With job competition at an all-time high, what others say about you has never been more important. Sure, your resume is a solid indication of your work history and a good interview is key, but hiring companies have placed even more significance on the references applicants hand over.
Because professional praise or criticism can make or break your chance of landing the job, your BBB is here with information on what makes a good reference. Remember these tips to ensure that once you select your references, the rest of the process goes smoothly:
1. Contact the reference: Notifying a reference, (whether sending an email, giving them a quick phone call, or visiting them in person) is crucial before providing a potential employer with their information. Give the referrer ample time to prepare for the potential contact; share with them your resume and let them know the position you’re applying for. Doing so will give them the opportunity to reflect on the qualities you possess that would align with the company and potential position.
2. Verify your personal information: Review the capacity in which you’ve worked with or know the reference. Go over the position and skills exercised when you held the position. Additionally, check with Human Resources to make sure all information in your personnel file is correct – this will avoid any potential confusion down the road.
3. Keep them in the loop: Even if you contact a reference once to ask for their permission to be contacted, let them know each and every time you give their information. If applying for multiple jobs, let them know. Keeping them in the loop on the status of your interview process will avoid confusion. Additionally, keep your references informed of any career or educational advances you’ve made – they will be inclined to see you in a stronger light as you progress.
4. Know what they are going to say: There’s nothing wrong with asking your references what they will say about your performance, credibility and experience; in fact, it’s a crucial step that many job seekers skip. You will want to know if they will provide a favorable commentary before you pass along their contact information, so have a frank discussion. Review past responsibilities, successes you’ve achieved and their opinions of your strengths and weaknesses.
5. Give back: If you plan on using these references again in the future, realize that talking to your potential employer takes time out of your reference’s busy day. Sending them a thank you note or offering to take them out to lunch are nice ways to show your gratitude.
6. Follow up and keep in touch: Regardless of if you score the new position, keep in contact with your reference. Updating them with new contact information and making an effort to maintain communication is not only good for building your relationship, but also keeps the door open to use them as a reference again if needed in the future.
The rest is up to you! For more tips, visit the San Diego BBBlog at bbb.org. Happy job hunt!