Tips For Choosing the Best References

Tips For Choosing the Best References

Every step of the hiring process comes with its own challenges. One of the most overlooked challenges is finding good references. If you don't have anyone to vouch for your work or character, you might find it difficult to get a job offer. And finding references isn't as easy as putting your sister's name and number on your resume. You need professional references, and that means digging deep as well as taking some preparatory measures.

Tips For Picking Your References

As you prepare your resume and get ready for job interviews, you should have a list of references ready to go. Some employers may ask for your references early on in the hiring process while others will do so later on. Before you begin to look for a job, you should prepare yourself. Finding references takes time and preparation.

All of these tips can help you find references and get the most from them. Although your references alone won't get you a job, they can certainly help.

Pick People You Know Well

You should never choose references who only know you on a superficial level. When a hiring manager calls your references, they want to know that they have a relationship with you.

Instead of picking an employer who barely knew you, choose a manager who worked with you closely. The nature of your relationship is extremely important.

Don't Ignore Academic References

If you graduated college two years ago, you might not have many professional references. In this case, you can choose academic references. A former advisor or professor makes for an excellent reference.

Certainly, academic references are preferred to purely personal ones. A family member can't speak to your work ethic, but a former professor can. As you write your reference list, think back to your education. If you still have a relationship with someone of authority, you may want to include them on your list.

Only Pick Positive References

Under no circumstances should you provide a reference who has a bad thing to say about you. If you have any uncertainty about what a reference may say, leave them off your resume. Your references will be a reflection of your work, and that means you want a glowing recommendation.

If you have a rocky relationship with a previous employer, leave them off your resume list. You don't need to include every former employer in your references. Instead, only include the employers who have positive things to say about you. Keep in mind that you can choose to list a co-worker instead of a former boss.

Follow Directions

Typically, employers request specific types of references. They might ask for three professional references or a mixture of personal and professional references. If you don't want to risk making a bad impression, follow the instructions.

Sometimes, the directions are unclear. If you're not sure what the employer wants to see with respect to references, ask them. Send an email to the hiring manager or to your contact with the company and ask about their requirements. Your diligence could make you stand out from the other job applicants.

Tips For Preparing Your References

It's not enough to just pick the right references. You also need to take other measures to improve your chances of a successful screening process. To make the most of the conversation, prepare your references and your reference list by doing the following:

Ask for Permission

You should never add someone to your reference list before you ask them about it. If you surprise someone with a call about you, there's no telling what they will say. Furthermore, you could ruin your relationship with the person.

Before you make your reference list, reach out to your prospective references. Ask them for permission to go on the list. If you asked someone for permission years ago, don't make any assumptions. Email or call them and mention your intentions. In addition to being respectful, your actions reinforce your relationship. It's always good to reach out to your former references and reconnect.

Ask Them for Updated Contact Information

After a reference consents to be on your list, don't make any assumptions about their contact details. There might be a certain phone number or email address that they prefer to use, or they may request a certain type of contact.

It's also worth noting that you should ask for their current job title. In some situations, a reference may have a different title. Providing the wrong title on the reference list is unprofessional and insulting. Before you submit your references, make sure everyone approves of their contact information.

Give Your References the Right Information

You should always spend a little time preparing your references for the email or phone call from a hiring manager. When you know you will be sending out your reference list, reach out to your references with a copy of your resume.

No matter how well you know your references, take the time to remind them of your accomplishments. You should also explain more about the job you want and how your skills play into the role. Additionally, provide the name of the company and the desired job title.

Find Common Ground

If you notice any common ground between your reference and the employer, make your reference aware of it. For example, a former employer might have the same alma mater as your hiring manager. Mention the coincidence to your reference, and they will probably bring it up.

When references have common ground, they're much more likely to have a connection with the hiring manager or employer. This makes your desired employer more likely to trust the reference.

Getting Your References Out There

When the time comes, send out your references with pride. You should have confidence that your references will create a positive impression and will increase your chances of a job offer. If you have any doubts, take more time to find new references.

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