Mistake #: Not Preparing Your References
Many hiring managers will let you know in advance when theyre going to contact your references. So, if possible, you should give your references a heads-up to let them know who will be contacting them, and supply them with an .
Pro tip: Share the job description with your references, so they can gain a good sense of the position youre applying for.
Depending on how long its been since you held the job, you may have to refresh the persons memory about specific projects you worked on or results you delivered that can be used as talking points.
Also, consider asking your references to speak to certain skills, such as leadership, reliability, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork. Recent research from the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers care more about these particular soft skills than they do technical abilities like reading comprehension or mathematics.
How To Format A Resume References Section
Learning how to arrange a reference section is just as vital as other sections of your resume or cover letter.
A messy, carelessly formatted reference page will lose your employer’s interest.
So how do you write one thats eye-catching and professional?
First, put your references on a . Add an exclusive reference page, as the last page of your resume.
Keep the same format for your reference sheet as your resume and cover letter, meaning use the same font, margins, and color scheme.
If youve included personal references as well, you could also add Personal References as a subtitle.
Use the formatting we discussed in the previous section to list your references.
Ditch the common References available upon request.
This is a frequent mistake. Employers formerly know this and its an overworked phrase. The general rule of thumb is to keep your resume as brief as possible. Why misuse the space?
Mistake #: Listing Someone As A Reference Without Asking The Person For Permission First
Asking if someone will be a reference for you might sound like a basic step, but Kay says youd be surprised how many job seekers forget to do it.
A lot of people just dont ask for permission, Kay says. They just assume that the person is happy to do it. Hence, youll want to touch base with references before providing their contact information to a prospective employer. Its simply common courtesy.
Do I Need To Include References On My Cv
The answer is both yes and no, depending on the circumstances.
Sometimes it may be necessary to include references on your CV, for example when requested by the employer, and other times it may be best to leave it out as references may not be required at this early stage in the job selection process.
Can I Use A Friend Or Family Member As A Reference
We are often asked:
My friend knows me really well, can they be my referee?
The answer is: no. The purpose of providing references is for the employer to get a professional and unbiased opinion about you and your abilities. Having friends or family members as your references creates a conflict of interest and defeats the whole purpose of trying to get an honest and unbiased view from an independent source.
The following are categories of people you cant use as your references:
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Done With Mistakes Do This Next
The job search doesn’t have to trip you up at every turnbut there are a whole lot of turns to contend with. Prevent unnecessary headaches by starting off on the right foot. Meaning, get your resume in shape. Not only will a strong resume impress hiring managers, it’ll also show your potential references what you’ve accomplished so far in your career. Need some help making sure you’re giving them something to talk about? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression. It’s a quick and easy way to avoid the little mistakes that can have a big impact.
Did I Get The Job If They Called My References
If theyre calling your references it usually means theyre interested in making an offer. It could also be that theyve selected a few potential candidates and are in the process of narrowing the field down. Either way Once they start calling your references, theyre strongly considering you for the position.
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Should You Include A Reference Section On Your Resume
Some employers may ask you to submit references as part of your resume while others may ask for a reference list after the interview or in the final stages of the hiring process. However, offering a list of references with your resume is generally not the best policy.
If a job posting does not request references, you should not include them on your resume or with your job application. It has become more common in recent years for companies not to provide references for former employees as a way to avoid potential lawsuits, so more and more employers do not ask for them.
Also, resume experts agree that a general rule of thumb is not to add any references due to space and time issues. Generally, you will want to keep your resume as short as possible, and adding references that an employer probably won’t use is wasting space that could be used for more important information.
The recruiter reading your resume also generally does not have a lot of time and will probably not reach out to your references unless you are short-listed for the job. This is usually why prospective employers do not ask for references until after the interview period.
However, in some job postings, recruiters will request references or testimonials in your resume or as part of your job application and, if so, you should follow the instructions exactly. If references are not explicitly requested here, you may be asked after your interview to submit a reference list.
Tips For Navigating References
Great! Your work mate will vouch for you as a referee. Just stop there. Navigating references is a skill that can win you a job if you get it right.
Job hunting season is now open, if you want the best chance possible then remember that references are hugely important, says Julie Sutton, recruitment manager at Ryan Recruitment.
There are rules to be followed if you want to nail this one:
You’ve got great references and you know it. Make a point of letting the recruiter or employer know. Not everyone will be so lucky as you and it will make you look good.
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When Do You Need References
Employers will typically check your references just before theyre ready to make an offer, Papadopoulos says. Thats why you dont need to provide them when youre first applying for a job. But its a good idea to have them ready to go before you even land an interview.
If a company is ready to hire you pending a reference check, the last thing you want is to be held up by asking people to be a reference or collecting their contact information. Instead, you should have your references ready and keep them updated during your search, Papadopoulos says.
Who Should You List As A Reference
Consider these eight people when making your reference list:Recent bosses. Co-workers. Professors. Friends but only if theyre a professional reference. Group members. Any place youve volunteered. The person you babysat for or whose lawn you mowed every summer. High school teacher or coach you still talk to regularly.
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Dont Put References On Your Cv Do This Instead
Should you put your references on your CV?
I get asked this question a lot, and the short answer is No
Like many candidates, you may be tempted to include references within your CV in an attempt to be transparent, and provide recruiters with some early social proof of your abilities. And that is totally understandable.
