Ten Dick Bolles Facts

April 6th, 2017

dick_bolles_job-hunters-bibleThese are ten things I found to be interesting about Dick Bolles:

Dick Bolles was really, really tall. I am about six foot tall and he seemed to tower over me. Maybe he was my height, but he seemed to be a giant of a man. However, he was so kind and gentle that I didn’t feel like he was physically imposing.

Dick Bolles was an ordained Episcopal minister… until he quit. I knew the first part, but only recently read about the last part. Apparently there’s a rule that you can’t get married to a fourth wife, after three divorces… Dick didn’t take this well and tried to fight it, then just renounced his ordination to marry the lovely Marci (who was at lunch with us).

Dick Bolles, for many years, did all of his own writing and editing. He told me one of his agreements with the publisher was that they would not touch his finished product at all…. that means no other editor would change anything. In our intervew (see yesterday’s post) he said that that had changed towards the end, but for many years it was 100% Dick Bolles.

Dick Bolles was super smart. He was mensa-level smart. He was an Harvard alumnus where he studied physics, and an MIT alumnus where he studied chemical engineering. He was literally a member of mensa. When I had lunch with him he was in his mid-eighties, and he was one of the sharpest people I had ever talked to. He was fast, and could talk about a breadth and depth of topics, without skipping a beat.

Dick Bolles’ brother was murdered in 1976. He was an investigative reporter and was investigating a very rough crowd: the mafia in Arizona. Shocking? Very sad, and I can imagine that it was devistating for Dick to go through. The legacy of his brother, Don Bolles, lives on amongst reporters. He was uncovering a nasty part of society, and paid with his life.

Dick Bolles stumbled onto helping others in job search… it’s not what he set out to do.  The title of his book came from a conversation he had with someone who said they were going to quit their job, and his response was “what color is your parachute?” Meaning, if you are going to do something so risky, what’s your plan? Have you even thought about the consequences of quitting?

Dick Bolles invited career experts to his home for multi-day retreats. These were small, intimate groups of career professionals, getting almost one-on-one attention from Dick. I wish I would have done one of those… I’ve only heard about them from some of my colleagues. To have someone of his status invite career experts to his home for so long, I thought, was really cool.

Dick Bolles personally updated his book every single year, for almost 50 years straight.  The dedication to this one book had been a life passion for him.  He passionately studied current events, reading papers, listening to experts and job seekers, and then would incorporate the latest and greatest in strategies, tactics, and tools into the next version of his book.  Almost 50 years… that’s really quite remarkable for someone who could have just outsourced it many decades ago.

Dick Bolles was an international speaker, and obviously highly sought after.  Again, he could have just rested, and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, but he got on plane after plane, even for very long flights.  He was a man who clearly believed in his mission of helping people.

Dick Bolles loved his wife and family. I only met Marci, and know nothing of his previous wives. But the way he treated her, listened to her, looked at her… it was love and respect.  At our lunch I learned about why and how they met, and how she literally saved his life… hearing him tell the story was like reading a romance novel (I assume… I’ve actually never read a romance novel).  His love was tangible. And so was hers. It was refreshing to witness their interactions.

BONUS: Dick Bolles was a Navy veteran.  Of course.  Service and action.

Dick Bolles, a great man who fulfilled a great mission, and really impacted the world.

 

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Dick Bolles Videos

April 5th, 2017

Yesterday I wrote about Dick Bolles, and said it’s “the end of a legacy.” Perhaps I should have written “the end of a legend.” Or, the next chapter of a legend.

From the comments on yesterday’s post, and throughout the internet, it’s clear that this man was the father of the modern job search, and that he impacted many, many people. Great tributes have been written about him.

I found a 32 minute video when he was at Google, doing a presentation titled “How to decide what you’ll be doing five years from now.”  Check it out here.

Years ago, when I was doing the Ask the Expert interviews, Dick graciously agreed to be a guest on my show.  You can watch it below… but if you do, you’ll notice the first 20 minutes I was flying solo.

That was not planned.

Here’s what happened: I had been in touch with Dick, the consummate professional, about being on my show. He readily agreed, and I didn’t want to hound him with reminders. I was very sensitive about giving him enough information without him feeling like I was harassing him.  I was sure that he would come, be on time, etc. After all, he had probably done this a gazillion times.

