|By Shelly Palmer||
|August 17, 2014 09:19 PM EDT||
Maureen McDonnell could use a solid reference right about now.
Instead, the former first lady of Virginia is on trial for corruption alongside her husband, former Governor Bob McDonnell.
The two are accused of accepting gifts from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., a well-to-do businessman, in exchange for promoting Williams’ dietary supplement, Anatabloc.
Oh, and this one: Who had the worst week in Washington? Maureen McDonnell.
So many damaging testimonies Maureen could go without.
You know what?
Your own character witnesses – reference letters – also don’t do you any good.
You know why?
They are predictable and useless in your job search.
Let me explain.
The line below — or something similar — probably graces every one of your reference letters:
“I had the privilege of working with [YOUR NAME] and believe he/she is one of the most promising young people I have ever met.”
Sorry to break it to you, but other applicants have nearly identical reference letters. That’s because everyone writes cookie-cutter endorsements full of flowery compliments but lacking in specifics.
The employer, in turn, reads letter after letter that looks and sounds the same. The bottom line? You, the reference person and the employer go through the motions but no one benefits. The silly little game needs to stop, and here’s how it can:
Ask the reference person to tell an actual story about you.
No one cares about your work ethic unless they understand HOW you work hard. A short story about success on the job will impress an employer more than anything else.
In your request, include this line:
“In your letter, it would be great if you reference a moment or situation where I proved myself or demonstrated my work ethic. The more specific, the better.”
In fact, if you know the moment you want the person to discuss, flat out ask for it.
“For instance, you can write about the time I stayed at work until 11 pm to make sure we finished the project in time for the big presentation the next morning.”
Suddenly, your reference letter is no longer a forgettable piece of paper. It’s a powerful document which relays a memorable story about your track record.
“I had the privilege of working with [YOUR NAME] and believe she is one of the most promising young people I have ever met. In fact let me tell you a short story about her. The day before a big presentation…”
Big difference, right? (This is also why your cover letter should also include a personal anecdote.)
Not only will employers read the “short story” reference letter — as opposed to skimming a boring one in five seconds – but it might even push your application to the top. Remember: the other job seekers provided flavorless, colorless recommendations.
You jump off the page with a career snapshot that speaks volumes about your character.
It’s the kind of testimony Maureen McDonnell, persona non grata in Virginia, can only dream about.
It’s the kind you should have in your arsenal right now.
Sep. 30, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,046
Sep. 30, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,029
Sep. 30, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,898
Sep. 30, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 135
Sep. 30, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 4,473
Sep. 30, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,704
Sep. 30, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 556
Sep. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 165
Sep. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,220
Sep. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,170
Sep. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,821
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
Sep. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 566
Sep. 30, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 197
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
Sep. 30, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,248
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Sep. 30, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,275