Employers check references because of
the all-too-common practice of résumé inflation and a strong desire to avoid a bad
hire. Accordingly, job seekers must have a reference list ready to present on
request — probably after the first round of interviewing but before final
Here are a few tips to consider when
compiling your reference list:
- To ensure strong references, stay in contact with former
managers, colleagues, and even professors who have observed your people skills
and are familiar with your work.
- Tone of voice and body language can reveal reluctance, so ask
for a reference in person or over the phone. Poor eye contact, a flat voice,
and hesitation are good indications it’s best to find another reference.
- Provide your references with a job description or vacancy
announcement for the position you’re seeking. This will help guide them to
highlight your most relevant work experience.
- Offer to provide your references with a list of major
projects and achievements you have worked on together.
- Before you exit your current position, attempt to negotiate
agreement from your current boss to serve as a professional reference. In cases
of involuntary departure, strive to agree with your former boss on an exit
statement that will describe the nature of your departure in terms acceptable
to both of you.
put a lot of time, effort, and energy into networking, résumé writing, and
interview preparations. Make sure you see the hiring process through to a
successful conclusion by having solid references to be the very best advocates
they can possibly be for you.