When job searching, don’t hesitate to drop names


Although name-dropping is generally a faux pas in social situations, it’s good strategy on your résumé, job application essays, job interviews and annual summaries of your accomplishments.

Your high-level associations may, for example, include: the titles of senior managers and executives inside and outside of your organization who have used, approved, praised or benefited from your work; the names of the stakeholder groups with whom you have interacted; the names of important projects you have worked on; the names of publications and high-traffic Web sites that have published your articles, quoted you or discussed your projects; the names of conferences or other important meetings that you have helped organize or at which you have delivered presentations; the titles of senior managers and executives who will provide references for you; and the names of organizations that have given you awards.

Citing these associations advances your case by exploiting the principle of trust by association.

You help prove to hiring managers that you have earned the trust of senior officials, and thereby reassure them that it would be similarly safe for them to trust you.

You also help prove that you have operated effectively in high-pressure environments and so are prepared to do so in the future. And you show that important executives and organizations have given you their seal of approval and provide objective validation of your success.

If you are reluctant to title-drop, remember: You’ve worked hard to help make the muckety-mucks in your organization look good. You’ve hauled and carried.

You’ve endured the boring meetings. You’ve run yourself ragged meeting impossible deadlines and last-minute emergencies.

So when you are job hunting or preparing for an annual review, it’s payback time: It’s time for the muckety-mucks whom you have helped to help make you look good.

Lily Whiteman is a public affairs officer at the National Science Foundation and author of “How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job.’’ Her Web site is IGotTheJob.net. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent the views of the National Science Foundation.


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