Do people know where you live and where you are from? Do you know where I live and where I am from? I am originally from Sweden but moved to London back in 2002 – it’s almost 10 years now.
I do however, still mention that I am Swedish and sometimes even put a Swedish flag up an introduction slide when conducting training – mainly to remove any doubt of me being German, Danish or South African (nothing wrong with those countries of course ).
I also mention the fact that I’m Swedish on Twitter and Facebook and I do share Sweden-related stories from time to time on social media. The whole social media thing has muddled the waters a bit. It’s now very easy to pretend to be based in say, Shanghai, but actually working out of Munich. And people tend to look less at who you are, where you are from as opposed to what you are doing and what content you are sharing online. My point here is that it’s easy to get it wrong on social media, something I’ve experienced first hand.
I have recently had a couple of situations where my Swedish angle hasn’t really helped me. Last week I was at a conference and somebody I have known online for a year or two asked me “so you’re in London quite often, do you jet in from Sweden every month?”. No mate, I just get on the tube in the morning… And the other month at the end of a full day of training recruiters to use social media, one of them asked me “how come you know so much about UK recruitment when you live in Sweden?”. Because I have only ever done recruitment in the UK, 7 years of it in fact!
Until now I’ve seen it as an asset being Swedish, as most people I speak to have positive connotations with the country and its people. But if prospective clients think I’m not based here that can’t be a good thing. I know I wouldn’t buy services from someone flying in and out of the country frequently, I prefer someone who is nearby and that I can see face to face with short notice.
So what should I do? Tone down the Swedish bit and leave people guessing? Or just be even more clear as in “I’m Swedish-British”, just like someone that’s “Italian-American”? Or should I go full hog and invest in a blonde wig and viking helmet, proclaiming this is then 2nd coming of the Norsemen? As you can tell I could do with your thoughts here…
And have a little think about your own situation, do people ever get your location or origin wrong? If so, what can you do to remove any doubt?
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