Sunday, May 5, 2013

Referrals are Golden – Handle with Care

Referrals are golden . . .when it comes to your job search.  So, treat then like the gold they are!

A referral really can be golden.  Referrals can open doors to company decision makers and organization influences that would not be opened any other way.  So when a network contact hands you a referral, handle it with care!

Being referred to a well connected and influential person can lead you down the path to your next role or position, provided you act on the referral correctly.  Not doing so, can hurt your professional credibility and reputation, and also that of the referrer’s.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts to turn your referrals into golden opportunities!
Referrals Open Doors!
DO’s - -
●  Who will make the call?

First, when you receive a referral from one of your network contacts, ascertain how the referral will be made.
  - Will your network contact make a call,
  - send an e-mail, or
  -  speak to the referral in person in order to introduce you?
  -  Or is your network contact giving you permission to contact the referral, using your contact’s name?

●  Referrals are time sensitive. 
Second, what is the time frame?
  - Ascertain when the referral will be made  – immediately, in a week or two, etc.
  - Adhere strictly to the expected time frame.
If you are expected to contact your referral by the end of the week, do it!  The reputation you are building with this new member to your own network is being established.  Are you dependable?  Do you keep you word? 

●  Inform and Request.
Third, provide the referral with the requisite information about you.  In your initial contact, this usually means pulling out your “L”vator speech.  Whether you call or e-mail:
  1. Reference your network contact and your appreciation of his/her referral of you,
  2. Describe yourself succinctly via your “L”vator speech, and
  3. Make your request – generally a networking meeting. 
When you’ve set the time and place, you’ve managed your utilization of referral very, very well!

DON’Ts - -

●  The biggest faux pax . . .
Don't make this mistake!
The biggest faux pax a job seeker can make in managing a referral is accepting a referral when you are not Not to act on a referral when your network contact is expecting you to do so, and the referral is waiting for your call:
ready to act on it. 
  • Damages your credibility, and unfortunately, that of your network contact!  
  • It can cause the referral to question, a bit, the judgement of his colleague when it comes to people and talent.
So . . . . if you are not ready to act on a referral, simply don’t accept the referral and figure you’ll get around to it.  Instead:
(1)  Tell your network contact how much you appreciate their sharing a valuable referral to a member of their network. 
(2)  Ask if you can delay this step until your campaign is a bit more focused. 
(3)  State a time frame when you will be ready and follow-up at that time. 

Taking this tack in deferring a referral keeps your reputation intact, as well as that of the referrer, and shows you to be the responsible and credible person you really are!

Managing your networking interactions with members of your immediate network and your referrals requires tact, time, and using the techniques described in the Do's and Don'ts.  It requires you to take real care of both of your resources . . . the person making the referral and the referral themselves as you establish contact, and ultimately, a relationship with them.

If you take the steps described here to manage your referrals, you safeguard one of your most valuable resources for finding a new job or expanded role.  It's a Smart Strategy!

For additional information on marketing yourself and your capabilities, please refer to the many articles found under the Articles tabs of the AJC–Career Strategy website.
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