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Teach for America #TFA20 Recap and Reflections: Part 1

If you’ve been been following me on Twitter recently, you know that I attended the Teach for America 20 Year Anniversary Summit. With 11,000 people at a highly programmed conference, I knew connecting with people via Twitter throughout the day would be my best bet to meet people. During the conference, close to 1,000 people tweeted the conference using the #TFA20 hashtag and every 50 tweets were exposed to about 26,000 other people on Twitter.  It’s a great testament to the power of social media to reach people with a message. Below is the tweet cloud of the most common words tweeted as part of the conference. (As a FYI, the most re-tweeted message was a quote from Joel Klein, but the tweeter spelled his name “Kline.”)

Teach for America Tweet Cloud

I can’t deny that I’ve been struggling with writing about the Summit. Teach for America always riles up emotions in me and writing about them is hard. If I wrote every thought that came to me over the last few days, it would be the length of a book so there’s been much thought on how to structure this post. Finally, I am tentative about fully discussing my views on some education issues as I have consulting clients who are school districts and charter schools and I don’t want to jeopardize those relationships. My consulting focuses on helping institutions find great teachers who are dedicated to helping students achieve at high levels, something I believe in deeply and am very good at doing. What I ultimately feel about other education issues shouldn’t matter, but it will to some.

I’ve decided to split my thoughts into two posts. The first is on Pleasant Surprises and the second will be on Sticky Concerns. If you want a summary of the Summit, you can view the official videos of the conference sessions or read a play-by-play on Norm Scott’s Ed Notes Online blog.

My pleasant surprises…

Focus on Staying in Teaching and Schools

I found there was an emphasis on staying in teaching in the messages I heard and saw at the Summit. I also took a bus from New York City with mostly younger corps and I heard about how they wanted to stay in teaching. I know Teach for America has a rap for being a resume builder for young graduates and that’s why many leave after two years, but that’s a simplistic take on a complex situation. As a career coach, I work with people who change jobs and careers every few years because it’s in their DNA and they shouldn’t be judged, whether they are a TFA alum or not.

I admire people who found teaching and have stuck with it as a long-term career because they found their passion. I only taught for two years and I have no apologies. I came to teaching with the best of intentions, and I loved working with kids, but I realized it was not my calling. I am sure it didn’t help that I did TFA back in 1997 where you were thrown in a classroom and told “See you in two years!” But ultimately the isolation, routines and structure of teaching did not make me a happy person and I knew that my strengths and talents (working with large-scale projects, for example) could be put to better use. I stayed in public education for over ten years and am confident about the good work I did, as well as the work I do today as a career coach working with college students and young professionals. I keep in touch with the kids I did teach and have helped them over the years because they were what mattered to me in the experience, not my career. That being said, I am glad more corps members want to stay teaching and feel prepared to be effective. I like that TFA is actively encouraging this, even though it’s up to each individual to decide what’s right for them.

A New Appreciation for Dave Levin, Mike Feinberg, and Deborah Bial

The Opportunities Project is about maximizing human capital and creating long-term economic success for people, especially those who face disadvantages. I founded my company because I was sick of encountering college graduates who had few tangible skills to make themselves successfully economically, but possessed unconscionable levels of student debt.

I think it’s naïve to think that college admission should be the goal of education reform when we have so much data on student debt and unemployment for recent graduates. So I was pleased to hear this message from Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg of KIPP. Both spoke about long-term student success and where our collective responsibility as educators lies. Like Dave Levin said, we have toaim higher than creating groups of smart eighth graders- no one’s going to give an 8th grader a job. We’ve broken the American promise that schools can change a young person’s life and we have to fix that. I couldn’t agree more.

I know there are people who have issues with KIPP. I am not going to take those on here. Whatever you might feel, I think that they should be celebrated for their focus on economic success as an important education outcome and not just test scores.

Deborah Bial is the President of The Posse Foundation, an organization I was only vaguely familiar with before the Summit. I heard her speak on the Ensuring Success in College and Beyond panel. She spoke about how our higher education system, especially its staggering costs, is creating a perpetual class system. I found her conviction inspiring in all her comments. My one gripe about this panel is that the moderator didn’t ask any questions about the “beyond” part of the panel’s title.

This is a non-sequiter, but right after Deborah’s opening remarks during the College and Beyond panel, I had an epiphany that I want a career that is part Wendy Kopp, part Deborah Bial and part Penelope Trunk (without all the weird personal revelations). Need to journal on that one.

