4 Tips to Ensure You Get Good References
By: Don Goodman
Most employers will only ask and check your references if you are one of less than a handful of job candidates that remain for consideration. At this point, you’ve probably impressed them and now it’s a matter of validating impressions and information gathered to see if everything adds up properly.
Unfortunately, it only takes one bad reference to ruin everything you’ve worked hard at so here are tips to nail down good references:
- Best Types of References.
A good reference is a contact who can vouch for you and your work, but that doesn’t mean just anyone. For example, having a relative or your neighbor who doesn’t have anything to do with your work on the job as a reference is less credible than say a former supervisor, coworker who is more senior to you, or a client. The potential employer wants to speak with people who have seen you at work and can speak of your abilities at work. Be prepared to provide 2 managers, 2 peers and 2 staff members as references.
- Seek Permission.
Before you go ahead and give a contact as a reference, make sure the person is willing and able to serve as a reference. A reference that is unreachable by a potential employer is like no reference at all. Seek permission and gather correct information like their current job title, name of employer, and contact information including best contact method because things may have changed.
- Fill your Reference in Regarding the Position.
When you inform your reference about the type of job you’re applying to and with which employer, it’ll give them something to work with as to what qualities to point out or what they can say to help put you in a good light. Inform your references of the type of role you’re seeking and how you’re positioning yourself. This is also the chance to remind them of a particular experience working together and the results to help freshen their memory. If the next step after interviewing will be reference checking, inform your contact so they’re not caught off guard.
- Send a Thank-You Note.
If you’re going to ask a contact to serve as a reference, be courteous and professional in keeping them informed of what’s happening – whether you end up getting the job, continuing to job search, etc. Whatever happens, your contact deserves a word of “Thank you!” for taking the time to help you in your job search. And if you ever need their help again in the future, they will be more than willing to knowing that you’ve expressed appreciation for what they’ve done.
Selecting good references can be tricky, so carefully consider the relationship you have and if there is any reason the person may have bad intentions even in the face of friendliness. At the same time, there’s no stopping a potential employer from looking up contacts that can serve as references even if you did not provide them, so never burn any bridges.
Read Also: 10 Tips & Tricks For Your Job Search
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