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Brand Conversation with Jason Alba

by Mohammed on April 6, 2010

Today, I spoke to Jason Alba. Jason is a career management evangelist. After getting laid off in January 2006, having great credentials and in a job-seeker’s market, Jason could hardly get a job interview. He decided to step back and figure out the job search process and understand all of the available resources. Within a few months he designed JibberJobber.com, which helps professionals manage career and job search activities the same way a salesman manages prospects and customer data.

Read Jason’s award-winning blog at JibberJobber.com/blog, his first book, I’m on LinkedIn — Now What??? and latest book is called I’m on Facebook — Now What??? The good news is that Jason recorded a video called Twitter for Job Seekers.

You can connect with Jason via @Twitter @Facebook @LinkedIn

Mohammed: We are seeing a lot of movement between countries/states to land the next job. What should new employees focus to engage fast in company’s culture? And what managers usually look in a new employed?

Jason: I like the idea of getting into a new company and just listening and digesting.  I’ve seen people come in and contribute to early without understanding the culture.  This can lead to saying the wrong things and becoming branded as someone who probably won’t fit in.

I’m not sure what all managers look for, as personalities will have a significant impact, but I looked for someone who was low-maintenance and resourceful.  I was already busy doing my job and didn’t want to have to handhold or babysit for a few months.  I understand that some think that is the job of a manager but the level of professional I hired needed to be, as a professor once said, “high speed, low drag.”

Mohammed: People start to realize that working in passion job are more secure and productive than temporary high paid jobs, for people who set a way from their specialization for 3+ years, how they can present a resume that reflect their main specialization and overcome the gabs that being spent on another major?

Jason: I think the issue you are presenting here is simply how to communicate your transferable skills.  Today’s job search and career world is vastly different than what it was when I first started working.  There used to be a recipe for job security… prescribed things to do or study or know.  Now, with no loyalty from company to employee, and employee to company, and our current economic issues, changing jobs and industries regularly isn’t as bad as it used to be.  Even though we feel horrible when forced into unemployment it’s important to understand the negative stigmas are decreasing as this is becoming the new norm.

Mohammed: If a job seeker approach you today and ask you, which websites you recommend to: search for a job, build an online profile and organize job search activities, what your advice will be?

Jason: Understand that I typically talk to professionals who are interested in a real, strong career… not people who need a job just to pay the bills.  With that in mind, I subscribe to the #1 most common piece of advice to network into your next job.  So the question is, where can you go to network?  You don’t really network on job boards, although you can get some great information about companies to do further research.  Use social sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, even Facebook to do research and network into contacts, as well as share your brand, etc.

Of course I recommend JibberJobber as a tool to organize and manage the relationships you find, whether online or offline.

For portfolios I think it’s critical to be found easily, so have a strong profile on LinkedIn but also consider your own website (perhaps on WordPress.com) or VisualCV.

How can you balance your time to manage all your online activities and authoring a books? To be honest, when I’m working on a book or DVD I tend to neglect a lot of other things, like email.  I feel bad for being out of touch but I can only do so much.  I spend a lot of time at work – usually getting in around 7 and leaving around 6:30, so I put a fair amount of hours in.  But the real key, for me, is that I’m simply HUNGRY.  I’m hungry for success and that drives me to do all the stuff I do.

Brand Word: My bit of advice is to OWN your career.  No one cares about your career more than you do (or, more than you should), so stop relying on other people to manage it.

Spotlight: I recommend reading: Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather E Coleman
Twitter: HeatherEColeman
April 7, 2010 at 3:01 AM

Excellent interview, Mohammed! Jason, I’m spinning this out onto my Career Savvy and other sites for career seekers. Thank you – this falls right in line with what I coach people on, and will be very valuable to my customers and followers!

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2 Luay Rahil
Twitter: luayrahil
April 7, 2010 at 4:49 PM

How can you balance?
I focus on the simplicity rule, Top5.
I focus on five communcation tools at most, and I pay attention to each of them, I dont like to spread myself too thin, I like to focus on relationships and connections not a bigger network.
Finding job:
I still think that company website is the best way to find a job, if you interested to find a job at Microsoft, I will apply at microsoft.com. Socail media is a tool that can inform you about job opening or so, but face to face networking is still needed to order to establish yourself and find a job when possible.
I will like to talk more about that, and I will. A lot of people are pressing me to write a blog, but I’m not ready yet. I have few things in mind that I will share with all of very soon.
I love your blog.

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3 Mohammed Al-Taee April 7, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Finding job:
I still think that company website is the best way to find a job, if you interested to find a job at Microsoft, I will apply at microsoft.com.

Thanks Luay for your insight.

I think networking is the best way to find a job. It is how I got all my jobs.

Its important to have a blog to rank your name in Search Engines and also to direct your clients to a place where they can know more about you. You can write once per week or even every 2 weeks.

I will keep saying that Each Connection is a New Opportunity.

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4 Luay Rahil
Twitter: luayrahil
April 7, 2010 at 8:52 PM

I do not disagree with you, networking is the best way, but it is not possible for a lot of us to know people in the right places.
Networking is the shortest way to get a job, not knowing people, knowing the right people at the right places get you the job. I read the black book of connection for Jeffery Gitmore few years ago, it changed my life, and I would like to sent you a copy of the book, please let me know what is the best way to get you one.
You can always reach me at luayrahil@gmail.com, linkedin, twitter, or any other method.

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5 Mohammed Al-Taee April 7, 2010 at 9:11 PM

But it is not possible for a lot of us to know people in the right places.

You don’t need to know all people, that’s the beauty of Linkedin.com, all you have to do is to ask someone in your network to introduce you to the right person. Now, you need to increase your connections because as you have more connections, your circle will extend to millions and by some how, you can have a link to someone you want to reach.

Thanks for the Book gift, you are too generous :)

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6 Luay Rahil
Twitter: luayrahil
April 7, 2010 at 9:18 PM

I honestly have a very large network, I know a lot of people, and more importantly people know me, I got every job in my life, becuase I knew the right people.
I just do not want people to sit behind their computers and hide their faces behind a screen, you still have to get out there and do the job. Networking is not a mission, it is a process.
I use my speaking engagements to meet new people and get to know them, I got 3 jobs in downturn economy, becuase I still believe in human element of newrotking.

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7 Mohammed Al-Taee April 7, 2010 at 9:22 PM

because I still believe in human element of networking.

Me too :D

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