One of the most neglected parts of being on the job hunt and sending out resumes is the reference section. It can seem much easier to simply state “Available Upon Request” rather than having to put forward suitable names. The major fear among job seekers in this regard may be a mistrust of the reference providing the best information on their behalf. Absolutely no one would want someone telling a potential employee that “He can be a handful when he’s ready but he’s a good boy besides that!”
Often, the main focus is putting forth the best resume possible, what to wear to an interview, honing those amazing interview skills and building your network. These things are all very important but no matter how significant they are, references can be the make or break factor. Below are 5 Tips that are guaranteed to help you decide on the best references during the job-hunting process:
Find a reference that can speak to both work ethic and character
Selecting a reference who will be able to vouch for your job-related skills and work ethic as well as overall character as an individual would be ideal. This can be a manager that has worked with you for a good period or even a coworker. Be very mindful in deciding this reference however, as ensuring that only good things will be spoken of you is highly important.
Find a reference of good standing/reputation
This goes without saying but here goes; an employer would prefer hearing good things about a potential employee from a trusted name. (pastor, teacher, Justice of the Peace etc.)
Find a reference that can speak to your best qualities
It is very important that before listing a reference, they are aware that they will be contacted on your behalf. This way, you will have an idea of your standing with the potential reference. Let them know how highly they are regarded by you then just ask if they would be comfortable with speaking on your behalf. Their response will be indicative of how good they will be on the reference scale.
Find a reference that is easy to reach
Once your reference has agreed to speak to how amazing of a candidate you are, you will have to ensure that they inform you of the best way to reach them. You would not want the recruiter or potential employer unable to get in contact with your reference when they wish to.
Find a reference that matches the job at hand
If possible, find a reference that is able to speak to how great a fit you are for the job at hand. Often, this may be a past employer in the same field. Having a respectable employee in that same company as a reference can be very beneficial.
Bonus Tip: Find as many references that fit the above-mentioned criteria!
It will most certainly be to your benefit to have as many candidates (within reason) to speak on your behalf. Also, remember to update your reference list periodically!