Choosing references is an important stage in the job search process; you must think carefully about who you want to include and then contact those individuals. When you speak to the potential reference, explain the kind of organizations you are applying to and the position(s) for which you are interviewing. Remind them of your accomplishments and success stories that they witnessed. Inaccurate or inappropriate references can damage your chances of securing a job offer. Verify that the person you speak to is willing to give you an "excellent" reference. After the phone call, send your reference a copy of your resume so they have a point of reference when a potential employer contacts them.
Once you have compiled your final list of references (usually three or four), you will need to document your references in a computer file. This list is not submitted at the same time as the resume and cover letter. Instead, it can be taken into the interview. When the interviewer asks for references, you can submit a professional list on quality paper that matches your resume and cover letter.
When compiling your reference list, make sure it is accurate and that all contact information is current; nothing should be missing. The reader doesn't have time to look for phone numbers or addresses. In fact, if information is missing, the screener may put the candidate in the "NO" pile. Don't just use basic boring information on this page. Make your reference list unique by adding quotes about your performance and information about the accomplishments that your reference can verify.
After you know that your references have been checked, phone them, and thank them for their time, as well as the positive reference they gave to a potential employer. Keep them posted on your job search process; it will make them feel involved in your career.
Don't make the mistake of underestimating the value of references; they could make or break your chance of being hired.
We look forward to partnering with you in the future,
Candace Davies ACCC, CRW, CIC, CPRW, CEIP, CECC
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