It’s no secret that in today’s challenging job market, you’ll likely need some less-than-traditional tools in your arsenal. Too many applicants simply use their previous references as a listing to be offered upon request by prospective employers, say the reference checking experts at Allison & Taylor.
Here are 5 steps designed to make your references powerful assets in your job-seeking toolbox:
1. First, make a list of all your prospective references. Begin with the first job that is relevant in management of your career today. You need to select those who have carefully observed your job performance. Your references need to have seen you in action, hopefully performing well in adverse conditions. Be sure to gather all- important contact data about every potential reference, including: name, title, company, address, telephone/fax number, and e-mail address. (Get information on how to modernize your reference list here.)
2. Narrow the list. After you have made your list of references, select those that you feel will be most willing to give you an excellent report. A typical list of references should include at least 5 names, depending on the amount of experience a candidate has accumulated.
3. Contact each reference personally (beforehand). Send each selected reference a note stating that you are seeking new employment and that you would like to use them as a reference. Be sure to share with them your current resume and let them know of the position you are applying for, as well as the type of qualities the company is likely seeking. Emphasize those aspects of your skill set that you wish highlighted by the reference to prospective employers. (Click here for 5 tips to make sure your professional reference an asset.)
4. Conduct your “due diligence” ahead of time. The last thing you want is to lose out on a good position because you did not have your references organized, validated and prioritized. You can even use your references as effective networking tools in asking them to keep your name out in front of those with whom they associate. Again, tell your references what you have been doing since the last time you worked with them. Not only is this the courteous thing to do; it also keeps them updated on your career. Any reference that is well informed about the progression of your career will be a much better reference. Lastly, ask them if they know of any current job openings in your field.
5. Finally, craft your finished product – your reference list that showcases your working relationship, and skill set, with each of your key references. Create your reference list so that an employer will see exactly how you/your references interacted, and those attributes that will “talk” to the skill set your prospective employers are seeking. (See how to format your reference list by clicking here.)
In summary, utilize a proactive, creative approach to showcasing your references to differentiate yourself from most other applicants and ensure that the next “new hire” will be…you.
For more information on conducting a reference check, please visit AllisonTaylor.com.
Are you protected by your old company’s policy to only confirm the dates and title of employment?
Our experience is, that with a little pressure, most managers break company policy and speak their mind to either help or hurt a candidate’s chance at another job. Who from your past job will help you or hurt you – you need to know.
Is your past boss badmouthing you?
50% of our clients have lost good job offers due to bad or mediocre comments from previous employers. Reference-Letters.com will confidentially find out what is really being said about you and give you the power to stop it!
Interviewing well but not getting the job?
Maybe it’s something that a past employer or reference is saying. Could a jealous colleague be sabotaging you? Could your past boss be less than happy at your departure? Reference-Letters.com will help you find out.
Do you have a separation agreement with your past employer? Is it being honored?
Is your past employer giving you the professional and prompt reference that was promised or are they saying, “Well according to our agreement I can only confirm that he worked here.” Reference-Letters.com will find out what is really being said and give you the power to enforce your agreement.
Were you a victim of discrimination, sexual harassment or wrongful termination?
Your previous employers could be affecting your new job search through their comments to prospective employers. Don’t let them continue to hurt you and your career.
Are you being BLACKBALLED?
Last year our clients were awarded more than $2 million in settlements. Reference-Letters.com will find out what is really being said about you and give you the power to stop it!
You’ve put time and effort into your resume, developed your network of possible employers and recruiters, worked on your interview skills – but have done nothing but typed a list of your references. Don’t leave this crucial area to chance. References are the final factor in who gets the job offer. Your past employers – anyone you reported to will be contacted. Do you know what they will say? Reference-Letters.com will find out what is really being said about you.