer, the 50 Plus Coach

Looking for a new job when you are employed can make you feel like an undercover agent, needing to cover your tracks. Here are 7 tips:

  1. An effective way of finding another job is using LinkedIn, so make sure that any updates are not shared to your network. You don’t want your boss, or noisy colleagues noticing that you have finally got around to polishing your profile.
  2. If you may be going for interviews during a work day make sure that you don’t dress noticeably different for work. You may need to change outside of the office or to start dressing smart each day, and if you use public transfer this will be your best approach.
  3. Be careful who you share your plans to look elsewhere with at work. A colleague could use this against you and tell your boss, meaning that you aren’t considered for an interesting short-term assignment.
  4. Keep any changes to your CV/resume and any applications to your home computer. You never know who could look at your screen and see your edits, and you want this information well away from shared servers. You can keep copies in the cloud, so you have access to send on during the day when you want to make a fast response.
  5. When you post your CV/resume on job sites you can take your company name off and use a generic description instead.
  6. Make sure you use a personal and not your work email address, it’s more professional.
  7. Interviews may be arranged for after work, but not always, so what will you tell your boss? You can’t go to the dentist every week, but there are somethings that warrant a weekly appointment such as visiting the chiropractor.

atc_headshot_patti_romanowicz_125Patti Romanowicz, career consultant and job search specialist

First and foremost, don’t do job search activities at work! This includes your resume, cover letters, online job searching, phone interviews, etc. Prospective job calls should be taken only on your cell phone, outside of work hours or on breaks or lunch when you can have some private time. Your car is a great place to have these calls, even better if it’s not in your company’s parking lot.

People have asked about LinkedIn. If you are linked to coworkers or your boss, it’s best not to bring attention to the fact you are making changes to your profile. Best advice I can give is make minor changes over time, so you are updating, but nothing major all at once.

gavan_headshot_atcGavan Ambrosini, PCCCareer Management Consultant

Looking for a job while still working can be a tricky business. Maintaining a game face with your current employer while applying elsewhere can be stressful and uncomfortable, especially if you are torn between staying or going. Here are a few tips to keep your search under wraps: If possible, set your interviews for early mornings or late afternoons. If it is an in person interview that requires more than a few hours–take the day or a half day off. Try not to call in sick to interview if you can help it. I recommend you reference your absence as time off needed to take care of personal business and nothing more.

Don’t share your plans to move on with anyone in the office, unless you completely trust them to not let on what you are doing. You may need a reference, and you don’t want to blindside important referrals if you feel like you are getting close to making a move. There are 3 possible scenarios to consider should your employer finds out that you are moving on: They care, and don’t want to lose you–they don’t care and will be happy to see you go, or they care, but also understand that you need to grow and it is not possible where you are at. If they it is the former where they don’t want you to leave, they make take measures to keep you-such as ask for a meeting, offer you a promotion or even a raise. If there are things that would keep you there, it might be worth it to let it slip out that you are looking. Otherwise, best bet is to put your feelers out, but keep it close to the chest.

You can turn on your recruiter button on LinkedIn to let them know you are open to opportunities, as well as start posting more on LinkedIn to keep your activity high. This will allow you to be found by others easier and remain on people’s radar. You will also show up more in other people’s feeds, and come up sooner in searches. Whatever, you do, treat your current employer as you would a customer, with respect and professionalism. You don’t want to damage the relationship or sever ties with them. Besides possibly needing them for a reference, you never know, they may be your customer one day. Good luck!

atc_3_headshot_rich_grant_125Rich Grant, Online career course instructor for Peak-Careers

If you don’t want your boss to know about your job search, I’m sure you’re being discreet around the office, and your LinkedIn headline doesn’t say “looking for a new job.” But, be careful about others, as they might not have the same level of discretion. Someone at work who knows you’re looking might say something at the wrong time and the wrong place, or someone you’re connected to on social media might tag you in a post or a tweet about a new opportunity. Keep your eyes open on all your social media sites.

