A Process Check with Willy and Jason

Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.

Jason and I got together today to record a video to check on how everyone is doing after the first week of Found Your Career.

Watch the video, and then post comments or questions below.

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21 responses to “A Process Check with Willy and Jason”

  1. jmwatts says:

    First thing I can think of, is that things click when multiple pieces fall together. In this case, when Willy started challenging the course-takers to take creative actions, the attitude and frame of mind discussed in the earlier section became important to employ. If you’re going to make a “Quality Event” out of breaking all the rules while applying for a job, it’s going to require an attitude of confidence in the face of potential rejection and a sense of curiosity on how to break the rules, and make that work for you.

    I have to say I’ve been a little unnerved by the small number of comments I’ve been seeing… where is everybody?

    I’m feeling a little outpaced by the course, lessons pop up so quickly, maybe people are getting intimidated and deciding to “let it wait until later?”

  2. Willy Franzen says:

    That’s exactly what we wanted to hear! Every lesson should build on the previous lessons, so even if you haven’t fully grasped the concepts of a particular lesson, it’s ok to move on to the next one. There’s a good chance that we’ll revisit the concept, and it will probably make more sense after you’ve had some time to digest and put it into a new perspective.

    As for where is everybody else? I wish I had the answer. There are a lot of people in this course who haven’t commented at all. Either they’re lagging behind or they’re missing out on one of the key features of taking this course – interactivity. I’ve always found that college aged people don’t like commenting on blogs (except for a very small minority), so if there’s another way that we could do the interactivity thing, we’re open to suggestions, but this makes the most sense for us because it ties the questions and answers to specific lessons.

    As for your feeling outpaced, I think that’s a good thing. Your job search should be a full-time job, and by full-time we mean that it should consume your entire life (not all of it needs to be active job searching though). We realize that you have other things to do during the day, but to cover the material that we want to cover in 21 days, we have to move at a pretty quick pace. Our feeling is that once you start talking about a month or more for a course like this, the time frame gets a bit depressing. None of you still want to be looking for a job a month from now, and enrolling in a 4/6/8 week course doesn’t make sense if you are planning to have a job within a month (remember: Jason says not to set arbitrary timelines).

    The great thing about this curriculum is that although you’re going to be much better prepared to land a job after 3 weeks, the mistakes that you make now are going to provide excellent learning experiences. Don’t worry about holding off until the end of the course, dive in and screw up. What’s the worst that can happen? Rejection. The job search is full of rejection, so the more that you get used to it, the better you’ll do.

    Thanks for the fantastic feedback.

  3. mdabhi says:

    Exactly, what I was thinking, where is everybody? It is a bit un-nerving but I’ll have to keep asking questions as this the only way I seem to learn. As for me I’m struggling trying to keep up with the pace of the course. It reminds me of my university days, at the minute I’ve just about completed the foundation course on attitude!

    Just a thought, I do have an idea for interactivity, what about using msn-messenger for asking questions and getting feedback.

  4. jmwatts says:

    Yes Willy, I totally agree on the time frame having to be short. Even at 21 days I was thinking… dear Lord, in 21 I want to at least be in final interviews for a job. (Of course that is a *want* not the written law of what is going to happen.) Quick is good and we’re getting a lot of content and feedback for our buck.

    As for interactivity, maybe a reason that Gen-Y 18-25 year-olds don’t like to comment on blogs is because the sense of permanence. The same person wouldn’t hesitate to write on a friend’s facebook wall, right? Commenting on a blog might make it feel like whatever you put out there is written in stone. There’s also the sense that someone just wrote something serious, you don’t want to comment unless you want to make a contradiction. Maybe a Q&A board, a bulletin board where users could interact with each other as well as you and Jason and have it feel more their territory would change things a bit?

