Strong References are Vital!

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By Stacey Wood, CTS

While it’s true that a great resume and strong interview skills are necessary to secure new employment, in today’s competitive market that simply just isn’t enough. Strong references are a vital tool that can help seal the deal.

Consider the source – make it relevant

It is important to choose your references wisely. Select individuals that you have recently worked under in your last role. Someone you worked with ten years ago may not readily recall your specific contributions to the organization. Thus, they may lack the necessary relevant knowledge when asked detailed questions about your past performance and strengths. Use professional references, personal references are not nearly as effective and cannot provide all the data required by a hiring manager.

Prepare your references for the call

It is vital that the individuals on your list anticipate being contacted in the near future. If they aren’t prepared to receive the call, they will likely come off as confused or even agitated. This could be conceived as a lack of attention to detail on your end. There is little more powerful than a former employer enthusiastically taking the time to speak highly of your work. Consider when someone you know highly recommends a new film or restaurant. Aren’t you far more likely to try it?

Surprise! You’ve been ‘googled’

Don’t forget that your on-line profile speaks volumes about you as well. I know several employers who ‘google’ potential candidates before interviewing them. Further, they often search their LinkedIn connections as well. In fact, my friend Jessie recently went on an interview and was questioned why her LinkedIn profile stated a different title than the one she had on her formal resume. Attention to detail and accuracy matters. Further, remember to save personal opinions and political views for formats like Facebook.

A great reference is critical-don’t overlook this powerful tool!

This post originally appeared in the Job Advice blog on Syracuse.com, where Stacey blogs on a monthly basis.

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