When I started using JibberJobber, I found one of the most helpful features was the ability to schedule action items. All along I thought that the value of this functionality was simply mechanical, i.e., it helped keep track of actions, put them in one place, and I could write a note to myself regarding the action while it was fresh in my mind.
While these are true, it recently occurred to me that this functionality is beneficial in a much deeper way. Whether intended or not, it improves your ability to stay positive in your job search.
To understand how this is possible, think about how your current process can affect our state of mind…
If you’re spending the majority of your job search networking (which is what you should be doing), you are contacting people (usually people that have jobs) via phone and e-mail. We make the call or send the e-mail, and check them off the list. But we need a way to keep track of these people so we can follow-up if we don’t hear back from them.
There are several ways to do this when using a manual, paper-based process, but the thing that they have in common is that they remind us regularly of all the people who have not responded. That list of people grows, and it becomes personal. The negative self-talk begins – people aren’t calling me back, it must be me, all the while confidence diminishes and it becomes harder and harder to make new calls and do those follow-ups.
So how does JibberJobber help? It helps by giving you the ability to separate the “task” of following-up, from the mental drag of constantly being reminded that people haven’t responded to you.
Here’s the process I follow: I make a phone call or send an e-mail. I go that person’s contact page in JibberJobber and select “Add Log Entry”. I enter a “Title”, and make a note under “Comments”. The comment includes what I did and a note that I need to follow-up. For example, “Sent Tom an e-mail on 6/14. Follow-up if I haven’t heard back.” I check the box “Create Action Item” and select a date from the calendar. The date I choose is a judgment call based on the person and the circumstances, but whether I deem the appropriate follow-up time to be 2 days, a week, or a month, I schedule the action immediately.
I click “Save Log Entry”, and then I do something you might not expect. I FORGET ABOUT IT – COMPLETELY. So in the following days, weeks, or months (before the Action Item shows up on my to-do list), I don’t spend two seconds thinking about Tom or why he hasn’t called, or doubting myself, or looking at a long list of people who haven’t called me back. What I do spend my time on are activities that I can control. I make more calls, I schedule meetings, I get out of the house, I meet with real people.
Now, based on my experience, there is a good chance that Tom won’t respond to me the first time I contact him. I know that and I expect it. (I’ve figured out that the people who have jobs are busy doing them.) That means that the odds are that I won’t hear from Tom and that the Action Item will appear on my to-do list one day. And when that happens, I focus solely on the task at hand – I write a pleasant and professional follow-up on top of my original e-mail and send it off. I don’t bemoan the fact that Tom hasn’t responded, I don’t worry if I’m bothering him, and most of all I don’t talk myself out of doing the follow-up.
Once I send the e-mail, I go back to JibberJobber, log the action and schedule the next follow-up. Done. No thinking, no doubting, just check the box and move on to the next action.
It’s been my experience that some people respond after one request, more people respond after two requests, and the greatest number of people respond after three requests. If you only send out one request, or even if you stop after two, you’re missing out on a lot of networking opportunities.
So the moral of the story is… repeat this process of contacting people, logging the action, scheduling the follow up, and people WILL respond to you. You’ll start setting up those important one-on-one networking meetings, you’ll get names of more people to contact, and you’ll follow the process over and over again. If you are thorough and diligent in your follow-up (a piece of cake if you’re using JibberJobber), within a few weeks you will have lots of people lined up who look forward to meeting with you.
So that’s how JibberJobber helps you stay positive in your job search – by keeping you focused on your actions, the things that you can control, and all the positive outcomes.
I LOVE IT. I love how empowering JibberJobber is for Kathy. I know too many job seekers are really stewing over people not getting back to them… but there are really a ton of reasons why people aren’t getting back to you!
Take Kathy’s approach – don’t stress over it, make it a part of your system, and proactively keep prodding them.
Thank you Kathy!
Kathy Kanterman is an operations management professional in Rhode Island. Her LinkedIn Professional Headline says: Operations Management professional; experienced at solving problems & improving processes in complex environments. Learn more about her here.