Ask The Headhunter: Two job hunting resources I don’t hate

BY Nick Corcodilos  December 10, 2013 at 11:47 AM EDT

Headhunter Nick Corcodilos isn’t down on all online job-hunting resources. Here are two in particular that will make your job search easier but leave you in the driver’s seat. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Stefan 1981.

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979, and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community over the past decade.

In this special Making Sense edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards, or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


Question: Your columns seem to suggest that there are no career resources that you think are worth using. You criticize the job boards — Monster, CareerBuilder, TheLadders, and more recently LinkedIn — and you poke fun at articles written by HR experts about how to find a job. Is there any career resource online that you LIKE?

Nick Corcodilos: I wish there were more to like about career resources and job hunting services. Sadly, most of it is a racket. Vendors of these services rely on the desperation of job seekers. So do most career columnists and authors. They also know that no one really wants to go find a new job — it’s a painful, distasteful task. The result is services and advice of pitifully poor quality. Much of it is just wrong.

The job board vendors offer what they spin as easy, automated, quick, intelligent database solutions that aren’t any of that. And the writers — usually greenhorn bloggers or journalists or HR people who have no skin in the game — merely rehash the volumes of career tripe that’s been published for decades. (“Your resume is your marketing piece. Look the interviewer in the eye. Ask when you can expect an answer. Don’t mention salary until they do.” It’s pathetic.)

So I pan them all because they’re phony. Database companies like LinkedIn and Monster don’t deliver jobs; they sell lottery tickets. Career writers don’t help you; they merely remind you of all the “steps” that don’t work — and you follow them because, after all, everyone else is doing it.

But there are career tools and experts I like and respect. They’re the ones that don’t suggest they’re going to find you a job. Instead, they help you deal with the challenges you face so that you can use your energy to do the heavy lifting yourself.

In this column, I’ll tell you about the one online career tool you need and the one HR lady you need to listen to. In an upcoming column, I’ll tell you about two jobs services I like — and why they’re not job boards. Here are two job hunting resources I don’t, er, hate.

JibberJobber

You’ve heard of contact management software like Act!, and relationship management software like SalesForce.com, that help track sales contacts. JibberJobber is a simple but elegant online tool that helps you track and manage your job search — for free.

Jason Alba, author of “I’m On LinkedIn — Now What?”, created JibberJobber when he got tired of kludging together spreadsheets to manage his own job search after he got fired. If you’re smart, and you’re really networking to find a job, JibberJobber helps you get the most from new contacts by enabling you to keep track of who you met yesterday and which job you applied for today. Of course, it also lets you upload contacts from your e-mail directory.

If you customize your resumes (and I hope you do), JibberJobber lets you track which documents you sent to which employer and when — and reminds you to follow up. You can have up to 250 companies and 250 contacts in the free version, and unlimited if you upgrade to a premium level.

But what makes JibberJobber a responsible vendor is its downgrade policy. You can cancel premium service easily, without your data getting wiped out.

One thing JibberJobber doesn’t do: appropriate your information. JibberJobber doesn’t play LinkedIn games, like spamming your contacts. I asked Alba for JibberJobber’s actual policy, and his answer reveals why I respect him so much: “We don’t do anything with them, we don’t look at them, analyze them, e-mail them… nothing.” The data you put into JibberJobber is yours alone.

You can customize everything you do in JibberJobber, but the big benefit is that during a busy job search the system keeps details about every encounter organized and at your fingertips. And I mean literally: There’s a mobile version. Worried about security? If you know what “https” is, you’ll love knowing that you can click into a secure version with one click. And if there’s something you can’t figure out, Alba has loaded the site with tutorials and videos that teach you all you need to know.

JibberJobber doesn’t find you a job, but it makes job hunting a heck of a lot more efficient. More important, it helps you get the most from your professional network even when you’re not job hunting. JibberJobber is the most useful, honest, down-to-earth career tool I’ve seen online. Do yourself a favor and try it — it’s free.

The Evil HR Lady

I tell people that 95 percent of HR people and 95 percent of headhunters aren’t worth spit because half don’t know what they’re doing and the balance don’t care. But the last 5 percent are gems, and they know who they are. One you need to know is Suzanne Lucas: a former HR manager who delivers expertise and wisdom as the Evil HR Lady on **Inc. magazine** online and on her own blog.

Unlike other career columnists, Lucas actually talks to her audience and answers real questions with aplomb and wit. You can tell no one gave her a writing assignment — with each posting, she’s running a triage room and dealing with incoming wounded. Some recent favorites:

  • What’s the line between networking and stalking?
  • Am I too young to be hired?
  • What can I do if my boss is incompetent?

Lucas has worked on the inside of corporate HR departments, hiring, firing and messing with legal compliance issues. Her Q&A-style columns have a distinct “survivor” quality and are written for job seekers. (You can tell she used to whisper advice to employees who were fed up with the HR system.)

My own columns are in Q&A style because I’ve learned that the unique story behind any career challenge is the story. Heck — there aren’t really more than about 100 questions you can ask about job hunting, but there are thousands of real-life experiences that drive home the urgency of good advice that can be put to work immediately. Lucas learned the same thing long ago: that this is all about real people — your questions and your unique experiences.

Suzanne Lucas doesn’t mince words, and she doesn’t pretend that corporate HR isn’t a mess. Week after week, her voice is uncompromising and her advice is intelligent and pragmatic. I don’t mess around with the hard-core HR issues she understands so well, and I don’t claim to own the career advice space — but I love sharing it with Lucas. Read her stuff.

So there you have it: Stuff I don’t hate in the career space, and more to come in another column.

Dear readers: What career tools, resources and advice have you found most useful — and which not so useful? Please share your reviews and comments.


Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “How Can I Change Careers?”, “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

Copyright © 2013 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark. This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions