There’s no doubt about it, when you’re applying for jobs you need professional references. References allow recruiters to touch base with someone who knows you on a professional level. Recruiters want to do their research on you before they invest in you for their company. Are your references ready to go?
References often reveal things about a person that a resume or a cover letter doesn’t. They can speak of your skills, expertise, work ethic, adaptability, leadership, and more. References can get you hired way faster than a stellar a resume will.
Yes, employers really do check your references. In fact, they are a major part of the hiring process. Nearly every employer will call on the references you list so they can learn about the “real” you. Depending on the job and employer, your reference may have to write a letter or they may be called by a recruiter to answer specific questions.
It’s up to you to list references who you know will give you a positive review. References can be professors, bosses, co-workers, and sometimes even friends. Here are a few quick tips to make sure references help you get the job:
- Stay in touch with your references so they know what you’ve been up to lately. (Your references are your network.)
- Only use references who know you personally.
- Ask your references before you list them on a job application.
- Don’t supply references unless specifically asked.
- Don’t list your references on your resume. Here’s an example of how to format your references.
- Provide the correct contact information for your references.
- Coach your references to highlight specific skills or jobs if necessary.
- Choose your references wisely.
- Keep a list of potential references handy at all times.
- Always supply at least 2 references when asked.
Remember that recruiters use references to make sure you will be a good worker and a solid addition to their company. It’s easy to get your references to work for you, but choosing a bad reference can also backfire. Spend time to get your references in line before you need them.