After 12+ years as a professional recruiting/sourcing/talent acquisition consultant and employee, I have seen a significant shift in the manner of how working professionals have been asked to market themselves. From the approach of here is what I do to the current focus on one’s professional brand, I am always amazed at how far most professionals and those entering the work world as fresh graduates are behind what is required to create an effective professional brand that attracts the right kind of attention from people like me, people who can help immensely in gaining candidate’s access to great career opportunities. So here are some hints on what is now the current flavor of ice cream necessary for success in conducting effective career searches.
1. You should not be looking for a job. A job may help you get your foot in the door and even help you bridge time and space, but a job will not necessarily provide sustenance and fulfillment. (Think this: I am going to spend a lot of my life exchanging my time for an income to support the lifestyle I choose. Do my professional choices align in a way that supports my lifestyle choices?)
2. Choose a career, and position your professional path with consistent choices that align with the career you have selected. Mindful and thoughtful consideration are a significant part of this process. So take some time to really think about what you want to do. (Think this: I need to spend more time on this than I spend on planning my next vacation or on what I am going to wear on my next date with that special someone.)
3. Understand the purpose of your paper resume. The only purpose of your resume is to create an advertisement that invites recruitment/sourcing professionals to contact you. If you provide us with too much information then you give me the opportunity to say no before I even give you the chance to sell yourself. There is lots of research out in the market place to support that if you do not “WOW” us in the first 3-4 inches of your resume, then we do NOT seek the “WOW” by reading the rest of your resume. (Think this: What is the most effective and memorable billboard I have seen?)
4. Understand the purpose of your online brand. Whether you have a profile on LinkedIn or one of the other social media applications that recruiters/sourcers use to find talent, what you put online becomes your brand. So if you are a professional, make sure you look professional, make sure you provide enough information to support the success you have attained. And make sure there is consistency between your paper resume and your online profile. Yes, recruiters and sourcers DO check your online profile and over the past 4 years the reliance on social media to find talent and ensure consistency has increased significantly. (Think this: Do I really know how to use social media effectively to advance my professional brand?)
5. Understand the world you are tapping into. With most positions being advertised through a recruiting agency, an RPO company, or a talent acquisition department, it is this world you need to understand first before you get access to the world of a professional position that you have interest in. Reach out to recruiters/sourcers/talent acquisition professionals and pick our brains on how things really work so that you are not lost in the abyss of mystical applications or lost in the assumptions of how things work or should work. (Think this: Do I know how this all works and if not, am I willing to find out how everything works now…and now…and now?)
In the past 2 years, I have seen an enormous shift in people, at all professional levels, reaching out to recruitment/sourcing professionals and an increase in people’s willingness to enlist us in a career conversation over a casual coffee. We have become like a travel agent who you enlist to help plan your exotic vacation. And your reliance on professionals like us to provide you with insight, perspective, guidance, direction, and effective strategies will greatly assist you in achieving the meaningful career choices you seek.