Throughout your job search, you will be filling out what seems to be an endless amount of applications. They all seem to ask for the same information, such as employment history, education, experience, and some references. It may be challenging to decide who you want to speak on your behalf to your potential employer. There is a lot to consider, as well. Rest assured we have a guide for providing quality references. Here are some tips on who to include on your reference list along with what to avoid.
References to Include
Glassdoor suggests these five references you should include helping you land the job.
- Former Employer- A former employer can speak on your work ethic and performance at your previous job. They also can provide insight on how you handled your responsibilities and projects.
- Colleague- A former colleague can speak about assignments you worked on together along with your teamwork skills.
- Teacher- A professor can provide a reliable reference if they taught a class that involves the skills needed for the new position
- Advisor- An academic advisor is another safe option. They can speak about your growth through higher education, and how you became the professional, you are today.
- Supervisor- They may not have necessarily been your boss but perhaps someone who oversaw a volunteer project, internship, or extracurricular activity. More so if you spent enough time together that they have a strong sense of your character and passions.
Handling Bad References
Let’s be honest here, everyone can’t love you, and that’s okay. Especially at your previous job, sometimes leaving is bittersweet or just sweet! The Balance Careers wrote an article on how to handle your bad references and minimize the possibility of harmful or possibly misleading information getting to your potential employer. First, you need to check your references. See if they will be quality references that will rave about you. If you run into an old boss that can give a damaging reference, try to talk to them and get a more positive recommendation. If that doesn’t work out, you can contact the HR department and explain how your job search has been affected by the manager’s negative feedback. HR would advise the manager to avoid such references to protect the company from negative publicity.
A lot can go wrong when you haven’t adequately prepared your reference list. Miscommunication, weak references, and forgetting to say thank you to the referral are among them. Monster has a detailed list of 8 fatal mistakes you can make with recommendations, but for now, I will go over the most important.
Not “Googling” Your References Beforehand
When you list someone as a reference, you are responsible for how they reflect your judgment. Run a quick check through Google and on social media. The professional that you have asked to speak on your behalf could be the start of the next Animal House movie! If you surround yourself with people your employer wouldn’t hire, odds are they wouldn’t hire you either.
Lack of Preparation
It is a courtesy and your responsibility to ask someone to be a reference for you. Merely putting your previous employer down without any notice to them will make you look unprepared and disorganized. When asking someone to be a reference, you need to let them know in advance for which jobs you’ve applied. It will also give you some peace of mind to find out what they may say about you as well. Lastly, send them your resume, job description, or any other materials to help them talk confidently about you.
Forgetting to Say Thank You
Your references are actively helping you secure a good position. Not to mention that they are taking time out of their day to do so. So you would think the least you could do is say thank you? Well, you would be surprised by how many people get the job and fail to follow up with their references. Whether or not you get the job thank them for their time and efforts. If you do land the job, be sure to send them a thank you letter with perhaps a Starbucks gift card or offer to take them out to lunch/dinner and talk about your new position.
Please come to our Next Hudson Job Search Meeting
Hudson Job Search will present Working with Recruiters by Jim Gorian on July 1st from 7:15-9:00 pm at Christ Church Episcopal, 21 Aurora St. Hudson, OH. Mr. Gorian is President of Management Recruiters of Hudson and a Hudson Job Search Advisor. His presentation will cover using recruiters in a job search and a take on today’s market place for job seekers.
All our events are free of charge and open to anyone who lives and works in the greater NEO area, whether you are currently employed or unemployed. No need to register in advance, but seating is limited to approximately 40 individuals. Dress code is business casual.
Michael McClafferty is an intern with Mulligan Management Group.