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To get work by word-of-mouth, you have to be known for something

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Acquiring your next job by word-of-mouth requires you to be known for something. What are you known for?

Look at it this way, if you’re average, what’s to recommend you about? Being recommended for a position is the ultimate way of getting work, as the effort involved is less, and the value of the endorsement is high. It’s far more effective than applying ‘cold’ from job ads.

A recommendation for work is a gift.

We won’t be recommended for being ‘a nice guy’ – it’s our particular skill, experience or specialism that will get people talking. And we want people talking about us, in order to gain a reputation and recommendations.

So what are you known for?

If you don’t know yet, here’s a clue. You might not be known for an exceptional technical skill or possession of specific technical knowledge – often our core value is aptitude based or a personality trait.

Perhaps…

  • … you are particularly resilient in certain situations?
  • … you cope with uncertainty very well?
  • … you excel in unstructured or chaotic environments?
  • … you have a gift in leading obstructive people?
  • … you don’t get flustered when you have many things on your plate?

You could be known for something that isn’t always obvious to you.

So, what are you known for?

If you’re still unsure, then it’s probably because you don’t tell people enough about the value you add. Take the above examples, and think again about what you could tell people. Have any fresh ideas?

Why not ask your friends and colleagues? Don’t be shy. You might learn something about yourself – something vital in forming a perspective on what people think about you.

Social platforms like LinkedIn provide us with an excellent pedestal for raising awareness in other people. We can share content, and even create it, about the subjects we could be known for. Sure, you can leave it to chance, but why do that? Have you updated your LinkedIn profile lately? This is a great place to start to shape what people know about you, and can recommend you for. I update my LinkedIn profile regularly, about once a month, but this is still not regularly enough (note to self: update my LinkedIn profile this week!)

Do you have LinkedIn recommendations? Or other endorsements? Are you sharing these? Have you asked for more? One method of encouraging these is to provide somebody else a recommendation – there is often an implied quid pro quo.

Are you socializing enough? And I don’t mean talking sports over a beer. Are you sharing information about yourself that will be useful to others when recommending you? Bet your not!

Some people might tell you this is awfully egocentric, and self-centered. I don’t agree. Successful people aren’t shy about their success, even if they don’t bask in it. What they do is to make sure that they’re known for their success, so that they become the ‘Go-To’ people.

Are you a Go-To person in your field? If you’re not there yet, then give people a reason to think that you should be.

Let me round-up what you can do, right now, to help other people recommend you:

  • List your particular strengths, experience, knowledge and skills. Consider the unusual and interesting. Look at the atypical situations you have been in and how you won through them
  • Ask your friends, your colleagues, customers, supervisors – ask everyone who will give you an honest view of what they observe in you
  • Update your LinkedIn profile, and any other social platforms you engage in. Don’t be shy, but be honest
  • Ask for endorsements and LinkedIn recommendations
  • Socialize with your connections, and tell them what you’re doing, and what you’ve done. Tell them what you want to do – what you want to achieve and why/how you will achieve it
  • Think deeply and confidently about the one thing that you are the Go-To person for, or could be. What can you tell people about this?

What are you known for?

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This post is part 8 of 12 in the series Getting to Know Colleagues

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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