I was thinking the other day about what I say when people ask me what I do. I don’t say “I do a lot. You mean for a living?” because, while it’s true, I’m not that snarky 🙂
I’m equally proud and excited about being the co-owner of The Raleigh Forum and being a Junior Recruiting Coordinator at LivingSocial, but the title I lead with is dependent on the group or person I’m speaking to.
It’s relatively easy to gauge what the person I’m speaking to would be most interested in. An entrepreneur in Raleigh? They’re much more likely to care about The Forum. An account executive seeking a job in DC? They’ll think they’ve hit gold when I mention the words “recruiting” and “LivingSocial” in the same sentence, but “coworking” likely won’t mean much to them. A portfolio careerist? They’ll probably love chatting about how to balance multiple jobs!
So is the way I present myself to these people sneaky and self-serving? I don’t think so. Is it lying by omission? Again, I don’t think so- I’d happily supply my other title if it seemed relevant.
Think of it in terms of a marketing campaign: if Kool-Aid markets the product to kids as a fun summer drink and simultaneously markets it to young adults as a delicious mixer, are they being sneaky? Nope- they just understand their target markets.
There are a few phrases that come to my mind: target marketing, positioning, and personal branding, but I like my made-up phrase: personal positioning.
And my made-up definition (edited from positioning on Wikipedia): the process by which individuals create the most relevant image or identity for themselves in the minds of their target market.
To take it back to recruiting (since, you know, I’m a Junior Recruiting Coordinator haha): You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) submit a generic cover letter and resume, right? Nope- you customize your work experience to showcase your job-specific skills in order to capture the recruiter’s attention! In just the same way I present my titles in order to grab the attention of the person or people I’m speaking to…
Anyone else out there with multiple titles who thinks about personal positioning?