After you’ve wowed during the interview process, potential employers want to validate that everything you’ve said about yourself is true. Enter: job references. Strong endorsements from the right professionals can show an employer you have the skills and experience necessary to excel in a position. Therefore, whom you choose as references could have a substantial impact on whether you are extended a job offer. Keep these tips in mind when selecting and preparing job references.
Ask a Current/Former Manager
Managers can mention specific examples of how you excelled in a position and added value to the team, department and company. Including a manager as a job reference will demonstrate your job performance has a positive impact on an organization.
Understandably, you may not want your current manager to know you are searching for a new job. One option is to state that a reference from them can be provided if an offer is pending. If you had a serious issue with a previous manager and were disciplined, given a warning or had other adverse action taken against you, leave that manager off your list.
Use a Current/Former Colleague
Choose a fellow professional you have a good relationship with and who can attest to your qualifications. Ensure you have a large pool of references to choose from and tailor to each role. For example, one colleague may be able to attest to your strength in problem solving while another may endorse your presentation skills. Periodically update your reference list as you gain and grow relationships, and select those you feel will best represent you for each role.
Focus on Internal References
If you know an employee at a company you want to work for, ask if they will act as a reference for you. Internal references have a high impact on helping you get hired. They can attest to your skills and experience and may even have some sway with the hiring manager.
Prepare Your References
It’s helpful to provide your references with background on the role/company you’re interviewing with as well as with guidance on what areas you’d like them to focus on during their questioning. Ensure your references focus on your top achievements and give concrete examples of your work ethic as they relate to the role.
Stay in Touch
After you’ve provided references to your potential employer, connect with them and find out whether they’ve been contacted and what questions they were asked. Follow up on the progress of your search. Be sure to let each individual know when you receive a job offer and thank them for their help. One way to show your appreciation is to offer to serve as a reference for them the next time they are job-seeking.
When the time comes to find your next role, be sure to reach out to MFA Talent Management for help.