    I don’t know, I’m personally curious about who else is taking the course? I’ve seen mdabhi and Anna, but that’s it. What are other people’s backgrounds? My interest is both in finding out who else is seeking a job and using this course, as well as seeking assurance as a consumer that I haven’t done something unwise in spending money on this course to be 100% brutally honest. Maybe I’m looking for some security in numbers to reinforce my decision making. This will have to do until you have a superstar athlete sponsor the program to handle buyer’s remorse. (If you think about persuasion theory ;-) )

    I’ve personally had a lot of more specific questions that I’d like to ask, but I don’t know how receptive you and Jason are to fielding them, so I’ve been afraid to ask. They might not have to do with a specific lesson, but they do have to do with job searching. Examples would be: A) I have 2 page resume that covers all work done during (and recently after) college (4 internships, 1 long-term work-study job[3 years], 1 shorter full-time job with a lot of responsibility)… good idea or bad idea? I’ve been told 2 page resumes should be saved for people with 10> years of experience. I’ve also been told it’s a great way to break the mold as a recent grad. Concision is key, but so is experience for the assumed “inexperienced.” Thoughts? Are you two willing to glance at a resume?

    Question B: When you call back someone to follow up on a submitted resume, what can you say other than that you were calling to follow up and asking if they have any questions for you?

    How do you two feel about questions like this?

  5. annie says:

    I’m a few lessons behind, so I haven’t commented recently.

  6. Willy Franzen says:

    @mdhabi – Do your best to keep up, and feel free to keep asking questions. We’re here to answer them.

    @jmwatts – Although social proof may make you feel more confident in your purchase, you should realize that you’re getting way more bang for your buck because Jason and I have a lot of time to devote to you. You’re getting subsidized by everyone else! All of the lurkers who aren’t commenting are missing out on hands on help. Feel free to ask more of us since the others are keeping quiet.

    I’ve looked at the stats, and it seems that a lot of people haven’t made it past the first few lessons yet. We’ve set a pretty rigorous pace, but that’s the point. We’re working on setting up an automatic e-mail that will let each person know what lessons are becoming available to them each day. Maybe that will help.

    As for your questions.

    Question A: Both answers are right. Some will love it, some will hate, most probably won’t care all that much. You might want to err on the side of not offending anyone, but taking risks can bring big rewards. Send me your resume and I’ll take a look.

    Question B: It’s silly to try to force a conversation, but try to think of the type of conversation that could lead to a Quality Event for both of you. Maybe if you use some of your research skills to get some background on the person, you can find a conversation starter.

    Jason’s an expert when it comes to having the right conversation, so I’ll ask him to add something. He coached me before I had a call with the CEO of a major Applicant Tracking System provider about a consulting project, and it really helped me send the conversation in the right direction.

  7. Jason Seiden says:

    OK, crew. Winston Wolfe in the house. Here we go:

    —Speed. Luck doesn’t favor the prepared, it favors the freakin’ fast. As an employer myself, I can tell you that the one thing I don’t want is someone who dawdles and frets over silly things. I want people who show me they can focus, decide, (measure 2x), act, review, adjust. Repeat. Life’s short, let’s MOVE!

    Example (which needs to stay in this house for another 6 weeks or so): I will have another book coming out in the fall. And it’s not because I’m the best writer. It’s because I have enough talent and because I bust my butt. When the publisher said, “Jump,” I delivered a 10 page proposal six hours later that required a total of zero edits. It was waiting for them in the morning when they logged on, with a note promising to have any required changes done that same day. I wanted that deal, and I let them know by dedicating myself to their assignments.

    Want to get on an employer’s radar? Make them chase you. MOVE YOUR ASS.

    —@jmwatts, the second half of your post, where you say, basically, “Hey, how about I post some specific questions and push the envelope here…” is dead-on. The first half, however, is unnecessary. Career tip #1: Never apologize for being direct. Career tip #2: never clarify your honesty. Apologizing for directness signals self-doubt and is the LAST thing you want to convey to a recruiter. (When making a mistake, apologies signal confidence, but that’s a different subject.) Clarifying your honesty can create a question as to whether or not you always maintain the same level of honesty… and I stand corrected: *THAT’S* the last thing you want to convey to a recruiter.

    —Resumes: 1 page is more than enough. Heck, a notecard is enough. Remember, the people reading your resumes weren’t born into their positions. Once upon a time, they held the very job you are applying for, or something very similar. Don’t BS them, they know the score. I don’t have time to do individual resume reviews for everyone in this course, but because you had the stones to ask first, @jmwatts, you win: fire yours over to jason@seidenleadership.com and I’ll redline you into shape.

