By Michelle Dumas -- Do you wonder about how best to leverage and submit your references during your job search? Here are some tips to help you:
1. Never submit your references with the resume. You want to have a face-to-face meeting with the employer, or at the very least, a telephone interview, before providing references. The purpose of the resume, at least at this stage of the job search process, is to generate enough interest to get you called in for an interview. By listing references on your resume, you just give the recipient of your resume another opportunity to screen you out before you have a chance to sell yourself in person. Also, avoid the old and overused phrase "references provided on request." It is taken for granted that you will provide references on request. There is no need to state on your resume that you will do so. Listing this on your resume just takes up valuable space that could be used for more important data.
2. Former or current direct supervisors make excellent references, but clients, your former employees, co-workers, and vendors you have interfaced with often make great references also. If you have people willing to endorse you whose names are recognizable in your industry or profession and who will add credibility to your job search, by all means include them--and do so prominently. But, don't neglect to include references from people at all levels, particularly those in positions that represent the people you would have to interact with on a real-world, day-to-day basis in your next job.
3. As much as possible, you will want to maintain connections with "old" colleagues and other people that you worked with or associated with in past jobs. While the most current references will often hold the most weight, having no references from past employers can look suspect. Recruiters may wonder, for example, if you left your past employer on bad terms or if you had or have trouble establishing strong professional relationships. If you have lost touch with old colleagues, you might try looking for them on LinkedIn or other professional networking sites.
4. Contact each person that you intend to list as a reference and ask for their permission. Never provide someone as a reference unless you have discussed it with them first and briefed them on your current job search. Verify the contact information for each reference and ask for permission to list a telephone number and email address. When relevant, you will want to list the name of your reference, along with their current job title and the company at which they work. While mailing addresses are rarely necessary, you should include at least the city and state (or country, if the reference is an international one). You should also include the preferred telephone number and email address for the reference.
5. Bring a professionally typed and formatted list of references with you to the interview, preferably with a font and formatting style that is consistent with your resume. To really stand out from the competition, you can make your references list a powerful part of your overall marketing presentation by including a brief background of how the person knows you and for how many years, along with a summary of the qualifications and achievements that your reference can speak to. If you worked together on a key project, for example, this would be the place to mention it. Formatting your references in this way transforms a simple listing of references into a references dossier, and will give you true competitive advantage once the selection process begins, as very few (if any) of your competitors will provide references in this memorable and highly professional way.
Nationally certified resume writer and career coach, Michelle Dumas is the director of Distinctive Career Services LLC. Through Distinctive Documents http://www.distinctiveweb.com and her Executive VIP Services http://www.100kcareermarketing.com Michelle has empowered thousands of professionals all across the U.S. and worldwide. Michelle is also the author of Secrets of a Successful Job Search http://www.job-search-secrets.com
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