Is it a big election year where you live? In Georgia, this is a big primary season. We have about 100 people running to be governor, and equal numbers hoping to land jobs as insurance commissioner, agriculture commissioner, etc. (Well, maybe not 100 — but it seems that way!)
There is an inverse relationship when there are so many candidates – the more people running, the less likely it is that you know a lot about each person. Sure, there are always a few higher-profile candidates, but the rest likely fade into the background. (Sounds kind of like any job search, doesn’t it?)
One way to get ahead in your job search is to have someone endorse you — an internal referral directly to the hiring manager. This political season has made me stop to think about this concept of endorsing candidates (clearly an important way to help you land a job).
Earlier in the summer, there were several candidates I knew nothing about. Then, I learned that one had earned the recommendation of someone I did knowÃ‚Â — and didn’t like. That helped make my decision easier. While I will still do some research about the candidate, the fact that someone I (vehemently) disagree with is endorsing her makes it pretty easy to determine that she will not earn my vote.
I know job seekers have plenty to worry about, but do you consider the standing of the person you are hoping will promote your candidacy? Is your contact well liked and well respected? If not, he or she is unlikely to help you land the job. Sometimes, you won’t know. You might have been lucky to land a referral and you can’t worry about anything else. Other times, you do have some opportunity to get insight…
Job hunting advice often includes the suggestion to find a mentor to help guide your career. Clearly, you don’t just pick a targeted mentor out of a hat. When you are researching people you respect, think about ways to identify how they are seen in their company. Is anything written about them? Do they have LinkedIn endorsements from colleagues, clients and staff? What about their digital footprint? What does Google say? What about their invisible resume? These are things to think about when identifying someone to endorse you. It’s one extra layer that could make the difference for your job hunt.
The fact is, a recommendation from someone who is not in favor is more likely to hurt than help you. It’s something to consider when you try to take advantage of an inside track at an organization.
What do you think? Do you consider the referrer’s reputation? How can job seekers decide if someone is a good bet or not?
photo by Svadilfari