Personal Brand Stereotypes #10: Connections to Corporate

Career DevelopmentPersonal BrandingSuccess Strategies

This will be the last “personal brand stereotypes” post I do for a while, to make room for all the other special content I have lined up for all of you. I was thinking about doing a Greek stereotype post (fraternities and sororities) or a racial stereotype post (Black or Asian people), but today I wanted to focus on the workplace. I want to start a discussion around how people are perceived when they enter the workforce because of an executive referral. From my research, I haven’t seen anyone touch on this issue and I think a lot of people get jobs because of it.

The Series:

  • #1 – Tall people are basketball players
  • #2 – Glasses make you look smart
  • #3 – Men who wear pink are homosexual
  • #4 – The hippie phenomenon
  • #5 – Only punks wear mohawks
  • #6 – Ageism puts Gen-Y in danger
  • #7 – A nice car means you’re successful
  • #8 – Choose your major wisely
  • #9 – Jews have big noses and bald spots

Referrals are Amazing – But There are Consequences

Believe it or not, people who are less qualified than you get better jobs. The power of networking is so strong that you could be interviewing for a position that was taken by the son or daughter of the CEO. I’ve sat in interviews only to find out from friends that their friends received an offer because of their parents who work there. An executive referral can take you from a 2.7 GPA to a 4.0 and your resume from an empty wasteland to an amazon jungle. Family is by far the strongest connection you can have because the probability that they will go out of their way for you is the highest. Executive referrals let you cut in line at an amusement park and even receive perks such as travel your first year. They can be strong support matrix’s in the workplace, where politics reign supreme and when you have very little pull at first. They open opportunities like children open their gifts on Christmas.

Everything in life comes at a price. In this situation, if you have been given an executive referal, you will be viewed as someone who just got the position because of it. “She’s only here because of her father.” “What makes him qualified for this position, when he has no work experienced and barely made it through College”?

What To Do?

If I received a job because my mother was the Executive Vice President of Marketing, then I would accept it, stay at the job for no more than two years and then leverage that experience for another position elsewhere. I would take these actions because I wouldn’t want the reputation of only being there because of someone else. In order to carve your own road in the workplace and be respected, you have to earn it. Although you may reap many benefits early on, as you climb the ladder, the fact that your employed because of your family will make you self-destruct. Think about Ashley Simpson and many other celebrities that are forced to hide behind their famous siblings. Most of them do for a while and then freak out and create their own destiny. Again, that initial support is great and you should take it if you have the opportunity, but for long-term happiness and fulfillment, break away.