So you’ve got your resume just the way you want it. And you’re prepared for your phone and face-to-face interviews.
But what about your references?
References remain an important part of the hiring process for companies. Although they don’t get as much “press” in this modern age of technology, references are a tried-and-true, old school method of determining which job seekers are worth hiring—so you don’t want to overlook them.
It’s no longer common practice to list your references on your resume. Although writing “references available upon request” on your resume is now preferred, you must have a solid list of references . . . in case they are requested.
Below are five tips for gathering such a list:
#1—Make your initial list as large as you can.
Once you do this, you can always pare the list down to your top three references, the ones about which you feel the most confident. As a bonus, you’ll be prepared in case an employer requests more than three.
#2—Use references in your area of specialty.
Start with previous supervisors. The key is to list people to whom you’ve reported, either directly or indirectly. If you’re a college graduate, your references should include professors in your academic major, administrators, and extracurricular advisors.
#3—Identify and use only viable references.
It’s important to use only references that are willing or able to take the time to help you. After all, if you list somebody as a reference and they don’t return the phone calls of a hiring manager, that doesn’t reflect very well on you.
#4—Contact the people on your list.
If you’re not already in touch with these people on a consistent basis, you should re-establish contact with them. For starters, you should ask if they would be willing to provide a reference for you! If they agree, tell them who will be contacting them, as well as the position for which you’re applying. Last but not least, make sure that all of their contact information is 100% correct.
#5—During the interview, wait until you’re asked for your list before presenting it.
In addition to names and titles, this list should also include phone numbers (a work number and a cell phone number, if possible) and email addresses. Don’t worry about providing references from your current employer, if you already have a job. Companies typically do not expect you to provide references of that nature.