Social recruitment: “Tell me who you are, not just what you’ve done”

How social media can take your career to the next level / Social selling and your career

I’ve been thinking about social selling – about how effective it is, and about how its principles can be applied to recruitment.

Social selling takes place when salespeople use social media to build relationships with prospects much earlier on than they would otherwise be able to do. It’s about ‘selling’ a company’s solutions and the salesperson’s expertise. About being where the prospect is and answering any questions they might have. It’s about backing up sales and marketing messages by getting out there and interacting with prospects.

As a head hunter, I get to see a lot of a marketing CVs. In most cases, they’re traditional, neatly-laid out PDFs that detail the job seeker’s skills and career highlights. Nothing wrong with that.

I also get see a lot of job specs and talk to a lot of businesses about their ideal candidates. In many cases, my clients are looking for marketers who can help them safely navigate the digital marketing world.

Unfortunately, when I compare job specs to CVs, there’s a disconnect. While most marketers talk about social or digital marketing in some way, very few are actually social or digital. Sure, they all have LinkedIn profiles, and most have Twitter accounts. But they could be using them so much more effectively.


The way I see it, your CV is an important, but one-sided, list of what you’ve done – all your achievements, your skills and some references. Social media is where all that experience comes alive. It’s where you can build a real picture of yourself as a marketer. And where you can prove that others agree.

For example, I recently saw a  CV from a senior marketer. It was a great-looking digital CV, and it was backed up by an amazing social media ‘picture’. He has his own blog, which he uses to discuss digital marketing and share best-practice. This gives me an idea of what he’s really interested in, how much he knows about it, and gives away some of his personality traits. He has a guest blog spot on a leading social media site. This tells me that other social media marketers value his opinion – he must be pretty good.

This guy is seen as a leader in his industry. And he achieved it all by being brave and disciplined enough to put his opinions and ideas out into the digital world. That tells me that he is serious about his career and serious about his subject matter.

What was interesting was how he had used social selling to sell his own social marketing skills. He has used social media to build his own personal network and influence much earlier that he would otherwise have been able to do.

And because the opinions (and frustrations) he shares are his own, his personality comes through very clearly – which is vital for recruiters. Many candidates might have the right skill set, but not be the right ‘fit’ culturally. Showcasing your personality and values can really help you stand out from the crowd.

It takes an enquiring mind and real passion to make the time to build a strong social presence, but it really can put you miles ahead of the competition when it comes to finding your next marketing role. Employers want to see that you truly do understand and love social and digital, that you have opinions on these topics, and that your opinions are respected by others.

Use your social media platforms to build a picture that will support your CV. Your CV might tell me what you’ve done, but your social media presence can do so much more – it can tell me who you are.

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