Are You Getting Any? (Referrals for Jobs!)
The most productive, qualified job leads typically are the end product of an inside connection or referral from a valued contact. Although it may seem like a thoughtful gesture, receiving job postings sent from someone that spotted it on an online database rarely amounts to much more than a flurry of emails. In order to get the good stuff- the inside scoop on what’s opening up – it is important to go beyond broadcasting your unemployed status, blasting out resumes or signing up on Linked in, MySpace, and Facebook. It requires positioning and making sure your contacts understand what you are truly capable of and qualified for. It also requires their trust that if they refer you, you won’t embarrass them.
So, you may ask, how does that happen? It is not as hard as you think. The good leads go to those people who are responsive, cooperative, helpful and reliable. Here are some pretty simple tips for ensuring when something relevant turns up in their arena, your contacts think of you first:
Have a clear, precise “elevator speech”. (I dislike that terminology, but most readers will know what it means. I prefer to call it a “30 Second Introduction”). Provide information someone needs to know about what you do, want, need, and are qualified for.
Stay in touch beyond just contacting people when you need something. Approaching anyone with your hand out, and showing no interest in them prior to that moment is extremely unattractive. You may not feel like you have much to offer right now, but, you really can find many ways of helping others by simply asking what they might need. They actually might surprise you and tell you what they want and need. Wow- imagine that. No guessing. And, it could be as easy as taking their dog for a walk. (And that would make you feel better, too.)
Act right. Ok, that’s a pretty broad statement, but it really is a pretty simple concept. It means when you put something out as a question to others, then you need to make yourself available to acknowledge the receipt of their response. Follow up and thank them. Follow up with others that have possibly referred you to the person/place that actually provided what you needed so they know they were helpful to you. If you are in the middle of a job search in 2009, then you need to learn to use email/internet as a tool. That means you need to check your email regularly for new information, and learn how to research to get information you need.
Show up. If you frequently cancel meetings or appointments, show reluctance to commit to job search or other activities, or tend to arrive late, people will and do notice. Simple logic follows. Is this person going to behave the same way when they go to work?
Create a reputation for being reliable, resourceful and proactive. Be on time. Follow through with requests from others. Follow through on leads/or introduction given to you by others within 48 hours. Exhibit good problem solving skills. Go the extra mile to help yourself and others. Be diligent about following up with leads that may have not immediately led to your goal. Be flexible.If you are going to use descriptions on your resume like “extremely effective managing multiple priorities”, “able to multitask”, “high performer” ,”service driven”, proactive”, “team player”, or “excellent problem solving skills” – you need to be exhibiting them.
Get real. If you are not able to spend 8 hours a day on a job search because of health issues, then why would you think you are ready to take on full time employment? If you are currently going to school part time, or caring for someone else, and are unable to spend 8 hours per day on your job search, what kind of work are you seeking that will coordinate with your schedule? Take inventory and determine what you are truly able to do. If you are able to work 8 hours a day, then you need to be using the same amount of time on your efforts for getting to work.
It is far easier for others to offer help to someone that is visibly helping themselves. In this economy, everyone is being impacted in some way. Make it easy for someone to help you. Show people you are ready, willing and able to go to work, and that you are someone they will be proud of recommending.
If you are in a position to help others with leads right now, what suggestions would you add?