As you ponder who to include within your list of references, keep in mind the last time that you have spoken with them! If you haven’t worked with someone in more than 5 years, make sure they are individuals whom you have periodically kept in contact with, so they are aware of and informed about your new accomplishments. By staying in touch, those on your ‘reference list’ will be equipped to vouch for your attributes and character, which becomes equally important as their ability to accurately conveying your hard skills.
1) Make sure you have their permission, before listing them as a reference.
2) Be sure to confirm what they ‘will say’ when contacted. (As all attorneys know, you never put a witness on the stand, if you don’t know what they are going to say!)
3) Have a mix of (4) Professional References as well as (3) Community Involvement References, which you can select from to utilize on your resume, and as requested.
4) Having a mix of reference ‘types’ allows the hiring company to gain an understanding of who you are as a person, as well as how you perform specific tasks and duties.
5) Utilize your ‘references’ strategically. If you have a mix of (7) references and you are asked for (3), list those who will speak to the attributes the hiring company is looking for you to possess. This is why it is critical for you to know how each reference will speak of you.
6) Stay in contact with your ‘references’ as this allows you to ensure that you have updated phone numbers and email addresses. Providing a list of references which the decision maker has difficulty contacting or are unable to reach, ultimately does not reflect positively, on you.
7) Inform your ‘references’ of your career search activity, so they are aware that someone may be in contact with them to conduct a background/reference check.
8) If you are emerging from College–you may not have a list of previous employers–so your Professors & Instructors become your references! It is critical that you understand this concept and establish rapport during your College years, so that your Professors & Instructors actually remember you and can speak to your character.
9) Another tip for college students–ask your Professors & Instructors to post a recommendation for you on your LinkedIn page at the time of completing the course or upon your graduation. They may or may not agree to do so, but you will never know, if you never ask.
10) THANK your references once you receive an offer for your dream position at your dream company. Send them a handwritten note, give them a personal call, send them a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, etc……do something to show your appreciation! Remember, they were a part of the process & journey of going from Hunting2Hired.
Next week….stay tuned for “How Well Is Your Resume Selling You?”