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Top Tips to Make the Most of Your References

The ever-ubiquotous piece of advice that we’ve all heard throughout our careers: “Network! Network! Network!” What DOES it mean? Does it mean to get on Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? These days, it probably does. In the job-hunt, however – where good networking skills can undoubtedly add to your net worth – we’ve noticed one area where your resume can pull double duty, and that is your REFERENCES. Here, we list our top tips for making the most out of this part of your resume.

Request Permission

Anytime you come across a colleague or a manager who would make a positive reference (read: positive things to say about you), always make sure to ask if they wouldn’t mind doing so at some point in the future. Its good etiquette.

Notify Your References

You’ve already asked your point of contact if they wouldn’t mind being a reference in the future; but now, the time has come where your possible-future-employer wants to hear all about you from the person with the hands-on experience. Give your reference a call to give the heads up. While you are at it, make sure to let them know where you are at professionally, and give them updated contact info. It may not be “social networking” as we know it today, but there sure is nothing more social than an old-fashioned phone call.

Keep References Up to Date

You may have a fabulous list of references – but, your colleague turned best friend that you haven’t worked with since 1982 is probably NOT going to make you look the best – even if he/she loves your children and KNOWS that nobody holds a candle to your java programming skills. Wait – was Java even around in 1982? Point is, you keep your employment history updated – do the same with your references.

Follow Through

“Thank You” is part of human fundamentals. This is your opportunity to reach out to your reference post-interview and thank them for the (hopefully) kind things they said about you that helped you land your job. Again, let them know where you’re at with your career and give them current contact info.

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