Like a Mechanic, Word-of-Mouth is Key to Success

changing mindset job hunting list building networking planning ahead reaching out referrals self-advocacy techniques top of mind word of mouth

How do people go about looking for a mechanic? 

Let's say you're brand new in town. You don't know anybody and you have European sports car that needs a very competent, skilled mechanic who specializes in European sports cars.

You have a couple options. You could get online and let's say you find, 10 different mechanics that work on European sports cars. Maybe check out the reviews, but you don't really know how trustworthy those are. Or you can just roll a dice and try one of them. 

Or let's say one of your friends says, "Oh, you know what? I used that mechanic over there and they were fantastic." 

If you have those two things presented to you, You have your own search that might include some, research and due diligence or reviews, or you have a friend whom you trust that says, you know what, I used that mechanic and they were fantastic.

Nine times out of ten, human nature is going to make us go with the person that our friend recommended. And the reason for that is because of trust and risk and when somebody that you trust vouches for a mechanic, let's say, you feel much more safe about going with that person. 

Now let's put this in the context of you as a job seeker. As a job hunter, as an employee, or as somebody who is looking to make a move to another company, you are an opportunity for someone else to solve a problem, provide a service, or fill a need. 

A lot of people think that the job search is where they're trying to get something from the employer. The candidate, the job hunter is trying to get the employer to hire them. But what's actually happening is the candidate or the employee is providing a service and solving a problem or filling a need for the employer and the employer is compensating them, through payroll or commissions, or however, whatever the pay structure is. 

So what you want to realize is that you are like a mechanic, and the employer is like a person with a broken car. And they're out there looking for somebody to come in and fix their car or fix their problem. 

Now, why does this matter? Well, if you think about it, think about human nature. 

If a hiring manager is looking for somebody to fix their problem, to fill their need, to provide a service within their company, and they have the option of putting the post out in public and collecting, hundreds of resumes. Or they have somebody in their network saying, "You know what? My friend here is a really great person. They have great skills. They would be perfect for this job." 

 Think about the motivation and the level of certainty and confidence that the hiring manager is going to have in that one person who a trusted friend recommended versus looking through a stack of resumes. 

If the boss is really trying to find somebody that other people they know can vouch for, then that's a great opportunity. 

When I say "you are the mechanic", what that means is the process of going out and creating awareness with your network and expanding your network and letting people know that you are out there in the market and you're available for someone to hire is effectively telling people that you are a mechanic and that if somebody comes looking for something that they need fixed, that they should think of you.

It's important to understand how powerful word of mouth is. Word of mouth is much more powerful even in the 21st century when people have access to all of the world's information on the internet. The interpersonal relationship and the power associated with that cannot be overstated. It's so important to understand that if you create avenues for people to find you, you create association. 

 Let's say that you are out there and you are looking for a job as a financial analyst. Let's say it's a fairly specific role, but there are always companies out there that are looking for financial analysts.

The process that you would do, it's just like being a mechanic. You would let people in your network know, whether it's creating awareness with the whole world or just certain people that says, "Hey, if you know anybody, if you hear of anybody that is looking for a financial analyst, think of me."

And the more often that you do that, the better.

The more likely you are that somebody in your network is going to be talking to somebody else and they're going to say, Hey I need an analyst and, oh, I know just the right person. And then they're going to recommend you or think of you. 

It sounds kind of indirect and maybe even a little bit hokey, but I can't even tell you how many dozens, if not hundreds of times I have helped people find a great job that they were looking for by just this one exercise. 

I had a friend of mine who was an attorney and working in a law firm and fairly fresh out of law school, was their first first job as a lawyer, and they just weren't happy. They weren't satisfied.

 And we talked about the concept of "you are the mechanic" and creating awareness and... I walked them through this exercise and they were having coffee with somebody one day and was letting them know, "Hey I'm not very satisfied with my law firm. I'm thinking about making a move. And actually, I don't really want to practice law, but I want to use my lawyer, my law skills and my law degree and my role as an attorney in my next role. I want to leverage that credential and those skills, but I don't want to practice law per se." 

Well, sure enough, the person that they were having coffee with said, "You know what? I know exactly somebody who might be looking for you." 

And that person had a colleague or a friend that needed somebody who could explain complex legal jargon to their financial clients. And what they needed was somebody who could translate legal documents and then explain them in layman's terms to their clients.

Next thing you know, a meeting was set up, and a week later, my friend had a job offer making more money and doing work that they enjoy much, much more. 

So when you're out there and you're networking and you're talking to people, remember "you are the mechanic" and you want to let people know that you are available.

 If somebody who's hiring and looking for somebody like you, if they can find somebody that knows you and can vouch for you, then suddenly you're on fast track to the front of the line for the next interview, and probably have the greatest advantage of getting that job over anybody else who just blindly submitted a resume.

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