My bio is terrible
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
Apparently my bio is terrible.
I attended a workshop yesterday as part of Austin Design Week that was energizing. Shout out to Liz Feezor for an excellent session. As I write this blog post, I haven’t actually written my new bio yet. I’d rather document the journey and we’ll see where this ends up together.
Old bio which I thought was good until yesterday.
Somer has been in recruiting and search for over fifteen years, partnering with clients through their technology, digital and customer transformations. She began her career placing developers in the early 2000s, and then transitioned to executive search focused on CIO/CTO recruitment as an Associate and then Director at CTPartners. She later joined Marlin Hawk where she led the US Digital, Tech & Commerce Practice, placing talent cross-industry focused on CIO, CTO, CDO, CMO, COO, CISO and GM functions including engineering, product, digital, security, business heads and marketing. Somer received her degree in economics from Tufts University in 2002. She is based in Austin, TX.
First of all, I learned that this should/can be in first person, especially if it’s not on a corporate website.
Second, the obvious yet mind-blowing news is that people talk about “What” and sometimes ”How,” but don’t talk about “Why.” The Why is what’s real, what’s me. Why I do what I do. Why I wanted to get into recruiting. Why I decided to start my own firm. Why am I doing this?
My bio is just the What.
I’m still debating if my website should show the How.
The bio needs a structure: an opening belief statement, a story, and last a call to action.
First it’s about brainstorming what I do without using my title. Well that’s good because I’m unclear of my title anyway. Founder, recruiter, headhunter, executive search consultant? Instead the point is to talk about who I’m doing this for, with an action word. This is my stream of consciousness:
Who I am writing this for:
I guide hiring managers and HR executives to clearly understand and define their needs and e̶d̶u̶c̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶w̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶e̶x̶i̶s̶t̶s̶ attract the best talent in the market. To take where they are and where they want to go, and craft a job around that…
I guide candidates through an e̶m̶o̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ ̶s̶e̶a̶r̶c̶h̶ ̶p̶r̶o̶c̶e̶s̶s̶ interview journey, putting the human back in search. I’ll fix this later.
Then my belief statement:
I̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶i̶e̶v̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶’̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶a̶r̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶e̶x̶c̶e̶l̶l̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶r̶e̶c̶r̶u̶i̶t̶e̶r̶.̶ No cliche… plus this sounds terrible.
I̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶i̶e̶v̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶e̶x̶c̶e̶l̶l̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶r̶e̶c̶r̶u̶i̶t̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶.̶.̶.̶ ̶ ̶
I̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶i̶e̶v̶e̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶p̶a̶n̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶d̶i̶d̶a̶t̶e̶s̶…
I̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶i̶e̶v̶e̶ ̶r̶e̶c̶r̶u̶i̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶n̶e̶e̶d̶s̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶d̶i̶s̶r̶u̶p̶t̶e̶d̶.̶
I̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶i̶e̶v̶e̶ ̶r̶e̶c̶r̶u̶i̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶b̶r̶o̶k̶e̶n̶.̶ Don’t be negative.
I believe recruiting can be easier. I believe recruiting top talent can be easier.
T̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶’̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶m̶e̶t̶h̶o̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶d̶n̶e̶s̶s̶.̶
T̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶d̶o̶e̶s̶n̶’̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶i̶m̶p̶e̶r̶s̶o̶n̶a̶l̶… Negative into positive:
That it can be personal, organized, efficient and unstressful.
I believe that recruiting top talent can be easier. That it can be personal, methodical, efficient a̶n̶d̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶e̶m̶o̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶w̶h̶i̶l̶e̶ ̶l̶a̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶e̶s̶s̶ and leave candidates with a positive feeling whether or not they got the job.
Why I do this:
I love bringing people together. I do this for fun too with my meetup. I just love people and getting past the surface level conversation. It’s awesome to be real and develop deep relationships.
I wanted to go into sales and interviewed for every single sales job on Monster.com back in 2002 and found recruiting. Representing people connected with me much more than being a financial advisor or working for a phone service. Inside sales gave me an office environment versus outside sales driving around solo. I thrive in the action.
Why sales? That was a process. Ultimately I realized that when I believe in something I’m passionate about it and had a knack. I converted people to Excedrin or Verizon and every time I did I thought that companies should be paying me for this!
I love the complex, using my brain. It’s hard which is fun.
I love ̶b̶e̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶s̶t̶ excelling at something that most people try to do but just don’t do well. I love having a blend of ego and modesty ;)
Technology is so interesting and it’s everywhere. It affects everything.
I have pride in a job well done, especially if the task is difficult.
I love people, understanding what makes them tick. Understanding what makes companies tick. Then having the skill set to take a step back and draw correlations.
I care about the reputation of recruiting overall, and want to elevate what people think of recruiters.
How did I get here?
I grew up in hard core contingency where there were two computers for every six people and LinkedIn didn’t exist. I’ll never forget certain company main numbers like 212–902–1000.
I grew accounts.
Candidates became clients.
Candidates I didn’t even place became clients.
People started calling me.
I’m a reputation person whose work does the talking versus the person who walks into the room and wins a search from scratch, though I’ve picked up that skill too.
I’m genuine and only talk to what I know.
I work my tail off.
Then the bio is written with the bio-reader in mind.
Back to the structure: An opening belief statement. Then a story. Last a call to action.
Ok, from the start. Whittling things down is not my strength but here we go:
I believe that filling executive level positions can be easier. I guide hiring managers and HR executives to clearly define their needs and together we attract the best talent. I’ve filled hundreds of searches over the years and can safely say that no two are alike. I bring this experience and perspective to every search I run. I push my clients’ and candidates’ thinking to consider introductions that may not be obvious. I’m their advocate and make sure they are putting the best versions of themselves and their companies forward. Back in my college days, many people who knew me looked at my economics degree and somewhat risk-averse personality and questioned my decision to take an entry level sales job in Manhattan. I knew that my career needed to have people at its core, and I also knew that I’d thrive in an environment where hard work pays off. I learned how to recruit by networking, dialing the phone, talking to people and developing relationships. I built teams, offices and a new brand. I brought that skill set to the next level when I took the leap after six years of contingency to retained search at CTPartners, putting a structured methodology behind my approach and learning the art of recruiting C-level talent. Five years later I joined Marlin Hawk where I had the best of both worlds: the feeling of my name being on the door building something special, while working on some of the best searches in the market with an excellent group of people. Over the course of six years I grew from being the behind the scenes person to a Client Partner heading the US Digital Technology & Commerce Practice leading retained searches for CIO, CTO, CDO, CMO, COO, CISO and GM functions including engineering, product, digital, security, business heads and marketing positions. Candidates became clients and I went from filling roles to building organizations. I’m embarking on a journey of starting an executive search firm that is aligned with my core values. Let’s put recruiting back into recruiting. Let’s be genuine and transparent. Let’s share bad news early — it’s going to happen. Let’s treat all people as people, with respect. Let’s work hard, but make it easy.