Amybeth Quinn

Professional Purple Squirrel Hunter

Posts Tagged ‘career path’

Properly Equipping a Future Generation of Excellent Sourcers

I don’t know a single person whose goal upon graduating either from high school or college was to become a recruiter or a sourcer. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t a single college that has a degree program dedicated to the art and/or science of recruiting (and no, Human Resources does NOT count, in my opinion). Yet the demand is on the rise to find people who can identify, engage, and bring great talent into an organization. I live in Seattle, and by conducting a very quick search, I can see that there are over 2,000 either sourcing or recruiting-focused roles just in this geographic area right now. Recruiters and sourcers are in high demand, which should be a good thing from a career development perspective… Read the rest of this entry »

Sourcing is the New Recruiting

Over time, our roles evolve and change to fit with the present needs of the companies for which we work. The saying goes, “If you’re not green and growing, then you’re red and rotting.” Keeping up with the constant changes that come with work functions is important to ensure your marketability. It’s important to understand what these roles really look like today, and figure out where your best fit is going to be. Especially if you’re calling yourself a Sourcer these days. Read the rest of this entry »

There’s No One “Right” Way to Source, and Learning is the Key to Finding Yours

I started my career in the world of recruiting as an Internet Researcher over ten years ago, and while my work has evolved over the years to include a lot of different things, it has almost always involved candidate generation, which is something I absolutely love to do. While being the Editor of SourceCon from 2010-2012 was an amazing experience and afforded me the opportunity to have intimate conversations with some of the best sourcers and sourcing leaders in the world, it was the first time in my career where I was not sourcing for candidates. I felt like I was losing my ‘street cred’ and I craved getting my hands dirty again.

That’s why when an opportunity to work with the Windows Phone team at Microsoft presented itself to me earlier this spring, I took it. Oh how I missed sourcing! Having been back “in the trenches” of sourcing now for about six months, I feel like I’ve had the chance to really digest the culture here at Microsoft – the processes; the teams; the ‘way we do things.’ And I’ve come to the realization that there is absolutely no one way to source.

A big “DUH!” moment for most, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Pay It Forward 2010 Profile: DJ Waldow

These spotlights are opportunities for you to get to know some individuals who were recommended to me for the article I wrote for Mashable, 4 Essential Traits for Social Media Success in Your Career. The purpose of my project, detailed here, is to profile some social media professionals to keep an eye on in the coming year.

Spotlight: DJ Waldow
Title: Director of Community
Employer: Blue Sky Factory
Who paid it forward: Amber Naslund

What Amber had to say about DJ: “DJ has an email background, but he’s fully grasping the potential and power of social media, and I already know he’s making a difference to his community.”

DJ graduated with a BBA from University of Michigan in 1998. Upon graduation, he worked as a business analyst for two years in Chicago and Kansas City. He then decided to pursue a  Master of Education degree because he wanted to be a teacher. Upon earning that degree, he taught junior high American history for two years. Ready to get back into business world, he went back to North Carolina to work in business for another four years. A year ago, DJ earned  his MBA from UNC Chapel Hill. Last summer, he became the Director of Community for Blue Sky Factory, a company that provides email marketing products and services. His role was actually written based on Amber’s job description – he manages the social media presence for the company, including writing and managing the company blog, The Thinking Inbox. DJ says that if he’s doing his job right, you’ll associate his name and his face with Blue Sky Factory and email marketing. Additionally, he writes a monthly article for MarketingProfs, a monthly column for the Email Insider, and blogs for himself at Social Butterfly Guy. Read the rest of this entry »

New "Media" for the Research Goddess: I'm Joining ERE!

Over the past eight years, I’ve gone from working with search and placement firms to working with corporate recruitment organizations, conducting research for high tech industries, financial services, construction, PR & marketing, and telecommunications among others. I’ve blogged, tweeted, Facebooked, LinkedIn, and shot video in hopes of sharing knowledge with all of the wonderfully interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting throughout my career. My Research Goddess blog grew wings and took off, and helped me establish a well-known and well-respected online presence. Each chapter of my professional career has ended with a paragraph leading seamlessly into the next chapter. And the end of this chapter is certainly no exception…

Next week, I will be joining ERE Media, Inc. as the Editor for The Fordyce Letter as well as The Source Newsletter. I will also be helping out with organizing the Fordyce Forum and SourceCon conferences. I’ve had a long-standing relationship with the founders of SourceCon, serving as the editor for the newsletter since 2007 after the first conference was put on. When ERE Media purchased SourceCon last year, I continued in this role on a voluntary basis, and when the opportunity came recently to join ERE as an employee and also take on The Fordyce Letter, I couldn’t say no! I’m super excited about this opportunity – not only will I get to continue working with SourceCon, but I will also get to return to my roots by working closely once again with recruitment search firms and helping bring relevant news and information to both worlds.

