Monday, January 24, 2011


One of the aspects of job search that I occasionally talk about is resilience:  The ability to continue in the face of very significant resistance.  One of our newer members, Curt Jacobson, has struggled with this as well and shared the story of one of the tools he has and is using to deal with it.  Here's Curt's story:

"An open letter to those of us “in transition”:

"One of the challenges those of “in transition” are confronted with is the psychological, emotional impact of being unemployed. In addition to the financial hardship one has to endure, one’s self-esteem is severely challenged during this period. You apply for jobs, many jobs, that you are more than qualified; yet you get no response. As times progresses, the savings and retirement funds that you so diligently built over the years dwindle and the bills continue to grow. You are jeopardizing your future to live in the present. Inevitability you get down and despair settles in your psyche. You are dancing with the demons of despair.

"Society, however, tells us that we are to put on a happy face and to project a positive image. If, and when, you get an interview you have to be positive, up-beat, and show enthusiasm for the company and the position. This is a challenge though, because you know from experience that the competition is keen and you may not get the job. You do not want to get your hopes up too high just to have them thrashed when you do not get the call back. Been there, done that. Too many times.
"So how to get out of this downward cycle of doom? Working out, staying active definitely helps. One thing that I did last year that really helped me was I did my first triathlon. I successfully completed my tri with the assistance, coaching of Team In Training (TNT). Awesome organization with an honorable objective – to help those afflicted with LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma).
"The team I trained with raised over $142K to support LLS. The participants were all shapes and sizes and the age range was from 20 to 65. A friend of mine could not even swim before she started but successfully swam a ½ mile during the tri. It can be done!
"The attached provides details of an invitational meeting that TNT will be hosting. I plan to attend and hope to see others there. Make a difference – help those in need, get in great shape, and defeat the demons of despair.


"Curt Jacobson"

On the email, Curt attached a specific invite, unfortunately, attachments don't work in Blogger, so I can't include that, but you can reach out to Curt through me and he really would love to have you join him, or check here for the Team-in-Training web page to signup on your own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


For all of the cautions I throw out regarding internet use and getting lost in it etc. it brings some amazing resources into our homes/offices. Here are two that are new to me and that I’m really appreciating. I wish I could tell you that my amazing incisive research identified them, but in truth, it is the companies themselves and the people working there that brought these to my attention.

ActiveWords and Gist are a couple of excellent tools. ActiveWords will grow a lot more slowly than Gist, but I’m guessing it will continue to grow for a longer time. What it does is allow for the development of shortcuts. Lots of them. Do you have a blog? Working in Word and want to jump? Type in your shortcut name and – boom, you’re there. What about opening a new Word doc? Same thing. Email? Same. Do you have a bunch of stock language you use? Shortcut! This is a developers fantasy! There are programs that are as much as 50% stock code, well this eliminates the need for even something as uncomplicated as cut and paste. NFJS strongly recommends a custom resume for every opportunity, sure, but with this your template is brought up ready for modification in a few simple strokes on your keyboard. Beyond the product, I have to say the people are exceptional. They tracked me down and have put on a special training for NFJS, simply so they can help! Pretty cool.

Gist is the other part of this: One of the themes in my work with people is “Preparation”. No matter what part of the job search you are in and no matter what kind of job you want, your opportunity for success goes up in direct proportion to the amount of preparation you put in. Gist is an email plug-in and it makes that easier. Actually, quite a bit easier and it provides info that is very difficult to gather in one place. It works with Outlook or Gmail and provides an ongoing updates from a variety of sources as you communicate with you connections. It’s a “dashboard” sort of review. Covers blogs, twitter, facebook, Linkedin as well as several other tools.

The value to a job hunter is substantial. When we network and as we network, we build what can become a fairly substantial group of folks we’re connected to… Heck, if we simply connect to all of our friends it quickly becomes a fairly big number. Before I started Notes From the Job Search, before I joined Linkedin, before I went to my first “networking event, I had over 500 names on my email list! Of course, not all of those people are friends, heck I’ll bet there are 100 that I couldn’t put a face to if my life depended on it, but there are more than 200 who I do think of as friends or at the very least warm acquaintances. Do I know what those folks are doing? Heck no! Have I spoken with them in the last month? 6 months? Year? What Gist does is give a summary of the public profile of the people you are connected to.

So here are two products that are very cool and can have substantial value: ActiveWords and Gist.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Caveat Emptor

Seize the Day. Amazing how important that is and how often we don’t. Fundamentally, job search is about researching the world around us until we find a problem we can help with.  At every step of this process, caveat emptor applies. When we are introduced to someone, do we hide or do we ask them about themselves and their work? When we find that this is someone we could genuinely connect with, do we meet once and then bail? Or do we actively find ways to increase the connection? When a connection offers a new opportunity or an introduction, what do we do? Follow up?

When we hear about an opportunity, do we get intimidated by a title, or dig in to find out if we can actually help?

So Caveat Emptor. Seize the day. If there is an opportunity, follow up, find out. Trust yourself to evaluate honestly whether this is something you can help with.