As a recruiter or recruitment marketer, you spend most of your time helping others with their careers. But what about your own career? What strategies do you use to stay on top of your game?
You might find the answer in finding your niche in recruitment. By going from a generalist to a specialist, you’ll be able to serve others better.
My career started in the social media space, but has evolved into me becoming the recruiting and marketing director at Mission Box Solutions. You can use these strategies to create your niche as a recruitment marketer based on what I’ve experienced myself.
Finding Your Niche in Recruitment Marketing
Create or pursue a niche within the world of recruitment to invest in your career. A niche can be anything from:
- Recruiting for specific roles
- Specializing in a specific industry
- Becoming an employer branding specialist
On a professional level, you’ll make yourself stand out when applying for jobs, and on a personal level, you’ll learn more about an area you’ve never explored before.
If you want to stand out, you’ve got to “niche until it hurts.” To become a true specialist, you’ve got to do thorough research about the industry, the role, and the candidates. It’s only when you’ve exhausted all your options that you can talk about the challenges facing the business, industry, or applicant pool with confidence.
The Benefits of Specializing
Niche development takes determination – and time. The more you specialize, the more you’ll see a return. Here are some benefits.
Improve Your Value
By gaining specialized skills and experience, you can enhance your own personal and professional development professional career and give your résumé a boost, especially when you focus on specialty areas that are in demand.
You can also narrow your job search by looking for companies who value your experience and potential contribution rather than simply chasing open positions in HR/recruitment.
Improve Your Communication
As a specialist, you’ll be better able to create and communicate a message that resonates with job seekers on social media, job boards, and face-to-face.
Your employer branding materials will be tailored to their challenges, frustrations, and expectations.
Improve Your Effectiveness
Specialization will help you identify the personas, skills, behaviors, and expectations of your ideal candidates, which you can articulate in your ideal candidate profile.
By focusing on a specific area or industry, you’ll be able to find and recruit talent more efficiently and effectively.
Improve Your Efficiency
A niche will impact your company’s bottom line. By designing the right candidate persona, for example, you’ll be able to allocate resources more efficiently, saving money in the recruitment process.
As a result, companies might be able to empower HR staff toward greater specialization because they’ll see a better return on their recruitment investments.
How to Specialize
In her celebrated book, Grit, Angela Duckworth notes that “doing one thing better and better might be more satisfying than staying an amateur at many different things.” If this resonates with you, it may be time to find your own niche within the recruitment and employer branding community.
But, the way you go about doing that depends on whether you pursue specialization within an industry or focus on particular roles. Here are some strategies to help with both routes.
Choosing a specific industry is one way to specialize. For example, you could gain more experience, knowledge, or skills in finance, software development or any number of other niche fields.
You can build your niche through experience or reflection on previous work. Those experiences will provide you with valuable on-the-job training and experience.
Alternatively, you can learn more about the industry by doing research. Focus on:
- Job titles and career pathing
- The challenges facing the industry today
- Compensation trends within the industry
- What products and services the industry focuses on
- Consumer trends that impact companies within the industry
It’s a good idea to look at industry publications for data and analysis regarding current industry trends. Research will at the very least get you in touch with other professionals, and will help you develop your own niche as time goes on.
A niche can also be built by focusing on a specific role. For instance, you might focus on recruiting for tech positions or managerial positions.
Then you’ll craft an ideal candidate profile, or persona, that highlights the qualities that best match the job and connects job seekers with organizations that need them.
With experience in recruiting for these roles, you’ll be able to connect with job seekers and refine your employer branding to match applicants to the right roles.
The lessons you learn from experience can be amplified with careful research. Check out the related candidate personas and ask questions like these:
- What attracted these candidates to a role?
- What challenges do these job seekers face?
- Why are applicants looking for a new role?
- What are their passions? What are their worries?
- What are they looking for in a new role?
If you want to answer these questions, professional surveys can be helpful. You might even start by looking at your own employees. What brought them here? Why do they stay?
There are also reviews on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. These reviews reveal employee expectations more honestly and give you a better idea of the personas you’re trying to attract.
Specialize Based on Other Criteria
There are a lot of ways to find a niche, including industry-specific and role-specific specialization. But there are also other ways. If you think about it, anything that makes a company unique might turn into a niche based on:
- The rounds of funding
- The financial performance
- The number of employees at a company
- Nonprofit vs. for-profit businesses
- Startup companies vs. tenured corporations
- Minority-owned businesses and organizations
It’s still the same advice: Specialization is best achieved through experience and research.
Talk to Other Niche Professionals
Getting advice from other professionals in your industry, role or type of business can help you learn about best practices.
In some industries, you can even find a mentor who can offer advice on new trends and help you navigate the idiosyncrasies of your niche.
Making Personal Development a Priority
Flight attendants tell you to secure your oxygen mask before tending to a child or someone who can’t put one on themselves. That’s good advice during an emergency, and good advice for your career.
Recruiters and recruitment marketers invest in the career goals of others, but you’ll be more effective if you invest in your own professional development first. Pursuing a niche can help you boost your résumé and grow more effective in your current position.