JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

How to Get an Employee Referral

Posted by Jean Cummings

May 6, 2015 9:13:37 AM

 

image-gatekeeper

 

OK, in my previous blog post I noted that employee referrals are the #1 source of hire in corporate America. This statistic comes out of CareerXroads Source of Hire Study for 2014. That means leveraging employee referrals is better than depending on recruiters to find your a job, applying to jobs on big job boards, or using specialty services like Execunet or Netshare.

Everyone knows that “networking” has always been the best way to get hired. “Employee referrals” is just a subcategory of “networking.” The BEST subcategory. It involves very deliberately networking with select employees who work for the company posting the job you are targeting.

If you know the contact, you can naturally get in touch with them and open up a conversation. But what if you don’t know them? Does that mean you have to give up on getting an employee referral? Not necessarily. If they are a connection on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter you may well be able to tap into them as a resource.

Why would a networking contact on LinkedIn (LI) or social media be interested in referring you if they don't know you? Many companies offer monetary rewards to employees who refer a candidate who ultimately gets hired. The reason employers are willing to pay for referrals is that hiring this way results in high-quality hires who are more likely to do well in the company culture. Using company employees as sources also is more cost-effective.

So how exactly do you go about introducing yourself to someone who is unknown to you or who is a relative stranger on one of your social media sites? You probably don’t want to just email them with a request like, “Hi! I’m a VP of Sales for the Americas at one of your competitors, can you refer me for the job of Global VP of Sales your company just posted?” It’s a little too abrupt and doesn’t give the employee much information to help build her confidence in you as a candidate.

Try an engaging, respectful approach like this: “Hi, I see that we are third-degree connections on LinkedIn. In fact we both know [Bill Jones]. He’s a great guy – we worked together back at [Raytheon]. I wanted to introduce myself to you because I’m interested in applying for the open job [Lockheed Martin] just posted. And I wonder if you could take a look at my resume and tell me if you think my background looks interesting for the job. I’d welcome any advice you may have, either by email or in a brief 5-minute phone call.”

If you get a positive response from this employee, thank them. If you feel the general reaction was positive, you might then ask, “ Do you feel that you have a good enough sense of my background to refer me to the CEO (or whoever would be the hiring manager for the job)? If the answer is in the affirmative, then express your appreciation and email your resume, having incorporated any valuable suggestions. Remember, as always, to tailor the resume to the job and industry, including keywords.

Once the resume hand-off is achieved, make sure to write a thank-you email and extend an offer to help the employee in any future situation where they might want a referral. These last steps are very important! They align with the basic rule of all good networking: Givers Gain.

Why use this time-intensive, relationship-building route when just firing off a resume to a posted job ad is so quick and easy?

Because candidates who come in via employee referrals have a one in 10 chance of ultimately getting hired. With job boards it can be more like one in 100 or one in 1000. Which odds do you prefer?

If, when you approach a new contact with this method you don’t get a response, try again with another employee. Be persistent and take advantage of the #1 Source of HIre in corporate America. Get a touchdown! 🏈

Jean Cummings

 

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Topics: job search, executive search, branded executive resume, career marketing, job interview, employment trends

Gallup Reports 70% US Workers Unengaged - Enter: Personal Branding

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jun 26, 2013 11:58:00 AM

 personal brandingCourtesy Gallup

Gallup's 2013 State of the American Workplace Report came out a few days ago and finds that between 1010 and 2012 only 30% of workers report being actively engaged at work, 50% are unengaged, and 20% are actively disengaged (working against the company's interest). The report estimates that this high number of unengaged workers costs the US up to $550B annually. These losses result from absenteeism, health and safety issues, quality defects, and lost productivity.

There are a number of interesting findings in the report. But I am interested today in the recommendations for addressing the problem

Gallup identifies three main ways for companies to increase employee engagement. I'd like to focus on just the second, because it is so key to people's careers and transitions, my particular areas of interest:

"The research shows that people who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged on the job."

We can fairly say, then, that if we increase employee engagement by 60%, we've gotten a lot closer to the desired fully engaged workforce. That's a huge impact! Even though Gallup employs "strengths-based" terminology, many of us this see the concept as very close to what we now call "personal branding." 

So what are the Gallup Report recommendations to improve engagement?

They advise that employers and managers actively help their employees to discover and use their strengths, as distinguished from their weaknesses. The idea is to identify what workers are doing and what skills they are employing when they are being the most productive (and fully engaged). Then they need to make sure to assign them the kinds of tasks that require those skills.

In personal branding, we identify a person's "unique promise of value." This is a concept formulated by William Arruda. It includes what a person does best (talents), skills, his/her attributes, unique knowledge base, the value s/he delivers consistently, personal style, and similar factors.

Gallup found that when teams focused on team members' strengths, productivity goes up 12.5% and translates into increased revenues and profitability.

Whether managers and staff choose to use Gallup's strengths-based tools, branding processes such as Reach Personal Branding, or any other related instrument, they have the power to improve lives and businesses to a remarkable degree, according to the findings.

