References serve as a powerful tool during the hiring process. Hiring managers often contact references to find out what a candidate can truly accomplish and what they’re like to work with. Having a great reference to back up your skills is imperative, but not everyone knows how they should go about getting one. Here are five tips to choose the best job reference.
1. Create a list of people who you believe will say positive things about you.
Former supervisors, coworkers, managers and even clients are typically the best choices. If you do not have any work experience, expand your list to include volunteer assignments, college professors, and internship supervisors.
2. Narrow down your reference list to 4 or 5 people.
The most effective references are those who’ve had the opportunity to experience your personality and witness your accomplishments first-hand. Senior positions will require 5 to 7 references. Choose work references that will speak highly of you, and will attest to all that you were able to accomplish. Omit potential references who might sound unprofessional, or those with whom you did not have a great working relationship.
3. Ask for his or her permission.
Never use a reference without asking for his or her permission. Regardless of how you perceive your relationship with the reference, not every person is comfortable giving recommendations for employment opportunities. While in most cases your colleagues will be flattered to serve as references, it’s always respectful to ask for their permission first.
4. Make sure your reference’s information is thorough and correct.
Once you’ve secured a job reference, collect their contact information. Record their full name, current title, phone number, email, and work address. These details will be required by most employers during the interview process. In the case of work-only references, stay away from listing things like home numbers, personal emails, and cell phones. Privacy is an issue, and the hiring manager may not be aware they are reaching out to a personal account. This looks bad for everyone, and is unprofessional on your part.
5.Coach your select references, and keep them updated throughout the process.
Give your reference a current resume and update and/or remind them of your achievements, skills, important projects, etc. Preparing your references will ensure they provide a more relevant reference and recommendation.
Always be willing to use your references, and remember to say thank you. Saying thank you