7 Tips to Help You Pick Great References

January 9th, 2015

You put a lot of thought into crafting your resume, selecting your interview clothing and preparing answers to impress the interviewer. But do you put as much consideration into choosing your references? A great reference can be what pushes you over the top from considered candidate to top prospect; a bad one can completely tank your search.

Here are a few tips to help you pick the references that will help you boost your career.

  1. Focus On the Professional. Use as references people who know your strengths and abilities and can speak about them in detail. Chose managers or colleagues from your previous employment, even supervisors from other departments or clients you worked closely with. If you’re looking for your first job and don’t have work experience yet, ask coaches, teachers or people you have volunteered with to serve as references.
  2. Line up an Abundance. Create a list with plenty of potential references so you can choose the most suitable reference for each opportunity. Also if you are interviewing extensively, spreading the requests among many references can prevent any one reference from getting overwhelmed.
  3. Match the Reference to the Job. If you have worked different types of jobs or want to highlight specific skills for individual opportunities, organize your reference list so you’ll know who to turn to when an employer requests a reference.
  4. Don’t surprise them. Always let your references know that they should expect a call. Give them the name of the employer who will be calling. Fill them in on the specifics of the job you have interviewed for. Offer guidance on the specific feedback the hiring manager will be looking for.
  5. Prepare them. If you’ve chosen wisely, your references will want you to succeed and will do everything they can to help. You would of course, not ask them to stretch the truth, but preparation can help them to target their feedback, for example, emphasizing you sales skills if you are interviewing for a sales job.
  6. Choose people who like to talk. If anyone on your reference list is prone to one word answers, you may want to reconsider including them. You don’t need references to talk your potential employer’s ear off, but they should be able to speak about you enthusiastically and expound about any important points.
  7. Don’t Forget To Say Thank You. Be sure to thank your references for their time and input. Drop them a note or take them to lunch. It’s important to stay in touch and express your appreciation.

At 1st Staffing Group, our experienced recruiters can help you with all the details that can help you win jobs that will be the best fit for your skills and experience. Contact us today to get started!

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