As the daughter of an English teacher and a card-carrying member of the Grammar Police, being an editor is a natural fit for me. This new chapter is an ideal next step for my career – I have the opportunity to be a change agent in sourcing and a part of the grand tradition of The Fordyce Letter. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, The Fordyce Letter has been the gold standard for search and placement firms for the last four decades. It was purchased by Paul Hawkinson in 1980, and a few years ago ERE acquired it from Hawkinson. The newsletter has always delivered high quality articles from some of the most successful search professionals in the industry, and I intend to see this continue.

I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed my time with AT&T – I have learned and grown so much professionally over the last year and I am grateful for all of the wonderful relationships I have been privileged to build while there. My experience with AT&T I really believe will help me be successful in my new role. I will miss my AT&T colleagues, but as I’ve said before, changing companies doesn’t mean friendships end! I plan to keep in touch with everyone there and hope to see many of you around the conference circuit.

My first duty with ERE will be attending the Fordyce Forum next week in Las Vegas. I am looking forward to reconnecting with those of you who will be there.

Focus and Determination In Your Job Search – An Interview With Steve Mesler, Olympic Gold Medalist

In February, I enjoyed watching the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and was surprised and pleased to see a fellow alum from the University of Florida, Steve Mesler, competing in the 4-man bobsleigh team. Even cooler is that I discovered we had actually graduated from the same program, Exercise and Sports Science, and in the same year (2000). It was awesome to watch Steve and his teammates go on to win a gold medal in the bobsleigh event, and I went to Steve’s website to read up on how he became involved with bobsledding. What I read was so interesting, and so applicable to what a lot of you who are getting ready to graduate from college and start a new chapter in your lives are preparing for. I saw many actions that Steve took to realize his Olympic dream that would also work for a student preparing to start his or her career following graduation.

I took a shot at reaching out to Steve to see if he would talk with me a little about how he got to the Olympics, and I was pleasantly surprised at his rapid response and enthusiasm to share with me. (There’s lesson #1 to you, students: you’ll never know what is possible until you ask.) We spoke on the phone for about 30 minutes and I got to know a man who is quite dedicated to his work as well as very determined to pay it forward and do a lot of good with what he has accomplished. But he didn’t get to where he is by sheer luck… he was focused, he worked hard, and he was very proactive about getting to where he wanted to be.

Whether you are getting ready to graduate from college or you still have a year or two left before you need to start thinking about post-graduation plans, there are some key points to keep in mind as you look toward your future. Chances are any number of the following questions have been racing through your mind:

  • What’s next? I have no idea what I want to do…
  • Will I be able to find a job that fits what I’ve studied in school?
  • Who to I need to contact to find a job?
  • What do I need to say or do to make myself stand out from the crowd?

Much of Steve’s history deals with these very questions, and as an Olympic gold medalist as well as a 2009 World Champion, Steve is certainly someone from whom you can learn a great deal about hard work, determination, and focus. For example, Steve actually spent most of his early athletic career as a decathlete. Only toward the end of his senior year in college did he contemplate bobsledding. This was a result of multiple injuries during his college career. Steve realized that if he wanted to continue to live his dream of becoming a professional athlete, he would have to make a change in direction in order to do so.

Lesson: You may not end up working in a position that is completely aligned with what you studied. Be flexible and willing to bend with the winds of change.

Steve referenced the book Good To Great by Jim Collins – to succeed you have to be able to move on, make changes, and have confidence in your abilities… but you also need to look at your current realities and accept what needs to be changed.

Steve began doing research on bobsledding before he graduated. In fact, he knew long before graduation that he wanted to continue to pursue professional athletics as a career. He started figuring out what he would need to do to make this happen the summer of his senior year. In the meantime, he worked internships and continued to workout and improve his strength and conditioning in preparation for his desired career path.

