How to Prepare Your Job References

Posted May 31, 2016

Hiring personnel will often ask for references, so it is very important that you not only have a prepared list, but also that you've prepped the people on your list so they are ready when a company contacts them.

If you don't get your references in order, you run the risk of losing out on a dream job just because you weren't prepared. Don't make that mistake!

Ask your references permission

Some people just aren't comfortable being a reference, so ask the people on your list for their permission before sharing their contact information with an employer, or else you risk straining relationships in your network when a company cold calls them.

Ask your references if they would be comfortable making a positive recommendation on your behalf. If one of your references hesitates or seems unsure, don't use that person.

Give relevant references

One big mistake people often make is to give a list of references that only includes friends and family members. These references don't mean much to employers because they don't reveal much about your abilities in a professional workplace.

People also make the mistake of listing people that don't really know them, like former college advisors or upper-level bosses they never worked directly with. These references make employers question your judgment and, if you don't list any former supervisors, your past work performances.

Make sure you give good contact information

Solid gold references aren't worth anything if employers can't get in touch with them. An easy way to impress hiring managers is to provide several ways to connect with your references. In addition to making sure your references will be heard, giving several contact methods also suggests you have strong connection with the people on your list.

Prepare your references

If you have references that you know will give you a glowing recommendation, but you haven't worked with them in a while, it will be necessary to get them up-to-speed on what you’ve been doing career-wise. Getting your references up-to-speed avoids the awkward situation of having them give a company out-of-date or straight-up wrong information about you.

If you consider a particular reference to be a professional mentor, try asking them for guidance. The conversation you have with this person will not only give you some great advice, it will also be a great way to subtly let them know what you’ve been up to and where you want to go.

It's also a good idea to let your references know about the position you are applying for. By giving them a sense of what the company might be looking for in a recommendation, you can help them provide the most effective recommendation possible.

At Ambassador, we help job seekers with every single part of the application process. If you are looking for advice from a leading employment firm in the South, contact Ambassador Personnel through our website, and we can connect you with a recruiter from our staff.