500+ Connections Of Beige
Written Carrie Callaghan
500+ Connections Of Biege
For a long time now, us recruiters have been doling out advice on how candidates and clients should present themselves in the market. Preaching the value of company culture and individual personality.
As someone building my own business and personal brand. I’m trying to figure out why people engage with me, why they might want to work with me, and why they come back. I’m wondering what I need to do more of as a ‘little guy’ to stand out in a crowded space. So, I had a look at what other recruiters are doing in terms of LinkedIn activity for some inspiration.
Do you know what I see on the most part? Not a f*cking lot.
Practice What You Preach
We ask candidates to have complete LinkedIn profiles with punchy bios, to make use of that ‘prime real estate’ headline, and to use appropriate photos. We ask them to be mindful of their personal social media presence and write perfect resumes in the formats we like best. We ask them to train up on interview techniques, do research on the clients, dress perfectly.
Yet our industry must be the most static, cut and paste, beige sector there is. Can no one else see how ridiculous and hypocritical that is?
Our collective appearances online? Boring AF. Our collective headlines/bios? Boring AF. The content we share on LinkedIn? Posting crap job ads, shitty motivational business quotes and photos of dress down days? Boring. A. F.
So, in terms of our LinkedIn presence, what can we do to address that?
It’s Time For A Makeover
Start with your photo – No sunglasses, no partners, no cropped-out mates, no orange faced tux wearing awards night shots with red eye. Also, no formal posed corporate headshot your employer took for you. That’s fine for your company website, but this is YOUR platform. Make it clear, make it bright and make it real. Help your connections see a person, not ‘another recruiter’.
Next, your bio – Depending on who you ask the bio should be about your career to date. I agree, it should be work appropriate, but think of it more as ‘tell me about yourself’ in an interview. It’s your opportunity to sell YOU, not a bunch of bullet points and buzzwords (and not a blurb from your company website on what THEY do). Try reading yours right now and imagine saying it verbatim to someone when they ask you that question. Would you want to work with you?
Now look at your content and engagement - Do you engage with people? Using actual words, not just likes? Or share things other than those ‘shotgun blogs’ you and your colleagues are forced to put out by Marketing? Try writing some posts of your own about experiences you’ve had, observations you’re making as you go, feedback you get or praise you want to give. Tell people stories that will resonate. Even if some of the stuff you have to say is complete shit to start out with, you will find your voice as time goes on and it’ll get better. It’s a long game, but a pattern will emerge, et voila – goodbye generic bullshit, hello personal brand.
It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know
Network! – It should go without saying but build those connections. Send personalised invites, every time. Chat to people, not just clients and not just candidates. Ask how their week is going, what they’re working on, tell them what you liked about stuff they’ve posted or why you think they seem like cool people to stay in touch with. Find a tribe, speak like a person, and don’t send templated drivel.
Now your jobs – I can’t write ads for shit, but as it happens, neither can a lot of you. I’m trying to fix that, and it’s getting there (slowly), but I still struggle to break the JD/job ad combo. If you’re in the UK go to one of Mitch Sullivan and Jackie Barry’s Copywriting for Recruiters courses. Some of us are stuck waiting for the online release, take advantage of opportunities in front of you – get ahead faster.
Who’s Doing It Now?
Finally - look at the influencers in our area; the digital marketers, the copywriters, the contributors to other people’s posts. Jesus - anyone in your network! Use the advice and content they put out to think smarter about what you’re trying to achieve. We are the ultimate in sales people, WE are a marketing function. The more we know about how to do that in as many ways as possible, the more successful and standout we’ll be.
And to close this rant, remember that to really establish your personal brand, you have to practice what you preach. What you encourage people to perceive online needs to be the same thing they see when they deal with you in person. Be bold, be genuine, be the rainbow in a sea of beige.