The Sheer Force of 11,000 People Committed to Kids

I have a pro-union education blogger friend who I speak to quite often. He says that we probably agree on about 80% of the issues- I think it’s about 75%. However, the one thing we agree on 100% is that we want a better education system for kids in NYC, even if we don’t always agree on the same strategies we need to get there. Our agreement matters, not just the ideas. If you don’t agree with how TFA is helping to increase educational equity, you still should be impressed with their passion and energy.  I think Pedro Noguera’s tweet sums it up well.

I’ll post my Sticky Concerns tomorrow. Interestingly, I am also finally seeing Waiting for Superman tonight on a college campus. When the movie played here in the NYC area, I was in the midst of an intense entrepreneurship fellowship program and I couldn’t get to a theater before it closed. Since the movie focuses on employee performance (at least in part) I am really interested in viewing it from a wide human resources perspective so I can talk about some of the issues with the corporate human resources and recruitment professionals I work with these days. You’d be surprised what happens (or doesn’t) in corporate HR, even when they don’t work with unions.

Interested in knowing more about how the achievement gap is perpetuated after college graduation? Download our white paper on this topic and understand the facts.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

#TFA20 Tweetup This Weekend!

I’m attending the Teach for America 20 Year Anniversary Summit this weekend in Washington, DC. (I’m a 1997 New York corps member and you can read my blog post about my Teach for America experience here). There are 10,000 alumni expected at the summit and I’m excited to see old friends and make new ones. There is something to be said about meeting a stranger, saying the phrase “Moody Towers” and feeling like you’ve shared a lifetime of experiences.

I am co-hosting an in-person #TFA20 Tweetup for all the people at the conference who are tweeting it on Saturday in the Google Lounge. Two specific reasons why I am excited about the Tweetup:

1. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the power of the digital democracy. The internet is full of stories of people who used social media to grow their network, find opportunities and eventually find a job, which is why it’s a tool I use in my career coaching and recruitment consulting. If WE can use to it connect personally and professionally and advocate for our causes, imagine what others can do to advocate for themselves?

2. It’s an opportunity to connect the great work of Teach for America alumni who are tackling different parts of our nation’s education problem. I left school district leadership because I saw that the children we were trying so hard to educate were not realizing economic opportunity because there is a college to career gap, one that grew after our economy changed forever in 2008. I know there are many alumni doing their part in new and inventive ways and I am looking forward to meeting them and learning more about what they do.

Here are the event details. See you there!

Teach for America 20 YearsThe Teach for America 20th Anniversary Summit #TFA20 Tweetup

Saturday, February 12 at 12:45 PM to 1:15 PM in the Google Lounge @ The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C.

Tracy Brisson (1997 New York TFA Corps Member) of The Opportunities Project will be co-hosting an in-person Tweetup of Teach for America alumni and friends who use Twitter to connect and advocate for educational opportunity. For more information leading up to the event, and to follow the Tweetup in real-time, please follow @TFA20 and @oppsproject on Twitter, as well as the hashtag #TFA20.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Career Exploration and Tribes at Social Media Week 2011

I’ve been plugging along on some serious papers and future blog posts on education and the economy. This work has interested and engaged me, butit’s been intense. Luckily, I had some other experiences this week that were as absorbing, but also lightened things up, all courtesy of social networking.

On Wednesday, I had a great conversation over coffee about the potential that coaching has for Millennials with fellow mission-driven coach Brett Kunsch of Kunbre Life Coaching. We first met online through our active participation on Brazen Careerist. In the afternoon, I met with Alisha Miranda, a fearless marketing and events professional who I connected with on Twitter. We co-worked together in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn for about four hours and our co-working included sharing some uninterrupted writing time and bouncing business questions off of each other. Wednesday made me reflect on how much my life has changed over the last year. In February 2010, I worked for one of the largest organizations in the country, but felt disconnected to people. Today, I officially work alone, but feel 100% more connected because I’ve met my “tribe”- like minded people who want to do both good and well, each on their own path. And I’ve met almost all of them first online.

During our co-working, Alisha told me about a panel she was working on for New York Social Media Week, which is taking place next week (February 7 to 11). I’ve had Social Media Week on my calendar the last two years, but never made it to one event. I am not sure how I almost missed the whole thing this year! Thanks to Alisha’s tip, I registered for some specific career and education related events (listed on my News and Events page and all free). One of the things that struck me the most is the sheer number of opportunities to learn and network about different careers in the Social Media Week schedule. In fact, I don’t think I have seen such a tremendous number of intriguing industry centered workshops in my life! Whether you’re interested in fashion, finance, international relations, government, or nutrition, there’s an event for you. And that’s just Monday’s schedule!

