Are Your References Current?

When candidates are looking for a new job, many people forget to plan for one very important piece of the job application–their employment references. Make yourself stand out and plan for this major piece of the application process.  Your references can be the make or break point for a hiring manager’s decision between you and another candidate. That’s why it’s so important to keep your references current.

Plan Ahead for your References

Don’t wait until you’re desperate for a job to search out people who will advocate for you. Before you even start looking for a job, you should develop relationships at work and build a reputation for yourself that will inspire others to speak positively on your behalf. Work like every day is an interview, and treat every coworker like they could be your next boss. After you finish working on a successful project with someone, reach out to them to let them know how much you enjoyed working with them and reiterate things you learned with them. Then, ask them if they would feel comfortable writing you a recommendation in the future based on this recent experience working together. Make sure to offer to return the favor if needed in the future.

Be Selective of your References

You don’t want to select your references based on necessity. You want to search out for enthusiastic supporters of you!  Don’t just pick a colleague or a friend because they are the easy choice, or because you are afraid to ask someone more reputable. You also do not want to pressure someone who wouldn’t be a strong advocate for you, or who wouldn’t reflect well on you. You want to pick someone who is well spoken, professional, and who will represent you in a positive and sincere way. Keep in mind, sometimes employers ask difficult questions when speaking with references, so make sure to select someone who can think on their toes and will be able to answer tough questions.

Prepare your References

Since you planned ahead for your selection of references, when you are ready to apply for a new position, reach out to your promoters. Let them know that you are applying for a position, and you’d like to list them as a reference. Confirm that they are still willing and able to advocate for you, and let them know a little about the position. Then, provide them with a current resume, cover letter, and send them a few talking points to remind them why you’d be an excellent candidate based on what they already know of you. If time has passed since you worked together, make sure to remind them of some of the projects you worked on together.

Once you have your list of references, our certified writers are here to help you create a professional references dossier.