Choose Your References Wisely
By Matthew C.
need to list references. A simple task, right? Sure, you could contact three
of your closest friends and ask them to be your references. They may be able
to testify to your character, but do they know how well you would perform on
Whom To Select
When selecting references, it is always a good idea to find those people who
know how well you work. Supervisors you reported to directly or co-workers are
some of the best choices. However, some companies frown on supervisors from
being a reference and, instead, require that they list the Human Resources
department as the contact point. Legal issues play into that decision.
Co-workers can be a good choice, especially if they held a position of
authority even if they weren't over you. The company's receptionist may know
you best, but oftentimes it is the title [position] of the person that pulls
the greater weight.
How Many References?
A minimum of three references should be garnered. Four or five if each one is
solid. You need to inform the person you select that they are a reference in
advance. Of course, that means you need to get their permission first. Do not
put someone on the spot -- kindly ask if they would be a reference; if they
decline don't take it personally. There could be any number of reasons why
someone won't be your reference; speculating will only cause you to formulate
a reason which could be entirely false.
Never, ever list references on your résumé. Simply end your résumé with
References furnished upon request. Prepare a separate sheet of paper and list
the same contact information you have on the top of your résumé including your
name, address, phone contacts and email address. After that, create a heading
titled References and list each person's name and title, company, and phone
number. Use an address if available and include an email address if available.
You can double space it, number it, or use bullets. There is no "magic" to it,
simply be as careful with your Reference page as you are with your résumé:
check for typos, grammatical errors, etc.
Today, many contacts are done through other means [e.g., email], but most of
the time companies will want to contact the reference for more information
directly. Make sure that all your contact information is accurate.
One Final Point
Do not automatically send references unless they are requested. If a company
only wants your résumé send only your résumé. Guard your references very
closely and only give them out to those who request it.
The Article Writer
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