Seven Tips to Keep a Good Reputation

Get a job without a resume, or the right way to use recommendations.

Olga Dementyeva,
head of the HR4PR Agency

A polished resume full of achievements, recruiters don't call back, interviews with headhunters come to nothing, employment websites don't work, vacancies are filled before you can get your resume out, the labor market seems to be dormant. What to do?

It's time to make your recommendations work for your career! In my experience, most people do not consciously use this resource. And this despite the fact that most transitions between companies occur on the recommendations of colleagues, not recruiters!

Happy recommendees don't even have to have a resume, they basically get the position without competition. Most often, these are people who are naturally modest. They have not heard that you have to "sell yourself," and do not know how to do it. However, there is something that they can do better than others: they have learned to build long-term relationships, keep their word, maintain control in stressful situations and work for results. These are the people who choose to be things rather than appear to be things. Here, to paraphrase Peter Lawrence, an ounce of reputation is worth a pound of work. Then you can have uneven experience, no job, no "in," and change your career path without worrying about being out of work. For many years, I have been watching those successful creators of their own careers. You know, they have something to teach us. They know exactly why reputation is more important than resume.

1. Be careful with recommendations from friends! Increasingly, when checking recommendations, I come to the conclusion that the negative reactions come from "friends" whose names you gave the employer for a recommendation. One careless word from them can leave you without a job, and you won't know.

2. Talk about your goals and desires directly! When getting recommendations, I always ask people if they would work with the person again. Once the answer was "I would take him back, but he never asked me about it!" Perplexed, I asked, "But did he have to ask?" "Well, I don't know, maybe he doesn't want to work with me," the manager said.

3. Do not hesitate to name of your recommenders yourself! It's easier for the HR office to get the list of recommenders in 15 minutes than to find them on their own. Be aware of this and list the names in your resume or on LinkedIn. In my experience, the best recommendations come from colleagues you worked with. Managers and subordinates are always surprises.

4. Build good relationships within the company! Then no one will try to replace you even in turbulent times. I remember, the new head of a large company made the decision to replace a unit director — the company was facing challenges before its IPO. I had to answer the question: is there the needed personnel on the market, what will the salary be and who specifically is it? For me, it was a promising order, but I offered to gather feedback first, and then insisted that it would be better for the business to leave the executive in his position, because he has an impeccable reputation among his colleagues, within the company and on the market.

5. Make your colleagues understand that they can do more! Use recommendations to gain a promotion within their company, not just outside it. I remember a candidate who formally was never a CEO, but he was in all respects ready for that appointment, I so asked him to consider the position of "director general" in another company.

The list of recommendations was impressive and the star-studded, as they were for a media personality. So it was incredibly interesting to talk to all the recommenders. The detailed discussions of how the candidate matched the position worked wonderfully — he was appointed CEO of the company where he already worked. I had to find another candidate to fill my position, but the recommendations helped a good professional get a good position, and a raise.

6. You should be on the tip of their tongues! Your personal brand requires you to be in the hearts and minds of colleagues and headhunters. You are the first one your colleague thinks of when he is asked to recommend someone. Believe me, it's not every day that they are asked to recommend someone themselves. Your colleagues are your best recommenders for finding a job. This is a resource that you have underestimated.

7. What if I'm better than my reputation? Then we have to try to restore your good name, otherwise even changing your name won't help. In one case, an executive in a large and reputable company could not find a job because of poor reviews from the HR director. I was able to find out what was going on, reconcile the former colleagues and restore his good name. There was another unpleasant experience when a fine candidate for a high position was rejected because someone told someone that they thought he used drugs. The rumor was just a rumor, a mistake, but for his career it was fatal. It took a long time to convince the employer that this was only a rumor.

Some people look for jobs, and other people are found by work. I think that these professionals are always distinguished by their desire to share their experience, invent new ways to work and develop their professional community. After all, a sincere recommendation is another form of admiration for professionalism.