Here are some job titles on LinkedIn – these are the first 10-ish words under your actual name: “building bridges to what’s possible”, “savvy, connected dealmaker”, “high-energy individual looking to make an impact”, “We have over 25+ years of expertise”, “attended X college”, “bringing the world together through play”, “an enthusiastic and focused manager”….etc.

Now, I am not having a go at these people personally, but my problem is: I don’t know what they do. Are they a journalist, an IT professional, an HR person, a caterer, a construction foreman? If I email and say, great, I’d like you to make an impact on my business and they say, well, we’re a cleaning company (and I need my accounts doing) then we’ve got nowhere.

Sarah Lockett at Moneymagpie relaunch party 2011
Sarah Lockett at a event

I am exaggerating, but don’t make it difficult for people to be interested in you. Don’t make them do the work. Don’t make them have to spend time looking you up to find out what you actually do.

Also, as an aside, if you have to put “savvy”, “enthusiastic” or high-energy” I’d be worried they’re compensating for not being those things. Or conversely, they’re so manically high-energy they feel thay have to put it on their profile to avoid you getting a shock on their first day working for you, when they’re bouncing off the walls!

Now, not everyone has a neat job title such as: accountant, butcher, baker, candlestick maker etc. Some of us do a few different things and just putting “consultant” sounds too vague – and even dodgy. So we want to encompass everything we do in our job title/description. I understand this, but perhaps there’s a happy medium?

Incidentally, the same goes for websites. Often on their homepage there’s just some inspirational photo (of green fields, happy smiling communities etc) and a motto such as “Inspiring the future”. Ooh that makes my blood boil! I instantly backspace and change the Google settings to “News” to see what journalists have said about them. Then I get “software company x…” or “financial services company y” and then we know where we are. (I always wonder if the actual company is seething because they don’t want to think of themselves as just a technology company, or whatever). But hey, if I ring up and say, I need help with marketing – and actually they make payroll software – then again, we are stuck. Best to be clear, I think.

Also I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old bag, but it bears repeating: don’t make people work to give you work. They don’t want to have to research you, to spend time discovering what your specialisms and abilities are. Make it easy for them. I once got some work because someone just Googled “TV News Presenter London”. Boom, I got the gig. And it was kosher. And I got paid.

But if you want to call yourself, “Changing the world one interaction at a time”, or “Connecting Everything All The Time”, don’t let me stop you! Sometimes we don’t want to be limited by a label. Dream big! But don’t be surprised if people are confused, decide to pass, or don’t call you.

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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