A Working Online Presence

A former hospitality professional’s LinkedIn profile leads to an opportunity with a workforce management firm

Photo: Quantrell Colbert

In February 2009, Naiema Thomas was laid off from her position as senior director of business development for Thompson Hospitality. She began looking for work, “but unfortunately the hospitality industry really took a huge hit during the recession and the types of jobs that would typically be a good fit for me just weren’t available.” I started looking outside the industry and thinking about skills that were transferrable.” After several unsuccessful interviews, Thomas began consulting. “I decided to bet on myself until the market opened up.” Today, with no prior experience in the employment software industry, Thomas is telecommuting from Atlanta for a Web-based workforce management company to broaden its employment portfolio.

Name: Naiema Thomas
Title: Franchise, Business Development Executive
Company: SnagAJob.com, a human capital management company specializing in finding jobs for hourly workers and serving the needs of employers who use hourly employees. Founded in 2000 and based in Richmond, Virginia, with nearly 300 employees, it has more than 25 million registered job seekers. In the last 18 months, SnagAJob.com has transitioned from simply a job board to a company that uses its own software to help employers assess applicant fit, among other services.
Responsibilities: Thomas joined the company in February and is directly in charge of setting strategy and leading the team to achieve greater penetration of the hospitality industry.
Work history: Senior Director of Business Development at Thompson Hospitality (a be 100s company), May 2007 to February 2009; Director of Emerging Markets and Business Development at Choice Hotels, May 2004 to May 2007
Skill set: “I started my career in hotels, and worked my way up from the front desk and did every job imaginable from operations, managing employees, franchise sales and marketing, destination sales and marketing, and diversity marketing.”
How she got the job: “SnagAJob.com had made a lot of inroads in the quick-service restaurant business and retail. They didn’t have a lot of penetration in hospitality and hotels, which hire scores of hourly workers. They found me on LinkedIn. They were looking for a business development professional to help penetrate that space. Business development is really about building relationships. Because I worked in many facets of the business, I’ve built relationships across many different sectors. From looking at my profile I’ve got a lot of hospitality experience, a great network within the industry, and a great understanding of the business.”
Biggest learning curve: “I was a little apprehensive walking in the door. I didn’t know much about the inner workings of online job boards, such as applicant tracking systems, but I was in training for six to seven weeks, where I learned about the company and their culture. I learned about the online sourcing industry, meaning how companies look for candidates and the resources they use. I learned about their products and services from where they were 10 years ago, where they are today, and where they see themselves going. I’ve learned a lot about the human capital management industry, in terms of technology being used, what has been working in recruitment and what hasn’t been, particularly how poor hiring decisions can affect a company’s bottom line. I’m really impressed with the commitment they’ve made to training. For a company of this size, that investment is unheard of. I see an opportunity for growth. 

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  • Mark Franklin

    Great example of redeploying existing skills! Thank you. So many people worry about ‘reinventing’ themselves when career crisis hits. Reinventing is scary. Better to generate ideas to redeploy transferable skills as in Naiema’s story. Key is to name your transferable skills and knowledge.
    -Mark at http://www.careercycles.com