When conducting an employment job search, carefully consider who you choose to be your reference(s). Additionally, you should communicate with your employment references; ask them to be your reference, and provide them with information about the status of your search. It is also important to keep your employment and job references updated throughout your job search. Finally, do not forget to show your references your gratitude for their support.
“In today’s competitive job market, good references can make a difference between getting or losing a job offer. The right reference can provide the job applicant with an opportunity to showcases his/her education, experience, and skills; the right reference can be the competitive edge in a job search.” (“The importance of employment references in the job search,” 2000, para. 11)
As you embark on your search for a new career path or new employer, take time to consider who, from your current and/or previous employment, volunteerism, or other activities, will represent you best. It almost goes without saying that your reference should be someone who is going to say positive, not negative, things about you. This person should also be a great verbal and written communicator. The more effective your job reference is at selling your prospective employer on you, the better.
When you decide on who you want to represent you in your search, be sure to ask them to be your reference. Also schedule some time with them to discuss your job search. Your reference should be aware of the reasons you are conducting an employment search and seeking a new job. They should also be aware of your accomplishments and what you have contributed in your present and/or past jobs. Get them excited about you and about your job search.
If you have taken a career assessment; which is an important thing to do when preparing for an employment search, share the results with your references. The more insight your employment references have about who you are, the better they will do at having a conversation about you with your future employer.
It is also a good idea to give your references a copy of your resume. If they are familiar with your resume, they will have an easier time when your prospective employer calls them. If you update or change your resume in any significant way, send your employment references an updated copy.
Keeping your references informed as you go through your employment job search process can provide you the edge over your competition. Since the employment process can take weeks or months, it is wise to keep in touch with your references and to provide them with updates. It doesn’t take a lot of time, just let them know how it is going, of upcoming interviews or interviews that you have scheduled. Also let them know if a potential employer is going to contact them. Keep them excited about you and your search. Not only will this help them to be ready when their phone rings, they will have you in mind if they come across job openings that may be right for you, and they may offer suggestions and advice.
Finally, when your job search pays off and you get the new job or start your new career, reach out and thank your references. Even if they were never contacted by a prospective employer, let them know about your new job. Thank them in person. Better yet, take them out for to a coffee house or restaurant and let them know how grateful you are for their support and help.
- Consider your job references carefully
- Choose the best references
- Reach out and ask them to be your reference prior to starting your employment search
- Provide them with plenty of information about your job search
- Give them a copy of your resume
- Go over your career assessment with them
- Keep in touch with them throughout you employment job search
- Thank them and show them your gratitude
Davis, B. B., & Chaney, L. H. (2000). The importance of employment references in the job search. New Accountant, 15(6), 29-31. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/202672924?accountid=458
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