Tracy Brisson is the founder and CEO of The Opportunities Project, an organization that helps young professionals meet their career goals quickly and confidently. Before launching her own company, Tracy worked in recruitment for more than a decade and her career advice has appeared in the New York Post, The Star Ledger, and on Monster+HotJobs, and The Ladders. Connect with her on twitter at @oppsproject (http://twitter.com/oppsproject).
I recently hired Alisha Miranda (http://flavors.me/alishainthebiz) (@makeshiftalisha) (http://twitter.com/makeshiftalisha) to manage the marketing strategy for my career coaching business, The Opportunities Project (http://opportunitiesproject.com). I met Alisha through Job Hunt Chat. I know many jobseekers participate in Twitter chats not only to get advice, but also to find opportunities. I’d like to share three lessons from my experience hiring Alisha that might help other chat participants meet their job search goals.
1. Lesson One: You never know who will become an employer. I participate in Job Hunt Chat because I want to give back and share my decade of recruitment experience and career coaching knowledge; my days of active candidate searches are behind me. When I first met Alisha in January 2011, I had no idea that my business would grow so quickly and I’d need to hire someone in just two months. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I’d still be around by February first! I connected with Alisha because she was also a self-employed Brooklyn-based woman and I’ve trying to broaden my network of New York City female creatives. After a few tweets, we moved our relationship offline and spent an afternoon in a Prospect Heights coffee shop getting to know each other and co-working on our separate projects. I found out about her marketing work and her unique approach as a side conversation. It was still another 45 days before I knew I had a need for a marketing consultant, but she had unintentionally made an impression on me.
2. Lesson Two: Do good work and share it. Because of my extensive experience in marketing and recruitment, I have high standards. For my marketing consultant, I needed someone who was a good writer, could complement my own expertise, and had a unique and irreverent slant. I started reading Alisha’s blog and tweets closely for about three weeks before I contacted her about the marketing position. I wouldn’t have bothered if she hadn’t been producing excellent work.
3. Lesson Three: Be yourself. Alisha never tried to be anyone but herself since I met her. While it’s true you should customize your job search efforts to specific employers, that advice is often misunderstood by jobseekers. It doesn’t mean that you should try to be someone you’re not just to get a job. As a career coach, I know that never ends well. Even if you get the job, you’ll be unhappy because it wasn’t a good match. When I showed up for our interview at a Starbucks, Alisha was already there. She was working on her hot pink laptop and was wearing funky white sunglasses. While unconventional, it was exactly what I was looking for in a team member for The Opportunities Project. (In my bag, I had my purple MacBook Pro and my own retro white sunglasses that I had just taken off.)
So remember, Job Hunt Chat: If you connect with people sincerely, produce searchable work, and be authentic, you’ll position yourself for career success!