I recently spoke with Rebecca Thorman, who does marketing, pr and social media for successful start-up alice.com. In this interview we discuss the current job market, the myth that there are no jobs and the advantages and disadvantages of working with a start-up.
What are some of the steps Gen Y should be taking right now to find a job in this economy? How can they make themselves more “hireable?”
I think it’s a myth that jobs aren’t available right now.
So job seekers should be thinking about jobs that they can take even if they are out of their typical field. A lot of people I know, for instance, want jobs in marketing. But there are a lot of jobs (like even waitressing, for instance) that allow you to practice your marketing skills. Then it’s just a matter of selling yourself, your skills and your experience (not the past job titles) in your interview.
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How important a role has social networking—particularly your blog–played in your own career and success?
My blog has been critical for my career and helped me get both my previous job and my current position. Blogging is good to help show that you are a continual learner, willing to test your ideas and receive feedback
Social networking helps you connect with people across the country or increase the value of relationships with those in your back yard
For me, the combination of blogging and networking proved invaluable and continues to show dividends for the time I invest.
What is the most important thing a new blogger should remember or consider when starting a blog?
A lot of advice tells you to not worry about your focus right away, things will change, etc. A lot of other advice tells you to have a blog schedule, post every day, have laser sharp focus, etc.
I don’t fall into either camp.
When I started my blog, I had a definite plan and goal, and I recommend doing so especially if you’re starting a blog to help with your career
But I think you also have to allow yourself some breathing room to make sure you don’t get bored and you’re enjoying yourself.
Also, you have to be a good writer. Or be willing to improve. Considering written and verbal communication skills are the most important job skills to have, this should appeal to most people, but not a lot of people are good writers and their blogs fail.
You gave up one job to work with a start-up which is now seeing success. What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking a job w/ a start up rather than a large, established company?
1) Start-ups move quickly and are very adaptable and flexible. The pace is much quicker.
2) Start-ups are nimble enough to try and respond to new ideas, and it’s easier to bounce-back from failure
3) Start-up work is more goal-oriented. You’re working towards a specific event happening (a launch, specific number of customers, the sale of the company), which makes it extremely satisfying work.vs. a large company where the work is more monotonous and repetitive
4) Start-up culture is more open and accepting of different personalities and work styles
5) Start-ups have a certain passion and energy I haven’t experienced anywhere else.
For me, there aren’t many disadvantages, but I think depending on your personality you could view the increased hours, the lifestyle, etc. as a disadvantage. For me, that only adds to the allure.
If you’re not a risk taker for instance, you wouldn’t like working a start-up. That’s not bad either. We need people on all ends of the continuum, and people should embrace their own styles and unique skill sets.
As you say in your blog, you basically left a job to “sell toilet paper” How did you encounter the position? How do you determine its worth the risk?
First, I heard about the position through a friend who is a top blogger. She had been letting me know of a lot of opportunities and when I heard about Alice.com, I was in the middle of negotiating another job. I ended up declining their offer and patiently waiting at my old position until Alice contacted me even though I knew nothing about the company. But I just felt it was “the one” – ha.
I actually don’t have a huge tolerance for risk. I have been approached to work for a number of start-ups before and declined offers because the idea made me nervous.
But with Alice, the co-founder Mark and Brian have successfully sold three companies previous to Alice, the last one being Jellyfish which sold to Microsoft for $50mil.
Rebecca Thorman works at the start-up Alice.com in marketing, PR and social media. On her blog, modite.com, she hosts career and life conversations for a new generation of workers about twice a week.