How referable are you?

Are you someone that others like to be around? Do you have a pleasing personality? Are you perceived by others as being professional and positive? Are you the type of person who gives back and contributes to others? Are you adding value to other people’s lives?

These are just a few questions you can begin to ask yourself to find out if you are someone others are likely to refer. Why is being someone who is referable important? People are not going to go out of their way to recommend you to a potential employer if you are not someone that they would want to do business with. The same goes for potential employers. When you go in for an initial interview, it is up to the person who is screening you to decide whether or not YOU will make THEM look good to their higher ups. 

This does not mean that finding a job is a popularity contest. It simply means that the more memorable you are (in a good way!), and the more people find you to be someone they would want to spend time with/do business with, the more likely you will it is that you will be recommended by that person. Here is a perfect example a person who is unlikely to have a high referability value:

Job Seeker Candidate A: “Here is my business card. I need a job ASAP and want you to recommend me to everyone you know. Things really suck right now. I was fired from my old job because my boss was a jerk who had it out for me and it was totally unfair that I was let go. I never get what I want and I don’t even know why I bother coming to these events.”

I wish this example were made up, but unfortunately I have seen some variation of this example in a variety networking situations. From an outsider perspective, it is easy to see why Candidate A would be unlikely to be recommended by anyone, let alone considered for a job by a potential employer. Below is another example of a job seeker in the exact same situation, but who holds an entirely different perspective:

Job Seeker Candidate B: “How are you? How is your job search coming? I am so glad to be here. It is wonderful to get out and be around people who are so upbeat and have such a great attitude about finding a new job. Is there anything I can do to be a resource for you in your job search? I would love it if we could connect on Linkedin and stay in touch. Could I get your information? Perhaps we could even grab a coffee to discuss our respective job searches and to see how we can help one another find our next job. I really look forward to getting to know you better.”

It is obvious to see that Candidate B would be much more likely to be recommended to a potential employer, and would have a much higher referability value overall. Sometimes job seekers do not even realize they are being negative, and they wind up sabotaging themselves and their job search unintentionally. If this is the case for you, it is never too late to start anew. Below are 3 tips to becoming more referable both in a networking situation and in an interview:

1) Be positive-What is done is done. The past should not hold you back from what is possible in the future. Focus on what you are now creating.

2) Make it about other people-Always offer to be a resource for another person. The same goes with potential employers. Do not ask “Do you have a job for me?” Instead offer resources and solutions that will help the employer with their problem or need.

3) Be memorable-Spend some time crafting a strong “Tell me about yourself statement.” This will help you to stand out from the millions of other job seekers who are fighting for the same job that you want.

If you want to see how referable you are, check out www.naymz.com. This is an interesting Social Networking website which takes referability to a whole new level. You are given a reputation score based on what people think of you in your network. It can be a valuable tool to see what your referability value is. If you do come to discover that you are not as referable as you had hoped, do not be discouraged. You can always increase your referability value, just remember to be positive, be a resource, and be memorable!

You can see my reputation network on Naymz at: 

http://www.naymz.com/jennifer_hill_andes_2720144

Can Linkedin hurt your job search?

Linkedin is a wonderful tool that, when used properly, can be instrumental in helping you land your next job. The challenge is that often times people misunderstand how to effectively use Linkedin, and that can come back to hurt them in the long run. Here are a few things to be consider when using Linkedin:

