Blog Swap 2011: Meet Berrak
I’m really happy that I got paired up with Melanie for the 9th 20SB Blog Swap! For those that don’t know me, I’m Berrak (@DC_PQ) from Washington,D.C. and I’m a Social Media addict.
My addiction to Twitter and networking paid off last year after I lost my job and decided that I would not go back to the daily hell of having a job I despised. We’ve all been there and some of you may still be there. In this economy, it’s scary to risk losing the job you already have, no matter how crappy it may feel. Once the shock of losing my job wore off, I realized that my bosses did me a favor – they forced me to take the step I’d been so afraid to take.
Then panic set in.
I was lucky enough to get a severance and qualified for unemployment. It was still scary and hard not to just take the first job available to me. Oh no. I decided to completely change my career path, at 25 no less. I knew that I loved social media, digital marketing and would later find out that community management was one of my callings.
However, I didn’t find all this out until I took that leap – whether I was forced to or not.
I decided to use my network to my advantage and wanted to grow it as quickly as I can. I went to every networking event possible, and in D.C., we have a LOT. The problem with that is that I burned out within 2 months. Lesson: No matter how tempting it is to go to every single networking event out there, choose wisely and preserve your energy.
I needed relevant experience so I decided to do pro-bono work, including unpaid internships. It was a little hard to swallow to ‘work for’ a 21 year old, fresh out of college, young man but the experience I received at that internship was invaluable. Lesson: If you can, go the unconventional route. Just because a job isn’t coming with a monetary reward doesn’t mean that it won’t give you even bigger rewards in experience.
Tweet tweet. Twitter was my savior. I started participating in chats, changed my bio to reflect my current status (Looking for jobs, freelancing, etc) and starting following companies I was interested in. That is one of the key elements that most people miss. Don’t just search for jobs, but for companies. Get familiar with the culture, the people who work there, and if possible, engage them in conversation. Lesson: Use Twitter to your advantage. Don’t lose your voice in the process of ‘being professional’, just be yourself. Show your network your value and I promise they’ll share that with their network. Most of the referrals I got for jobs were way above my experience level because of how I presented myself across Twitter and social media in general. If you want to read more about my experience in the last year, feel free to check out this blog.
Social media is a huge part of our lives – how you use it is completely up to you. Just don’t forget the LOLs and the real part of who you are in the process.
Have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).