If you’ve posted your resume on job sites, don’t list your current employer by name but by describing the industry. For example, “online retailer in the home furnishings industry.” Use your personal information (phone, email) and not your office contact details.

Some people think that they need to put a halt on social media activity during a “stealth” job search, but I would advise the opposite. Networking is a critically important key to job-search success, and the advantage with social media is that you can participate any time of day or night. Put yourself out there as an expert in your career field, and as you build professional relationships online, reach out via private messaging to let people know what you’re looking to do next in your career.

atc_3_headshot_perry_newman_125Perry Newman, Award Winning Resume Writer & LinkedIn Transformation Specialist, Certified Social Media Strategist, Certified Personnel Consultant

If you want to keep your current employer from finding out about your current job search, I suggest you take the following two thoughts to heart. 1. Loose lips sink ships 2. Use common sense and remember a word closely identified with a job search is Confidential. Keep yours that way at all times. Here are 15 useful suggestions to follow and, I can think of at least 50 more.

  1. Don’t ever talk about your job search on your employer’s phone. They may check your phone log and see whom you called or who called you more than once. This means their landline and even a company cellular phone.
  2. Don’t talk with the people you work with about your job search in public at work. You never know whose listening.
  3. Avoid talking gossip about others in the office. People have long memories and can be vengeful and start rumors about you.
  4. Don’t send or receive emails about your job search on your employer’s computer, even with your private email account.
  5. Don’t use your company computer to search for job opening online.
  6. Don’t apply for a job online from your company computer.
  7. Don’t email your resume to a recruiter or employer from your work email.
  8. Don’t use your work email as contact email on your resume. (Don’t laugh, I see this all too often)
  9. Don’t sign up for resume blasts, they may inadvertently blast it to someone in your company or a sister company, or someone who knows your boss.
  10. Keep focused on doing your job as well or better than expected from you. Lower performance is a red flag for most employers that you’re looking or unhappy in your current job.
  11. Don’t suddenly and drastically upgrade and/or change your appearance all at once. If you do change, make it gradual and not only when you take time off from work or have a lunch hour interview.
  12. Make interviews whenever possible outside of business hours and take the whole day off if it is going to be more than a lunch hour meeting. (See # 11)
  13. Don’t talk about your job search openly on social media.
  14. Don’t tell a verifiable lie if confronted about absence from work by HR or a superior at work.
  15. This is a curve ball for you. DON’T be afraid to update and upgrade your LinkedIn profile if you are conducting a job search. If confronted why you made this move the answer is. “I was told by many people that the best way to get ahead in your current company is to have a great LinkedIn profile so your employer knows how valuable you are. I’m glad you or someone in the company took notice of the change because, I really want to be looked at favorably and get a promotion or raise based on may contributions.”

atc_3_headshot_ron_auerbach_125Ronald Auerbach, Job search author, expert, and educator

There are several ways to hide your job search activities from your current employer. One is to not use company resources, like their computer, phone, or Internet access. FYI, this includes using your own device but connecting through the company’s WiFi or network. Your goal here is not to leave traces of your job seeking activities. So do everything outside of work! Job search on your time and resources, not the company’s.

Another thing you can do is not tell people at work you’re job hunting. Even when you tell people you know very well and trust completely, there is always a risk that word may slip out of your looking for employment. Trust me, it’s happened many times! And in most cases, it’s purely by accident through idle gossip and talk or somebody just forgetting to keep it a secret. So do yourself a favor and keep your job search under wraps.

One more thing you can do is make it clear to everyone you’re contacting that you do not want your current employer to find out. So make sure you tell recruiters, employment agencies, contacts (network), etc that you want your job search to be kept quiet so your boss and company doesn’t find out. And it’s perfectly understandable why you won’t want your current employer to find out, so you’re not appearing as if you’re hiding anything or in trouble. It’s a given that we want to remain anonymous so we won’t lose our jobs ahead of our finding something else.

