Ryan Paugh is the co-founder and community manager of Brazen Careerist, a career management tool for next-generation professionals. Ryan and I had a great conversation on the 26th episode of The Social Nerdia Show! live podcast. We talked about his transition from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, Generation Y, the job market, and the social way to manage your career. Ryan also gave some great tips for those interested in becoming online community managers.
The current state of the job market is not exactly exciting. With the stock market slowly recovering to 1999 levels and a high unemployment that is truly worthy of a ‘Great Recession,’ there are still some good news. I’m serious. First of all, companies are starting to hire again and everyone is a bit more optimistic about the future. Second, people are becoming much more willing to connect online and recommend others for positions.
And that’s why Brazen Careerist is a site you need to check out, especially if you’re young. While Monster and CareerBuilder are good to browse for countless of too-good-to-be-true and questionable positions, and LinkedIn is the place to share your resume with an established network, Brazen Careerist “helps you build your network,” as Ryan told me. He also pointed out that “young professionals don’t have a lot of experience and connections, and they need a place to build those connections online.”
Getting a job has a lot to do with who you know. Social networks can definitely help. From connecting with old high school friends to getting to know your current friends even better, social networks are becoming an extension of who we are and a map of who we know. As we learn to collaborate better with others online, a collaborative approach to career management makes sense. Ryan said it quite well: “Collaboration for your career management is something new. Traditionally, it was something very competitive, but it’s not the best way to do it. At Brazen Careerist we encourage people to have that idea sharing mentality, it’s a Web 2.0 mentality. We’re sharing instead of hoarding information for ourselves.”
These are tough times, but they can also be transformative times. Downturns can be great opportunities for companies to turn themselves around and become leaders in an industry. Recessions might be an opportunity to take a few risks that others will stay away from. It is the same with your career and it seems like people are more willing to pursue a complete career move now that things are starting to look better. While it doesn’t make sense for many, it is definitely worth it to consider doing new things and pursue dreams. Talking about his days before Brazen Careerist, Ryan said “there was something unsettling about being so young and not taking risks while i have the opportunity. I wanted to create something from nothing.”
“Employee Evolution was the catalyst that made Brazen Careerist,” said Ryan about the Gen Y blog that he and Ryan Healey started after spending a year working in the corporate environment. The two friends heard a lot of older professionals talking about Gen Y, so they started Employee Evolution to talk about the subject “from a Gen Y perspective” and with the idea to “make it a soapbox of Gen Y workers to step up and talk about their frustrations in the workforce.” The team soon met Penelope Trunk and partnered with her to create Brazen Careerist, which actually started as an aggregation of blogs and then evolved into a full social network. Ryan said that their business model is somewhat similar to LinkedIn’s and that they have will be rolling out some exciting features by the end of the year.
As community manager, Ryan is the go-to guy for all things Brazen Careerist. He is the face of the company and he’s comfortable with that. He is like MySpace’s Tom for Brazen Careerist. In many ways, Ryan is going beyond his initial role and becoming more strategic to figure out how to scale the organization and make the site more helpful for its users. And Brazen’s users are quite passionate about the site, which is a good sign of things to come.
Ryan and I talked about several other things, including the next generation’s unedited approach to social networks, our thoughts on personal branding, and the kind of jobs and skills that will be increasingly important in the future (hint: you’ll be seeing a lot more statisticians and online community managers). Make sure to listen to the interview to hear Ryan’s tips to be a good community manager and get your career started on the right track.