Is your personal branding damaging your chances of a career change?
22/01/2020 by MRL
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In a particularly philosophical moment, IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty said that “growth and comfort do not coexist.” Once you’ve spent years learning the tricks of the trade and the business starts rolling in, it can be easy to slip into that feeling of comfort in a sales role and before you know it, your progression has plateaued and your days are getting a little monotonous. It’s time for a change, but even with an A* sales record and a place in the industry’s top 10 per cent of salespeople to boot, you might not have it all your way.
Although we’re experiencing a candidate-driven market, where the demands of jobseekers have changed and a big pay packet alone no longer cuts the mustard, your talent alone may not necessarily see you bombarded by job offers. Everyone has a point to prove, and it’s a big crowd to stand out in, especially when the SaaS industry is such a well-connected place.
Colleagues from other offices, professionals from other businesses and even competing companies talk to each other on a regular basis. It can be easy for your name to be lost in the conversation, or even worse to have a negative reputation peddled, but if you get yourself out there in a positive way there’s no telling where your next opportunity may come from. But, when everyone is already doing all they can to set themselves apart, how can you stand out?
This is where the importance, and the power, of personal branding comes into its own.
You’re already an active LinkedIn user, and maybe you’ve made the foray into using Twitter professionally too, but so is everyone else in the industry – nine in 10 top sales performers acknowledge that networking platforms are “very important” to closing the deal. Engaging with your connections and encouraging conversations on industry stories will not only demonstrate your expertise on a consistent basis, it’ll also get you talking to new people in the SaaS landscape.
Don’t underestimate the power of video in doing this – visual content is much more engaging, and although it can be a daunting prospect to put the phone down for a little while and get behind a camera, the pay-off can be huge. Even the simplest visual content can put you in front of the masses, and there has been plenty of research and experimentation to prove that. This jobseeker, for example, became a viral hit overnight with a simple ‘draw my life’ style effort. Videos will let you demonstrate your all-important personality, as well as showing off your industry expertise – and they’ll help you to stand out in a crowd.
There are currently almost 5,000 SaaS vacancies, each looking to be filled by the best possible talent, meaning you might already be on the radar. While that sounds like a great position to be in, submitting countless applications will see you struck off the list of many employers. As a top-tier candidate you want to be shortlisted for the top-tier jobs, but to do that you’re going to be expected to know your stuff, both about the company and the role. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail has never been more apt – so be selective about the opportunities you apply for, and research them well.
They say teamwork makes the dream work, and the job hunt can be a tough task on your own. There’s a long list of benefits to working with a specialist recruiter – we’re experts in the hiring process as well as industry know-it-alls, making us an invaluable source of information. “Specialist” is key here – you will surely have had run-ins with recruiters who are a little too self-interested in the past. However, rather than taking a scattergun approach to get our candidate in front of as many businesses as possible, a specialist will concentrate on quality over quantity. We want to build a strategic partnership with you.
As a salesperson, you’ll appreciate the power of building relationships – doing so with a recruiter is no different. Although you may go and scroll through the job boards when you’re ready to move on, there’s no telling when the perfect opportunity will come up or if it will even be made public, especially with such a passive talent market. Those roles may even emerge in markets you’d never considered, or different verticals that you thought were out of reach. Your specialist recruiter will know whether or not you have the transferable skills to make it a success, and tip you off with opportunities you wouldn’t have known existed.
By creating a career-long partnership with a recruiter, the door is always ajar. Combine that with the successful management of your personal branding and the development of an active and engaging social presence, and you could be in with the opportunity to move from the top 10 per cent of SaaS salespeople, to the top one per cent. By keeping the door ajar and with employers continuing to be particularly selective over the talent they approach, you could soon find yourself at the front of a long line of talent SaaS professionals, for the perfect role that you didn’t even know existed.