References - Who Should Be Used?

by Kathy Sweeney, NCRW, CPRW, CEIC, CCM

When clients use our service they always ask us about references. Who they should include, how many people should be on their list of references and when they should present this information to the employer. There are some strict rules you should follow in regard to references.

First, there are certain people you should include and others that you should not. The people to include are family friends, people that are in important positions in the industry you are applying in, clients whose accounts you have serviced and professors from college if you are a recent graduate.

Do not include previous employers because, by law, they are not allowed to give opinions on your work performance. If you would like to obtain a letter of recommendation from them, by all means, have them write one. An unsolicited letter is a different story.

I usually suggest to my clients that they include at least 3 individuals on their reference sheet. The maximum I would suggest would be five. Odds are the prospective employer is only going to contact one.

I also suggest that you provide the people on your reference list with a copy of your resume for their information. This helps when the prospective employer calls them, they can have your information right in front of them.

When is the appropriate time to present the reference sheet? We advise our clients not to send it with their resume. You don't want the employer contacting your references before they contact you.

Provide the list of references at the end of your interview, when you feel the employer has an interest in you and you have an interest in them!

Place it on the table in front of the employer with your name facing them and say, "Here is a list of my references. Feel free to call any one of them if you should require more information. I'm sure they would be happy to answer any of your questions."

This gives you a broad overview of references and why they are so important. You should always present yourself asa complete, professional package. Having all the tools necessary will ensure you feel more confident in your job search.

Need a reference page typed? Not sure what information to include? For a nominal fee, The Write Resume can prepare one for you! Order today or call us at 1-866-726-9052!

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