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Using JibberJobber for Online Networking – Part 1

This is Part 1 in a series of posts on Jason Alba’s Career Toolset, JibberJobber. Check back soon for future posts in this series.

You all know that networking is key to building your law practice, finding your first law firm job, and having a more fruitful career. I won’t belabor those points here. This post, and the entire JibberJobber series, is about using this nifty online tool for managing your networking efforts.

What is it?

Basically, JibberJobber provides the tools you need to manage network contacts, employers, documents, books, articles, and other info that you need to juggle while during a job search or just building your career.

Jibber has two versions. When you signup, you get the free version, plus a 2-week trial of the premium version. Pricing for the premium version is pretty reasonable: $9.95/month, $105/year, $190/2 years.

The coolest thing about the free v. premium versions is that you can change versions at any time. For example, you can have a free account when you have a job and aren’t doing too much networking activity. When it comes time to crank up the network and find a new job, you can upgrade to a premium account for a few months. Then, you can downgrade later. ALL of your premium information is saved, and you can use it any time. For instance, the free version is limited to 75 contacts; but if you enter 200 contacts during your premium trial, you can still search and pull up those 200 contacts when your account goes back to free. Cool, right?

As I mentioned, Jason Alba gave away free 12-month premium memberships to JibberJobber, for people who participated in the Networking Carnival this month. I was a lucky winner, so this series will be from the premium standpoint.

Adding your contacts

Jibber can import your contacts from a CSV file, so I tried that. I exported my contacts from Outlook, and did Jibber’s import. It provides a great interface where you can match columns, select categories, add companies, etc. You can also select which contacts to import and even decide if you would live to invite some of your contacts to join Jibber.

With that said, the importation didn’t go so well for me. Primarily, my Outlook CSV file had the names as “Last, First”, while Jibber has separate fields for first-name and last-name. I had to open my CSV file in Excel and do some hand manipulation to get the import to work right. Maybe this is my incompetence.

Viewing contacts

I’ve got to give kudos where they are due. Jason designed this interface pretty good. Once I got my contacts imported, I spent a few minutes playing with the database. Every time I thought “I wish it could do X,” I found the feature I was wishing for!

For example, you can easily add/remove columns from the contact display grid. You can also define the number of rows to display per page. The best thing about viewing contacts, in my opinion, is the ability to see “tree view.” Basically, you can define “referrers” for your contacts. Then tree view displays how you came to know each person. This is nifty!

Contact logging

Another really neat part of the contact management system is the ability to log information about each contact. You can think of this as a mini-blog for each contact. You simply enter the date and a little text. Thus, you can pull up that log later on and remember your history or a person’s key details.

If you’re forgetful, you can also enter a “reminder” for a contact. Just enter a date, input some text, and Jibber will send you an email two days before the key date. Thus, it’s easy to remember to follow-up with people after a meeting, or you can schedule a “keep in touch” reminder a couple months away.

What next?

Jibber definitely has lots of potential, as evidenced from my first few minutes using it. However, a couple tiny suggestions might be useful.

It would be handy to have a “next/previous” contact feature. Then when you’re editing one contact, you can just click a single button to save changes and go to the next one. This would be awesome if you need to make a lot of changes at once.

Also, a “select all” button might be useful. I found a way to select all 100+ of my contacts, but it required me to set my page view number high enough to see all contacts at once. A “select all” button would be handy if you need to delete all contacts and re-import them.

Whew! I didn’t intend to write so much, but Jibber’s features just keep on pouring out. Stay tuned to Legal Andrew to see what else JibberJobber has to offer.

Do you have any thoughts on using JibberJobber for lawyers and law students? Please post a comment or drop me a line.

[tags]legal andrew, jason alba, jibberjobber[/tags]

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