Choosing Job References

Part of preparing to find a new job is choosing the right people to use as your references. Use some strategy to make this a successful component of your search.


Are your references prepared?

Be sure to ask your references ahead of time and keep them informed when they may be contacted. If they know about the position you’re seeking, they’re better able to tailor their response while speaking of your skills for the position. If your prospective employer calls someone who is surprised at being used as your reference, it doesn’t reflect well on your planning and communication abilities. Also, ask your references what they will say. You want to be certain they’ll give you a positive recommendation.


Have you given your future employer the right list?

Three to five is the right number of references, and you shouldn’t send them before they’re needed. When you’re asked though, be ready. You should never walk into an interview without your list of references on hand. Also, have references who will be recognizable to the hiring manager whenever possible. Associates in the industry or people with a high profile in your community are often good choices. Be sure you have current contact information for each reference and they have interacted with you in the recent past.


Have you removed “References available upon request” from your resume?

Everyone knows that references are part of the job hunt routine. Using valuable space on your resume to mention this takes up space that could be better used to tell your future employer more about your experience and fit for the job.

References often provide the special spark that helps an employer see you as the right individual for the job. Anecdotes and illustrations of your expertise will stay with hiring managers long after their knowledge of your education and experience have faded. Be certain to make the right decisions when choosing your references.

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