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  • Writer's pictureAlex Brown

Listen Now to Episode 17 - Featuring Ashton Washington

Joined this week by Illinois' Director of High School Relations, Ashton Washington, Up Close In Personnel breaks down what it means to have a "Personal LinkedIn".

As someone who's made the jump from covering recruiting to DOING the recruiting now at the highest level, Ashton Washington brings so much insight to the table for recruits and professionals alike.

In this episode, we discuss her professional journey, lessons learned along the way and what recruits need to do in order to make the most of their opportunities off the field and in social media.

She's been everywhere from 247 to the XFL and now is smack dab in the middle of the Big Ten, working as the Director of High School Relations for the University of Illinois.

"Personal LinkedIn" is a phrase I've heard Ashton use many times on-air and it's the primary focus of this episode. In the digital age we live in, it's easy to click "connect" without ever creating an in-person or face-to-face connection.

Ashton talks at length about the importance of being intentional with your personal and professional network, and we relate the concept to recruits and also to aspiring young coaches or recruiters. At the end of the day, nothing is more effective than stacking positive, in-person impressions you make on other people in whatever field, profession or path you are pursuing.

When it comes to advice for recruits, here are some key takeaways:

  • Make sure you are in constant contact with your HS counselor. Do NOT fall behind when it comes to planning out your class schedules, tracking your eligibility, registering with the NCAA clearinghouse, preparing for standardized tests, etc. Your counselor is the #1, most important person when it comes to being NCAA eligible and admissible to the schools you want to be recruited by.

  • Be smart when it comes to communicating with colleges via social media. Don't tag other college coaches when posting an offer from a school they aren't associated with. Also, to add on to the comments stated in this episode, be sure to personalize your message to the recruiter you're contacting ("Coach" sounds like a copy/past job).

  • Do extra in the classroom and off the field to show that you're committed to being great in everything you do. How you do anything is how you do everything.

  • Lastly, don't like anything on Twitter that you wouldn't want a college recruiter to see.

Like I do each week, here is your "TLDR" cheat code to the podcast:

  • Why the best recruiters are the most authentic (4:15)

  • How to evaluate the authenticity of a recruiter (5:44)

  • Learning the recruiting game as the big sister of a star recruit (8:12)

  • The impact of Ashton's dad and battling self doubt (10:28)

  • Ashton's passion for being the "big sister of recruiting" (12:53)

  • Prayer and staying connected with those around you (15:25)

  • The bond of a brother and sister: Parker and Ashton Washington (18:31)

  • Falling love with the recruiting process as a high schooler (22:26)

  • Pursuing the dream of working in college football (24:00)

  • Life as Director of HS Relations for Illinois (36:45)

  • Topic of the Week: Building Your "Personal LinkedIn" (40:21)

  • Advice to RECRUITS on building your "Personal LinkedIn" (40:58)

  • Advice on breaking into the industry of college football (45:12)

  • The importance of getting mom and dad on your side (46:47)

  • Do's and Don’ts when it comes to social media (49:01)

  • How the COVID pandemic is advancing the recruiting industry (53:11)

  • Sendoff advice for recruits, parents and HS coaches (54:31)

Nothing is more valuable than the in-person impression you leave people with, and there are no shortcuts in building relationships. Tune in for the advice and encouragement brought by Ashton, who you can follow on Twitter at @Ash3Washington!

And if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe, rate and share the show!

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