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Meet Jessica Berry of J.R. Berry Search Group in Westwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Berry.

Jessica, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am originally from Canada and moved to Los Angeles in 2004. Prior to moving, I worked as a University Lecturer teaching business courses at Western University in London, Ontario. I adored teaching and loved the opportunity to help others and make an impact. Upon moving to LA, I wanted to use the business skill set I had honed in school but knew I also wanted to keep working with people. I was referred by a friend to a recruiter to assist with my job search. As the recruiter shared details about his own career, I realized it could be an ideal fit with my interests and background. I worked for a boutique staffing company for 3 years and then started my own agency in 2007. In the early days, it was just me, my phone and my computer in a small office without windows. A sign hung over my desk that said “J.R. Berry Search Group” despite no real group existing at the time. I was hopeful, though, that my business name would soon prove to be appropriate and thankfully that was the case. Positive word of mouth and hard work resulted in business growth. My office now includes six talented team members – Amanda Ford, Kayleigh McManus, Kelley Anderson, Erin Felman, Bridget Webb and myself.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The early days of starting the business were not easy. Setting the foundation required hard work, perseverance and a lot of cold calling! In a stroke of good timing, I launched my business in September 2007, exactly one year before the market crash of 2008. I had just enough time to get my footing and build a client base. Then, in September 2008, the office went from busy and buzzing to completely silent. Companies started laying off, organizations went on hiring freezes and the phones in my office stopped ringing. It was a time where I had to stay lean, keep costs low and hang on tight until the market picked up again. In 2010, things finally turned around and I hired my first teammate, Amanda Ford, who is now our Director of Recruiting.

J.R. Berry Search Group – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We like to think of ourselves as matchmakers; we match excellent job applicants with top-tier employers. Our specialty is placing administrative employees (executive assistants, personal assistants, office managers and receptionists) as well as human resources professionals. We work with companies in a range of industries – from financial services to entertainment.

We believe two major factors set us apart from our competitors:

We are incredibly selective in choosing which individuals we represent. We only submit thoroughly vetted candidates who have strong relevant experience, a proven track record of success in past positions and a warm and professional demeanor.

We practice kindness and empathy with every job seeker. We understand that the process of looking for a new job can be very stressful and we strive to make the process easier and more enjoyable. Despite not being able to represent every candidate we meet with, we want each individual to have a positive experience with our agency. We freely share job search techniques, resume-writing advice and interview tips. After visiting our office, job seekers have mistaken us for a non-profit. We take this as a big compliment.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
First, we love working with people. Second, we hold ourselves and our candidates to a high standard in terms of professionalism, capability and integrity. Finally, we care more about upholding our reputation than closing deals.

At the end of the day, business becomes a joy when you love what you do and success usually follows.

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