In career management, the most important things we offer are our relationships and knowledge. If you’re not an avid user of social media, and aren’t sure you want to be or are afraid of calling a Tweet by the wrong name, it’s okay. But you still should keep an open mind and take advantage of these opportunities. Only a small percentage of us get to live in an awesome city like New York City that has events like this. More importantly, you have no idea who will be sitting next to you and who they know or what you’ll learn. When we talk about social media, many of us think of it as something superficial, like millions of tweens talking about Justin Bieber, or a great force, like what’s happening in Egypt today. We forget that social networking also carries great personal power for individuals, one exchange at a time. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your version of the exchanges I had and the resulting relationships I built this week.

Want to get one-on-one help with social media and your career? Book Tracy for a Career Consulting Session and learn how to use social networking to find opportunities and build social credibility.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Marketing Case Study of Catfish: Job Seeker Lessons

The 2011 Oscar nominations came out today! I am a movie person, so that excites me. I have waited to see most of the nominated movies because I discovered that AMC hosts two Saturday Manhattan Oscar showcases where they show all the movies (five each day). I did one showcase last year and it was so much fun, I hope to do it again, though with pillows.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been impressed by the Oscar nominated movies I’ve seen so far. I thought The Social Network was on the boring side (Jesse Eisenberg plays the same character in every movie and Andy Samberg’s Mark Zuckerberg is much better), Inception would have been good if the acting hadn’t been so bad (Ellen Page is generally overrated), and Toy Story III wasn’t as good as the others. The Kids Are Alright was just plain annoying. I thought about the 2010 movie I liked the most this morning and I’ve decided it was Catfish.

(Spoiler alert going forward if you haven’t seen Catfish…)

Catfish is a “documentary” (some believe the movie was staged) made by a trio of young New York City filmmakers who became Facebook friends with a family in rural Michigan. One of them, Nev, begins a long-distance flirtation with a daughter named Megan who’s the same age. After some time, the guys begin to believe something is amiss and travel unannounced to Michigan so they can meet the family. They find that most of what they experienced on Facebook, including Megan, was imagined by a woman named Angela who is a lonely mom with a difficult family situation. People had very strong reactions to Catfish. If you didn’t like it, you hated it because you thought it was staged or because these young, arrogant New Yorkers took advantage of old, simple Angela. 
(Yes, I know I am generalizing here.)

Catfish I am not suggesting that Catfish was worthy of an Oscar nomination, but it was definitely the movie I most enjoyed last year. I questioned whether parts were contrived, but I didn’t feel that they exploited Angela. For me, a good movie is one that touches me emotionally and hopefully makes me both laugh and cry and Catfish achieved both. I laughed at the silliness of the main character and I cried at Angela’s humanity. In the photos she stole and chose for her online persona, or in her self-portraits that she painted, you could see reflections of her true self, but with longing and regret. I think we can all relate to feeling stuck, but hoping for “more” at some point in our lives.

Some people would say Catfish was successful for a first-time documentary, but it initially had more potential. When the movie came out in September, there was internet chatter that this movie could be called the “real Facebook movie” over The Social Network. Obviously that didn’t happen, and that’s partly because the studio and filmmakers made constant mistakes in the marketing, mistakes that are easy to make in job seeking, too. Here are some lessons from Catfish I’ve been reflecting on and how they relate to careers.

One: Make sure you’re marketing yourself authentically.

The studio marketing of Catfish was a textbook case of what NOT to do. I decided to see Catfish based on a small paragraph I’d read in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly and hadn’t seen the trailer. The trailer markets the movie as a thriller- what will these young men find in Angela’s house in the boondocks of Michigan, which they first approach in the dark? Scary, but 5 minutes of the entire move. I am assuming that the studio thought that kind of movie would appeal to young moviegoers, but no one wants to feel cheated about what they’ve paid to see. I wouldn’t have gone to the movie if I’d first seen the trailer, which would have been a loss, based how much I enjoyed the movie.

It’s always best to market yourself authentically when you’re searching for a job, too, so you can find your right audience. If you’re marketing yourself as someone you’re not in your online and written documents, people will find out once they meet you at the interview, anyway. So please disregard bad career articles that tell you to focus on flirting over substance or to botox your resume (anyone notice these articles are always written for women by women? Ugh. That’s a dissertation, not a blog post).

