Providing a reference for someone is an act of courtesy, and it demands the commensurate respect and etiquette from the respective applicant.
A job candidate should make the reference provider’s contribution as easy and convenient as possible. Failure to do so could drastically affect the information that a potential employer is given, and the candidate’s chances of landing the job.
It is important to update your references periodically on your career news. LinkedIn will automatically update contacts of changes in your online profile. Alternatively, it is courteous to check-in with business contacts either by email or phone. A quick coffee or lunch, if you are geographically close, is ideal to touch base and secure a willing reference. Other steps that should be taken include the following
- Ensure that your contacts have your most recent resume and career information. Outline a couple of bullet points that you would like them to emphasize. For example, you may want your reference to confirm your success in sales or your ability to work in a team environment.
- Ask your references how they prefer to be contacted. Some may prefer to give information over the phone, others would prefer to send an email. Give this information to your prospective employer; it will show respect and concern for the valuable time of others.
- Check the availability of your references. A potential employer will not be impressed if your contacts are on vacation or on a business trip for two weeks. Give your potential employer a sheet that lists your references, their titles, their contact information, the preferred mode of contact, and the dates that they will be unavailable.
A precautionary measure is to check with your last employer to determine what information they provide to potential employers. Check that the information on your resume is the same as that given by your employers. If details that you provide do not match those provided by a previous employer, your potential employer will question your integrity.
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