Originally from Alabama, US, Tamara Perry is a tech translator and content generator specializing in information technology who is currently based in Madrid, Spain. We spoke with Tamara about the advancements she’s witnessing in the tech industry and why patience is key when it comes to adapting to new communication systems. She also told us about the valuable lessons she learned as a former tech recruiter. Namely, knowing your transferable skills and changing your mentality is now more important than ever.

How is what you do related to content and communication?

I’m a freelance translator and content creator specializing in information technology. I also do copywriting, proofreading and editing, as well as teach Business English courses. I chose this path because of my love of engaging quality content, and my years of experience as a technical recruiter in the US. I spent several years working in Atlanta, Georgia where I successfully placed candidates within positions ranging from software development to project management. I also lived in the Washington D.C. metro area, where I recruited candidates for positions within several government agencies including the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States Postal Service (USPS), and The White House. 

What is the most important lesson you learned as a former recruiter?

The most important lesson is the ability to leverage transferable skills. Not only are these skills sought after by employers, but recognizing and appreciating these skills within yourself is extremely self-empowering, especially in the midst of a crisis. 

Knowing and appreciating your transferable skills is extremely self-empowering.

In my personal experience, as a freelancer, I rely on my transferable skills to acquire new clients. For example, I pride myself on being able to establish rapport and trust with my business students by conducting highly effective and engaging classes. About a month into lockdown, the relationship I established with a student a couple of years ago blossomed into a new account for my business.

How has the lockdown impacted your industry?

The lockdown has impacted the technology sector quite significantly. Part of my job includes keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest industry trends. Needless to say, the prominent role that teleservices like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has taken on is undeniable. I believe the lockdown has been a bit of a blessing in disguise for these companies. In how many other circumstances would a business see demand for its services expand so exponentially? 

Whenever there is a crisis, most businesses tend to utilize technology solutions wherever possible as part of their disaster recovery and business continuity strategies. Therefore, what we’re seeing with Zoom and others is not very surprising. What’s more remarkable, in my opinion, is the breakneck speed at which these new teleservice customers have been able to adapt even though many had never offered their services online before. 

During the lockdown, I have seen some truly inspiring real-world examples of this crisis-driven innovation. One of my clients, a language workshop whose sessions are built around highly kinesthetic group activities and games, had to reinvent their business model overnight. As a consultant, being a part of that process has been very interesting and eye-opening. 

After initially starting with Skype, they soon invested in a Zoom business account for teachers. At that point, none of the staff, myself included, had used Zoom on an extensive basis, and neither had many of our students. While implementing it, management customized and emailed out detailed tutorials on how to enter the chat rooms. Despite this effort, many students still encountered quite a bit of difficulty when trying to log on. For me, this particular challenge reiterated the importance of patience when problem-solving. At times, I had to assist students by troubleshooting technical issues on the platform in the middle of class. If that doesn’t demonstrate the importance of patience as a virtue nothing will. 

Another interesting development has been the adaptation of learning content from the workshop to the chat room. During the first few weeks of the lockdown, weekly grammar points, games, and activities were emailed to families because the idea of conducting weekly sessions online still seemed too far-fetched. Also, at the time, the possibility of the lockdown ending within a couple of weeks seemed plausible. However, once everyone realized the lockdown would be lasting much longer, a much more dynamic solution was adopted – highly engaging theme-based Google Slide presentations that teachers present weekly to students.

How has your work and daily life changed since the onset of the crisis?

Before the lockdown, I spent most of my mornings working from home, usually in front of my laptop by 9am working on translation or content generation projects. My afternoons would be spent on-site giving sessions at the language workshop where I would typically end around 8:30pm. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

When the lockdown started, I thought I would have a lot of downtime to learn a new skill or brush up on my Spanish grammar, but this hasn’t been the case. I’m actually giving more online classes because demand has skyrocketed. I guess you could say a lot of Spanish people are using their downtime during the lockdown to brush up on their English grammar. Despite the additional classes, I’ve had the opportunity to focus on other aspects of my business. I’m generating more content for my blog, and I’ve recently started an SEO training course online. So maybe I’ll get to learn a new skill during the lockdown after all. 

What are 3 professional takeaways that you’ll carry with you after all this?

  • Change your mentality around how you do what you do.
  • Change your mentality around working remotely especially if you’ve never considered working from home before. 
  • Change your mentality around taking risks in your career. 

What are the top 3 most valuable tools you’re working with right now?

  • Right now, I manage all of my day-to-day workflow on Trello. I love the card custom fields that allow you to label and add photos to projects while supporting a complete syntax for formatting text. Trello can be integrated with a number of other programs including Google Drive which has been a real timesaver for me. I also use Trello’s chrome extension when browsing online to attach interesting content to my boards to consume later. 
  • For effective data management, AirTable has been a godsend. I use it to track all my classes and invoices and store all of my client account information. There is also a plethora of really cool templates available for everything from CRM to copy management.
  • Whereby is a lesser-known video conferencing tool, but I use it every day for my online classes. In addition to traditional features like screen share and software integrations with YouTube, Trello, and Google Drive, the Pro and Business subscriptions allow you to customize your chat rooms with your company logo which I really like. 

How has the role of marketing and content changed from your personal perspective? How are you adapting your business going forward?

When I first started my business, I planned on generating broad content about digital transformation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the cloud. But because of the new reality, I plan to narrow the focus of my content on the implications of the surge in global demand for teleservices. So many of the products and services we consume are about connecting with others – whether that be our family, our friends, our clients, or people that share similar interests. I believe the biggest challenge for marketing, content and communications will be how to effectively convince consumers that these products and services will remain beneficial despite the confines of social distancing. 

Connect with Tamara Perry on LinkedIn and check out her company website

Read Tamara’s article: 3 Strategies to prepare for the post-Covid economy right now