Second, there are implications for your happiness. Say you even fool the hiring manager (unlikely), are you prepared to keep pretending you’re someone you’re not every day once you have the job? Why would you want to keep that up? Even if you’re not job searching because it was your choice, don’t you want something better for your next gig where you’re comfortable, happy, and successful? It’s hard to build success on lies and misrepresentations, just like Catfish, and for that fact, Angela.

Two: Emphasize your likeability.

We’ve talked about the importance of being likeable because above all else, people want to do business with people they like. I read lots of articles about how the filmmakers came off as punks in press tours and interviews. I am sure they felt attacked by the exploitation accusations, but they came off as likeable in the movie and had the opportunity to be that way with the press. No one wants to see a movie with people who seem like jerks and no one wants to hire someone who seems sketchy.

Three: Understand that everyone has preconceived biases and sometimes you can’t change them.

There were lots of people who didn’t like Catfish because they have predetermined notions about social networking and who uses it, as well as people like Angela. Some people were going to believe that Angela was exploited no matter what they saw in the movie. When I read the New York Times review of the movie, I wondered if the critic had seen the same movie. If you read his review, and others, you see opinions about the usefulness of Facebook creeping in and realize that it’s impossible to see a movie like this through an impartial lens. I wasn’t impartial, either. I have first hand experience with people who NEED to use social networking, who are unable to develop in-person relationships due to real phobias and related issues. Without the internet, they’d be unable to relate to anyone because of chemical reasons. While I would never advocate that people lie about their persona like Angela did, or believe her behavior was acceptable, I understand where the overwhelming desire to connect with strangers via the internet comes from for people who are stuck in their worlds. Of course I was going to cry at her story.

As a jobseeker, you have to realize that you only have limited control over people’s opinions on your candidacy because some of it is developed before you step in the room. Sometimes, the hiring manager will not give you a fair chance based on what s/he believes about people of your generation (young and old) or employees who worked for your previous company. Listening for those biases and addressing them is important, but it’s also essential to understand that you don’t have ultimate control over other people’s decision-making process. Your only responsibility is to do your best and accepting that lack of control is powerful. Perhaps the Catfish team could have done more to educate the general public about the different sides of social networking, but it’s likely that people would have brought their own Facebook experiences to the movie anyway.

As a wrap-up, yesterday was my book list and today’s my movie list. Here are my evaluations for the 2011 nominees pre-AMC Oscar Showcase. I am also including my 2010 ratings for reference if you’re trying to figure out my taste.

2011 Nominations




Didn’t See

Toy Story III
The Social Network
The Kids Are Alright (hated) Black Swan
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
True Grit
Winter’s Bone
127 Hours

2010 Nominations




Didn’t See

The Hurt Locker
The Blind Side
An Education
District 9
A Serious Man
Avatar (probably better in 3D)
Up In The Air (hated)
Inglorious Basterds (been on my DVR forever)

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Announcements: NYC Career Events, Press, and Holiday Shopping

It’s been a crazy week- lots of blog posts in the queue that didn’t quite make it. Just means more content to share later!

I have a few assorted announcements to make, so I’ll end the week with those.

New Event: Twitter Workshop and #nycjobsearch Tweetup

We have an exciting special event on Wednesday, December 8 at 6PM. Keith Petri of and I will be co-facilitating the last seminar in The Art of Pull Series: How to Achieve Career Success with Twitter. At the workshop, we’ll be doing an overview of how to best use Twitter with a special emphasis on using it for your job search. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about how to use Twitter for any reason, this is a great event.

The most exciting part of the event is that immediately after the workshop, we’ll be co-hosting a Tweetup of NYC-based people who regularly participate in Twitter chats about job search and career related issues, including #jobhuntchat and #hfchat, among others. These Twitter chats are usually comprised of 50% recruiters and career experts and 50% jobseekers so it’s a great mix of people to add to your network. If you can’t make it, use the #nycjobsearch hashtag to follow the event on Twitter between 6PM and 8PM on December 8th.

Both parts of the event are free. You can RSVP here, or if you want to make sure you receive a regular list of our events, join our Meetup.

Confused by all the terms? That’s okay, you’ll be an expert after our event. Promise.

The Opportunities Project in the Press

With the excitement of the holidays, I forgot to post our recent press appearances. If you didn’t see them in your Facebook or Twitter feed, here are two stories that I was recently interviewed for and that feature my advice on online applications and setting career goals for the new year.