Lesson: Don’t wait until the last minute to start scheduling interviews, and keep up with your studies while you’re figuring out your post-graduation plans.

When Steve set his mind on joining the Olympic bobsleigh team, he knew he had something of value to offer, but he didn’t know whom he would need to speak with in order to prove it. He began doing some research to find the correct channels. Since this was in 2000, Internet search was not what it is today so he had to work hard to find the right people to connect with. Once he found the right people with whom to connect, he wrote to the Olympic committee and shared his attributes, strengths, and testing numbers, and he ended his email with, “If this is something I can do, please let me know…if this is something that I have no chance with, just let me know and you’ll never hear from me again.” While recognizing and showcasing his value, he did so without a sense of entitlement and with a request for an answer, even if it wasn’t one he wanted to hear.

Lesson: Do due diligence in researching the companies in which you are interested, and make sure you are reaching out to the right person/people. Personalize your outreach.

Lesson: Be confident in your abilities without coming across as entitled. Be receptive to whatever response you may receive from potential employers. Learn from their feedback and make appropriate adjustments in your search.

While Steve did receive a positive response from the Olympic committee, he was told that he had some areas that needed improvement first. It was almost a year before he qualified and was invited to compete on the national level – June 2001 was his first invite to a national event. In the meantime, he was working part-time at the university and coaching high school athletes. He had to figure out his own training regiment to prepare to compete as a bobsledder. He sought out a strength coach and together they sat down and determined what goals he would need to achieve in order to make the team.

Lesson: be proactive about your own career development. Don’t expect everything to be handed to you. Seek out a mentor or coach. Working hard toward a goal makes achieving it much more satisfying.

With a World Championship and an Olympic gold medal in his possession, Steve now has a huge platform from which to speak. He has chosen to take his fame and use it to pay it forward by starting the Back To School Project. This project helps to personalize the Olympic experience for young students by giving them a direct connection to Steve and his travels and competitions. As a young athlete, Steve remembers getting to go watch the Atlanta 1996 Summer Games in person and the experience that he had doing so. He remembers coming back from the Games pumped up about the experience and wondering, “What’s next?” With the Back To School Project, along with his sister, they invite teachers to sign up and send videos, letters, etc. and he in turn sends messages back to the classrooms taking them through his own competition experiences, helping them to feel more involved and connected.  Steve says it is a neat feeling for him to receive a letter from a seven-year-old telling him to ‘eat his vegetables and be safe’. His desire with the project is to get better technology into the classrooms that he is working with and to encourage more athletes to do the same and bring their own experiences into the classrooms for kids to enjoy.

Lesson: Remember where you came from, and always reach back.

A final thought from Steve: “Being an Olympic athlete is a selfish endeavor that not many people will pursue. You can’t lead a normal life. But what you’re training for is so worth it. Many times I’ve thought about how my life might have been without pursuing this. But over the last year, winning world championships and all, I wouldn’t give those up in a million years.”

Lesson: Pursue your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. Know that it will take hard work, focus, and determination to achieve anything worthwhile. Be flexible to change along the way. But always enjoy the journey and learn from every experience.

You can follow Steve on Twitter at @SteveMesler and learn more about what he is doing with the Back To School Project.

My One-Year Anniversary With AT&T

No, it’s not a joke :) Today officially marks one year that I’ve been working as a Talent Attraction Manager with AT&T. Why am I writing a blog post about it? Because it’s my blog and I can, that’s why… no seriously, it’s because I couldn’t think of a better place for me to be right now – except perhaps sipping a frosty beverage in a chaise lounge chair on a tropical beach somewhere. *hint hint to my manager*

I started doing internet research almost 8 years ago. The progression of my career to this point, in my opinion, couldn’t really be any more perfect. Each step along the way helped prepare me for the next phase. I began at an MRI franchise office in Cincinnati, where I spent the first four years of my professional career learning the business of recruiting. I learned almost all there is to know about all parts of the recruiting process from my time spent at that company. I also learned a lot about my own role as an internet researcher as well as the beginnings of social networking…

When we parted ways after four years, I joined a recruiting franchisor, for which I worked remotely, that was based in Cleveland. From this experience I learned self-discipline (working from home isn’t as easy as some people may think!) and how to work well with clients. My role at this company was one of researcher, database administrator, and trainer. I trained all of our recruitment franchise owners on how to use their ATS, how to do some basic internet research, and on the beginning basics of social networking. Some franchise owners (my clients) were easier to train than others, so I had to learn patience and client relations in this position in addition to the art and science of putting together coherent presentations.

