I was hired on as a sourcer in early September. Three weeks later, and three days before SourceCon, my company notified me I would be attending Fall SourceCon 2016. They had an extra ticket and I was the lucky attendee that got to represent my company! So there I was, bright eyed bushy tailed, sitting amongst the most well-respected, highly skilled sourcers and recruiters. Before I attended the conference, I barely had an idea what ERE and SourceCon even was. I had never heard of these high profile sourcing “stars,” and barely understood how to put together a search string. To say I was intimidated would be an understatement.
My initial thoughts were, “what could I contribute to this conference, everything I learn is about to go over my head!” I had barely started my career, and these events were obviously for the elite and well versed. But as I sit here, a few weeks after the conference, I am filled with encouragement and more knowledge that I ever thought I would be able to consume. Thanks to fellow coworkers, I attended the conference with, guest speakers and those I met amongst the crowd, all have inspired me to write and share my viewings of the event.
Not only have I learned practical skills from how to build a Boolean string, to personalizing my email outreach to candidates – I learned about the sourcing community. A group of talented, creative, and encouraging people who are all working together to make this industry the best it possibly can. I’ve learned that as an “entry-level” sourcer, there is so much foundational knowledge that one should gain at SourceCon. Having a fresh perspective and an eager mind to learn does not make you less able to contribute and make an impact at SourceCon.
In short, here are four reasons why I think sourcers and recruiters should attend SourceCon early on in their career.
- Learn to take risks early on – A consistent theme across the whole conference was that sourcing and recruiting leaders all had wished they took more risks early in their career. The entire conference was filled with leaders across every industry who risked their careers, took a leap of faith and landed in the best possible outcome. A #girlboss I became slightly obsessed with who guest spoke day two was Maisha Cannon, a sourcer from Github. She jumped from career to career building her portfolio in high places like Google and E! She realized she was playing it safe as a sourcer. She then quickly changed and took a risk to try new sourcing skills like personalization, and quality over quantity, and succeeded. Another #girlboss I loved was Founder and CEO of The Muse Kathryn Minshew. She took a risk starting her own company, failed, then started another company (The Muse) and it took off. All under the age of 30. What an inspiration, am I right?
- Learn Practical skills and new tools – This is pretty self-explanatory and obvious, but SourceCon is not a scary conference and the least bit intimidating. This really is a conference where everyone wants to share the skills and tools they’ve come to learn over the past year. Each keynote and breakout session had various nuggets of new tools to share, and best practices. For example – I learned the art of personalization and adding my own personal “flare” to an outreach meeting. Since learning these key skills, my outreach response rate has gone up at least 20 percent! Every small new skill and tool help.
- Grow Your Network – If you’re like me and beginning your career, then your network is pretty small or non-existent. Before the conference, I set a small goal for myself to sit at a new table and meet a handful of new people every breakout session on Friday. Through that, I connected with newbie sourcers like myself, met seasoned sourcers who gave me tons of wisdom starting out, and even ran into a few familiar faces I didn’t even know were attending the conference. The SourceCon staff HIGHLY encourages you to meet them too! If I did not meet Shannon Pritchett, I wouldn’t have had the courage to write this article.
- Develop A Passion – The people at this conference are absolutely passionate about sourcing. You can tell by the way they describe a new tool, or an exciting new practice they’ve discovered. The way they showcase their passion is by paying it forward. Sharing their passion helped me develop an appreciation and a new passion for sourcing as well. Although I am still barely touching the surface of sourcing, I at least have that foundational understanding and passion for sourcing. If you do not enjoy what you’re doing, then what’s the point?
I hope all you newbie sourcers out there feel encouraged and less intimidated to come out to SourceCon next March. Talk to your manager, start saving now, and research next year’s theme (We Control The Robots). There is no fear in coming out and having the expectation of learning as much as you possibly can. The staff and sourcing team here is to guide you, make you step out of your comfort zone, and build a career.