    —Follow up conversations with recruiters in next comment…

  8. Jason Seiden says:

    What to say when you follow up with someone about a resume you submitted…

    Ok, let’s do this together.

    The first thing we do is imagine who you’re calling. I’m picturing a woman, 28, named… Vera. Vera works in HR and is the gatekeeper who stands between you and a hiring manager who’s name you don’t know. Vera has a cramped cube and spends her day sifting through Monster and Craig’s List responses. She loves the idea of her work, wishes she could help everybody, and is frustrated by (1) the amount of paperwork she has to grind through, (2) the fact that she gets blamed personally for every bad hire, even though she only pre-screens, (3) hiring managers’ disengagement from the hiring process, (4) the lack of respect with which she is treated in the organization, and (5) candidates’ sense of entitlement and lack of appreciation for the fact that even a 2 minute call—multiplied by 100 people—would eat up almost half a day.

    And you want to know what to say to Vera?

    I think we can rule out some things:

    OUT: “Hi, this is Jason, I sent you my resume for…”
    WHY: She’s pulling your resume right now and deleting it. Stated reason: you didn’t follow the explicit/implicit “no call rule.” Real reason: you annoyed her.

    OUT: “Do you have any idea when you might know something…”
    WHY: See above.

    Here’s what to do instead:

    “Hi, Vera, this is Jason Seiden. I’m partly responsible for that overwhelming stack of resumes you’re probably looking at right now, and I’m just trying to make sure that when I get rejected, it’s on the merits and not due to fate.” Honesty + Self-deprecating humor = good combination. You solve her problem of needing to feel connected.

    “Hi, Vera, this is Jason Seiden, and I’m calling to let you know that there’s a typo in the job description you posted. I’m sure you just cut-and-pasted what someone else gave you, and I thought you’d want to know.” Demonstrates attention to detail and initiative.

    Or, if you go direct, do it this way:
    “Hi, Vera, this is Jason Seiden. You think you might have an indication back to us before [pick a date 3 weeks out] on whether or not there will be next steps?” Demonstrates a realistic understanding of her work, implies value by suggesting you think it will take a long time.

    -ALTERNATIVE-

    If you are calling the hiring manager directly, I’d call at either 8am or 6pm. Let’s say the manager’s name is Dana. “Hi, Dana, it’s Jason. I just saw an article that made me think of you—I’m sending over the link. [Do it!] You’ll keep me posted on status?”

    or, my favorite:

    “Dana, it’s Jason Seiden. Just wanted to check in.”

  9. bcline24 says:

    As for me, I’ve I guess been trying to digest everything and trying to catch up. I love everything so far, I think it comes from a completely different approach. You guys have addressed alot of the issues that I have when it comes to a job search. I tend to need to get out of my own way and stop analyzing everything so much. My problem tends to be lack of confidence about what I bring to the table. It’s like I know I can do the job if given the opportunity, but how do I show them that and how do I know that. With each rejection I tend to then doubt myself and its an endless cycle. I love business, psychology, and design and would love to put those three together in my career. But even though I love those things do I necessarily know for sure if I’d be great at them? I know people say if you love something you’ll do well at it, but I guess I just second guess it. Which is probably very readable whenever I’m talking to anyone.

    Overall I’m loving everything. I will start commenting more, I why I haven’t is being worried I’ll sound stupid or something.

  10. hungjon says:

    I haven’t read the entirety of this comment section, so I apologize if there’s redundancy.

    First of all, great job so far and Im glad we started the course with the intangible factors of the job search which are fundamental to our task. I think the pacing has been a bit fast for me; I’m a person who applies the lessons, before moving on, to really get them internalized. I have to admit I’ve cheated by not putting a halt to my job search, and perhaps others are behind, too, as they may have been applying to jobs with a new mindset as well.

    I think the attitude section clicked right away. I began to see my neighborhood and the physical environment around me as a wealth of potential information, complete with compelling businesses and networking opportunities, I began to really get excited about the job search. It’s as if I’m seeing the world through new and optimistic eyes. My attitude has also shifted in seeing how all the little things (day to day Quality Events) do add up to big goals. One of my aspirations has been to design a product or service that one million people use. From this course, I’m realizing that the accomplishment of creating something that 10 people use or 100 people is just as important.

