Thursday, June 23, 2011

References: It's All About You

After you blow the competition out of the water with your top-notch interview skills you will be asked to provide references. You should have this prepared before you attend the interview and kept in that special black binder we talked about.

The reference sheet you give to your potential employer should contain three past or present contacts that can provide a review on your professional, academic and/or personal behaviour. No, your mom cannot vouch for you this time sweetie-pie. A family member is not an acceptable referral considering the obvious bias. That being said, choose your contacts wisely. Approach networks that can share positive feedback about your skills and work performance to an employer. And don't forget to ask them first! Sounds silly, but there have been times when employers can't reach your references because they've changed jobs or they're totally oblivious to the situation which just makes you look bad.

After you've asked permission, obtain your reference's information: name/title, address, phone/email and list your relationship to them: professional, academic or personal. Make sure your information is at the top of the page so the reader knows who's contacts these are!

Lastly, provide your references with a copy of the job description you've applied to (because you're smart and saved it) and ensure that they are aware of when, why and who will be connecting with them. Stay in contact with your references and inform them of your progress. Then, after the process is complete, send them a thank you! They've probably done some first-class bragging for you and at least deserve a card. (Don't forget to thank your employer for the interview too!)

Our Resource Centre has print samples of Reference Sheet formatting and content. There's some neat books with pretty covers too!

Note: If you are writing a curriculum vitae, your references must be included on your application prior to an interview.


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