I remember a time when a colleague of mine called to brainstorm a few names he could recommend to his boss for an open position at his company. We had previously worked together for about 10 years, and just recently started working together again, thanks to his recommendation of ME for a job.
Having hit the jackpot by hiring me (Lol), our company was now looking to score again with another great hire. So, there we were searching our mental rolodexes for the names of former co-workers and colleagues we could recommend to join our team. After discussing the work ethic, attitude, personality, skills and abilities of many of our former co-workers, we could only come up with a handful of folks. However, they were either happily employed or not suitable for this specific position. Could this really be our dilemma – trying to fill a great paying, high-quality position, with a growing, successful company? Yes, it was.
Going through that exercise, re-confirmed the very thing I’d been “preaching” to students (and anyone else who would listen) for more than a decade – When you’re looking for a job, it begins (and sometimes ends) with who you know. Now, I realize this concept may sound unfair, unjust, and even a little unlikely to those struggling job seekers who see themselves as introverted and like to fly below the radar, but essentially it’s the truth.
For most hiring managers, their first thought is to check their network for recommendations. If that results in a few good resumes, and potential interviews, then they’d be saved from sifting through the stack of resumes from applicants they don’t know, with references from other people they don’t know.
And this is true for a lot of people, especially when they find themselves in need of a caterer, photographer, computer expert, or repairman – they tend to ask family and friends for referrals before heading to Google or Craigslist. Why would filling a job position work any differently?
I believe it’s important for you to realize how the workforce of today operates, so I’ve listed five things you should focus on to claim your place at the top of someone’s referral list:
- Develop a solid work ethic that proves you’re the person with the ability and willingness to get the job done. Show up consistently and on time, and be willing to go above and beyond when necessary.
- Maintain a positive attitude at all times. Even when you’re feeling stressed, worried, or overwhelmed, remain calm and reasonable in your approach. Strive to see the good side of situations and focus on solutions rather than the problem.
- Develop a great personality that’s rooted in confidence (not arrogance), humor, intelligence, lightheartedness, and the desire to help others. Prove yourself as the person who can get along with anyone, even when others can’t. Just because your personality may not initially click with someone else’s, doesn’t mean you can’t get along with them. While you can’t change another person’s behavior, you can change your own.
- Make yourself the “expert” in those areas that are important. Learn everything you can and make sure that people are aware of your skills and abilities. Become that person others can rely on for advice in that area, and make sure they see you as accessible and willing to assist.
- Maintain a high level of professionalism and discipline. Show respect to everyone – superiors, peers, and subordinates.
Once you master these five concepts, there’s no doubt you’ll position yourself to not just get a great referral, but also a great job.
Submit a comment below and let know what you look for in a person/company before giving a good referral.
Until next time!