The Pay It Forward Project is the continuation of a series of articles I started here in 2010 spotlighting some individuals who were recommended to me for the article I wrote on Mashable, 4 Essential Traits for Social Media Success in Your Career. The purpose of my project, detailed here, was to profile some social media professionals to keep an eye on in the coming year.
The 2011 Pay It Forward profiles will consist of the 2nd generation of spotlights — individuals recommended by those who were featured in the 2010 series.
Jenny Blake is a Career Development Program Manager at Google, where she works on coaching programs and scalable development tools and solutions to help Googlers focus on their career development. Jenny also helps manage the Authors@Google program. Before taking on this role, she was a trainer and team lead at Google on the Training & Development Team in the Online Sales and Operations Department for almost four years, where she trained over 1,000 people in AdWords and web development.
Jenny also blogs at LifeAfterCollege.org, where she shares practical tips for life, work, money, happiness, personal growth, productivity, and more. Her goal is to help young professionals gain confidence and lead happy, well-rounded lives through simple, practical tools & tips. Additionally, Jenny has a book coming out tomorrow called Life After College: The Complete Guide To Getting What You Want (visit the book website here).
Jenny attended UCLA where she was a double major in Political Science and Communications. At the beginning of junior year, one of her professors started an online political polling company called Polimetrix and asked her if she wanted to help. She said yes and moved home to work full time. She was the first employee of the company, and shortly thereafter a few other college professors joined. Jenny remained with the company for two years and then went back to UCLA to finish her education.
Because she started working full-time before the rest of her friends, Jenny felt really alone in her journey. She began reading a lot of books in an attempt to figure out what skills she would need in terms of leadership, time management, personal finance, health, and so on. Jenny returned to school to graduate with her class in 2005 and joined Google at the start of 2006 (after two years at the start-up); she has been there now for over five years. While she was working training new employees, in her own time she completed life coach training and eventually worked it into her role at Google.
How Jenny became interested in social media: In 2008 Jenny started blogging at www.lifeaftercollege.org. She joined Twitter relatively soon after blogging just to see what its growing popularity was about, and she soon discovered a great new way to make new connections and friends.The blog quickly became a hit, and she started writing a book at end of 2008 tying together her thoughts that were being shared on the blog. Jenny was nervous pursuing this, but the voice in her head kept insisting, “This book’s been written, but it hasn’t been written by you.”
Over time, Jenny felt what any author does — she hit a wall, experienced writer’s block, and got depressed by the lack of creativity. She did not touch her book for almost five months, until she met Michael Larsen, author of How To Write A Book Proposal. He told her that he would help review her proposal, and the rest is history. Jenny starts her book tour this spring.
Jenny’s blog title may seem a little deceiving — she doesn’t write about stuff that’s pressing for 21 year olds. She provides life templates — ranging from job interviewing, to fitness, networking, decision-making, and even to breakup processing. She focuses on providing tangible tools and resources for personal development thinking. Her readership ranges from readers in their 20s and 30s all the way to those 60+.
Doing what she does with her blog actually helped her land her career development role at Google. There were other candidates, and being young (she is still in her 20s) she simply didn’t have the years of management experience that other candidates did. However, her passion and personal devotion to developing her own career helped her speak intelligently about the job in interviews, and this ultimately won her the position.
Where Jenny sees social media going in the next twelve months: Jenny believes that more people will become comfortable with building relationships using social media. She thinks that at some point there will be a re-setting of expectations – there’s so much to follow that social media has simply become overwhelming to most people. It will be interesting to see how people scale back and manage their time better using social.
Jenny’s advice on social media: it is a constantly evolving learning process. Learn how to be yourself. Also learn how to be vulnerable — it’s okay to show your ups and downs. “Bring people along for the journey,” she says, “Letting people in isn’t always comfortable, but it’s rewarding. That’s where so many of my own relationships have flourished.”
Connect with Jenny on: