Jim Hopkinson '91: Pursuing the ideal career (and salary)
Jim Hopkinson ’91 has had a good track record of aligning himself with the latest trends. With a computer information systems degree from Bryant in hand, he took a job at a software company just as Microsoft Windows was ramping up. From there he took a risk and joined a startup when CD-ROMs and high-quality video were taking off.
In 1998 Hopkinson moved 3,000 miles to Seattle at the start of the Internet boom, getting his dream job in sports at ESPN.com. Lastly, he found himself in the right place at the right time again, landing at Wired.com in 2007 - just as social media exploded - spearheading the launch of the brand’s Facebook page, Twitter account, and first iPhone application.
His position finally fell victim to the economy. But fortunately, he had a backup plan and opted for the boss-free lifestyle, starting his own company, Hopkinson Creative Media.
While at Wired, he created The Hopkinson Report, a blog and podcast that featured high-energy conversations around new media, technology, and branding, which he continues to run. "I focus on career development for the new economy," says Hopkinson, explaining that it's not a formally scripted show. "It’s been called “Audible Caffeine” for its high-energy approach. You’ll get jokes, pop culture, and some rants, but I always try and deliver actionable information as well.”
It also had other benefits, strengthening his writing skills, building his personal brand, and making dozens of business connections. Those connections led to speaking, teaching, and writing jobs, and ultimately, a book deal with a major publisher.
As author of Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You, Hopkinson speaks frequently about salary negotiation, including on campus to Bryant students and alumni. He was inspired to write the book because it was a subject he was passionate about, and he saw how it could truly help others.
"While preparing for a huge interview, I noticed there were hundreds of books and blogs on resumes & interviewing, but virtually no resources for salary negotiation,” he says. “Most people lacked the skills they needed to get paid what they're worth.”
PURSUING THE NEXT TREND
Recently, Hopkinson spoke to 120 alumni and students at the Student Alumni Association annual networking night. His message was clear: Network, work hard, and do something amazing with your life and career. He feels we're entering into a "gig economy," where many people work project-to-project freelance careers, not 9-5 jobs at the same company for years.
Instead, he believes future careers will be fluid - full-time work meshing with passion projects, strong networks built through social media and personal brands, and new technology around mobile, video, and online learning.
And, of course, Hopkinson also spoke to students about preparing for that heart-racing moment when HR asks that all-important question, 'Soooo‚ what were you looking for in terms of salary?'
He says, "While it's impossible to fully predict what the next trend will be, a Bryant education can help you prepare for it."
(Negotiating a new job offer or asking for a raise? Hopkinson has set up a special page with free resources and online courses for Bryant alumni at SalaryTutor.com/Bryant.)