Friday, July 13, 2012

My Bad Advice

After years of writing advice to young entry-level talent, I recently made a blunder and handed out some bad advice. Of course, I didn't think it was bad advice when I gave it (it's the old hind-sight is 20/20 thing). Unfortunately, for the young women who heeded my advice, this admission doesn't do much for her situation.

And so it goes.

An aspiring creative recruiter discovered my blog and read more about my background. She contacted me to ask some advice about a junior creative recruiter job she was pursuing. The hiring recruiter asked a brilliant thing of her as part of the interview process. The candidate was to re-create a resume that showed her background and experience 5 years from now.

What a unique challenge to hand someone! Create your future resume. This is one of those things I wish I had thought of myself. It gives the candidate the opportunity to present their passion and drive by believing and visualizing their own future. I'd bet you can tell a lot about a person by seeing how they view their future.

This woman had a great resume, but she did not have any creative recruiting skills. Somehow she had to show her past experience was applicable to this future career. What better way to do that then by describing her aspirations on a "future" LinkedIn profile.

We talked about all the ways she could do this. She researched creative recruiters on LinkedIn and reviewed all the skills, accolades, accomplishments and groups these folks had. We talked about her goals and how she saw herself as a contributor to the advertising and creative industries. This wasn't a poorly thought out plan.

Or so we thought.

Fast forward 3 days. Her "future" profile is on LinkedIn. She creates an amazing infographic version of it on and responds back to the hiring manager. All is well in Cecilia advice-giving land.

Coincidentally, another recruiter for another junior recruiting job stumbled upon her "future" profile on LinkedIn. Obviously these are not her real jobs, real accolades or real experiences. She is accused of fraud and dismissed from consideration.


My bad advice with good intentions. And so I ask this recruiter, and any others who may have seen this profile -- which was intended to be up only a few days and is now deleted -- to see the flip side of this situation.

This young woman showed initiative. She researched, explored and spent a great deal of time thinking about her future in recruiting and how she saw her career foundation build. And she is confident about being a creative recruiter.

Let's learn from this situation. LinkedIn is a public place with thousands of people clicking though it a day and what you put on your profile is a direct reflection of who you are.

I'm hoping she reflected her passion and drive.

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