For Your Reference: 5 Tips on How to Get Glowing Job References

You’ve got your resume in tip-top shape and employers have noticed. But are you ready to furnish top-notch contacts when your potential new boss asks for your references? It could make all the difference.

Here are five tips on how to select and manage your job references to make sure they sell your abilities and sing your praises:

1. Don’t procrastinate. Start preparing your list of references even before you send out your resume. You won’t do yourself any favors if you scramble to put a solid list of references together at the last minute. Employers expect three to five references, so make an effort to line up more people than you need.

2. Target your list. Just as you might alter your resume and cover letter based on the position you’re seeking, it’s smart to customize your reference list, too. Pick people who can speak knowledgably and persuasively about your skills and attributes that are most relevant to each job you pursue. For instance, if you’re applying for a payroll management position, consider providing contact information for a previous boss and someone you supervised.

3. Ask permission first. Even if you’re still in contact with your old bosses and colleagues, make sure to give them a heads up that you’ve listed them as a job reference. That kind of foreknowledge will be beneficial to both of you when your potential employer comes calling. No one likes to be caught off guard.   

4. Give references all the intel they need. Always provide your job references with your current resume and an explanation of the job you’re seeking. This allows them to be completely current with your experience, skills and career aspirations. It will also make it easier for them to give a strong and accurate endorsement. The better prepared your references are, the better you’ll look.

5. Make it easy for the reference checker. When asked, present your list of job references to your potential employer with detailed contact information. Be sure to include each job reference’s full name, title, phone number, email address and best time to be reached.

You should always have several job references in mind each time you apply for a job. Figure out who those references are now and alert them accordingly. Just remember, don’t hand them out until asked.

Related article: Resumania™: Referencing the Reference Check in Your Resume

Tags: Job Search