Companies often encourage their employees to refer friends and family to apply for job openings, and WOU is no exception. Referrals are a great resource because the person who referred the candidate knows they have the personality and/or the skills for the job. Not only that, the referral has a built-in friend on the inside to whom they can turn with questions and advice, allowing for a faster integration.

Yet, people are often hesitant to refer friends and family because the referral may not come from what is perceived as the “right” background. At WOU, though, there is no “right” background, and nobody has figured that out better than Jenni Paine.

Jenni PaineJenni has a history of successfully referring friends and family to WOU, and each comes from a different background. How did she know they would succeed? That’s a mystery that Stacey Plamondon, Director of WOU’s recruiting team, and others in the organization set out to unravel. Stacey said, “Jenni is so successful at bringing people in from different industries and we wondered, ‘How does she break down those barriers and recognize other people’s transferable skills?’”

Here is how Jenni takes the power of connectivity to the next level:

Talk about your job often and honestly

Jenni talks about her job as a Career Resource Specialist a lot. When she shares success stories on social media or in conversation with friends, family, or even those who just approach her when she’s working, she exudes such happiness in what she does that people ask about her job. “There are so many great stories to share and I get really excited sharing them,” she says. She also makes sure people understand what is involved in her job. “I don’t sugarcoat anything,” Jenni says. “We’re busy and we do a lot of traveling, but we’re making a difference in someone’s life, and for me, that’s most important.”

Identify transferable skills

As part of her job, Jenni looks at each client and identifies the skills they have that will help them succeed in a certain job opportunity. Sometimes, it’s easy to identify those transferable skills, while other times, it may take digging deep. She looks at each possible referral the same way. “A former classmate and I were speaking about a potential position at WOU, and while speaking with her, I learned she was involved in her church and with volunteer work,” Jenni said. “She has a heart to serve, so I knew she would be a good fit.” Another referral was a relative who needed a career change. She also knew this relative helped raise a nephew with severe autism, so she knew this relative would have the patience and fortitude needed to be a Career Resource Specialist with WOU.

Promote WOU’s supportive culture

“When a friend I referred started out with WOU, it was a big career change for her,” Jenni recalls. “I told her it wouldn’t be easy at first, but I encouraged her to ask questions and keep asking questions, because we’re not only here to support our clients, we’re here to support each other. I trust everyone I work with, and even six years in, if I can’t get to something, I know I just have to ask and someone will jump in to help.”

Because of her on-the-job successes and her ability to connect with others, Jenni’s role as Career Resource Specialist has expanded. She is now the Peer Mentor Coordinator for Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU), focused on helping those who join the organization succeed in their roles. She also continues to do what she does best, which is share her love for her job.

Do you know someone who is looking to make a powerful impact each day like Jenni does? If so, get in touch with our recruiting team and see how the power of connectivity benefits all.