When applying for jobs online, be a standout in The Star Ledger (November 21, 2010)

5 New Year’s Career Resolutions for 2011 on Monster and HotJobs (November 22, 1010)

Barnes and Noble Store Updates and Holiday Specials

Tis the season to shop for your loved ones, and maybe a little bit for yourself. This past week, I updated my Barnes & Noble store. If you were looking for great book recommendations (career related or a beach read), I have multiple lists. And on Monday, December 13, I will have a special coupon for my readers that can be used on any Barnes & Noble purchase.

I am also eager to announce the details of my two holiday specials next week.

– Pay What You Can Coaching Day on Monday, December 20, 2010

– Referral Program- get 10% commission through on all referrals for any of our coaching programs through December 31, 2010. You can also offer discounts to your referrals with a minimum purchase.

Stay tuned for more information starting Monday, December 6th!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

LinkedIn Raves and Rants

LinkedInTonight is my second workshop on LinkedIn since I started The Opportunities Project this summer. Is LinkedIn really that important that it deserves two workshops so close together? Yes, it absolutely does. LinkedIn is the future of how people build careers, especially for those of us who are not born into huge networks or attend schools that naturally facilitate those. In 2011, LinkedIn is updating their platform so that more people can directly connect with their network around work and jobs. Now is the time to build your network so it’s strong for when that happens.

So I have both a rant and rave about LinkedIn coverage online.

Power of Your Network

Let’s start with a rave. Here is a real-life example of how the power of LinkedIn can get you results. When I was starting out this spring, I met a great partner in Brooke Allen. Brooke runs an organization called No Shortage of Work– a group I recommend on my Resources page. As an experiment, he asked people he knew from No Shortage of Work and his other networks to connect via LinkedIn to three people he selected who had various career goals. Within 24 hours, each had over 500 new professional contacts and within ten days one was working in a new job. He has now been sending summaries of what other people have to offer and what people need and letting them connect on their own. This success wouldn’t have manifested without a platform like LinkedIn.

Power of a Complete Profile

So my rant. I am getting exhausted by LinkedIn articles that keep getting promoted on sites like SmartBrief that give incomplete advice. I am cranky because I have become obsessed with finding these articles and commenting on them – here and here – to add needed information and it takes time I could spend on other things. Not everyone knows a Brooke Allen meaning you really need to make sure your profile is maximized to get the connections you need. Despite all the bells and whistles, LinkedIn is essentially a database and you need to create a profile that is easily found. If you read an article that doesn’t say the number one thing you should do is to make sure that your profile is complete- yes, that means posting a photo- it is not worth your time and you should move along. LinkedIn officially states that complete profiles are found 40% more often in search results than incomplete profiles, but that doesn’t even take into consideration where you rank. For example, I am listed as one of the first ten career coaches in NYC when you search for that phrase because I’ve optimized my profile. Not bad for a brand new coach. Where do you come up?

Discussing whether you should make your job duties bullet vs. paragraphs is great, but if you can’t be found, who cares?

If you’re in NYC, come to our event tonight at 7PM at SLC Conference Centers (352 7th Avenue, 16th floor- cross street is 30th Street) to learn how you can take the next step with LinkedIn. Friends of The Opportunities Project can pay $10 at the door.

Veteran Career Follow-Up: LinkedIn Report, WSJ and NYT

Thanks for the wonderful responses to my post yesterday on what we can do to help veterans with their careers. A few articles were sent to me and I wanted to pass them on today.

Wall Street Journal- New Programs Steer Veterans, Families to Entrepreneurship

My alma mater Syracuse University (Cuse!) is working with veterans to help them start their own business. They are doing some work specifically with women veterans in 2011. Maybe I can help?

New York Times- Helping Veterans Find Civilian Jobs

The wonderful Niki Black forwarded an article from yesterday’s New York Times that I somehow missed on what private sector companies are doing to recruit and help returning veterans, including Microsoft.

Speaking of service, I highly encourage you to check Niki’s blog out. Her organization, Neighborhood Fellows, provides resources targeted towards the Black community and encourages conversation about lots of issues. Today, she’s talking Kanye, which is always interesting.

Linked In- LinkedIn Releases Data Insights and Tips to Help Veterans Build Careers

Finally, LinkedIn released a report on how their site can help veterans connect and find new careers. As much as I am an evangelist of LinkedIn, even I was surprised by the power it has for veterans. It is more evidence that you cannot conduct a successful job search in 2010 without maximizing LinkedIn.

