Reference to Success

It's a tough fight between another candidate and you. What now?

If it is a job at an established company with good prospects and pays well, it is very likely your list of references will be checked.

Most people barely give a thought to references but have, instead, channeled all energy on polishing their resume and improving their interview skills. But as you get nearer to clinching that dream job, references can make or break your chances.

Direct bad responses like "Are you sure you want to employ him?" or those with innuendoes like "Is he still in this field?" can really blow your chances of the job offer. Similarly, neutral, or no, responses like "Who's that?", "Our company policy prohibits us from making comments on past employees" or "Oh, I don't know what to say. I didn't know I was one of his references", can reflect very negatively of you. On the other hand, if you bothered with your references, interviewers may get the impression that you are a good worker who doesn't even leave the smallest detail alone.

Here are some tips for tip-top references in your resume.

1. List important information

Important information, such as Name; Title; Company; Address; Telephone number; Mobile number; email address, should be included. Make sure the information is up to date and correct. Getting a wrong number or a number not in use response may lead interviewers to thinking that the reference is faked.

2. Quality over quantity

Select people who have worked with you closely or who may have assessed your work performance before. Make a list of potential references and choose five most likely to give you a good report. Of course, if it is obvious that the person do not have a good impression of you, leave him or her out. However, try to get at least two references. They may be your school professor if you do not have much work experience.

3. Keep in contact

Meet up and maintain a personal relationship with your reference if possible. Or at the very least, email, call or send them a note to get their permission to use them as a reference. Along with the request, send a copy of your resume, a summary of what (good things) you have done with them as well as what you have since achieved. Better still, update them on how you have changed your weaknesses to strengths since you left your position with them.

4. Follow up

Drop them a note once your interview with ABCompany is over and let them know they may be contacted soon. Also, thank them for being a valuable help in your job search whether or not you clinch the deal. If it gets through, they will be people you will network with in the future. If not, gently remind them to keep you in mind if they know of any job openings in a related field. Either ways, you benefit from the communication.

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