Choosing the Right References

Choosing and preparing references can be trickier than you think. It’s easy to make mistakes that could ruin your chances for the job.  Avoid these common errors:

Providing Inadequate References: Some job seekers believe they have lots of people to contact as references. That won’t matter if the references aren’t up to snuff. You’ll need people who know you from your recent job(s), and maybe a personal reference as well. The more relevant and credible the people you select as references are, and the more they know about how you work, the better.

Not “Googling” Your References Beforehand: At a minimum, use a search engine to quickly check each person who agrees to serve as your reference. An employer might do the same. It’s best you see ahead of time what they might find.

Giving Out Your List too Early: Don’t release your reference list until you’re asked to. Submitting it too soon lets the employer pick and choose who they’ll contact. The preferred approach is for you to suggest one or two references most relevant for the job you’ve applied to.

Making It Hard to Contact Them: Ensure that when it’s time to contact your references, you make it simple for the employer to do so. The least you should do is give an approved, current phone number and email address for each person. This may take a bit of research on your part if the reference is from years ago and no longer works at the same place. Do not leave it up to the employer to locate this information themselves. They may decide the effort’s not worth it, or that you’re either lazy or trying to hide something.

Neglecting to Properly Say Thank You: Your references are sticking their necks out for you. What they say on your behalf could win or lose you the job. So be appreciative of their efforts. Send them a note of thanks from time to time.

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