However, the benefits of leaving your references out of your CV, far outweigh the benefits of including them.
In this post, I will explain the reasons why you shouldnt add your references when writing your CV, and what you can do instead to prove your value as an employee.
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Who Should I Pick To Be My Reference
The best candidates for your reference sheet are individuals who know a lot about your professional background, excluding family members and close friends. Here are examples of contacts you can ask to be your reference:
Direct supervisor of a previous employer: Request the supervisor who evaluated the quality of your work to be a reference. They can describe their experience managing you as an employee and how well you followed instructions.
Former coworker: If you want an acquaintance to verify your work performance, then contemplate asking a colleague to be your reference. They can discuss how well you collaborate with others and respond to workplace challenges, which can impress the hiring manager.
Teacher: Listing a former teacher or college professor as your reference may be beneficial if you have limited industry experience. Consider asking an instructor who taught a subject that relates to the position you want.
Advisor: An academic advisor can attest to your commitment to complete your education and learn new skills in the classroom. If you’ve spent substantial time with your advisor before you graduated, consider asking them to be your reference.
Mentor: Mentors are often present throughout your entire career, which means they can describe how you’ve improved your abilities and the work accomplishments you’ve achieved. They also may be experts in your industry, making them a valid choice for a reference.
How To Choose Your Referees
Your referees are very important in the job-seeking process. Most people focus on presenting their qualifications, skills and experience and spend little time deciding who should be their referees. But choosing a good referee can make all the difference. If you choose the wrong person, you might be rejected from jobs that were perfect for you. Heres a guide on How To Choose Your Referees
Some employers may have a policy of only providing factual references stating only your dates of employment, job title and possibly the reason for leaving. While these should not be viewed negatively by a potential employer they will not help you convince them of your suitability. It can be very worthwhile asking your employer to provide you with a full character reference, even if this is provided on a personal basis rather than as an official employer reference.
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Having A Master Reference List Ready:
It is helpful to have a complete “master” list of references already prepared, even if you are currently not looking for a job. This way, whenever you are asked for your references you will not struggle to come up with appropriate contacts on short notice. Gather together your professional contacts along with their names, titles, organizations, phone numbers, and email addresses and keep them handy.
What Kind Of References Do Employers Want
What employers want from job references
- Description of past job duties and experience: 36%
- A view into the applicants strengths and weaknesses: 31%
- Confirmation of job title and dates of employment: 11%
- Description of workplace accomplishments: 8%
- A sense of the applicants preferred work culture: 7%
- Other/dont know: 7%
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How To Request A Reference
When you give out someone’s name as a reference, be sure that you have permission to use them as a reference and let them know they may be contacted. Provide some information about the job you have applied for, so your reference can relate your experience to the job and give you the best possible reference for the job. You also might provide the person with an updated resume or list of your skills and qualifications.
If possible, select people who can speak to your skills and qualifications as they relate to the job youre applying for. Only choose people who you know will give you a positive recommendation. These are typically employers, business acquaintances, professors, or even customers or vendors.
Should I Include References If My Resume Is Too Short
No, a short resume is not a good enough reason to start listing references on a resume. If youre just starting out in the world, like a high school or college student who hasnt even graduated yet, pump up your resume with your academic achievements, summary statement, internships, volunteer work and/or job-related skills. Tell your own story, and dont expect someone else to tell it for you via references on a resume.
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Mistake #: Blindly Assuming The Person Will Give You A Glowing Review
Even though you think you were a great employee, your past manager may not feel the same way.
Countless job seekers have been dismayed by the information that a former supervisor shares about them, says Shane. If an employer uncovers a negative reference, you may never hear from the company ever again.
Therefore, if youre even the slightest bit unsure of where you stand, ask your references ahead of time what theyre going to say about you. If they dont plan on flattering you, take them off your references list and move on to the next person.
Select Your Resume References
When selecting resume references, consider people who can speak to your best qualities, skills and qualifications. If possible, choose people who can discuss talents specific to the job youre applying for.
Generally, the best people to include as references are:
- Current or former manager or direct supervisor
- Current or former co-worker
- Current or former employees/direct reports
- Academic advisor
- Professional mentor
When thinking through who to include on your reference list, make sure you are comfortable with these people knowing you are looking for a new job, especially if they are someone you currently work with.
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Should You Put References On A Resume
The short answer is an emphatic no. Your resume should only be one page, two at a maximum, and including references here will take up valuable real estate that could be better utilized.
Whats more, experts agree that you should always abstain from including the phrase references available upon request at the bottom of your resume. Hiring managers take this information for granted, making it as pointless as writing interviews available upon request.
Unequivocally, you should not include references on your resume.
Instead, make a that serves solely as your reference list. So should you send that along with your resume? Probably not. Hiring managers dont have the time to fully vet every applicant, so its just pointless clutter for them.
If and when they decide youre a top contender for the position, theyll reach out and request your references.
One caveat to this advice: if the job description clearly states that references should be included with your application, then do!
Who Should You Ask To Be A Reference
Most companies will ask for two or three references from a candidate, so its always best to have at least three ready to go. Some prospective employers may request a certain mix of types of references, but generally you want to list former managers and former or current colleagues if youre earlier in your career and dont have many former managers, you could list professors you worked closely with. If youd be leading a team, you may be asked for a reference from a former direct report. For some client-facing roles, like account management, companies might want to hear from a former client or customer, so be sure to read up on the norms for your industry.
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