Steps to take before embarking on a job search- #5 -check in on your references

Previous posts in this series:

Steps to take before embarking on a job search- Step #1 know your skills, strengths and interests

Steps to take before embarking on a job search- Step #2 Target your search

Steps to take before embarking on a job search- Step #3 clean up your social media profile

Steps to take before embarking on a job search-Step #4- polish up that resume!

interview-607713__180Whether you volunteer your references by including them on your resume or not, somewhere during the process of interviewing, a company may check your references.

You want to prepare ahead of time. While having a great list of references can only help you, references that give you a less-than- glowing recommendation can be the “kiss of death”.  So, when it comes to references, DO sweat the small stuff.

Help your references help you.

Fact No. 1: Unprepared references can unknowingly discredit your work on projects.

If you want references to speak glowingly about your work, be sure they are knowledgeable of the exact projects you worked on.  If they don’t know the specifics of the critical role you played, how can they vouch for you?  So, prepare them ahead of time by talking to them, confirming their knowledge of the specifics of your accomplishments.

Do not assume anything. Prepare your references in advance of any phone call they may get from a prospective employer be letting them know who and when someone may be calling to check to the reference. And, you may want to copy the reference on your latest resume.

Fact No. 2: The impression a reference leaves will be reflected upon you.

You want your references to willingly respond.  The last thing you want is for them to be lukewarm, monotone, or -even worse- say “I have no comment” a few times during the reference checker’s interview with him.

Obtain written references and contact information.

As a foundation to your overall reference plan, get written references. Regarding contact information, be sure to provide the name, title, company, the past relationship (subordinate/manager/peer) and current email and cell phone numbers.

A written reference is a proactive way to combat a reference who is less than prepared, distracted or unenthusiastic on the phone. Written information can be a powerful testimonial and may negate lengthier phone calls to your current references.

Regarding contact information, be sure you have correct phone numbers and email addresses of references.

Even with correct phone numbers, if a reference is called but does not respond quickly it can hurt you. It shows he may not care enough to respond quickly or give you high marks. Silence can be deadly here.

Your investment of time, energy and preparation for interviews should not be derailed by bad, lukewarm or silent references. Don’t get off-track during your next, critical career move. Be proactive and prepared when it comes to references.

-from The Key Corporate Services Blog Team