Tips for Selecting Good Job References

Tips for Selecting Good Job References

by Jackie Lauterbach, Communications Coordinator, Acclivity Healthcare

We all know that writing and submitting a resume along with preparing for and acing an interview are important factors in getting a new job. Often times, job seekers become so focused on their resumes and interview activities that they do not put as much effort into a crucial part of the job search process; selecting good references. When a hiring manager is making a final decision between multiple candidates, the references you provided can help make or break the manager’s decision to hire you. So what are the keys to selecting references that will help you get that job? We have provided a list below of tips and tricks to use when choosing the best references for your job search.

Strategically choose your references: What kind of reference do you want? The best references you can use are those who want to see you succeed as much as you want to. While it may be tempting to use personal references such as family, professional references such as former managers, supervisors, coworkers and even educational references are generally the best choices. These individuals will be able to clearly describe your strengths, accomplishments, work ethic and areas of expertise within the workplace. When choosing your references, be sure to use the ones that will give pertinent information that will be useful for the specific prospective employer.

Get permission to use someone as a reference: Before you list a reference, be sure to contact the individual to ask their permission. While most people are more than willing to put in a good word, it is always polite and professional to contact them and give them a heads up. It will give them a chance to prepare so they are not caught off-guard by a phone call or email they didn’t expect.

Collect details for each reference: Be sure you have collected all contact information necessary from each reference. This includes their full name, current title, company name, business address, email, and phone number. Potential employers may reach out to your references in different ways making it very important that all information is correct. The most common methods employers use to contact references are email and phone.

Prepare your references: Even though you worked with your references, they see and work with many other employees everyday. It is always a good idea to give your references a quick reminder of your background and experience within the organization the two of you were affiliated with. After you have contacted each reference, email them a copy of your resume and a brief overview of your accomplishments within their company. Also include the title and key points of the position you are applying for. Again, the best references are those who know who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you are capable of achieving.

Say thank you: It is very important to thank your references regardless of if you get the position or not. They have taken time out of their day to help you. This will show your professionalism and help to ensure that these individuals will be willing to put in a good word for you in the future.