Make no mistake about it: references are an important part of a person’s job search.
However, some job seekers are of the opinion that references pale in comparison to a list of previous accomplishments or “knocking it out of the park” during a face-to-face interview. That is simply not the case. Attention must be paid to both professional and personal references.
Now, compiling those references can be a time-consuming endeavor if you’re not familiar with the best ways of approaching them. Below are eight tips for compiling and using references wisely during your job search:
1. It’s common practice to list “references available upon request” on your resume. However, you need to make certain that you have a solid list because if you’re being seriously considered for a position, you will be asked to provide it.
2. Initially make the list as large as you can, and then select the top three references. (You’ll also be prepared if a prospective employer asks for more than three references.)
3. In addition to names and titles, your reference list should also include phone numbers (work numbers and cell phone numbers) and email addresses.
4. Start with references from previous employers. The key is to list people to whom you’ve reported, either directly or indirectly.
5. Make sure that your references are people with whom you’ve stayed in touch, and only use references that are willing to take the time to help you.
6. Call each and every one of the people on your final reference list. Get permission to use them as a reference, tell them of your job search, and if you’re already in the interviewing process, tell them for what position you’ve applied and the company with which you’re interviewing.
7. Always wait until you’re asked by a prospective employer for your list of professional references before presenting it.
8. Do not provide a list of personal references along with your professional references unless the prospective employer specifically asks for them.
No matter how much technology advances, no matter how much social media invades nearly every aspect of our lives, the fact of the matter is that “word of mouth” is still the most effective form of promotion. People value the opinion of others, and they want to hear that opinion directly from them.
That’s why your job search is NOT complete without a solid list of professional (and personal) references.
Time Staffing Inc.