    One concern that’s been popping up is with how our friend network has been described as without worth. In a previous lesson, Jason says “No matter how hard you’re working, no matter if you’ve known these people since you were in diapers, you’ll be held back by a support network that’s no good.” It’s also been said that because we are jobless, the friends have not been doing what they need to.

    In the first video, the homework question was something to the effect of “what would you like to take control of”, and my response at that time was my relationships with others, to make them more creative and productive. I think the fact that we have not found a job speaks more of ourselves than our friends. If our relationships are really toxic or unproductive, I think it is up to us to take up the task of helping repair them, and not abandon them. If we are to see everything as a source of potential in our job search, our close relationships are good places to start. They are the most likely people to help us, and give us some of the best feedback we can receive. That core network of people that know you well is important as a reflection of your success, and as a sounding board for your personal brand, regardless of whether they’re giving you phone numbers or emails.

    I’ve got a bunch more questions, and I’m glad you guys are putting personal attention in reading and respond to the comments. I will have to get more comments posted but not while i’m busy playing catchup~!

    • Jason Seiden says:

      @hungjon Excellent points… and a few replies:

      1. Yes, the pacing is intense. There is a reason for that: *your* pacing should be intense. Personally, I’d rather see you plow through and then double back then to slowly—absorbing a bit more through each iteration—than try to absorb each lesson fully the first time through. Obviously, if you want to absorb the lessons more slowly, you can do so by taking more time with each one… but by pacing this way, we allow everyone to dial the speed up or down to the level they’re most comfortable with. (Did I mention I recommend “fast?”)

      2. Networks—Your observation is astute, emotionally mature, and correct: you can only change yourself, so if you want your network working for you in a different way, you should present yourself differently. Yes.

      And, change requires both parties to buy into it: you need to change, and the network also needs to accept the new you. For 1st time job seekers, it can be a tough to ask your college friends to stop seeing you as the “keg stand guy,” no matter how much you start taking life seriously. It can also be tough to get a boss to stop seeing you as the green noob you were the day you got hired. (I had a former boss reach out to me when he heard I was consulting… He offered me a jr. level position ($50k) when at the time, I was already developing business to the tune of $250k/yr.) My point is, recognize when the disconnect is on the other side, and be prepared to walk away when necessary.

  11. annamonster says:

    I’m a little behind as well, as I started late. I agree that it is a lot of information, and feel a little better that we should not be totally comprehending everything before moving on.

    Jason, thanks for the great information in the comments! This course is all about tough love. No matter how much temptation there is to think my lack of a job is someone else’s fault I know it is not true.

    I admit that I would be scared to call up a hiring manager or director and speak with so much confidence like Jason wrote about. I need to get over that. They are people too, and hopefully they are passionate about what they do and where they work. I need to get around the “I’m applying for a position” mindset and figure out how to connect with them on a personal level. I need to show them how I already fit in with their organization because I get what they do and what they need.

    I think commenting on the sections is like speaking up in class. It’s really easy not to, but the commentor gets so much helpful feedback for taking a risk, and I definately don’t have buyer’s remorse. I know that in a few years, a similar course with Willy and Jason will be way more expensive, and they probably wouldn’t have time to give me personal feedback, so I feel privledged.

    Thanks for putting this course together! It’s a real eye-opener!

    Also, Bcline24: have you thought about package design? I think this would combine you interests.

    I definately don’t ha

  12. rcasaquite says:

    Jason, loved the Winston Wolfe reference. Immediately I was reminded of his line to Vincent: “If I’m curt with you it’s because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please… with sugar on top. Clean the f-ing car. ” Fits perfectly with your message about speed.

    The course started clicking right away. The job search process is a very humbling thing and hearing the message about attitude right off the bat hit home. While the pace is fast, I think the order of lessons helps to make sense of it all. Realizing (missed) opportunities for Quality Events, understanding the Feedback, and having Clarifying Events to help us have more QE’s becomes abundantly clear after reviewing the coursework. Understanding these lessons helps to get creative with the actual job search itself.

