Over the last 7 years, my career has gone through several ups and downs. Each time I have learned from the experience and come away stronger than before.
On November 6th 2008, due to the economic recession in the U.S., I found myself jobless. The banking industry was hit hard – really hard – and the severity of the situation began to dawn on me.
With a then 8-month pregnant wife, I didn’t have the time or financial resources to take my time and think through what’s next. While I knew I had the mindset, skills and experience to carry me through, nobody was hiring in the banking industry and I wasn’t quite sure how to go about my next move.
Back then, I wasn’t able to pick up my phone and send out a tweet to my 31k followers asking them for help… I wish I could have done that, but I wasn’t even on social media at the time.
Fast forward to January 5th 2015, and there I was again, staring down the reality of another job loss. However, this time it was different.
Faced with the realities of another job search, I found myself feeling confident that a new, exciting opportunity would be just around the corner.
And I’m so grateful to announce that it’s already here.
So what changed? How does one go from being completely off the social media map to essentially giving these platforms all the credit in the world for being where I am today?
The same day I lost my job back in 2008 is the same day I joined LinkedIn. Over the next 3 years, I leveraged LinkedIn to develop my personal brand and build a social network. I started a business during this time and created a brand identity centered on connecting professionals with jobs. Thanks to skills and strategies I fine-tuned while listening and engaging on social media, through my own company, I was hired to build an online presence for a 600+ unit retail/grocery chain. Since then, I’ve led social media efforts for 3 different brands, including my most recent position as a Head of Digital. None of this would have ever been possible had it not been for losing my job at the time in which I did in 2008 and the result of tirelessly building a social network.
When I got the news about my job loss just over 2 months ago, I knew exactly who to speak with, what to do and where to turn this time around. I sent an e-mail to my first degree LinkedIn connections resulting in an overwhelming response: a combination of emails, phone calls, text messages, and social media notifications of others wanting to help put me in direct contact with job opportunities. In all honesty, asking for help was a natural process.
I am socially active, connecting both online and off whenever possible. During my recent unemployment, I’ve attend conferences – spoken at conferences too – and have used every in-person event as an opportunity to network with influencers and potential decision makers at companies, big or small. I became involved in publishing content through LinkedIn publisher in an effort to position myself as a knowledgeable social media professional who is genuinely interested in helping others. I successfully gained exposure by writing and blogging extensively, and also leveraging YouTube to create daily videos around my job search and personal branding efforts.
Because of my unemployment, I was forced to speak to everyone that came in my path. From Uber drivers to Twitter followers. I became humble, I valued relationships, but above all else, I valued people. When you hit the bottom, it’s a humbling experience. I now appreciate the importance of being a contributing member of a social community and a positive influence for others at every turn.
See, your social network is like a piggy bank: you will deposit a lot of pennies and nickels into it (those are the connections and value that you bring to them) in exchange for the opportunity to “cash out” when you are at your most desperate.
Since the beginning of 2015, I have interviewed for at least two-dozen jobs. It may have been more, but it has been too many to count. I’m not going to lie, the process is frustrating. At first, recruiters would be excited to talk to me, then when the subject of pay would come up after being on the phone for an hour we would agree to part ways because it wasn’t a mutual fit. Or, I would interview by phone and then never hear a word back.
This is enough to discourage anyone from continuing to apply and seek out a fresh start. But with my incredibly strong social community behind me, I discovered that patience was indeed a virtue.
To me, saying that everything in life happens for a reason isn’t a cliché: it’s the truth. My story is proof of that. Sometimes it’s not as obvious or easy to point a finger and say “yes, that’s exactly why this occurred,” but if you’ve developed a strategy, executed it properly while remaining authentically social, and try to provide value for others at every turn… your next opportunity won’t be far behind either.
After much anticipation, and build up, I’m honored to announce that I have accepted a role with LinkedIn as a Sr. Social Marketing Manager for the Sales Solutions group and will be relocating to San Francisco immediately.
Ironically, back in January I was in San Francisco to interview with a prospective employer when a chance encounter led me to meet a LinkedIn recruiter during an Uber carpool ride (click here to watch). From there, we exchanged names, connected on LinkedIn, and my inquisition into career opportunities at LinkedIn led me to my new role.
LinkedIn, the brand, means much more to me than just a job. This company, is everything to me. Without it, I don’t know where I would be today. It’s been 7 years in the making; this is the opportunity that I’ve been working towards.
Above all, I want to say: “Thank you, Mom. I’m glad that I took your advice on that November day in 2008”.