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References Can Make or Break You

Posted April 2, 2017 by

Your references are becoming increasingly more important and valuable. Your resume will get you an interview, but it’s the reference report that can win you the job in a closely competitive job race. Believe me, employers are taking a closer look at your references and are carefully examining your credentials, the integrity of your profile, both online and offline, and your past work history and performance.

It’s critical that you establish your reference list before your job search. You need to know who you can rely on to back up your brand. Who will speak well on your behalf? We’re going to want to know that what you have showed us and told us matches with what others can verify about you.

Employers, hiring managers and recruiters alike will dig into your past and you will be fully vetted. This time, effort, cost, and liability that goes into hiring today is greater than ever before and employers want to make sure they have selected the right person. So select your references very carefully.

Generally, you will be asked to furnish 4-5 professional references; preferably past employers or supervisors – people who can vouch for what you have done and how you performed. You need to reach out to your prospective references and tell them of your job search plans and ask for their permission to be listed as a professional reference in connection with an upcoming job offer.

What you need for your reference list is their full name, current job title and name of organization, address (including email address), phone number, and a sentence or two on how they are connected to you professionally. This should be produced in advance so you can readily hand it to the employer when they are preparing to make you a job offer.

When you provide your references to your new prospective employer, you must immediately call each of your references and tell them about the application process you are currently undertaking. Let them know that a representative of the organization will be contacting them in the next few days in connection with your application. Tell them about the position, organization and other relevant details so they are prepared to talk about you in context with the position your are seeking.

There is nothing more frustrating from our end than not getting through to a listed reference. Too often they have no clue they have been listed as a reference, they aren’t sure it’s permissible to talk about you and so they are very guarded about revealing any worthwhile information. They are not going to risk giving up important information that may aid you in your job search effort. They don’t want to face any legal liabilities.

So touch base with your references. This way they are expecting the call when it comes through and will call right back if they missed it in the first place.