When searching for work, professional references are a very special asset to any job seeker – so best to utilize them prudently, responsibly and respectfully.
Here are five common mistakes to avoid:
- All references should be professional in nature (versus personal references) unless specifically requested.
- Make sure that reference contact information is completely accurate. There is nothing more unprofessional than providing an invalid email address and/or phone number in your references. Also, if you are going to provide an email and/or phone number, make sure you ask your reference which number/email they prefer you list.
- Always make sure that those on your reference list actually know that they are on your list and have expressed interest and approval so they are never caught off guard. Also, it’s best to always check in with them from time-to-time to make sure they are still open and willing to take calls because you don’t want to burden them with numerous inquiries.
- Do your best to give your references a heads-up when you are confident that an employer is likely to contact them. Also, I suggest you do your best to hold off on providing the actual reference contact info until you know that a perspective employee is serious about your candidacy. On the other hand it’s all a balancing act so don’t be too difficult when they make the request. Personally I’d try to hold off providing references until it’s clear that an offer is contingent on favorable references, but that is a personal judgement call that you’ll have to make.
- Do NOT include your references on your resume – especially when posted on any of the electronic job/resume boards because it’s just not right to advertise reference contact info in this fashion. I see this quite often as I search for resumes and it just makes me cringe.
TAKE AWAY – References are something to hold in high regard so do your best to handle them with care and respect.