Managing Your References

  • On January 28, 2021

When job seekers prepare for their job search, the majority focus on their resumes and cover letters. One important (but easily overlooked task) is a complete list of references. While some jobs may not require a list of references, it has become more important to have a list ready. Many companies now hire remotely, try narrowing down their candidates through their list of references. Some even check networking sites to see what other members say about you. This helps businesses avoid making costly hiring mistakes. 

The task of creating and updating your references may be simple, but there is a lot to consider. The first step when compiling a list of references is to automatically list previous employers or former colleagues as they can testify to your skills and experience. This list should have mostly consisted of people you have recent experience with to avoid listing employers from past positions no longer valid. Your reference list should also contain recent contacts to illustrate your skills and abilities have been recently applied. Another reason to implement a recent reference is to avoid giving an unintentional message that you did not have positive experiences with your recent employment opportunity. 

After you compile a list of people you believe will attest to your attributes, reach out to those contacts to ensure you have their permission. While most are happy to be contacted as a reference, some may not have the time, availability, or interest. Reaching out to those contacts also gives you the opportunity to reconnect and maintain that bond, since it’s best to communicate occasionally to promote the strength of your relationship. This also helps ensure you have the correct contact information and gives the contact the opportunity to update their details if needed.

Once you have permission from your list of professionals, you should then format the list like your other job application materials. Formatting and style should remain consistent with your cover letters and resumes. Each reference should include the following information: name, job title, employer, preferred contact information, and their availability. For extra brownie points, add a line or brief paragraph that describes their relationship to you, a brief summary of their position, or projects you’ve worked on together to show there is a professional connection. 

Now that you have your list ready to go, remember that reference lists can differ between each job like resumes. If there are specific skills or experiences a job is looking for, make sure to include references that can cite those particular abilities. It would be incompetent to list a reference from a retail job when you are applying for an IT opening. 

After you’re hired, the first thing you should do is thank your references. Tell them the good news and iterate how much you appreciate them speaking on your behalf. You never know if you’ll need to ask for their help again. This also gives you another chance to connect as well as offer to help them if they need it in the future.
Maintaining and updating your list will take some time, but the result can lead to your next job offer. Staff Solve continues to provide high-quality candidates and jobs in diverse markets for over 27 years. Let us take the stress off you so you can focus on your business by finding the perfect applicant for the position. If you are looking for employment, please visit our job seeker page. If you would like more information about the services we offer employers, visit our employer page or contact us today.

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