5 Tips To Creating A World-Class Employment Reference List
It Pays to Keep Your Best References Happy!
20, 2012) - Your references: are they really that important in
the hiring process? In a word - absolutely. Unfortunately,
professional references are perhaps the most overlooked and
underutilized tool in most people's employment arsenal.
If you're not
using your references to your best advantage, you may be making an
inadvertent error in your search for new employment. An excellent
resume may get your foot in the door for an interview, but it's
your references that will likely “seal the deal” and get you the
actual job offer.
So ask yourself:
Will the list of job references I have created ensure that stellar
new job offer?
reference-checking firm of Allison
& Taylor offers these five tips on how to create a
compelling reference list:
1. First, think
about your list content. Will you always use the same references?
Or does employment diversity require that you create more than one
set, each tailored to your specific expertise in that field?
2. Who's to say
you can't use a reference from your not-so-recent past? If it's
relevant - and the reference is willing - go all the way back to
college if appropriate. In fact, a professor may make an excellent
reference if their input is germane to the job you're applying for.
3. Are your
references really striving to “sell you” to employers? Are
you offering up only the input of the HR department? They will
generally give a canned “dates and title” response, which is not
what potential employers really seek. Try to provide references that
can actually speak to your abilities.
Better still, ensure
you're aware of what your reference will truly say about you by
contacting a professional
reference checking organization.
4. Is it always
necessary to use a supervisor? Certainly not. Of course, someone
who has seen your day-to-day performance is best - but don't close
off your options by assuming that person has to be your direct
supervisor. You can certainly go above them - perhaps your
supervisor's boss can provide a more accurate (and flattering)
reference. Then again, who reported to you? It's often the people
who work for you that know you best.
5. What's the
correct format for references? Always provide the pertinent
contact details. There's nothing more frustrating for an employer
than trying to contact references with incorrect or outdated
information. If they have to hunt down your references, you're much
more likely to wind up in the discard pile - wrong information
projects (your) lack of attention to detail.
include company name, reference title, name, email, mailing address
and phone. Also, include a quick blurb regarding your relationship to
the reference. Once you've created a great list of references, stay
in their good graces. Always follow the “Golden Rules of Job
1. Call your former
bosses and ask them if they are willing to provide favorable job
references on your behalf. As an additional courtesy, offer them an
update on your career.
2. Let your
references know each and every time you give out their contact
information and thank them for their efforts.
3. Keep your
positive references informed of your career and educational progress.
They will be more inclined to see you in a stronger light as you
4. Note that
spending time communicating with your prospective employer takes
valuable time from your references' workdays. If you plan to use
these positive references over the years, you need to give something
back. For instance, each time your reference supports you with a new
prospective employer, send them a personal thank-you letter or (at a
minimum) an email. Better still, send a thank-you note with a gift
card for Starbucks, or offer to take your former boss to
5. If you win the
new position, call or email your former boss and thank them again for
their support. Also, let them know your new contact information.
references in the best light and then treat them like the valuable
commodities they are. They will truly be invaluable
assets in your search for that new job.
# # #
About Allison &
& Taylor and its principals have been in the
business of checking references for corporations and individuals
since 1984. Allison
& Taylor is headquartered in Rochester, Michigan. For
further details on services and procedures please visit
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and Taylor, Inc.
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