Another thing you can do is have limited information in your profiles and resumes. So with online resumes and profiles, you may not want to use your full name. For instance, instead of Henry Miller, you could use H. Miller or Henry M. or H.M. You could also hide the company name for your current employer and use something that describes what kind of company it is. For example, instead of saying you work at Citibank, you could list something like Financial Institution. Some will also change their job titles from say VP Manufacturing, to VP or Executive or Senior Manager. Your goal with these is to hide more specifics that lead back to you should your employer find it.

atc_3_headshot_elvabankinsbaxter_125Elva Bankins Baxter, Certified Master Coach

Here are 6 Ways to keep your current Employer From Finding Out About your Job Search:

  • Use a personal email address only for your job seeking activities and correspondence. Remember, your employer has access to your work email server and they can and oftentimes will read your emails…As a Career Coach, I have heard from many decision makers that they already know that someone is “looking” because they have read their emails.
  • If you have a company cell phone, only use it for business. Yes, this means that you will carry two cell phones. It is wise to keep a backup of your business and personal contacts on your personal phone. In the event the unthinkable happens and you are separated from the company involuntarily, you will not have lost your business and personal connections.
  • Regarding your LinkedIn profile, the changes you make to LinkedIn should be very subtle. First, change your “Settings” so that you turn off notifying everyone of any Profile changes that you will be making. If you feel a need to increase the number of your Connections, do so very slowly…For example, this is not the time to add more than 4 or 5 people to your network at once. And, do not alert search/recruiting professionals that you are seeking opportunities (a feature within LinkedIn).

Regarding Search Consultants or Recruiters:

  • If you are asked by a Search Consultant to connect on LinkedIn…refrain from doing so. And, if you’d like to connect to a search professional, send an email from your personal email server, via LinkedIn or call them directly. Do not connect to them on LinkedIn.
  • If a recruiter or search consultant calls you on your work phone and wants to discuss an opportunity, get their contact information and tell them that you are not interested in seeking new opportunities currently, however, should that change, you may reach out to them in the future. The point here is that you may not know who directed this recruiter to contact you. It could be someone at work who wants to see if you are searching for a new position.
  • Be mindful of the number of times you are out of the office for those alleged doctor/dentist appointments or start to take longer than usual lunches. Most businesses will meet you to maintain confidentiality and meet after hours if necessary.
  • Be aware of your behavior as you work on teams or with your leader or cross-functionally. You want to instill an enthusiastic spirit and not let your true emotions surface. Transparency is important, now more than ever.


jacque-barret-poindexter-atcJacqui Barrett-Poindexter
, CEO, Master Resume Writer

Do not conduct job search using company technology; for example, avoid sending job search emails through your company email address or through the company computer, for that matter.

  • Set up a separate email (gmail) address for job search.
  • Do not save your resume on the company computer.
  • If a recruiter or hiring decision maker calls you while at work, either let it roll into voice mail and call them back later or, if you answer, explain that you are work and would like to schedule time after hours for a conversation. (Note: Ensure sure your voice mail is professional, and that you regularly check it for messages.)

Do not schedule interviews on company time. Work with hiring managers, HR + recruiters to schedule interviews during lunch hours, after work hours, etc. to be respectful of your current employer’s time.

When refreshing professional profiles, such as LinkedIn, market your value in a way that comes across as a blended strategy: marketing your current organization while also touting your own achievements.

Avoid sharing your job search efforts with colleagues, no matter how much you trust them. One slip of their tongue and your current role will be at risk. You don’t want to be unemployed before you have a new role in hand.

Avoid sharing your job search efforts on Facebook or any other presumable “private” social channel. 100% privacy is NEVER guaranteed on social media.

When asked for recommendations during interviews, seek support from former bosses, colleagues, clients, vendors etc. to avoid alerting your current manager that you are job hunting.

There you go, lots of great advice to help you in your undercover job search! Thanks coaches!

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How I Found A Job (5/20): When I Finally Was Open To Other Weird Opportunities

March 2nd, 2018

I mentioned that I had a small targeted list of companies, but as my job search went on I expanded my list to even include long-commute companies. Ugh. What was the world coming to?

