Why References Are as Important as Resumes


You’re ready to start your job search. You’ve examined the job market, you know you have the requisite skills, experience, and educational background. You have targeted your specific regional location, and compiled a list of desirable companies.

 

You feel as if you’re well prepared because you’ve polished your resume, you’ve practiced your interview skills, you’ve done plenty of networking, you’ve consulted with your professional contacts and/or a professional career coach, and you feel ready to rock.

 

However, there is one facet of your job search that you might have overlooked—selecting your references. Many prospective job seekers think of their references as an afterthought. It shouldn’t be that way. In this day and age of thorough screening, your references can play a significant role in helping or hurting your job chances.

 

Even though your resume is what will get you in the door, and your interview skills might put you on the short list, it will be your references who will get in the last word on your candidacy. And, the more prestigious the job that you are seeking, and the higher the pay scale that you are envisioning, then the more important your references will be. 

 

So, similar to how you have taken control of your job search, you now need to be in charge of your references. Here are five quick steps to follow to make sure you have references who will get the job done for you:

 

·        Choose Quality References—Use professional people who know you well, who are articulate, and who can describe your character, skills, work ethic, and positive attitude.

·        Reference Checking Service—Consider using the advantage of a checking service that will help you determine if your references will do the best possible job for you.

·        Recheck Your Information—Make certain that all of the information on your resume (dates, positions, education) is accurate, and that your references are up to date on it.

·        Call Your References Immediately—When a company asks for your references, it’s likely they will be called that day or in the next day or two, so contact them first.

·        Prep Your References—Let them know a call is coming from a specific company, brief them on the position, and remind them why you and your qualifications are a good fit.