The JIST Card: A Mini-Resume and a Powerful Job Search Tool
JIST Cards are a job search tool that gets results. I developed JIST Cards many years ago, almost by accident, as a tool to help job seekers. I was surprised by the positive employer reaction they received back then, so I developed them further. Over the years, I have seen them in every imaginable format, and forms of JIST Cards are now being used on the Internet, in personal video interviews, and in other electronic media.
How Did JIST Cards Get Their Name?
In case you were wondering, the word JIST is an acronym originally created for a self-directed job search program I developed years ago. It stands for "Job Information & Seeking Training." The word JIST was later trademarked and has been used for many years now In various forms (Including JIST Publishing) to identify self-directed job search, career, and other materials.
Think of a JIST Card as a very small resume. A JIST Card is carefully constructed to contain all the essential information most employers want to know in a very short format. It typically uses a 3-x-5inch card format, but it has been designed into many other sizes and formats, such as a folded business card or part of an e-mail message.
Your JIST Cards can be as simple as handwritten or created with graphics and on special papers or electronic formats. You should create a JIST Card in addition to a resume because a JIST Card is used in a different way.
What matters is what JIST Cards accomplishthey get results. In my surveys of employers, more than 90 percent of JIST Cards form a positive impression of the writer within 30 seconds. More amazing is that about 80 percent of employers say they would be willing to interview the person behind the JIST Card, even if they did not have a job opening now. I know of no other job search technique that has this effect.
Writing Your JIST Card
A JIST Card is small, so it can't contain many details. It should list only the information that is most important to employers. To write your card, follow these steps:
1. Type your name at the top of the card. You can center it and use bold text to make it stand out, as you would on a resume.
2. Give two ways for the employer to contact you. Space down a few lines and left-align this information. Generally, all you will need to include is your daytime phone number or cell phone number and your e-mail address.
3. Give a broad job objective. Space down another line or two and left-align this information. A broad objective will allow you to be considered for many jobs.
4. List your years of experience. Space down again and add one sentence that summarizes how long you have been working in this field.
5. Detail your education and training. In the same paragraph, add a sentence that tells what degrees, certifications, diplomas, and other relevant training you have.
6. Showcase your job-related skills. Still in the same paragraph, add up to four sentences that tell what you can do and how well you can do it. Be sure to include accomplishments and numbers to support them. (See chapter 2 for more on identifying these skills.)
7. State your availability and preferred working arrangements. If
applicable, space down and add a sentence that states any special availability you might have, such as "interested in part-time work," or "available with two weeks' notice."
8. End with your key adaptive skills.
Space down a few more lines and add one last sentence that tells what personality traits you have that make you a good employee. (See chapter 2 for more on identifying these skills.)
Tip: JIST Cards are harder to write than they look, so carefully review the examples at the end of this section and use the content of your resume as a starting point for content.
Using JIST Cards
You can use a JIST Card in many ways, including the following:
Attach one to your resume or application.
Enclose one in a thank-you note.
Give them to your friends, relatives, and other contacts so that they can give them to other people.
Send them out to everyone who graduated from your school or who is a member of your professional association.
Put them on car windshields.
Post them on the supermarket bulletin board.
Send them in electronic form as an e-mail.
I'm not kidding about finding JIST Cards on windshields or bulletin boards. I've seen them used in these ways and hear about more ways people are using them all the time.
Formatting JIST Cards
JIST Cards are most often used in paper formats. Many office-supply stores have perforated light card stock sheets that you can run through your computer printer. These tear apart into 3-x-5inch cards. Many word-processing programs have templates that allow you to format a 3-x-5inch card size. You can also use regular size paper, print several cards on a sheet, and cut it to the size you need. Print shops can also photocopy or print them in the size you need. Get a few hundred at a time. They are cheap, and the objective is to get lots of them in circulation.
The following sample JIST Cards use a plain format, but you can make them as fancy as you want. Look over the examples to see how they are constructed. The content of the samples, and of your own JIST Card, can be adapted for use as e-mail attachments, as part of an online or other portfolio, and other formats. So be creative and adapt the idea to best fit your own situation.
Tip: Once you have your own JIST Card, put hundreds of them in circulation. JIST Cards work, but only if they get to the people in your network.