The same thing started to happen with the actual roles. Kind of. I saw some roles where I thought “Hm… maybe I could do that. I’m certainly qualified, but would I enjoy it?”

I really wanted to stay in software development as a product manager.

Apparently, hiring managers didn’t want me to. I was having flashbacks from 12 years ago, with all of the rejection, where I had the self-doubt thoughts. I’m worthless. No one wants me. I really am not competent. I can’t do this job. It’s clear that I should just go get a burger flipping job (even with my CIS and MBA degrees, and almost 2 decades of experience in software).

It was at this point where I thought “Okay, time to be honest. Let’s focus the resume more on product manager.” Or, what were my other options?

I opened my job posting alerts and saw a job for Program Manager. I don’t know what that means. At Microsoft it’s what they call Product Managers, but really, what is a program manager? I don’t want to manage a program… is it outside of software?

But then, I look and it is at one of my top target companies. So I open it and read the duties/expectations and find that every single thing list (with the exception of one, which turned out to be a copy/paste error from another job posting) was a perfect fit for me. They wanted someone who would create (YES!) and build (DOUBLE YES!) a totally new program that had to do with stuff I’ve been doing for the last 12 years.

There was a bit of software involved, and later I’d learn that my (future) boss was a product manager for 20 years (!!), but I’d get to take something else that was a passion, thought leadership and personal and corporate branding and blogging and videos and courses and speaking, and build it out like I have at JibberJobber, at my target company.

WHAT? IS REAL?

It was just too perfect.

So, I applied. I didn’t tweak my resume (I might have changed the name from product manager to program manager, I don’t remember), and I applied. I gave myself a 20% chance of hearing back because that is where my mind was. No one cared… why would this be different. Even though this was a perfect fit, my mind had already discounted me as as candidate.

But I applied anyway. It was the first time I applied to something that was not software product development. And it would be the last time. This was my “out.” This was my dream job. I just had to get someone on the inside to see that and believe I was the right person.

My point? In your job search you should get hyper-focused on companies and opportunities. But, as you learn more, be open to other right opportunities.

It may feel weird at first, but who knows? This job search is a journey, definitely not a destination. And as journeys go, things can change. Be open to the change. Be ready to take a detour. It might just be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

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How I Found A Job (4/20): Is Your Resume Lying?

March 1st, 2018

My resume was lying, kind of.

No, it did not have lies on it. It was not fictitious. But it was not true to the job I was applying for.

I knew that I could make some tweaks and make it more of a product manager resume, and I’d probably get more replies and interviews.  But I didn’t.

My ego was in the way.  Seriously. And, a part of me was afraid to be successful in my job search. Double seriously.

My resume was okay. I’d give it a B+. For a targeted product manager resume I’d give it a C. Not because it didn’t have product manager stuff on it, but because I knew there were tweaks I could have made to make it much more appealing for product manager roles.

I say this not to boast, but it was the reality of my search. I knew I could have tweaked that one thing and gotten better results. But did I really want better results? I was still conflicted about getting a job…

Anyway, here’s the point of today’s post: YES, your resume should be tweaked. Get it hyper-focused on the role/title you are applying to.

The purpose of your resume is to make it past the screeners. That might be a recruiter, it might be a hiring manager, it might be technology (ATS). If you are one of 50 (or one of 500) and there are others that are clearly better positioned than you, according to the resumes, then you lose. It’s as simple as that.

My first job, as a hiring manager with a lot of applicants, is to figure out who I should focus on. If I have 5 or 10 that are perfect matches on paper then I focus on those, as opposed to those who are near matches but have weird stuff and distractions.

Those distractions might make you feel good (look, it shows more about your breadth or depth) but they are LIES at this point.

Stay super hyper focused. Don’t let your ego dictate your resume content. Use the resume as a tool to get you into interviews…. not as a brag sheet to be read at your funeral to show how cool and accomplished you were.

Ignore this and you will be, like I was, passed over too many times.

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