How To Select The Most Effective Professional References For Your Job Search

You already know that having a great reference to back up your skills is imperative, but not everyone knows how they should go about getting one. (Your reference or references) is often the last hurdle before getting the job offer. When you’re interviewing for a job, the professional references you offer can play a major role in hiring manager’s interest in you, so you’ll want to choose wisely. If you’re about to go through the interview process, here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing professional references:

THINK ABOUT WHO THAT REFERENCE IS AS A PERSON

Of course you want to choose someone who will offer positive words about you, but you’ll also want to select a professional reference that will do well on the phone with a hiring manager. Make sure that the reference you provide can think quickly on his/her phone feet and be polite when chatting with the prospective employer. If the person is notoriously difficult to get a hold of or is slightly abrasive, you may be better off choosing someone else.

GET PERMISSION FROM ANYONE YOU HOPE TO USE AS A REFERENCE

This will ensure that they will take any calls from your potential employer, as well as remind them of your courteousness. In some cases, they might not have time to speak to hiring managers. That is why you must get permission from each person ahead of time. The last thing you want is for a potential employer to call someone and find them caught off guard, unprepared to talk about you, or willing to serve as a reference. If your references reflect poorly on you, you will likely cost yourself a job offer. Ideally, meet in person when asking someone to serve as a reference. Meeting over coffee or lunch is the perfect opportunity to go over your job search goals. It’s also a good idea to take along copy of your resume so that you can go over your strengths and accomplishments. This is especially useful for references from jobs you worked at a few years ago (or more). Bring them up to speed, what you did since you last worked together and what you’re looking for now. If someone declines to be a reference, remember that it might not be personal. Many companies have policies requiring HR to handle all references. There are a number of reasons why anyone might be unable to serve as a reference.

CONSIDER HOW THAT INDIVIDUAL KNOWS YOU

Before you select a professional reference, you want to make sure that the individual you’re choosing is the most effective person for the task. If you’re applying for a position that’s different than those you held earlier in your career, you’ll want to make sure that your skills and abilities are not just to those that you utilized earlier in your professional life. Even if their words are positive, if they’re not really pertinent to the job you’re trying to land now, they won’t be as effective.

TRY TO FIND SOMEONE DIRECTLY TIED TO THE INDUSTRY

Try to find someone directly tied to the industry containing the job for which you are applying. Having a reputation within an industry to the point where you can be recommended from insiders goes a long way to confirming your competency and value. You want to use professional recommendations that are not only knowledgeable in their industry, but also well-connected. Connected people will be more likely to find common people of interest and develop a stronger trust relationship. 

CHOOSE SOMEONE THE HIRING MANAGER WILL RESPECT

Investigate the hiring manager so you can get to know his or her specialty in order to find someone within your industry most likely to garner respect for his or her accomplishments within the industry. This is a short way of saying that your recommendation’s opinion must be trusted. Pick reliable, knowledgeable and smart individuals.

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