-Having an incomplete profile can hurt you. Linkedin has a lot of “Google Juice.” This means that if your name is even remotely unique, and you have created a profile on Linkedin, it will likely be the first or second thing that pops up when someone Google searches you. It is for this very reason that you want to make sure you have a complete profile that reflects who you are in the best possible light. You should create an on-line brand that represents who you are and what you offer in an effective, cohesive and consistent way.
-No profile picture = Less connections. People are less inclined to connect with people who do not have a profile picture.  Not having a profile picture can often make people wonder what you are trying to hide. News flash: If a company is going to discriminate against you based on what your profile picture looks like, they will also discriminate against you in person. Discrimination happens a lot less often then people think. Only about 5-10% of companies will discriminate based on things such as age or race. Unfortunately it does happen on occasion, but if I were you, I would not want to work for a company that might discriminate against me in the first place. Regardless, do not put up a random picture of yourself, try to make sure that the picture is somewhat professional.
-You are more likely to get hired if you have recommendations. Recommendations on Linkedin are taken very seriously as it is nearly impossible to fake a Linkedin recommendation. If a company Google’s you and sees that you have several recommendations via Linkedin, they will likely take your application much more seriously. A company could also be concerned if you do not have any recommendations, so it is always advisable to have at least one recommendation.

-Be careful who you associate with. If someone has a bad reputation in your industry, or if a company or group is not looked up positively, you might want to steer clear of connecting with that person or group via Social Media as it could reflect poorly upon you. Who you associate with says a lot about your personal brand and/or your business. You could be judged by who you are connected with so make sure that you think twice before adding someone that could potentially tarnish your reputation.

Should you use a Recruiter?

When is it appropriate to use a Recruiter?

1) Using a Recruiter can be very beneficial when you are working in a specialized area. Recruiters often help companies find candidates for hard to fill, specialized positions.
2) When you are looking for temporary work. If you are looking to supplement your income a Recruiter can be a great resource. When you register with an agency they will keep you on their active list and will keep you updated on any contract jobs that meet your job search criteria.
Why should you use a Recruiter?
*A Recruiter can often provide you with resources such as testing and internal information on specific companies and hiring managers that can help you land your next job
*Recruiters can critique your resume and can offer valuable information regarding what companies are looking for
*They will typically negotiate your salary for you
*A Recruiter may have access to job openings that you will not find on Monster or Careerbuilder
*One of the main reasons a job seeker might want to consider using a Recruiter is that using a Recruiter is FREE to the job seeker. Companies pay Recruiters to find them the right candidates, but Recruiters do not typically charge a job seeker to represent them.
Why should you be careful of using a Recruiter?
*A bad Recruiter can send your resume out to potential employers WITHOUT your permission and/or knowledge. Keep in mind that, unlike financial professionals, Recruiters do not have to report to any regulatory agency. Just like any position, there are good Recruiters and bad Recruiters out there. It is your job to interview your Recruiter and to make sure they are looking out for your best interests before you decide to move forward working with them.
         -Be careful about posting your resume on Monster & Careerbuilder! Recruiters can find your resume on those sites and send your          resume out without your knowledge.
         -Set up rules and realistic expectations with your Recruiter up front. Let your Recruiter know in advance that you want to have               every position run by you first before your resume gets sent out. Ideally, you should have an Excel spreadsheet with WHERE your          resume has been sent, to WHOM it has been sent, WHEN it was sent, WHAT company it was sent to, and if a Recruiter did send          your resume, be sure to list WHICH agency represented you for that position. 
         –Recruiters have anywhere from a 6 month to a 1 year contract with each company they work with. This is why it is important to               always know which agency sent you for a particular position. If ABC agency sent your resume to XYZ company in May, and now          XYZ company has another position posted in July, you will be obligated to go through ABC agency again if you want to pursue               that opportunity. This is not always a bad thing, but it is something you should be aware of and keep track of.
         -If you are looking to make a career transition, a Recruiter might not be the best resource for you. Recruiters are paid a fee by a               company to find EXACTLY what that company is looking for. This means Recruiters might not have as much wiggle room to try               and get a candidate an interview when that candidate’s experience is not a direct fit. 
Overall, Recruiters can be a wonderful resource for you in your job search when used properly. Do not rely 100% on a Recruiter to find you a job. They will do the best they can, but cannot find every job seeker a job every time. It is important to always be honest, patient and respectful with Recruiters, and if you are, you will reap the rewards!