What can you do today to discover your strengths or remind yourself of them, if you already know them? If you manage others, what can you do today to ensure that your staff are using their individual strengths? If you are managed, how can you influence your manager to make use of your unique constellation of skills, attributes, and talents?

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Topics: personal branding, career management, personal brands, branded executive resume

Tech Job Search: "Software is Eating the World" - and Your Job?

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jun 3, 2013 8:11:00 AM

Tech job search: impact of cloud computing
Quoting Teshma Sohoni (Fast Company Ap 2013), "Software is indeed eating the world as...industries are adopting SaaS/cloud faster than ever." He goes on to state that startups are targeting both niche and large industries with custom solutions.

For tech job seekers, whenever there's a disruptive trend, new types of jobs will never be far behind. These startups, in addition to established service providers, will be expanding their services and markets and in need of skilled tech workers. However, there's been a perceived downside for technology professionals in the trend to SaaS/cloud:

"What will happen to my job when my IT Dept. increasingly oursources both applications and infrastructure that have traditionally been under the control of the internal IT shop?"

Contrary to the fears that SaaS/cloud would decimate IT departments, it appears that tech jobs are still around but rapidly adapting and changing to service the new landscape. How will this trend affect you in your job search and career? Forbes addresses this question in their article, "The Great Cloud-induced Job Implosion That Never Happened," in reference to the Deloitte study published in the Wall Street Journal:

"If anything, cloud computing is increasing complexity and workloads, creating more demand for IT skills."

But the skills needed for current and future IT jobs will need to be actively cultivated in order for IT professionals to stay relevant. Oddly enough, we're not talking about mastery of new languages or technologies here as much as learning to interface effectively with internal business customers, vendor staff, and external customers.

In addition, new types of competencies are growing in importance:

"Deloitte reports that rather than diminish in-house IT departments, it is generating more “value-added” activities such as 'high-end software development, business analytics, enterprise architecture, and strategic vendor relationship management.'"

We have discussed in this space before how IT professionals are increasingly expected to be business savvy. The sought-after hires will be those who are attuned to leveraging IT to add value to the business.


Specifically, in three companies, here are examples of how certain jobs are morphing:

Programmers/coders to.....Application Developers, Technical Analysts

IT Staff to.....Business Analyst, Architects

IT Staff who maintained/fixed apps to.....Teachers/mentors/trainers supporting end-users in the use of new cloud/SaaS services

Where do you see possibilities for your career in these changes? I'd love to hear!

 

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Topics: career management, career planning, executive job search, branded executive resume, career marketing, SaaS jobs, Cloud jobs

5 Tips for Writing a Killer LinkedIn Profile from Your Branded Resume

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jul 13, 2012 12:03:00 PM

writing a LinkedIn profile 

The LinkedIn Profile is now the cornerstone of your career communications. It is gradually, along with other social media sites and Google results, supplanting the resume as an introduction to you as a job candidate. For those of you who are writing your own profiles from your branded resume, I have put together 5 critical tips:

1. Your Professional Headline

- Make sure you have the title you are seeking in your Professional Headline. You can usually find the title at the top of your resume.

- If you can fit it into your allotted 120 characters, include a “reason to hire.” Your “reason to hire” is your value proposition, the value your bring to the table ($$ in revenue enabled, $$ costs cut, functionality improved, etc.)

2. Summary

- The summary is different from the profile on your resume. Keep it to no more that 3-4 short paragraphs.

- Make it less formal than your resume. Use your own “voice” to express your career brand* and your personal brand**.

- Present a quick overview of your career, particularly the last 8 years. Avoid going into detail.

- Include the top accomplishments – if possible, in terms of dollars or percentages.

- Let your personal brand shine through.

3. Skills & Expertise

- Populate your “Skills & Expertise” section with the keywords appropriate to your job target. These are often the same as the skills list that is part of your resume profile.

- Build these keywords into the Summary in a natural way as much as you are able.

4. Experience

- You want the information under the workplaces to be shorter than in your resume.

- Select your most standout contributions. You will find them standing out in your resume. Write them up using bullets.

- Include a brief snapshot of “Scope” – Number of reports, budgets managed, chief areas of accountability, etc.

5. Recommendations

- Get recommendations from people you work with or have worked with: bosses, reports, colleagues, vendors etc.

- Give them some ideas about what to write. Get these from your resume. Anything they can say that will reinforce your brand or one/many of your accomplishments will make your profile even stronger.

 

* Your Career Brand & **Personal Brand

- Your career brand has to do with your position (title, function, industry) and what you uniquely bring to the table (value proposition).

- Your personal brand has to do with the qualities of your personality, character, and style that are part of what make you successful.

 

 

Character Limits

Headline: 120 Chars

Company name: 100 Chars

Summary: 2000 Chars

Skills: 25 skills up to 61 Chars each

Position Title: 100 Chars

Position Description 200 Chars minimum, 2000 max

Interests: 1000 Chars

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Topics: job search, personal branding, career brand, branded executive resume, resume writing, LinkedIn Profile Writing

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