After a year with this company I joined the corporate side of recruiting and took a position with a public relations agency. This role was, again, remote, but it was quite different from my previous two in that I was now sourcing for just one company – the one that employed me. From this experience, I fell head over heels in love with social technology as well as communications. I enjoyed being a part of the employment branding strategy and contributed quite a bit to the company’s online presence. This experience taught me the importance of consistent messaging, having a good online image, and gave me a new experience of working with an in-house recruiting team.

Which brings me to AT&T! I’m so excited about the fact that my job came from a long-term friendship and a Twitter DM – social technology meets old-fashioned relationship-building. Being offered this opportunity also provided me a chance to prove the things I had been teaching others for years about the importance of networking before you need it. And most importantly, it has given me the privilege of working with Chris Hoyt, someone who had been on my radar ever since I first started blogging. This last year has really opened my eyes to the potential of mobile recruiting, including things like geotagging and running SMS recruiting campaigns. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being the go-to sourcing expert for our Campus Recruiting team as well and being part of our strategic social and employment branding efforts. My AT&T recruiting colleagues are such smart and friendly people who love what they do and it shows. For such an incredibly big organization, it feels like family to me and I’m so pleased to be able to celebrate a year here.

So here’s hoping for many more awesome years with this fun and innovative bunch – thanks for this opportunity. It’s the perfect place for me!

Career Advice: Paying Your Dues

A large chunk of my time right now with AT&T is spent doing proactive research for our Campus Recruiting efforts. I look for student profiles in a number of places, and some of the most important things I look for are good GPA, good experience working with groups of people, and some form of leadership, whether it be in athletics, clubs, or an after-school job. These are traits we look for in our future leaders. We put our Development Program participants through training in many areas, including ones that may not be directly related to their ultimate job function, as well as all levels of work within their career track. Why? Because to be an effective manager, you’ve got to pay your dues.

So often, I read student profiles who list amongst their objectives when coming out of college, “To find a management position…” While I applaud your moxie, there are certain steps one must take first in order to reach management, and this includes earning some experience. I’m sorry to say this, but you can’t come straight out of college and land a management position for your first job – not unless:

  1. You’re going to work for the same company you’ve been working for throughout school, or
  2. You gained corporate experience prior to earning your degree (in most cases, this applies to graduate degrees)

I’ve written about this in the past. You can’t just start off at the top unless you’re going to start your own company, and that’s a whole different ball of wax. Career paths have fairly well-defined start points and those typically aren’t halfway down the trail. I’m certainly not trying to kill your dream here. I’m simply asking you to be realistic about your expectations of yourself (and your future employer!) upon graduating. And if you think about it, starting off with an entry-level position, which is what typically happens, will help you to be a better manager in the long run.

Learning the various levels within a company firsthand helps you to understand how things work. When you start from the bottom and work your way up, you gain understanding along the way of how various departments and levels of the organization operate. This firsthand learning is valuable and earns you wisdom about the inner workings of a company that cannot be gained in other ways.

Managers need to be good leaders, but you don’t have to be a manager in order to be a leader! Leadership experience can be earned at all levels in your career, including entry-level. Leadership is shown through taking the initiative to learn about new products/processes, asking to participate in projects outside of your normal job duties, helping and encouraging your co-workers, and taking an overall proactive approach to your career. These things can all be done as soon as you enter the workforce and will help you to be a better manager when the time comes. Managing well should include leading, guiding, encouraging, and mentoring. If you’ve no experience in these areas, then you’re not ready to be a manager.

Don’t rush the natural progression – this is your opportunity to enjoy the journey! When we were little kids, we whined and complained to our parents about how we wanted to hurry up and be a grown-up, and our parents almost always told us to be patient and enjoy being a kid because they knew we were building solid foundations for our adulthood during these years. Same goes with your career – don’t speed through the foundational times because they will provide a more solid ground for you to stand on for your future. Pay your dues, earn your experience, and you’ll have a more fulfilling and successful career in the long run.