All of us know one or two people who aren’t particularly good at what they do, and yet they always seem to be the ones who get ahead in life. They advance, while everyone else has to sit and watch.
It wouldn’t be so infuriating if they were the most deserving – the most intelligent, the most skilled, or the most hard-working. But it never seems to work out that way.
The simple fact of the matter is that it takes two types of skills to get ahead in the world today: the ability to do a good job and – what is becoming increasingly important – the ability to land a good opportunity in the first place. Unfortunately for most of us, our teachers only taught us how to perform well; they didn’t spend a whole lot of time showing us how to stake our claims – how to make sure we get the credit, rewards, and opportunities we deserve. That was supposed to be automatic.
Well, it’s not!
It’s a jungle everywhere! Throughout your life, you can expect that you will be out there too – over and over again – fighting for your place in the world. It’s not enough to be another good also-ran; successful candidates know they must stand out in a crowded field. They must get noticed before they can ever hope to get offers.
That’s why letters of recommendation are more important now in the job search process than ever before – often more important than your resume. If you’ve ever been involved in hiring, then you know it doesn’t take long before all those resumes start sounding alike. Resume after resume – the whole pile starts to become a blur.
Letters of recommendation are different. Hard-hitting, objective opinions from real-life professionals that have actually worked with you can communicate more about what you offer than you could ever get across in a resume… that is, if you can get the right letter.
PROBLEM: Getting good recommendation letters isn’t easy – even when you deserve them!
People are often reluctant to write letters of recommendation – even when you are more than deserving. Why? Well, a typical excuse is that they are too busy. After all, doing a letter of recommendation can take some time – especially if you don’t do them often.
Even so, often lack of time is just an excuse; it isn’t the real reason why most people don’t like writing recommendation letters. A more common – and more embarrassing – reason managers are reluctant to write reference letters is that they don’t think they can do a good job. In fact, they fear that a letter they write will be so bad that it will make them look unprofessional, and you and the person receiving your letter will lose respect for them and the organizations they represent.
Of course, they won’t tell you that; you just won’t ever get your letter.
Clearly, though, some people have figured this out. They are able to secure the kinds of letters that opportunities the rest can only dream of.
How do they do it?
– Are they just better than everyone else?
– Do they work harder?
– Are they smarter or better educated?
In the vast majority of cases, the answers to these questions are no, no, and no!
They’re not better or smarter; they just know the secret.
Their approach is as simple as it is effective: They write their letters of recommendation themselves!
You’ve probably seen glowing letters of recommendation that…
– get people to stand up and take notice
– impress recruiters and colleagues
– provide the most effective competitive edge available in the war for fast-track opportunities!
Am I saying that these letters are essentially just advertising – as biased as anything else – written by the candidates themselves?
Yes! That’s exactly what I am saying, and for a very good reason… it’s absolutely true! It’s the dirty little secret that all the most successful candidates already know.
Now think about this: How can you possibly compete without doing the same thing yourself?
The answer is: you can’t!
If you are serious about landing the kind of opportunities you really deserve in today’s competitive environment, then you have no option… you must take the initiative. It takes real nerve to write your own letter of recommendation for someone else to sign, but it’s the way the real movers and shakers make things happen.