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Monday, October 8, 2012

The one question a referral will ask when recommending you...

"Will referring this guy make me look bad?"

How can you make a reference look bad? You can show up late, you can be a mess, a slob, unable to work with others. There are many ways to mess up a job situation in politics.

But people want to help you. They want you to succeed, and they want to do favors. As I say in the book, even people you only know in passing will often help you out, because it makes them look good to pass along good names.

You need to make sure that you look like a good candidate, like someone who will work hard and deliver results.

Politics is often just a game where doing a good job means showing up on time and regularly, and having a basic competence while not causing drama. You can go far without special skills, you can succeed by being a good employee.

When you meet with potential referrers, people who can link you up with other positions, you should strive to come off like a solid worker, a capable and competent worker.

A friend recently told me about a friend of theirs looking for work in my area, let's call him Charlie. Unprompted, I offered to help this fellow find a position and was willing to ask around to try and find an unannounced opening for him. But then I realized that Charlie had been a real jerk in the past about some trivial issues in the past. As well, my friend said pretty bluntly that Charlie was likely to do a lackluster job and was a bit of a mess.

These are the kind of blunt statements and assessments people make, and they are discussions and deliberations which can either open or close many doors for you. Thinking about it, I realized I couldn't refer Charlie without looking bad. Finding an opening and passing his name and resume along would come back to bite me later.

Avoid this situation by working hard to come across as a strong worker, a motivated employee, and as someone willing to put in long hours for honest pay. You want to be a competent person who avoids office politics and drama. When you do that, people you don't even know will want to help you find a job in politics.

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