A Jargon-Free Interview: Jenny Foss of Job Jenny

by Marian Schembari on April 4, 2011


Do I have a treat for you today! One of my favorite people, Jenny Foss, has an ebook that’s launching TODAY and not only do I want to pimp it for all it’s worth, but Jenny has been HUGELY helpful in my own career and I know from experience that her tips work wonders.

So check out this next installment of the jargon-free interview, ask any questions in the comments section and be sure to check out Jenny’s new book, To Whom It May Concern (Or, How to Stop Sucking at Your Job Search) right this second.

How did you get into blogging? What prompted Job Jenny and your new ebook?

As a recruiter, so many people come to me with the same challenges, fears and questions about their job search. The economic downturn whomped on a lot of people, and they were suddenly forced to look for new jobs. Unfortunately, a lot of tried to use old method. They logged onto Monster.com and applied for a dozen jobs, sent resumes to blind HR mailboxes or called some recruiter they knew with hopes he or she would ‘get on the case, stat.’

And they got frustrated and scared when these methods didn’t work, and called me.

I knew I couldn’t spend hours each day counseling, but I WANTED to. And that’s when I had the big “a-ha!” moment now called JobJenny.com. I wanted to create a resource for all frustrated and confused job seekers; one that delivers great advice without all the pompous, know-it-all pretense I see on so many “career coach” websites.

The ebook is a natural offspring, taking people step-by-step through the process of calming the heck down, screwing their heads back on, and helping them craft and execute a job search that will actually work.

How did you start growing the blog?

Every which way! I followed along with career experts, recruiters and HR people on Twitter; started engaging more on LinkedIn, launched a Facebook fan page, told all my friends and professional contacts, commented on other blogs. I worked as many channels as I could think of to get people coming over.

In July 2010 I launched the Ridiculously Awesome Resume service, which has been a huge factor in the blog’s growth. Very fortunately, I’ve received a lot of referral business and new followers through people for whom I’ve created resumes and cover letters.

What’s been the biggest hurdle?

The unknown. I made a deliberate choice to take time away from my recruiting agency (where I knew I could make money) and bust my buns on the blog and resume service. Until recently, the site wasn’t generating true revenue, so the hurdle was really fear. I’m piling tons of time, sweat and energy into an online endeavor – and simultaneously not piling tons of time into my “day job” – with no certainty on whether it would fly. I’m extremely fortunate that, a little over a year later, it is starting to fly.

Rapid-fire Qs:

Favorite social media network and why?

Twitter. It completely levels the playing field.

For job seekers, 150% LinkedIn. If you know little about social media and are scared about diving in, ABSOLUTELY learn everything you can about LinkedIn. It’s a gold mine. Google the term “LinkedIn for Job Search” and see all the ways in which you can use it (or, duh, buy the ebook!)

Any cool things that have cropped up because of social media?

Oh gosh, I have examples of “social media gain” almost every week.

This week I used social media to land an interview with a newspaper here in Portland, and got on Oregon Public Broadcasting this morning. Alexis Grant of US News & World Report was on talking about job search (saw it on Twitter), and they took me as a call in.

I’ve also landed guest spots and interviews with many bloggers… YOU, Ash Ambirge (TheMiddleFingerProject.org), Matt Chevy (LifeWithoutPants.com), Emma Chase (JaneHasAJob.com) and I’ve got one coming up with Jenny Blake (LifeAfterCollege.org).

A couple months ago, I posted an alert about an open position with one of my clients on LinkedIn. Within five minutes a long-time contact of mine emailed suggesting a candidate. That candidate ultimately landed the job, translating into a $16,000 commission for my firm.

The power of social media truly stuns me. I work hard to help job seekers understand this power, because they can use it to their advantage.

Best Twitter tip:

For job seekers, follow those tweeting for companies where you want to work. A lot of larger companies have specific Twitter addresses for jobs, and you can get up-to-the-minute alerts when positions open up. Many HR departments also tweet. A lot of cities, regions, and specific industries have Twitter job boards and it’s a no-brainer to follow these.

Most people fail to realize corporations spend hundreds of dollars to advertise one open job on boards like Monster, yet they pay nothing to tweet or pop them on LinkedIn. So where do you think more and more jobs are being advertised? Yup, that’d be social media.

Best Facebook tip:

Use status updates to keep your following up-to-date on your job search. These are the people who will have your back. If they know you’re looking, you never know when they might have a connection or open position for which you’ll be a fit. But if you never tell them, you lose.

Best blogging tip:

Have one. Use your blog to establish and promote your personal brand. Blog about your industry, post your resume, portfolio, design samples, whatever. It’s a great place to send potential employers so they can learn more about you and your magnificence, all in one place.

How do you learn about social media/keep up to date?

I follow along with a handful of social media experts who I admire and continually learn from. It’s daunting… there is always SO MUCH to learn!

Worst part about blogging?

For those who intend to earn an income from blogging, you truly have to be all in. Sometimes I’d really just rather be painting my toenails and reading People.

Favorite part about blogging?

You meet the most interesting people from all over the world. I love this, and I love that I can help them. When I get an email from someone who’s used my services, or been a loyal blog follower and they say, “I just got my dream job!” I know I’ve landed the jackpot with my own job.

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  • http://alexisgrant.com Alexis Grant

    Great interview. Was surprised to read through this in my RSS feed and see my name! Thanks for the shout-out.

    • http://www.jobjenny.com/ Jenny Foss

      I totally hijacked my way onto the OPB interview at the end there, but I couldn’t sit idly by listening to the in-studio guests with their job search frustrations! I felt compelled to give you backup… too bad it was the end of the show! Thanks for the note!

  • http://www.jargonwriter.com Melissa Breau

    Interesting stuff. I love this series Marian, because you keep introducing me to bloggers who are truly doing interesting things. Not only do they have cool tips, but they are so interesting within their topics of expertise that I almost always want to go check out their sites and follow their feeds (still totally crushing on YHL since you featured them!).

    Now I’m off to go stalk Jenny… i mean follow her, of course.

    • http://www.jobjenny.com/ Jenny Foss

      :) Stalk away, Melissa. Stalk away. (And thanks!) Cheers, Jenny

      • http://www.jargonwriter.com Melissa Breau

        @Jenny – Would love to connect with you about Moxy Magazine …. can I shoot you an email? (sorry for taking up your comments Marian!)

        • http://www.jobjenny.com/ Jenny Foss

          I actually think we should conduct the entire interview on Marian’s blog. ;) emailing you now. Thanks for the interest!

  • http://twitter.com/leslieajoy/status/54892584706904064 Leslie A. Joy

    RT @marianschembari: A Jargon-Free Interview: Jenny Foss of Job Jenny http://bit.ly/hSOVc1 < Reading now.

  • http://twitter.com/emmacunningham/status/54926208114245632 Emma Cunningham

    Looking for a new job? @JobJenny guest blogs for @MarianSchembari about how to make social media work for you. http://ow.ly/4sAj5

  • http://twitter.com/piratecakes/status/54929923651018752 Olga Kwak

    .@daenlai This post by @MarianSchembari introducing @JobJenny has good pointers on how to job search w social media. http://bit.ly/fCsPGC

  • http://twitter.com/marianschembari/status/55017672601116672 Marian Schembari

    A Jargon-Free Interview: Jenny Foss of Job Jenny http://bit.ly/hSOVc1

  • http://twitter.com/findyour1stjob/status/55236203213103104 Priority Candidates

    nice interview from @MarianSchembari with @jobjenny on #jobsearch, social media etc http://ow.ly/4to0v

  • Pingback: 2 Books You Need to Buy Right Now — Marian Schembari

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