Usually after a successful interview, you will be asked to provide references. The key to handling this step successfully is to be prepared. One thing you should keep in mind is not to volunteer your references until asked. Therefore, you should not include references on your resume or cover letter unless specifically required by your prospective employer. What exactly are references used for? Reference checks are primarily made to:
- Assure that you told the truth about yourself
- Get a feeling for how you work with others.
- Pick up otherwise undisclosed information, either positive or negative.
One of the key aspects of references is selecting appropriate references. Ideally, you should choose people who know you in a work setting-former employers, partners, judges, clients, and peers. They are your best references. You should also consider well-known political, community, or business leaders; educators; or members of your professional associations. Unless you have already informed your current firm of your intent to leave, do not use current clients, partners, or peers as references, as they may jeopardize the confidentiality of your job search.
Typically, you will be asked for three references. However, you will need to have several more references just in case. You should prepare a reference list using the following format:
- Your name at the top of the page
- Names of each reference
- Their phone numbers
- Their current titles
- Their addresses
- Their relationships to you
- Their current companies
- Ask first.
- Always ask a person to act as a reference before you provide his/her name to a prospective employer.
- Meet or speak with the person to verify information for your reference sheet and ensure that you will get positive references.
- Prepare your reference.
- Provide a copy of your resume to the person
- Develop a one-page summary about your career objective, practice, reasons for leaving, strengths, weaknesses, work style, and then review it with him/her.
- Contact your reference when you give his/her name to an employer.
- Provide details about the prospective position and what you have to offer.
- Share your excitement and enthusiasm.
- Ask for feedback after your reference has been contacted.
- What types of questions were asked?
- What topics were covered?
- What concerns were raised?
- Make sure to thank your reference.