Do you know that with a few telephone calls, a good search consultant, or potential employer can find out more about you than your own family, close friends, and spouse may know?

Many people believe that the only way they are known to a prospective employer is by the interview itself, and the references provided during the interviewing process -- False. So often, an employer will ask other employees if they know a prospective hire, or they will confidentially call a friend from the prospective hire's current or prior place of employment. These "behind the scenes" references are often what determines a resultant offer or rejection letter.

Once you enter the workforce, you immediately begin painting a self-portrait every day, by your behavior and performance in the office, or in the field. Your performance, attitude and actions constitute small paint strokes every day of your work life, and in the end a self-portrait is produced for the business community to view. Your self-portrait determines your reputation in the industry.

For example, if one day you are rude to a co-worker, and lose your temper in the office, two paint strokes have been made to the canvas. If you help a co-worker, and make a contribution that benefits the company, more strokes are added to the canvas. All positive and negative behavior and actions are automatically committed to your self-portrait. An arrogant individual may not realize how ill-treatment of colleagues or subordinates clearly defines his/her self-portrait in the community. The individual with the beautiful self-portrait always will have the positive career opportunities and promotions. In addition, that person will receive the most calls from executive search firms trying to lure them away.

If a retained executive search firm works on a $100,000+ position in Pittsburgh, the successful candidate will have to be a charismatic, team-oriented leader with a progressive attitude and a high-level of integrity. For most retained searches, the character of the candidate is a key factor in the selection process. Character is equally an important factor in the selection process for people in all industries, and in all levels in their career.

People in the business community do not realize how easy it is to go "behind the scenes" and ask questions about individuals, to find out what their portrait looks like. The answer to questions about the person may be, "He's a political animal", or "She's obnoxious", or "He is a jerk." A "behind the scenes" call that discovers racial, or discriminatory behavior will exclude that person from any opportunity with a great company. When this happens, an individual loses a potential lucrative opportunity based on incidents that have occurred in the workplace. Your portrait becomes the reputation seen and discussed by your colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors. If your portrait is not appealing, you will not receive the big raise, promotion, or unknown job offer.

Companies today look for much more than technical or job specific skills when recruiting talent. Companies today look for a positive attitude, teamwork, initiative, integrity, good interpersonal skills, and a visionary spirit.

You must work to paint a beautiful self-portrait if you want to maintain a good reputation in the community. Your reputation is worth more dollars than any other skill set you possess. Your reputation is priceless.

Suggestions made by Pittsburgh Corporations for painting a beautiful self-portrait:

  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Treat everyone with respect.
  • Don't climb the corporate ladder by stepping on others.
  • Be a team player.
  • Participate in company functions.
  • Think "outside the box."
  • Never compromise integrity.
  • Give back to the community by volunteering.
  • Demonstrate initiative.
  • Be friendly.

You alone paint your self-portrait. Remember, the portrait you paint will be viewed and known by all. If it is not attractive, you could lose out on a fantastic opportunity. Guess what? You won't even know about it.