Your resume may be solid, and you may have an MBA from one of the best schools in the country, but if nobody can speak to what type of employee or better yet what type of person you are, you’re not going to go far in any interview process.
The right reference can get you on the fast track to being hired. Now, more than ever, HR departments are doing all kinds of checks on perspective employees. No matter how qualified you are and how well you did on your interview, they want a clear understanding of who they are bringing in to their organization.
The best references should come from those who can attest to your abilities as an employee. This person could be a client, a peer or even a manager from another division. If you’ve made a positive impact with these individuals, they should definitely be considered for references.
Once you’ve gathered your team of references, keep them in the loop. Open and honest communication goes a long way. Let them know how your job hunting process is going and don’t be afraid to ask for advice along the way.
If you know a reference call is coming, let them know in advance. Provide them with as much information as you can about the position and the company. Make their job easy, and they’ll reward you with a glowing recommendation.
There’s nothing worse than your reference being caught off guard and having to think on his/her feet on your behalf. I have been put in this position many times in the past.
Out of professional courtesy, I won’t throw the person under the bus during the reference call, but rest assured that will be the last time I am a reference for them.
Avoid using the “References Upon Request” line on your resume. These are sophisticated individuals that you are dealing with, if they want your references, they will ask.
Compile a neat list of your references, including their names, contact information, occupation and relationship to you. This way you will be ready to hand it over once it is asked of you.
Recruiters may ask your references about specific points on your resume. So if you have a gap in your resume or closed that million dollar deal, you better make sure that your reference can support you and provide some dialogue around the situation that matches up with your story.
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