Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strategic Selection of References

You crafted a targeted resume that got you a job interview. The hiring manager was impressed with your skills and the company is interested in making you a job offer. Don’t let negative references stand in the way of that offer.

Employers will expect you to provide references. You don’t want to get knocked out of the running for the job opportunity by your references. One bad or even sub-par reference can determine if you get the job offer or receive a rejection letter.

Creating the Reference List
In the past, job seekers were encouraged to include “References Available Upon Request” on their resume. This is no longer necessary. However, it is expected that you will provide a reference list at the interview. When creating the reference list, be sure to include the name of the reference, your relationship (i.e. former supervisor), his/her job title, company name, company address, phone number, and e-mail address.

Double check all phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and physical addresses for accuracy. Don’t forget to include your own name and contact information. This ensures that the employer will be able to contact you if your reference list accidentally gets separated from your resume.

Deciding What Types of References to Use
There are two types of references: professional and personal (also known as character) references. Professional references include former supervisors, co-workers, subordinates, customers/clients, professors, and contacts from work-related associations or community organizations. Personal references include friends who know you well and can speak to your work ethic and character.

Deciding Who Will be on the Reference List
Typically, employers expect you to provide them with three or four professional references and one personal reference. When choosing references, stay away from political or religious affiliations unless they are relevant to the position for which you’re applying.

Think strategically when choosing your references. You should only choose references who will provide positive and relevant information about you. References should confirm and elaborate on the details of your resume as well as offer positive feedback about your skills, work ethic, job performance, education, and accomplishments.

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