So I started the webinar and had a great audience. Questions were coming in for him, and you could feel the excitement build.  But Dick wasn’t there yet.

I emailed him, I even called him… but nothing.  No response.

I remembered that he was in his mid-t0-late eighties, and I worried that perhaps he had…. passed away.  This was about four years ago… I think he was 86 or 87.  Was my show going to be the way that everyone knew he had passed away?

I hoped not. I wanted to interview him, and learn from him!

For twenty minutes I ad-libbed, I sweated, I worried, and I wondered.  That was a LONG twenty minutes.

Then, thank goodness, Dick joined the call.  He was apologetic, and I was relieved!  He was ALIVE!

He said he was late because he stayed up all night working, on deadline, on the next version of his book, which was due the morning of our call.   He fell asleep at his desk (that made for an interesting visual), and just barely woke up.

Did I say I was relieved?  Not for me, nor for the interview, but that Dick Bolles was okay!

Here’s the interview… I was amazed that he brought new-to-me information and ideas.

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The End of a Legacy: Dick Bolles

April 4th, 2017

dick_bolles_headshotDick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute, passed away on Friday, March 31, 2017. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday.

I saw Dick Bolles present at a few conferences, but didn’t talk to him. He was always talking to someone else, and I wanted more than a handshake and a smile.

My time came when I was speaking in his hometown, Danville, California. He and his wife, Marci, came and were in the audience.  I always have butterflies when I’m in front of an audience, but this was like an extra dose of butterflies.  THE GURU of job search… perhaps the father of modern day job search, was in the audience. He has flown around the world giving presentations, and in the decades since he penned the first edition of What Color is My Parachute, he’s seen, and done, it all.

I got a great introduction from Susan Joyce, owner of Job-Hunt.org, and had my first real, great, conversation with him, on the phone.  It was actually short, but it was real.  By the time we were in Danville our relationship progressed to the point where going out to lunch was only natural.

After my presentation he and Marci waited while I shook hands and said goodbye to individuals from the audience, and then we piled into his Buick (an Enclave, I think). I was wondering what this legend who had sold more than 10 million books drove… just a Buick. We drove about 15 minutes away to one of his favorite Asian restaurants, where we spent at least an hour in awesome, awesome conversation.  From that conversation I’ll never forget when he said:

“Jason, your message, and my message, are the same.”

I was immediately intrigued.  First, that he listened to my hour and a half presentation and paid enough attention to get “my message.”  Second, because he could concisely say what “my message” was (I would have been hard-pressed, at the time, to tell you what my message was). And third, because he, The Legend, said that it was the same as his message.  Awesome…!

“And what would you say our message is?”

“Our message,” he replied, “is a message of HOPE.  We show people that they have options, and when they have options, they have hope.  When they think they have run out of options, they are hopeless.”

I processed this and realized that he had, in one word, explained why I got on the road. Why I got up in front of audiences, even though it was uncomfortable. Why I would face the skeptics and the hecklers, and put my ideas in front of brilliant unemployed professionals so they could analyze and evaluate and question them.

Dick Bolles put my calling, passion, and purpose into perspective.

When he said “HOPE” I immediately got it. You see, I was a hopeless job seeker. I was at the end of my rope, with no hope.  It was a dark, depressing place to be.

Life without hope does not end well.  Dick said that we, in our own ways, gave hope.  We inspired hope.  We showed people options, and gave them a reason to keep trying, to keep doing, and to move closer to a job, where they didn’t need to worry about hope vs. despair.

You can believe that since that lunch, I’ve thought about hope every single day. I have taken his message, our message, to heart, and have understood the gravity of what we do.

What an honor to have Dick Bolles, the legend, the man who has touched millions of lives, even put in near himself in our quest to change the world, one job search at a time.

Thank you Dick Bolles, for the live you have lived and the legacy you have left.  There are many, many thousands of career professionals who have been influenced by you, your words, your mission, your example, and they are influencing others… sharing the message of HOPE.

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Job Security vs. Income Security

April 3rd, 2017

What do you think about job security?

If you have a job right now, you passionately want to believe in it… that it will last. At least for you.

If you are unemployed right now, you are likely soured on the whole concept, realizing it’s a farce.

