Job references have continued to hold substantial weight in the success of your job application.
When going through job vacancies, a well-planted reference list can help you get the job of your dreams.
Be it the previous employer or a notable person in your field, may make or break you getting the job.
Many applicants have taken this too lightly.
If you don’t prepare your professional references appropriately, you are making a costly mistake.
Here are a few tips to best cultivate your job references.
Choose your job references based on the position you are applying
Depending on the specific job you are applying for, it can be beneficial to go beyond your usual job references.
Such as your former manager and include references from previous clients who were much impressed by your work.
Additionally, if you have volunteered for different activities, think about including references of directors of non-profit organizations who have directly witnessed your work and character.
Think before you approach
Your professional references should be treated exactly like that.
And not as a personal assistant or career coach.
Before approaching a prospective reference, please take a moment to think about your last interaction with them.
Think about how you have transformed after your last meeting with them.
And also about what they need to know about you now to act as a positive professional reference.
Avoid blind reference checks
Many individuals do not ask their contacts before actually listing them as a job reference.
Consequently, it leads to blind reference checks where the person only learns by surprise that they’re your job reference.
This is never good for you as a candidate, for your potential employer, and especially for the person involved as reference.
There is one other thing to consider pertinent to this matter.
The person you are looking to add on your job reference list may have changed professions.
As a result, their contacts might have also changed.
In such cases, you may be directing your potential employer to an outdated contact as a reference.
It is always wise to contact the respective person beforehand and ask them if they would like to serve as your professional reference and make sure their contact details are the same.
Take advice from your contacts
Approaching and connecting with your professional references need not be limited to simply asking them to be your reference.
Try to be available to them right from when you start your job search because, with their contacts, they may be aware of job openings in your field and also they may be able to help you attain a suitable job as well.
On the other hand, have an honest conversation with the person about the differences or issues you had when working with them.
That may have prevented both of you from collaborating effectively.
And also admit how you have changed and share your accomplishments over the years.
Also, remember to express your gratitude for everything you were able to learn during that job.
This needs some courage, but when you converse openly, you would be able to evaluate whether or not to include the person on your reference list.
Pass on the status to your job references
Consistently communicate and pass on the status of your job interview to your references through short messages, emails, or simple voice message.
If you make the final list, update your job references.
Also, talk to them about the whole interview process.
And the progress of the interview.
This will help them to expect the questions when they receive the call.
Always express gratitude
During certain stages of your job search, say when a potential employer releases you from the interview process.
When you are no longer interested in a position or if you are planning to quit the job, or when you got hired, remember to thank everyone who accepted to serve as your reference.
Sending them a handwritten thank you card or an email, treat them to lunch, or make a phone call.
Also, consider sending a quick note after a few months of accepting a job offer, and thank your reference for their part in helping you secure the job and share some unique aspects that you love about your new position.
This goes a long way and will be remembered and appreciated.