Anyone who professes to be a ‘digital expert’ in this current age of bleeding edge technology is likely to be treated with a large dose of scepticism by both employers and recruiters.

Those with a thorough, advanced understanding of digital know that there’s surely no such thing as a ‘digital expert’. It’s simply too vast a field to become a complete authority in; a field upon which the goal posts are always moving. Candidates who insist on calling themselves ‘digital experts’ risk being lumped in with all the other ‘gurus’, ‘wizards’ and ‘czars’ that I frequently come across on LinkedIn.

As someone who has spent almost two decades recruiting for IT and Digital professionals, I have enough experience to know that it’s impossible to claim to know everything.

The many facets of digital

There are just too many roles for you to be entirely competent in all of them

I’m not sure whether there’s another industry in which the term ‘expert’ is applied so quite liberally. A General Practitioner (GP) might be able to diagnose any number of diseases but is he going to know how to perform brain surgery? This might sound like an extreme example but this is the question that ‘digital experts’ should be asking themselves. If you’re a Data Scientist are you really also an expert in JavaScript Developing? If you’re an Online Copywriter have you really maxed out your proficiency with UX Design? If you have then get in touch – we’d like to hear from you!

The digital revolution has influenced every industry and today almost every job has a digital element to it, and this statement is only going to get truer. The skills every business needs now and in the future will all have their foundation in digital. Who thought ten years ago that businesses would require a Social Media Manager, never mind a whole Social Media Team?  There are just too many roles within digital for you to be entirely competent in all of them.

Here are just some of the different sectors that we consider to be branches of the digital tree:

  • Strategy & Leadership
  • Engagement – Social, SEO, SEM, Online Advertising & Content
  • Design – UX/CX/UI
  • Delivery – Front End, Full Stack Development, Apps and Mobile Development
  • Data Analytics – Big Data/Business Intelligence/Data Warehousing/Data Science

The sheer range of roles within these areas is staggering. Skills associated with websites and other client interfaces, Content, Social Marketing, Online Media and SEM/SEO/RTB, and Data Analytics can all link together to form what is a honeycombed matrix of digital capability. Not to mention that there are, sprawling from these main sectors, many more specific, smaller roles. Using the above as a checklist, could you honestly say that you’re an accomplished expert in all of these fields?

Don’t be a generalist

Don’t be a generalist; be specific about your capabilities

The truth of the matter is that by declaring yourself to be an expert in an area as broad as ‘digital’ you risk being dismissed as, not just naïve, but also a generalist. It’s much more impressive to be a Master of one trade than a Jack of all; there are very few employers who give recruiters a brief to find someone who knows a little bit about everything, but everything about nothing.

So, the message here is don’t be a generalist; instead be specific about your capabilities. By being up front and honest about your skillset you’re more likely to be contacted by recruiters and employers alike. It’s always tempting to try and make yourself stand out by describing yourself in a slightly embellished or fun way but it’s not profile views you’re looking for – it’s a job offer. Recruiters and employers will have a far easier time matching up their job description against your skillset if you’re exact about what it is that you specialise in. It’s by creating a comprehensive, detailed profile that you’ll differentiate yourself from the competition, not by making exaggerated claims.

Streamline the hiring process and make it as painless as possible for all involved by being precise – this is advice for both candidates and employers.

Bringing it all together

The real expert is the person who realises where their limits are

The real expert is the person who realises where their specific skills lie and where their limits are. ‘Digital’ is so pervasive and endlessly evolving that it’s disingenuous to describe yourself as a ‘digital expert’. Be precise about exactly what it is you specialise in and you greatly increase the likelihood of finding yourself not just any role, but a relevant one.

At Hays we’ve accounted for the evolving nature of all roles that fall under the umbrella of ‘digital’, and have adjusted our recruitment profiling strategy accordingly. From digital strategists to web analytics, implementation consultants to producers, and UX designers to web and back-end developers, we have the digital recruiting expertise required to find and connect highly-skilled digital professionals with blue-chip organisations consultancies and agencies – just make sure your profile is specific enough so we can find you!

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As a member of the Operations Management team across Australia and New Zealand, Adam is responsible for the strategic direction of the Hays Information Technology specialism across the region. His responsibilities include driving our growth within the sector including Digital Software Development, Projects & Business Change, IT Operations & Support.

As Senior Regional Director for NSW Adam also has operational responsibility for Hays Construction & Property, Hays Information Technology, Hays Energy, Hays Oil & Gas, Hays Logistics and Hays Manufacturing and Operations as well as our offices in Parramatta, Wollongong and Newcastle.