The Boy Scouts always talk about it’s best to be prepared in any situation. After all, you don’t know when a bear might want to eat you, or when you might get lost in the middle of nowhere. Well, hopefully neither of these situations are going to be a problem when you’re looking for a job, but there is one thing you need to prepare before you actually need it – recommendations.
Unlike references, recommendations are a static description of the person you are and the value you can add to a company. These are written by people who have worked with you and who have trained you in your field. Before you even think about getting a new job, you will want to talk to esteemed people (who like you) about writing up a recommendation.
It doesn’t have to be lengthy, but it should be specific to who you are and what you have to offer. It can help for you to tell the person writing the recommendation what you might want to see in the letter, or you can write the letter yourself and have the person sign it. Not very ethical, but some people just don’t want to write a recommendation. They just want to sign off on one.
No matter what you choose to do with recommendations, you need to think about how you can collect these before your skills become a vague memory of those who worked with you. Start figuring out what you want others to say about you, ask them to write it down, and then get as many copies as they will sign.
You never know when they might come in handy. Not only might you need them in the application process, but you might also need them for your LinkedIn account, your Facebook page, etc.
Spread the word about how highly recommended you are.
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