Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Social Media Helped Give Me a New Career

I was recently interviewed for a news article about social media at the website Second Act (which bills itself as an "online destination uniquely tailored to the needs and interests of readers over age 40."). In her piece entitled, Are You Google-able?,  the author Melinda Emerson interviewed several people who had undertaken a "midcareer makeover" like me.

Most of you know that back in late 2008, I was laid off from my job in the information technology field. After several months of looking for work and ending up back at another global law firm (and working with attorneys who are always the "smartest ones in the room"), I decided to "repurpose" myself and create a career in the genealogy field.

Eighteen months later, I have no regrets and am enjoying the fact that I've been able to turn an avocation into a vocation. So, everyone wants to know, "how did he do it?" Mostly with social media - the focus of the Are You Google-able? article.

In the article, Emerson and I spoke mainly about Twitter and how I have been able to leverage it to my advantage:
Thomas MacEntee, the 48-year-old founder of High-Definition Genealogy, says its best to think of social media as a garden you have to tend.
Laid off from his tech job in Chicago in late 2008, MacEntee reinvented himself as a family historian -- helping people investigate their family trees -- and utilizes social media to connect with clients. It took MacEntee about a year to build his business.
He's been so successful mastering the intricacies of Twitter -- the free service that allows users to share information in 140 characters or less -- that he now teaches a social media class for baby boomers called "Twitter: It's not just what I had for breakfast anymore."
He says the key to Twitter is giving as much as you get, and listening as much as you speak. He says some boomers have a problem with these concepts. "They think they are giving away their work for free, but it's part of building yourself as a brand and an expert," says MacEntee.
Take a look at the entire article since I feel it is spot on in terms of advice from the other experts, especially concerning LinkedIn. Did you know that one of my current and largest consulting clients found me because I had a LinkedIn profile complete with my resume?

© 2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee


Kerry Scott said...

Good for you, both for pulling off the career change and for sharing your experience with others. The over-40 crowd especially needs to hear about just how valuable these tools are in terms of keeping yourself employable.

footnoteMaven said...

Thomas Love - We knew you when and the progress you've made in our industry is nothing short of amazing.

I love your blogs, lectures, round tables, and the new blog radio.

Keep on keepin' on!. We'd follow you anywhere.


Russ said...

Thomas - I echo fM's comments. You RULE !!! are the BEST.

Thank you for your leadership.

Being laid off myself, I now have something to do, while being retired.

Thank you for being YOU!!!


Kathleen Brandt, Professional Genealogist said...

Thanks so much for sharing the piece and introducing the site.

D. Kay Strickland said...

Congratulations on being recognized, within an article, for your expertise and drive. Must feel better than having a million bucks rain down from the sky! Almost. ;) I can't list all the tips for work and bits of support I have pocketed since finding Geneabloggers. I am certainly grateful that you left your job and found your life's work.