How to Get Job References Without Asking

Posted by Guest Contributor

10:00 AM

You want people saying, “I know someone who’s unbelievable at that.” If your friends aren’t saying this yet, they will be soon.

By Scott Ginsberg


According to a study conducted by the Federal Bureau of Labor on how people get hired, more than 70 percent of all jobs come from some type of referral.

The question is: Will you be part of that number?

Today we’re going to explore three strategies for becoming the most referable person you know:

1. Be visible in your element.

People need to see you doing what you do. Period. Nothing will make you more referable. So, seek out situations that vividly reveal your passions, talents, character and unique value — then make sure lots of people are watching. Then get it on video and publish it online everywhere you possibly can.

Remember: When you sing the song that is natural for you to sing, in the way that is natural for you to sing it, people are unable to escape your awesomeness. How many people have seen you do what you do?

2. The Triple D factor.

Know your customers. Know your customers. Know your customers.” Since Day One, those words have been pounded into your skull. Still, perhaps a better question is: “How well do your customers know you?” See, everyone you know needs to know three things about you.

  • What you do. For a living, as a professional, for customers. The surefire way to do this is to have an unforgettable networking introduction.
  • What you’re doing. As in, right now, current news and projects, upcoming events. The answer is to post an “upcoming events” widget on your blog.
  • What you’ve done. Past jobs, past projects, whom you worked with, how you helped them. And the key is to post video testimonials on your Web site.

Remember: Tell people not to keep you a secret. Do, Doing, Done. Got it?

3. Resumes are for amateurs.

The problem with your resume is that you wrote it.If you want to persuade potential employers, prospects and customers to hire you, remember this: Your resume is most effective when someone other than you writes it. In fact, the word resume comes from the Latin resumere, which means, “to sum up.”

So, your resume is anything (or anyone) that sums up why you rock so hard. Your resume is your Google ranking. Your resume is your comments section on your blog. Your resume is your testimonial page on your Web site. Your resume is your book review section on Your resume is what people are saying about your name. Your resume is what people are saying after your name. Your resume is what people are saying behind your back.

Now. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having an actual, traditional resume. It’s still a valuable professional tool. Just remember: If someone wants to hire you, she’s going to validate your credibility from multiple sources. Not just from one piece of paper that you wrote. What’s your (real) resume?

Remember: You can’t make people refer you for new jobs.

All you can do is proactively create situations that will increase the probability of being referred.

Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of nine books, an award-winning blogger and the creator of He's the only person in the world who wears a nametag 24-7 and advises companies on how to leverage approachability into profitability.

Topics: Job Search Process