Back in 2008 (maybe earlier) I had an epiphany: having a JOB (or as some people have called it, Just Over Broke) is not bad.  But relying on that one job to be around forever, and to meet your financial needs (not wants), can be really risky.

When I lost my job, on Friday the 13th in 2006, I had invested too much of my personal and professional life into that one job. I invested myself into that role, company, team, and outcome. And when the job was taken away from me, I was left with nothing.

I counted on job security, when I should have been working on a personal income security strategy.

What is that?

It is a strategy that helps me (and my family) have the income I need (and want), with a plan for the future.

What does that look like?

If you take a purely professional, non-entrepreneurial position, it looks like a great, solid career that doesn’t happen by accident. You have gotten the right education and continuing education (training, certificates, etc.). You know, and are known by, company and industry executives and movers and shakers (including those that work for the competitor). You carefully craft a branding strategy and work to share your brand appropriately. You have taken on extra responsibility at your company, and are known as someone who gets the job done, someone who others want on their team, etc.  You are pleasant and very competent, and other people wonder how your team, project, or company could ever survive without you. From the outside, it looks like you have been lucky, a lot, in your career.

If you take a non-traditional position, you are a great worker, and you have side gigs. You might have rentals, or sell cupcakes on weekends. You might manufacture something in your garage, or consult. Your job is a one aspect of your income, but you are excited about, and empowered by, other revenue streams that you have created. If you lose your job, you have other things to fall back on, and you wonder “should I look for another job, or should I just hit this other stuff really hard?”

Those two ideas address the money-making side of things.  The other side is what do you do with your money (how do you spend it), and your debt.

  • When you get a bonus, how do you spend (or, invest) it?
  • How is your retirement account?
  • How much credit card debt do you owe?
  • When will your house be paid off?
  • When will you pay off your student loan?
  • When will you be debt-free?

Income security has to do with how you earn money, how you spend money, and as important, how you think about money (ie, is it “evil”?).

I’ve been talking about income security for a long time. I invite you to seriously think about what you can and should do to increase your personal income security. I am… because I want financial peace of mind, for now and for many years to come.

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Five Purposes of Resume

March 31st, 2017

jacqui-barrett-poindexter_headshotJacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Master Resume Writer, wrote a great post titled I disagree with career experts who claim the resume has just one purpose.

I have heard, and have probably written about, the one purpose for a resume: to get you into an interview.  But Jacqui’s post brings up some great points.  She says the five functions of a resume, in addition to getting interviews, are:

  1. Equips interview conversations.
  2. Focuses your career message and saves you time.
  3. Conveys your value to interview committee members.
  4. Supports professional reputation.
  5. Spurs deeper interview conversations.

Check out her post for deeper thoughts on each of those.

One of the most important things to understand about a resume is that the resume writing process is a process of self-discovery, understanding what value you bring to potential companies, framing your value proposition(s) in appropriate and compelling ways, and even gaining self-confidence that is grounded in fact.

If you didn’t get any of that from your resume writing experience, you might want to call a resume professional.

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Friction In Your Job Search

March 30th, 2017

Now don’t get all excited that I’m going to bash the job search process… I know there are plenty of things that stink. Why recruiters don’t get back to you, why a job application page doesn’t keep you updated on your progress, why salary discussions are so confusing and lame, why job seekers feel so disrespected (like 3rd class citizens).

There’s plenty to complain about… indeed, this is friction. But that is not in your control… what is in your control is the friction you produce… the friction you give off.  And that’s what I want to talk about, because it’s keeping you from making progress in your job search.

“Can you help me find a job? I’m open to anything.”  That is too vague… to many unanswered questions, and leaves me to do the heavy lifting. This is friction in your communication, and my (as someone who should help you) experience.

“No one wants to help me.” This was a sad comment I got from someone in one of my presentations a few years back. Her daughter was there, and she said that no one wanted to help her, either. Friends, family, neighbors, etc.  All were leaving these two out to dry. The problem is that it makes me, as someone who should and could help, wonder what’s wrong. Are they bridge burners? Are they offensive? Do they have serious problems that make them repulsive? Even if none of those are true, the simple, sad comment makes me wonder if getting involved with either of these two is going to get me in trouble.

