EPISODE #26 || Jocelyn S. Lai, Principal & Founder at jsl talent consulting


Jocelyn recruited talent and built teams at some of the industry's biggest agencies (like Droga5 and R/GA) before founding her own business, jsl talent consulting. Hear about how she lost everything she worked for at the start of her career, how to build a personal brand, and the biggest mistakes she sees when people apply to jobs. In the thick of internship application season, you don't want to miss this episode!

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Topics Discussed

  • How she lost everything at the start of her career—her first job offer and Summa Cum Laude status—and managed to turn it around. 
  • How she walked away from her Most Promising Multicultural Student experience with 13 job offers.
  • Her advice on how to keep in touch with a recruiter without going overboard.
  • Why helping a recruiter do their job and referring someone else can help you land your own job. (I know, it’s crazy.)
  • The importance of a personal brand, how to build one as a student, and where to express it.
  • Thinking about recruiting like dating when deciding how to build your personal brand.
  • The biggest mistakes she sees when people apply to jobs, and how to avoid them.
  • Words for those who have been on the job hunt for awhile with no luck. 

Mic Drops

“Writing thank you notes makes a big difference, and the number of hiring managers who actually keep those cards, or pin it up on their board—I would say about 80% of them actually do that. Or they’ll take a picture and send it around to the team. There are these human touches that help.”

“By referring other people, you get the conversation going, because you know that’s the recruiter's need. This has happened a few times with my LinkedIn updates were I’ll post, hey I’m looking for a Senior Copywriter, and someone will post the name of their friend. And so of course I’ll look at the friend’s information, but I’ll also naturally look at this person who is so kind as to not offer themselves up, but offer their friend up. I want to get to know them. Being selfless is kind of a rare trait in the business world.”

“Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s the feelings that are attached to your name, it’s the reactions that people have when your name is said, it’s the words that are associated with your name. The reason why it’s so important to lead your personal brand is that if you don’t define your personal brand, someone else will do it for you.” 

Resources Mentioned

Keep in Touch

About Jocelyn

Jocelyn founded jsl talent consulting after successfully restructuring and scaling organizations and teams at several advertising agencies from a talent perspective.

Most notably, Jocelyn has played critical roles in rebranding agencies, building new capabilities, restructuring and opening up new offices in the U.S. and Asia Pacific, and building recognized recruiting departments from the ground up. 

Jocelyn is a regular public speaker and has been recognized by the American Advertising Federation, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Association of National Advertisers, The Wall Street Journal, and SXSW.

Jocelyn is adjunct faculty at The University of Oklahoma, where she designed and teaches a course on how to prepare for the real world. She holds a B.S. and an M.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.

Outside of work, Jocelyn hunts + gathers for good deals in fashion, styling and happiness.

Her favorite books are: Harold and the Purple Crayon, and The Little Prince.