During most academic quarters, I have the opportunity to teach a Professional Career Planning and Development college course. This is absolutely one of my most favorite courses to teach. I enjoy working with students to create all the necessary documents to prepare for their job search: cover letter, resume, references, a completed job application, letters of recommendation, and thank you letter. Each of these documents is critical in a successful job search.
In today’s competitive job market, employers expect every job applicant to have several concrete references that can offer a good recommendation. These references carefully selected by you have the important responsibility to positively and effectively communicate your accomplishments, work performance, reliability, skills, education, and work ethic to a potential employer for the purpose of you receiving a job offer.
Who have you selected for your references? Are you sure they are the best choices? My advice to you—rethink who is listed on your list of references. Think strategically about each reference choice. The contacts that you select are absolutely critical to a potential job offer. Never make the assumption that your references will give you an excellent recommendation as it is likely that your references have little or no training in being a professional reference.
Ask permission to use someone as a reference. Take the time to prepare your references with the information they need to be successful in helping to promote you to a potential future employer. Provide your references with a copy of your cover letter and resume. These documents will help to remind them of your qualifications, skills, and accomplishments.
Most employers will want to take the time to do a thorough background check before hiring you. References can play an important role in this overall background check and candidate selection.
Take a moment before the end of the year to update all of the necessary documents needed for your next job search. You never know when an opportunity might present itself.