“Will you look at my resume and tell me what you think?” Listen, too many job seekers try this tactic, and I personally find it offensive. Why? Because they don’t care what I think. I’m not their proofreader, they are trying to get me interested in them and get this resume to the right person. There’s nothing wrong with wanting that, but I feel like they are being deceitful… and if they aren’t completely honest with this request, what else will they be deceitful about?  Simply be honest and say either “I’m getting ready to send my resume out, and want to make sure it’s perfect. I know you aren’t a resume writer, but would you mind taking five minutes to look at this to see if you can find any spelling or grammar errors, or anything out of place?”  That is a direct, specific request, and I know what you are after.  But seriously people, if you want more than a spell-check, then ask for what you want, like this: “I’m looking for my next opportunity, and I’d love for you to see if my skills and experience can help at your company, or with anyone you know and can introduce me to.” Ask for what you want, and don’t try to insinuate too much.

The way you dress, the way you look. Always a sensitive subject, I know. Who am I to judge how you look?  But realize that humans are very judgmental. It’s just the way it is. I’m not saying you need to conform… you do what you need to do. But if you go to a networking meeting baring your midriff, I’m going to have a problem with that. I might find you attractive or repulsive, charming or weird, but the bottom line is, if you dress inappropriately for a networking meeting, I question your judgement, and if I hired you, my peers would question my judgement.  I’m not ready to risk my career on your midriff.

Your choice of words and stories. Look, you might like the shock factor. Or you are the “funny guy.” I get that… more than I should. And I might laugh and react the way you want. You tell a joke, and I laugh.  But, what if it is a nervous laugh? What if I’m laughing at you, and how audacious you are, not because of what you thought was clever?  I might think of you as someone fun to hang out with on the weekends, but no way would I risk putting you in front of my customers, or changing the culture I’ve been building.

There are plenty of other things I could list here… hiring managers who have hired a lot have seen it all. The point is, identify what your points of friction are, and how you can reduce that friction.

Look, I know this is hard. You have to be honest with yourself (without beating yourself up, but enough to be ready for change). You have to implement change in your life, and that can take a while. In JibberJobber we are doing this, and it’s been a journey of eleven years.

If this concept struck a chord with you, check out the other times I’ve blogged about friction:

Friction and Communication in the Job Search

Reducing Friction (In Your Job Search, and in JibberJobber)

And this week’s posts about new features, that reduce friction in JibberJobber:

Calendar Widget Update

New Log Entry Entry Form

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New Log Entry Entry Form

March 29th, 2017

No, that’s not a typo… on the Log Entry page, we have a new entry form field.  The goals where, in this order:

  1. Faster. The older form was…. older. It was bigger (in file size) than it needed to be, and technology has advanced to a point where we were able to find an entry form that was, I think, about 75% smaller than the old one. 75% means it loads a lot faster.  Faster was easily 80% of the main reason for updating this.
  2. Less confusing. The old form had two rows of icons, many of which went largely unused, and enough of them were “what??? I have no idea what that does.”  The new widget has only one row, and the icons are the most-used, and you shouldn’t have the “what does that do?” question as much.
  3. Cleaner look. It’s just a lot cleaner… the colors, the icons, the quantity… it’s beautiful. Not hard to improve on the old one, but it’s a nice look.

#2 and #3 are great… but the main, pressing objective was speed.

And this new solution hits on all three.  Faster, less confusing, and cleaner!

jibberjobber_log_entry_form

The opposite of those are slower, confusing, and messy.  You know what that means? A user experience with friction. like I mentioned yesterday, when talking about the calendar update, the goal is to reduce friction. We are on a hunt for friction in your experience. Are you on a hunt for friction in your job search?  More on that tomorrow!

We’ll put this new form in multiple places in JibberJobber, and will roll those out over the next few weeks. Expect more cleanup from us… cleanup that will make a difference for you, and your experience with JibberJobber!

 

 

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Calendar Widget Update

March 28th, 2017

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about fixes we were implementing to make JibberJobber faster and appear more modern.  One of those fixes is now on the live site…. the new calendar widget. It’s simple, as it should be, and it’s faster than the old calendar widget.  If you pop up a calender widget, and it doesn’t look like this (click on the calendar icon (A) and you’ll see the widget (B), let us know so we can update it:

jj-calendar-wdget

This calendar is from the Log Entry view…. now, this seems like a meaningless update, right?  Maybe not that important?

