brazeninterview header Entrepreneur Spotlight: Ryan Paugh from Brazen Careerist

By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer

We have explored many facets of Gen Y. We identified key attributes and mindsets, examined Gen Y in the workplace and developed effective marketing strategies. To take a deeper look into the social networks of the up-and-comers, we spoke with Ryan Paugh, the co-founder of Brazen Careerist. Brazen Careerist is a career management tool for the next generation of professionals. Brazen Careerist allows users to share their ideas, control their professional identity and build a foundation for future success.

Before Ryan was the Director of Community at Brazen Careerist, he co-founded the blog, Employee Evolution and worked as an assistant to the Senior Director of Communications at Merck & Co. It was at Merck that he became inspired by the role of social media in both our personal and professional lives.

We asked Ryan to discuss Gen Y today, the role of social media and Brazen Careerist:

What are the major challenges Gen Y face today?

There is no question that everyone is feeling the recession. There is a lot of anxiety out there — whether it’s, “how can I find a job,” or “how can I get myself out there?” Unfortunately, Gen Y inherited a tough job market. As a result, more and more people are willing to take risks. Over the past six months, many unemployed people are creating their own position, as CEO. Therefore, you have a lot of Gen Y entrepreneurs trying something new, sharing fresh ideas and taking on a lot of responsibility. This new group of entrepreneurs is the silver lining to the recession and “I am very optimistic about the future,” says Ryan.

How can social networking help Gen Y overcome these challenges?

To stay competitive, it’s crucial to share new ideas and grow as a community. Social media is a great way for displaying and growing your personal and professional networks. For young professionals, it’s about putting yourself out there; really taking your personal brand to the next level. Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, often focus on work experience (not a strong suit for emerging leaders). One quality Gen Y excels at is social networking, however. By tapping into these social media skills, Gen Y can have a competitive edge in the workforce.

What is the value of social media in today’s job market?

In general, social media is a valuable asset for anyone. Those professionals that have a strong personal and professional network are typically more successful. Building your network is a life-long pursuit. And social media is a tool to accelerate your efforts by connecting you with other, like-minded people. Ultimately, social media helps people participate in the conversation and build meaningful relationships.

What are the emerging trends in social media and the best-in-class examples of brands capitalizing on them?

More businesses and marketers are beginning to understand that social media is not about one size fits all. It’s about being appropriate, understanding your audience and where to best connect with them. For instance, LinkedIn is for professional networking, Facebook is for friendship, Twitter is for link and comment sharing. Bacardi, for example, would not be suited for LinkedIn. Facebook would be a much better choice. Facebook and Bacardi share the common thread of partying — people want to drink at parties and bars, then share their pictures on Facebook. So it makes sense for Bacardi to have a presence on Facebook.

How is Brazen Careerist unique among other social networks?

It’s a place for emerging leaders to manage their careers. Through networking and sharing blogs and Twitter feeds, Brazen Careerist aggregates content from many web services to spark a conversation and make a connection between users. It’s about creating an experience that is accessible and multi-dimensional. Though Brazen Careerist is a social networking site in and of itself, “we have a symbiotic relationship with other social networking sites,” says Ryan. “Conversations are happening out there and if we don’t become a part of them we’re missing out.”

Writer’s Note: After my conversation with Ryan, I became the newest member of the Brazen Careerist community. I’m really looking forward to experiencing all that the social network has to offer.