Five Tips for Creating a World-Class Employment Reference List - Slide 7

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Once you’ve created a great list of references, stay in their good graces. Always follow the “Golden Rules of Job Reference Etiquette”:

  1. Call your former bosses and ask them if they are willing to provide favorable job references on your behalf. As an additional courtesy, offer them an update on your career.
  2. Let your references know each and every time you give out their contact information and thank them for their efforts.
  3. Keep your positive references informed of your career and educational progress. They will be more inclined to see you in a stronger light as you progress.
  4. Note that spending time communicating with your prospective employer takes valuable time from your references' workdays. If you plan to use these positive references over the years, you need to give something back. For instance, each time your reference supports you with a new prospective employer, send them a personal thank-you letter or (at a minimum) an email. Better still, send a thank-you note with a gift card for Starbucks, or offer to take your former boss to lunch/dinner.
  5. If you win the new position, call or email your former boss and thank them again for their support. Also, let them know your new contact information.

Are your references really that important in the hiring process? In a word - absolutely. Unfortunately, professional references are perhaps the most overlooked and underutilized tool in most people’s employment arsenal.

If you’re not using your references to your best advantage, you may be making an inadvertent error in your search for new employment. An excellent resume may get your foot in the door for an interview, but it’s your references that will likely “seal the deal” and get you the actual job offer.

So ask yourself: Will the list of job references I have created ensure that stellar new job offer?

The professional reference-checking firm of Allison & Taylor offers the following tips on how to create a compelling reference list.

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