Well, I agree that it is a small update. But the reason it’s updated is not small.

We want JibberJobber to load fast for you.  And shaving everything down that we can will help.  This is one more little thing we are doing to enhance your experience.

I call any problems that users have “friction.”  More on that later, especially how it applies to your job search and marketing.

Find a place with the old calendar?  Let us know so we can swap it out!

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Two Rabbits = Too Many Distractions?

March 27th, 2017

My friend, resume writer Robert Dagnall, has posted this a couple of times recently on Facebook:

confusius_two_rabbits

The first time I saw it I didn’t think anything of it. But then, Friday morning it popped up again and I guess I was feeling a little philosophical.

What if, in a job search, you are chasing two different rabbits?  Well, maybe that’s a bad example. In a job search you are likely working on multiple job opportunities at the same time, and you should be. You can’t go after one for months, and ignore everything else that comes up.

But maybe the job opening isn’t the rabbit… maybe the rabbit is not focusing enough. “What are you looking for?” “Oh, I don’t know, anything really. I can do anything.”

Sounds kind of dumb, doesn’t it?  I hear that all too often. I’m not exaggerating.

But what if it’s true?

It usually is true.  

That is either a symptom of (a) not understanding the importance of focusing, and worrying about missing out on something we haven’t considered.  That is a real fear (Fear Of Missing Out, or FOMO). Or, it’s a symptom of (b) not understanding the incredible (and seemingly unintuitive) power of focusing on a niche.

I was at a business seminar with small business growth coach Mark LeBlanc. I don’t remember his exact words but he said something that was profound.  Something like “pick the line of revenue that it most important (or biggest, or whatever), and FOCUS on that one. Pretty much ignore the others (as far as marketing goes).  The growth you’ll see from your first revenue priority will increase the other revenue lines.”

As a business owner I thought: that is scary. That seems negligent. Irresponsible.

But, as I thought about it, I realized that not putting enough marketing focus in one area really amounted to spreading yourself too thin in all areas.  Giving a half-or-less effort on anything resulted in half-or-less results.  But 100% focus on the right thing helped the right thing grow, and that growth resulted in growth in other areas.

It’s an interesting concept.  It’s scary to think that you will focus on one and pretty much ignore others. The concept, though, is really encapsulated in the Confucius quote above… which rabbit do you chase? Which rabbit do you focus on?

This concept is so important that in 2011 I wrote something very similar: 2011 THEME: The Job Search Rabbit Hole.  Great complementary thoughts to Robert’s idea.

 

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Thea Kelley’s Book on Interviewing: Get That Job!

March 24th, 2017

thea_kelley_get_that_job_guide_to_interviewingThea Kelley sent me her new book, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview. This is an excellent book, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is in a job search. No hesitation.

When I was in my job search I remember “preparing” for an interview like this: Go to google, type in “how to prepare for a job search interview,” and then reading a dozen articles that pretty much said the same thing. I would try to learn a little something from each one, and then hurry off to my interview.

Let me save you time, money, and help you not lose the interview (which could easily cost you thousands, or tens of thousands): BUY THIS BOOK.

Thea talks about everything you need to know to prepare for your interviews.  The best time to read this book is right now… even if you don’t have an interview scheduled.

Why?

Because the best interviewee will have prepared. And Thea walks you through the steps to prepare. Instead of researching online and finding bits and pieces, and spending too much time looking for the right, or even good, advice, just buy this book and go through each page with a highlighter. Have a notepad, or your computer, ready, so you can go through the exercises she presents.

I’ve interviewed enough people to know that there is a huge difference between an interviewee (or what recruiters call, a candidate) who has prepared and one who hasn’t. The difference is almost tangible.

As I was reading the book, of course I thought “this will help anyone who is getting ready for an interview,” but I had another thought: This book provides hope, and gives a vision, to someone who is in a job search. If you aren’t getting interviews you are hopeless (I know this from personal experience).  This book helps you now that when it happens, you’ll be ready!

WHEN IT HAPPENS.

It will happen.  You’ll be ready, with this book.

what where
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