December 4, 2014

Reputation, References and Recommendations

Your good reputation is one of the most important assets you have. Reputation is about the beliefs or opinions that are held by others about your character. It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation and it must be managed daily.

Every time you attend a meeting; every time you show up at work; every time you attend class, you are actually interviewing for your next job in a very subtle way. Everyone else is observing you and storing the data.

8 things that matter in managing your reputation:
  1. Do you show up on time?
  2. Do you have a good attitude?
  3. Are you prepared?
  4. Do you contribute?
  5. Do you deliver your best quality work?
  6. Are you pleasant and respectful to everyone?
  7. Are you maintaining competency in your field?
  8. Are you honest and ethical – whether or not someone is watching?

Companies care about your reputation because your reputation becomes a part of their reputation.

People who are in a position to influence your future will retrieve the impressions of you long after a meeting, work session, or class has ended. When they are asked to recommend someone for a job or a project - they will remember their impressions.

You need to preserve your good reputation so that you can obtain positive recommendations and references. At some point you are going to want someone to speak to your good qualities or write about them in a letter.

A reference is a person who you ask, and who agrees, to allow you to use their name as a person who can be called upon to speak about your good professional qualities. Employers frequently request a list of references after an offer has been extended. References can be a professor, employer, or co-worker. (Do not use friends, family or clergy for professional references.)

Always ask first and make sure that they will say only good things about you. The comments of a good reference can spur an employer into selecting you over other candidates. The comments of a bad reference can nix the offer in an instant.

6 things to give your references:
  1. A recent picture of yourself
  2. A resume
  3. A list of your strengths
  4. A list of your interests
  5. A list of the types of positions for which you are applying
  6. A list of the companies that may be contacting them

References need to have all of these things in order to give you a good recommendation. Some calls come months or years later when you are all but forgotten.

Employers will ask you for references and they will call!

A recommendation letter is your "walk-on-water" letter written by your reference. It tells the employer that you are an exceptional candidate. It is a letter you request to be used in your portfolio or to be sent on your behalf from someone who you trust will write glowing things about you.

Sometimes your reference will ask you to write the letter, highlighting your best qualities relative to the job. That means you must construct the letter yourself. You will need to identify your best qualities, knowledge, and skills relative to the employer’s needs.

Keep in touch with your references and keep them posted on your progress. You will be glad you did!