The Right Referrals

The Right Referrals

Looking for a job? Thinking about moving on, or up, to an exciting new opportunity at another company? Along with your experience, knowledge, talents, background, resume and the job interview itself...there's something else that can be the deciding factor in helping you get the position you really want: a good recommendation.

When you look at it logically it makes perfect sense. If someone you've worked with-especially a person of authority-has something very good to say about you, it brings greater depth and strength to your qualifications by adding the credibility of a third party opinion.

The fact is, the process of checking references from previous jobs is standard procedure among just about every employer who is looking to hire someone. Therefore, even though federal law does restrict some reference information, you can be all but certain that if you become a serious candidate for a position, your references will be investigated.

Below are several tips for helping to make sure that your references are good ones:

Pick up the phone and contact your references personally.
If you've listed Mr. Jones, who was your boss at another job five years ago, as a reference...take a few moments to contact him before you begin your job search. The idea is to ensure that:
1. Mr Jones can still be reached; and
2. Mr. Jones still thinks highly of you and will indeed give you a glowing recommendation.

Double-check your records.
Things that are listed on your resume must correspond with what your references will say about you. Remember that your prospective new employer will contact your previous employer's HR department, so it's always a good idea for you to make sure that the information about you in their files is accurate, complete and in-sync with your resume.

Be aware of the chain of command.Just because you've listed a Vice President as your reference from a previous employer, that doesn't mean the person checking your references will be able to talk to the actual VP. Instead, their request might be forwarded on to a subordinate, for instance, a middle manager. Keep this in mind when listing references.

Say thanks.
After you've landed a new job, take time to call and thank your references. You never know, you might need their good recommendations again sometime in the future.