Before I get into this week’s blog, let me ask you a question. What is your favourite brand? What is it that you love about them? When you think of them, how does it make you feel? Have a think about it because I’ll be coming back to this afterwards.
In recent posts, I commented on the ‘serial applier’. This is a person who will apply for absolutely every single job, presenting themselves as something of a jack of all trades. If you ask your average recruitment consultant, they will tell you that they’re definitely in their top 10 most annoying things they need to deal with on a daily basis. In most cases, their way of 'dealing with it' will be to hit the generic ‘reject’ template button and hope that you go away. It’s not the best way to deal with it, however, they’ll point out that they’re potentially tired of going back to people who constantly apply for every job trying to explain to them why they’re not suitable.
In a recent response to an article, someone posted that, "Anyone who is looking for a position and deals with a recruiter must remember: you are not the client. You are the product. The one who hires is the client. You are a commodity, and in this job market, little more than cannon fodder.”
Now, let me shock you all by saying that this person is right. Essentially, a recruitment agency is only going to ever be as good as the candidates they represent. Having said that, I am going to disagree with this observation in this way; we are all our own product. We are all our own brand.
When you become a serial applier, you are essentially damaging your brand with each wrong attempt.
How you conduct yourself with your clients and within your workplace is indicative of that. You have a skill that experience, training and natural talent has given you - people are coming to you to effectively buy your services. If you’re a designer, your style of design will play into that too or else there would be no difference between going to you and hitting up a designer on Fivver who'll do it for a fraction of the cost.
Recruitment consultants are no different; in fact, they rely upon ‘their brand’ to help them to build a reputation as being a strong, ethical, transparent recruiter who builds relationships that matter.
It amazes me how many people fail to recognise this simple fact. When you are applying for a job, you are putting yourself as your brand out there.
Now, come back to your favourite brand. What is it about the brand that makes you love it? Is it the ease of use? Is it how stylish and contemporary it is? Is it that it is reliable? Many will argue that Apple doesn’t make the best smartphones, but what they do make is so reliable and so solid that it has won a legion of fans who have bought into the brand and will not go anywhere else.
When you become a serial applier, you are essentially damaging your brand with each wrong attempt. Some of my favourite creatives I’ve had the chance to work with have come to me and said, ‘You know what, I actually hate design but I loved finished art; I just want to be a finished artist. And you know what, I’m really good at Corporate, I’ve been doing it for years it just reflects me! That’s what I want to do.’
“Great!”, I say, “Let’s put you straight out in front of people who want Finished Artists from the Corporate sector."
They’ve established their brand. They’ve thought about it. They know what they’re good at and they know where they fit. And they work with people presenting themselves as that.
Have you ever had that annoying experience of asking your partner what they would like for dinner and getting ‘anything’ as the response? Or asking someone what they are good and getting the response, ‘everything. These are words that ultimately translate to nothing. If Apple said that their brand was about ‘everything’, the brand would go downhill fast.
Ultimately, we need to know what we’re good at and what we’re not good at - and own it. We need to start viewing ourselves as being a brand; a big, experienced, awesome brand that is connecting with other awesome brands. We need to start thinking about what we represent as a brand and what kind of opportunities are right for us instead of taking on an air of desperation and believing that we are all things to all people. In doing so, our ‘brand’ builds credibility, integrity and has far more chance of connecting with those looking for someone just like you.
Of course, if you have any thoughts, questions or simply would like to get in touch with me and offer up a topic for the next Ask Lawrence, you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find me and connect with me on LinkedIn. You can check out more jobs by going to our website or you can search for them on Twitter via #CRJobs.
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