Here is a secret to getting a great job fast: become a man with letters. Not a man “of” letters, but a man “with” letters. There is a big difference between the two.
Traditionally, the term “man of letters” refers to a person that has scholarly pursuits, such as a person that has gone to college. In fact, you’ve probably seen hundreds of commercials on TV for nigh-schools that will tell you that in order to get a job, you need to get a lot of letters after your name, like Ph.D., BS, MS, AS, MD, DDS etc.
Are these late-night TV commercials right? That is debatable. It comes down to what the employer believes about a college education.
We all know that it used to be that a college education stood for something. It stood for indepth learning and study to improve yourself. But with diploma mills churning out graduates, it is becoming harder and hard to say if the piece of paper has any meaning.
Because of this, when I see a college graduate, I don’t assume anything. They may have general knowledge, but I know they don’t know my business specifically. The only thing I infer from a person with “Letters” after their name, is that they spent time in a class. With “online” classes now, I’m now thinking that even that is becoming less significant, as anyone can do an on-line class and pass them: including grade schoolers.
A Man WITH Letters
This is why I want to talk about how to become a man “with” letters. It will make you stand out.
First of all, what do I mean by the phrase “a man with letters?” This is easy to explain: just add the word “testimonial” before the word “letters.”
Become a man with testimonial letters.
That makes a huge difference. The testimonial letters are really an endorsement of your capabilities written by a third party.
And it is biblical tactic, which should make you take notice:
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. Acts 9:1-2 (NIV)
Here is the gist of this: Saul wanted a job in Damascus. He wanted to be the enforcer of jewish laws in the synagogues there. But he knew he couldn’t just walk in and ask for the job. He needed an endorsement of his capabilities. So he asked the high priest for a letter of recommendation. And it worked! He got the job.
I want you to notice one thing. Saul had to ask for the letters.
No one bothers to ask for letters of recommendation. How do I know? Because none of people that come in my office looking for a job have any letters of recommendation with them. The reason is that they didn’t ask their previous employer for them. It is really that simple. They were too lazy or fearful to ask for them.
Knowing this, as an employer myself, if I were to see a letter of recommendation, it would tell me a lot about the person carrying it. They are one of two things: They are such a good worker than their previous employer offered to write it on their own volition. Or, the employee took the initiative to ask. And “taking initiative” is one of the key qualities that I look for in a candidate. This would be 100% proof that the person took the initiative to do something.
Letters Carry Weight
Do not, I beg you, minimize the weight of a letter of recommendation. You think it is trivial. It is not. It is probably the biggest persuasion tactic that you could ever use to get what you want in life.
Consider this: why did you pick your dentist out of the 1000′s in your town? Why pick your hair stylist? Why did you pick your bank? Why did you pick your telephone service?
The answer to these questions is probably because a friend vouched for them. In other words, they gave their personal recommendation for those services. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Angie’s List web site, right? It has only one purpose, to allow people to put up testimonials about busineses.
Even in my business, I always save and publish customer testimonial’s. They are gold!
Here is a story from the bible of how a testimonial was again used by Saul to get “in” with the disciples in Jerusalem. Again, notice that Saul was pursuing the job – he wasn’t waiting for the job to come to him. The disciples wanted nothing to do with him, and they didn’t trust him at all. But the power of a single endorsement changed everything. It literally changed the world because of what Paul went on to do for the work of the Lord.
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. Acts 9:26-28 (NIV)
Develop A Plan For Acquiring Letters of Recommendation
What is your plan? Are you afraid to contact an employer that you worked for 10 years ago? Don’t be. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. You need those pieces of paper in your portfolio.
Become a man with letters. It is how to land that dream job, and how to make money God’s way.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.