Lauren McGoodwin is someone who entrepreneurs and job seekers alike should keep a keen eye on. Lauren began her career as a Recruiter at Hulu, and started her own company, Career Contessa, after identifying a passion for helping other women succeed in their careers. We sat down with Lauren to better understand her perspective on women in the workplace, how to identify when it’s time to make a career change, and the challenges she had to overcome while starting her own business.
Briefly describe your background and how you ended up where you are today:
I started my career working as an Administrative Assistant at a University, where most of my day consisted of answering phones. Knowing I needed to make a change, I looked further into becoming a Recruiter. I used informational interviews as a tool to speak with people who were already in recruiting at various companies and industries. I reached out to about 70 strangers on LinkedIn and ended up meeting with about 30 of them. Without doing that I wouldn’t have been able to transition the way I did. This lead me to my first recruiting role with Hulu, where I worked for about a year and a half. Having gone through a difficult job search of my own, I realized that there were not specific resources for women. This pushed me to create a career site that went beyond the basics and was tailored to specific challenges that only women face (i.e. wage gaps, achievement gaps, etc.). The website started as a prototype, which I began as a “side hustle,” and it eventually ended up becoming my full-time hustle. At this time, I left Hulu in order to put more energy into building out a career resource solely for women. We now have a job board, company profiles, career coaching, online services, and much more!
What has been your biggest career challenge thus far and how did you overcome it?
As an entrepreneur, the biggest challenge I faced was two-fold. At first, it was encouraging business minded individuals who supported the idea of Career Contessa to sponsor the beginning stages of the business. Yet, now that I’ve overcome that, I’ve encountered a new challenge, which is how do I market and scale this great product and service?? How do I ensure people know my company exists? I think that at every stage in your career you’re going to have a new challenge and one way to overcome such challenges is to believe in yourself and what you’re focused on. Looking back, you have a track record of past challenges you’ve been able to overcome, and if you’ve overcome those, you can overcome the next ones too.
What role has networking played in your career?
Networking has played a huge role in my career at every stage. As I mentioned earlier, when I was working as an Administrative Assistant, I used LinkedIn and informational interviews with individuals who were working as Recruiters so I could better understand the role I was looking to step into. At Career Contessa, I use networking constantly to build my business. Whether it’s networking with another companies to collaborate because we have a similar audience, building a network of people to feature on Career Contessa, or networking with other brands we could build a working relationship with. One of the skills that I believe networking has taught me is to not only to build relationships, but to maintain them.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?
The piece of advice I would give is to not be so stuck on having a defined path, and instead being more curious to try out new things. I went to college to become a teacher, which was a choice that I made on a whim. Due to this choice, I didn’t take advantage of the vast amount of opportunities around me because I was following this plan so closely. I wish I had been more comfortable with the unknown and explored the curiosities I had.
Career Contessa is a great resource for job seekers, what is the most common problem you see women encounter in their careers? In comparison, what is the biggest hurdle you see women face when searching for a new role?
A common problem I see women face in their career is not a lack of ambition, but rather an uncertainty of their future career path. I speak with a lot of women who have the courage to make a transition and desire to grow, but are maybe unsure of what exactly it is that they want to pursue. I see so many women with stellar qualities face uncertainty when it comes to making a big career decision. While this is normal for everyone, I would love for all women to have the confidence to make those big moves, take ownership of prior responsibilities and experiences they have, and know they are capable of landing their dream job. I want women to think in a way that screams, “I don’t know how to do that, but I know there is no one better than me to figure it out!”
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