Bringing us to today’s shameless plug for our LinkedIn event on Tuesday, November 16. After reading the LinkedIn report, you’re coming, right?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Success Online- Blogging and Social Media

It’s here! Tonight is our event on Achieving Career Success through Blogging at 7PM at SLC Conference Centers (352 Seventh Avenue, 30th Street). If you still haven’t registered, use the discount code “Blogging 101” to get the $10 ticket price.

If you’re not convinced that spending time on online activities like blogging and social media can help you with your career or business, here are two quick stories before I go back to the finishing touches for tonight.

Just an example of how blogging can help… Last week, I wrote a guest blog post for my colleague Keith Petri’s blog about my thoughts on the Marie Claire blogging controversy- a writer wrote a blog post on obese people on TV and the public was outraged by the author’s take. Keith featured my content on Networked Blogs and on Friday, I got an email from someone I didn’t recognize. It was someone who had read my post because she was interested in the Marie Claire issue, but then got clicking around my business website and read that I do recruitment and leadership consulting, specializing in Gen Y, and her company needs that expertise. I now have a call scheduled to talk business. Sweet!

And just another example of how Twitter can help… Every Monday, I participate in a Tweet Chat called #jobhuntchat. Last week, someone in the chat posted that they were looking for a Community Manager position and based in Maryland. Some of my former colleagues started a MD based company and were looking for a Community Manager so I told her about the job. Last night, that person said she had an interview based on my lead. Even more sweet!

My lessons: Do new things. Learn and write about interesting things. Ask for help. Expand your networks. What are yours?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Guest Post: A Balanced Blog- A Modern Art

Keith Petri writes about blogging.Please welcome a guest post from my colleague Keith Petri. We’re doing an event next Tuesday, November 9th at 7PM on The Art of Pull: Achieving  Career Success with Blogging. Register now!

Keith Petri, the founder of eBranding Me, is a recent graduate of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. His studies in business, economics and studio art along with strong passions for marketing, technology and entrepreneurship led him to his current interest in social media and understanding of the new rules of networking. Through his prior entrepreneurial pursuits, recent blogging and extensive networking, Keith has seen the need for educating his peers on creating a positive online presence. eBranding Me is the culmination of his efforts.

Over the past year I have mentored numerous students on the importance of building an online presence. I stress the value of creating and maintaining a personal blog to display their individual expertise in a particular field of study as a method to attract potential employers involved in the industry. Still, time and time again, I hear my students say:

“What can I blog about? No one cares about what I have to say!”

Typical social media experts are known to encourage Generation Y students to post articles and insights about their past work experiences, current events and even book reviews. However, I find myself to be one of only a few counselors to encourage students to add personal experiences to their insights and publish the content on a personal, albeit professional, blog.
With the recent growth in social media, privacy has become a growing concern. And thus, the separation of a young professional’s social life and professional career has become increasingly difficult to manage – sometimes even resulting in termination due to social conduct publicized through an online social network. The horror stories many of us have heard from peers, career advisors and parents have made many Generation Y students weary of building a personal brand.I couldn’t disagree more!

“Transparency has become the new measurement for trust.”

As covered in eBranding Me’s eBook on the fundamentals of blogging, available for FREE download here, personal experiences can allow a reader to truly connect with the author and his or her experiences. The following list outlines some topics high school students, current college students and recent gradates can discuss to intrigue their blog’s visitors.

High School Students

  • Personal Hobbies
  • After School Activities
  • Community Service

College Students

  • Respond to a Guest Speaker’s Lecture
  • Summarize a Recent Classroom Discussion
  • Re-post an Assignment for Class (received feedback)


  • Attending Networking Events
  • Industry Insights
  • Adjusting to Life in the “Real-World”

While not every blog post needs to contain a personal experience or insight, allowing your readers to get to know the “real” you will allow them to connect with your writing and respect your work that much more. I believe that Alex Blackwell said it best in a blog post, “the goal becomes how to be transparent while not being excessively personal.”

To see how Keith Petri includes personal experiences on his blog, visit and read some of his latest articles. Furthermore, he features a weekly series, published every Friday morning, highlighting the concluding week’s activities and events through text, images and video called the Weekly Wrap Up

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Bring Your Social Media Questions to Red Sky Bar Tonight

I am almost done with the Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook and have social media on the brain. Bring your questions about using social media in your job search to our monthly job-seeker happy hour tonight at Red Sky Bar. See you there!

Cocktails and Careers Happy Hour

Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 6:30 PM at Red Sky Bar

47 East 29th St (between Park and Madison Aves), New York, NY 10016

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog