References 101

Should I have letter of references ready at interviews?  I don’t have any at the moment… to be honest, I’ve never had to supply letters of reference, but it sounds like you need them eventually?  Is this true?
The days of actual letter references (i.e. a printed page with references that you hand to someone with your resume) are long gone.  You will, however, need to provide references for positions, so you should always prepare ahead of time.  What I do is have a list of five to ten references, including name, current title/company, how long they’ve known you, what position/company they know you from, and a very short (one line) mention of how they know you.
–   For instance: –   Name:  John Smith –   Current Position:  VP Sales, The Widget Company –   Years Known:  5 – How Known:  As VP Sales, John indirectly oversaw and received my work product during my tenure as a Strategic Marketing Manager –   Contact Information:  (phone/email) –     Here’s the simple process for submitting references (and it is simple, but like all things in sales, the devil’s in the details)… –   1)  First, think of your five to ten people –   2)  Contact them and ask if they would be your reference at some point in the future. –   3)  Type up their information as I’ve shown above.  If you have this list already typed up, all you have to do is drop the references you select into an email along with a creative self-marketing paragraph and hit send to the company. –   4)  ONLY provide references when asked for them.  You can always offer, but unless they directly ask for them or say “yes” to your offer to supply names, don’t provide them. –   5)  Once you’ve been asked by the company for references and BEFORE SENDING IT TO THEM, make sure to select the most appropriate references for the position from your list and make sure to do the following: –   –  Contact each one ahead of time to give them a head’s up about the position you’re interviewing for, why you’re interested in the job, and that someone MAY be contacting them (because you never know if they will be contacted or not).  This also gives you one last opportunity to screen your selected references. –   –  ALWAYS double check the contact information of your selected references prior to issuing to the company. –   –  I always ask my references if they would contact me after they’ve been contacted by the company, if only to close the loop and know that the company is researching me. –   All of this gives you the opportunity to stay in touch with your references which is a good thing! 6)  Use the opportunity when sending a list of references to the company (again, via email) to stay in touch with the company about decision progress, to reiterate your three key take-aways about yourself, and mention that you’ll follow up with them to ensure that they have no issues in contacting your references.  If for some reason they do, you can always follow up with another from your list. –   7)  If the company doesn’t mention how many references they need (always a minimum of three, and sometimes five), don’t ask.  Just send them three with the note that you’ll follow up with them. –   8)  Follow up with the company to make sure they had no issues in contacting your references. –   9)  Follow up with your references and let them know whether you received the position (or not).  Make sure to thank them for their reference.  If you didn’t get the position, make sure to confirm with them about being a reference again moving forward. –   Your references are either deal sealers or deal breakers!  Choose them wisely, coach them on the position, what you’ve said about your work history and any interaction that you may have had with the reference in the past.  If it’s a REALLY important position and it’s a MUST HAVE, make sure to tell your reference this.  If you have ANY doubts about using a reference, DON’T USE THEM!!! –     Authored by: George Kirby
This entry was posted in Career Transition Advice. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
Staffing Experts | 877.7.WE’RE IT