Your resume caught the recruiter’s eye. You impressed in the interview. Now comes a last, and often overlooked – but critical – hurdle.
Personal references (insert ominous music here).
Most employers will ask you to provide personal and/or professional references. Your resume and your answers during the interview showed you have the necessary skills to get the job done. Now they want to know what your former co-workers think about you… a picture of you, from outside perspectives:
- Do you have a strong work ethic?
- Are you easy to work with?
- What do others see as your strengths and weaknesses?
To make sure you pass this last test, well before you apply for a job line up four to six professional references ready to talk about you. For those with some workforce experience, these should be former colleagues, managers and mentors. For college students who may not have that many professional references, your professors, advisors and mentors from within your chosen industry will do quite well.
Since they’re critical to your job search, be prepared to help your references help you by following these 10 guidelines:
1. Get permission before listing someone as a reference; no one likes surprises
2. Make sure you have up-to-date contact information (listing a phone number or email no longer in use shows the recruiter you haven’t been in contact for perhaps quite some time)
3. List your references on a separate page from your resume (never list your references on your resume!)
4. Be thorough: for each reference, provide their professional titles, where they work, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and how they know you
5. If you are considering two career directions, choose the best references for each path; a reference who is an accountant when you are seeking a position in marketing may not considered an effective reference by the employer
6. Choose wisely to ensure hey will give you a good yet objective recommendation (a poor reference could eliminate you from consideration; on the other hand, an overly flowery reference that attempts to make it seem like you can walk on water could risk their – and your – credibility
7. When you’re asked for references, call each person on your list; let them know to expect a call and provide them the company name and job title
8. Follow up by sending each reference a copy of your resume and a copy of the job description; highlight the areas you want them to address with the hiring manager
9. Follow up and let the references know the results of the job interview, good or bad
10. Right after you get the job, let them know they were an important part of your job search and thank them; send each of them a thank you letter and sincerely offer to do something to help them should the occasion arise
Finally, after you’re on the job for a few months, contact your references and let them know how you’re doing. They’ll be happy to hear about your new success!
These 10 guidelines will help you further impress the recruiter further, with solid references! How ready are you for this last job search hurdle?
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at JackalopeJobs!
About the Author: Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a platform that helps job seekers find a job via their social networks. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.