When I first moved to NY 11 years ago I embarked (unknowingly) on a career in Recruiting. I was a temp with a staffing agency who eventually brought me in-house. And it turned out that even though I started out having no idea what it was, I loved Recruiting. I enjoyed the interaction with people, the conversations, the ability to truly help them to progress in their career or land their next gig.
That career led to a path in Career Services. I used my 6-to-7 years of Recruiting experience to help recent grads find work in the healthcare space. And I felt like I was really impacting and helping a cohort of people who needed it. I can only imagine where my life might have ended up had I found a coach or career guide right out of school- right?
And what I found was... a lot of people, regardless of where they were in their career, wanted and needed career advice. I'd have friends and colleagues ask me to help their family and friends with resumes, interviewing skills, etc.
So as I entered my 3rd year in Career Services, I decided to start leading a series of workshops in NY. I led seminars, classes and workshops on Career Readiness- any topic from resumes, to interviewing skills, to LinkedIn, to career transitions. Turned out a lot of people wanted to know about this stuff!
And in this journey I realized I really loved Public Speaking and leading training and educational workshops. Taking a topic that I was truly an expert in and helping others succeed was very rewarding. And I found that I was very good at motivating and inspiring people to approach their careers in a different way.
After a summer of leading these courses, I decided to start promoting myself on social media to better expand my network, so that more people could attend the seminars. And as I started that process I thought... I should really update my LinkedIn profile!
Now... I had been using LinkedIn for years (and loved it)! I used it as a Recruiter all of the time! And whether it was as a Director of Career Services or when I led the workshops, I explained to anyone who would listen why LinkedIn mattered, and how they should use it. (To learn more about why I care so much about networking, read my previous blog here).
But even as an avid LinkedIn user... I had a very myopic view of what should and should NOT be included in a LinkedIn profile. I admit... I looked at my profile as an online version of my resume. And my profile was honestly exactly the same as my resume. And I only included jobs I had in the Recruiting or Career Services space.
But throughout my years in NY (and my years before NY) I had done so much more than just those jobs. I consider myself a career student. I love taking classes, launching projects, trying new things... and in that spirit I found over the years that I was very entrepreneurial. I started a theatre production company when I was 25 and a few years later launched a media production company with my (now) husband, creating video content for businesses. In addition to those businesses, I was an actor, producer, writer & director. I loved trying my hand at all things creative!
I've always had this personality... in school I played every sport... only for 1 year, because I was never good at them... but I just HAD to try them. How do you know that you don't like something or aren't good at it unless you TRY IT? And I'm the type of person that likes to learn by doing. So if I don't know how something works, I'll take a class, or learn by trial and error.
But I would NEVER include those extracurricular activities on my resume. Early in my career I learned it was a bad idea to show you had outside hobbies and passions, and I kept a lot of those interests and hobbies to myself. (Yes... at my 2nd ever job I had one of THOSE managers pull me aside and give me a hard time about taking classes at night... ugh)!
As I started down a path of Public Speaking though... I felt that my experience in Recruiting and Career Services wasn't the full picture of who I was or what I had to offer. I knew my experiences in other areas added to my ability to coach and help people in their career.
So... I did something that felt VERY BOLD. I decided to update my profile to tell my entire story. Who I really was, my hobbies, my passions, the companies that I started, my volunteering... all of it. I knew it would help build a brand and grow my network. So... I did it! (and YES, it was scary)!
Three weeks later I got a call from a Recruiter at LinkedIn.
LinkedIn?! Like... THAT LINKEDIN??
For me.... this was like getting a call from a ROCK STAR!!
So many thoughts went through my head as the Recruiter began speaking:
- LinkedIn is calling me?!
- Why? What? Huh?
- Did she say there is a LinkedIn office in New York?
- What does LinkedIn do?
- I mean I know what LinkedIn is... but what do they do?
- I'm not an engineer
- I'm not even a Recruiter anymore
- This is amazing
Turns out... the New York office was looking for people for their Recruitment Product Consulting team (huh? what?)... and the way she explained it was that they wanted people who had been Recruiters (that's me!) to help train other Recruiters on how to best use LinkedIn (I can do that!). It involves a lot of Public Speaking, leading webinars, and consulting with teams on Recruitment and Hiring Strategy (you hire people to do that?! omg! hire me!)
Now you have to understand... I would never have thought to look for, or even apply for, a role like this. I did not even know LinkedIn had an office in NY... I had never heard of Recruitment Consulting... I never would have searched for a job title like that... I would have never have found this role or applied for it.
Most importantly... here are some things the Recruiter said to me that day that I'll never forget....
- You have been on our radar in the past, because you're a Recruiter in the area... but the recent updates on your profile captured my attention
- I'm interested to hear more about your Public Speaking experience, because that is a key part of this role
- But I am most interested in the entrepreneurial experience you've listed. We really look for people who have an entrepreneurial mindset, energy and spirit because they make a great culture fit!
The Recruiter described a dream job that I had no idea existed. And they found me on LinkedIn because I was true to who I was. Something I had always been afraid to do in the past.
And now (almost) two years later... I can (still) say I LOVE my job. I work with brilliant people, I support products, ideas and services that I really believe in, and I have opportunities to do things that I never knew I wanted to do. I'm constantly learning, growing and meeting new people. It's amazing.
So the moral of this story??
Someone out there wants to hire you because you are uniquely yourself and you bring something to the table that no one else does. By promoting YOUR brand, you never know who might find you (on LinkedIn) 😉
Check out resources on how to learn how to better use LinkedIn here.
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