How do you feel when you list your references on a job application? Do you sweat it out, or are you confident that they will sing your praises? You may think it is out of your control. Not true. You can improve your references. Here is how to do it, step by step.
Identify Your Reference Network
- Identify your personal and professional references, and past Supervisors.
- Gather complete contact information for each prospective reference.
Reference Press Kit
- Update your resume.
- Make sure resume is complete and accurate.
- Update your goal statement, which will be included in your cover letter.
- Create a draft cover letter to send to your references with the kit.
- In your cover letter, point out your recent accomplishments.
Share Your Goal With Your Reference Network
- Contact each of your references.
- Ask references for permission to share their name as a reference.
- Update them with what you are doing and your current goals.
- Send them your Reference Press Kit with a personal cover letter.
Keep Your Reference Network Posted
- Follow up with your references to let them know to whom you have given their name as a reference.
- Let them know a little bit about the job in a brief email or call.
- Be considerate of their time.
- Thank them for their support.
Let Them Know Where You Land
- Let your references know when you got the job.
- Share some info about your new company and position.
Keep Your Reference Network Fresh
- Stay in touch; keep the relationships alive.
- Add new references to your network as they enter your life.
- Treat all employers and peers as future prospective references.
- If you are a Manager, your staff may be potential references too.
Serve as an Honest Reference
- Be aware of your company's policy on references before giving out information about your former and present employees.
- Serve as an honest reference for qualified individuals.
- If you cannot honestly act as a reference, give dates of employment and position only.
- Never give a negative or dishonest statement.
To be sure your reference is presenting you in the best light, have a trusted friend or a professional contact your reference and ask about you. It is better to know prior to the big opportunity whether or not your reference moves you closer to your dream job. The better you know your references, the more reliable they will be.
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