    I really dig the personal examples and metaphors provided. Hearing how Jason would speak to a hiring manager is incredibly insightful. “I know I can do the job… There’s going to be surprises, these are the surprises I anticipate and this is how I think I’ll handle them. What do you think?” If I had read this I might call BS, but seeing Jason say it convincingly with ease made me a believer. Reading Willy say that “desperate people don’t get jobs… they don’t get dates either” is hilarious but also illustrates the point to great effect. Good stuff and I look forward to more of it.

    I agree with jmwatts suggestion of a message board for more interactivity among the course’s students and instructors. It would provide another place for feedback and hopefully spark more online participation. It could also serve as a place for students to share their progress using the coursework in their job search.

    I also think it would be beneficial to add a Review at the end of each Foundation to help tie everything together. I know we should be going back through the courses and our homework to review, but having an additional Review section to make sure we “get it” would be helpful.

    And where are all the comments? No comments in almost 2 months!

  13. Roxy says:

    The fast pace is good. Don’t slow down. I’m taking the approach of if I’m not getting everything each day, I loop back. Maybe some parts of the job search process are not linear – you have to cycle through all these foundations for each job you apply to, you know?

  14. Leslie L. says:

    These comments seem to be posted a year ago. Do you still read the comments and try to respond to them? If so I will leave comments as my lessons continue.

    Anyway, I appreciate your work! Though I’ve paid for it, I realize that this whole thing is much more worthy than the same dollars I spend on some of my textbooks.

    Please correct my English if I made any mistakes. English is a foreign language for me and I always would like to improve! Thank you!

  15. Benjamin says:

    I would like to post a big THANK YOU for a great first week. It’s been very motivational and I’m much more at ease about my future. When one puts the emotional labor into every facet of your life that matters, amazing results occur. Looking forward to the next 2 weeks, and looking forward to putting this great idea (which I discovered during week 1) into motion. Thanks again.

  16. ebilly says:

    After reading/watching this yesterday, I’ve come to realize how passive it was of me not to leave comments. I’ve been doing the homework, but not posting it is really skipping the hardest part. Putting yourself out there is difficult, but thats what the job search is. The resume itself, as a summary of a persons value…

    So I decided, once again, to take a more active role in my job search. I went back, re-watching and leaving comments this time.

    I want to say that so far, this course has really helped me. Most of the advice is really applicable to life in general, not just the job search. I appreciate how direct it is. And realistic.

    I really liked the idea that goals need to be realistic, challenging and provide the opportunity for feedback.

    I’ve been telling everyone I speak to about this course. I went on an interview today for an internship (I applied months ago). And although I was nervous, especially since I hadn’t finished the course yet, I knew that I had already learned so much. And it went really well and I got the internship! I’m not sure I would have gotten it without the section on being mentally prepared. Next step is finding a paying job though.

    So, thanks for everything so far and I will be commenting in the future.

  17. mdabhi says:

    I’ve found that during the “recession” a lot of companies just want to use temporary workers to fill a post from anywhere between a week to 3 months. And after that it’s time to say Goodbye. Well this just happened to me recently, after this I had find a job in dreaded retail, and so I am working as a cashier for a supermarket even though it’s part-time I’m glad I have a job to go to….

    Regardless one has realized that a career in retail is not for me. What are your thoughts on this?

  18. baseball11qwa says:

    First I would like to say that this program is awesome. I really appreciate this. I would have to agree with jmwatts that the lessons can be a little daunting sometimes. I am actually two days behind right now due to family visiting, and work, and moving. (But hey that’s life, no excuses). I am sure it’s highly unrecommended to take on 4-6 lessons in a day, however, that is what I had to do. I think I am probably going to go back over the lessons that I had to combine once the entire program is complete to get a better grasp on them. Does this sound like a good strategy?

    • Willy Franzen says:

      Definitely. Some people knock off a bunch of lessons in one day. Some spread it over more than 21 days. We think that it’s optimal to do two lessons every day for 21 days, but sometimes life won’t allow it. Going back to lessons is highly recommended. There are students who go through the course and keep coming back months or even years later.

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