Have you ever asked an employer brand professional how they got their start?
No two answers are ever the same. Employer brand is a field that is relatively new in comparison to most industries, so none of us grew up aspiring to be in the seats we’re in today. The truth is, so many of us stumbled upon this field, and fell in love with it, because it combines a lot of what we were good at and passionate about.
Recently, we asked employer brand professionals what they once dreamed of becoming and how it relates to their job today. From hockey player to librarian, here’s what they shared:
Erin Maxin, EY: “When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer and an archaeologist. I dug holes all through the backyard, much to my father’s dismay. I grew up when the Indiana Jones movies were coming out, which is probably why I was convinced there were artifacts in the ground behind the house. My first love is storytelling and writing, because what better way is there to take an imaginary adventure? Writing is something I’ve always done, and it still provides me with joy and meaning. Quite accidentally, I found this field which really depends on the power of stories, and nobody is better at digging up inspiring stories than employer brand professionals.
Clara Timpe, Pinterest: "When I was growing up, I loved to read, and thought I would become an author. My parents were very anti-technology and my only entertainment around the house was reading books. So naturally, I read anything I could get my hands on and often stayed up late way into the night gobbling up books. My love of stories grew and grew throughout my childhood and ultimately manifested in my career today as an employer branding professional. As an adult, I get to find stories every day about why employees love to work here, why candidates should too, and tell those stories in so many different ways. I never grew out of my love of storytelling, in fact I found a way to weave it into my life every day."
Tenille Folk, Stryker: “I wanted to be an FBI detective. This was helpful as a former recruiter, where I asked a lot of questions to dig into the truth about their experience. Now, working in recruitment marketing and employer brand, I use my detective skills to try and figure out what makes people tick.”
David Lee, CVS Health: “I wanted to be an architect as a kid. I also read a lot of history and became an Abe Lincoln fan. I ended up going to West Point and studying economics. At the end of my Army career I was asked to run the Army marketing program which led to a few employer brand jobs after service. Now, I’m doing a little employer brand combined with workforce development helping communities in need to include vets. I attribute my passion for telling stories and wanting to make a difference in peoples’ lives to my reading about Lincoln.”
Hockey Player + Soccer Player
Alex Her, Acoustic: “When I was growing up, I first wanted to be a hockey player and play for Michigan State University. When that didn't pan out, I had my sights set on being a professional soccer player. I had much more success there but decided to stop playing at a high level around 11th grade. I realized I couldn't make it to the next level and focused more on schooling.
Both employer brand and soccer push you to work hard, stay sharp, and teach you to learn to deal with various situations. Just as a soccer ball can bounce or end up anywhere on the field, your EB and the challenges that come with it can bounce around and put you in some unique circumstances.”
Jill Shabelman, Stories, Inc.: “I spent hours playing librarian in my grandma's basement, among stacks and stacks of her books. While I don't think I had a dream of being an actual librarian, I loved reading and getting lost in stories. Fast forward to today and I get to uncover people's stories all day long and help bring them to life through building our clients' recruitment marketing libraries!”
Jennifer Beyer, Fannie Mae: “When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I even adopted a pod of dolphins. Exploring oceans and sharing my discoveries are actually similar to what I do in employer branding. I spend my time learning about a company and sharing all the reasons why it’s a great place to work.”
Carrie Corcoran, TalentNet Media: “I wanted to be a Distributive Education Marketing teacher and teach high school students about marketing. My dreams were dashed when I flunked accounting in college, so I changed my major to Speech Communications. I have always had a marketing mindset, and employer branding allows me to combine my passion for people, communication, marketing, storytelling, and education.”
Jason Kent Crowell, Brady Trucking Inc.: “In ‘87 I taught 8th grade English students parts of speech. I learned early on the value of engagement, and the corrosive nature of disengagement. One day, my mentor teacher let us read aloud the story of Ichabod Crane. It was then that I learned the life-long lesson that stories are much more memorable than facts.”
Theater Director, Playwright, + Film Producer
Adam Eisenstein, BCG: “I was a theater director, playwright and film producer first, supporting myself with a variety of temp jobs when I moved to New York. I decided that I needed to find corporate work that aligned better with my core skills instead of so much random stuff, so I reached out to McGraw-Hill, with whom I had worked as a temp for their Corporate Communications department to see if they had full-time work. I started as a contract and this led to full-time work on internal, HR, and executive communications as well.
After moving to Philly and then getting laid off 4 months into a new job, I crawled back to McGraw-Hill when a new role for a recruitment marketing specialist was created by the TA head that was very open in its job description. Soon enough I had launched their first careers social media account on Twitter, started a blog, and was hosting live chats between candidates and recruiters… this was fun! I felt my creative background was more and more relevant as I found new ways to pull back the curtain and share what it was like to work there, be the voice of the company to candidates, and unify employees and recruiters around a vision of how to tell their story…just like a director does with a play.”
As employer brand professionals, we’re living out our childhood dreams of storytelling, teaching, learning, writing, reading, and everything in between. It didn’t end up looking exactly like we’d pictured… but maybe it’s even better. What did you want to be when you were younger? How does that relate to what you’re doing today? Let us know in the comments on Facebook or LinkedIn, or tweet us @exaqueo.