Selecting references is not an easy job. There are many factors that need to be considered when analyzing who will be the best professional reference for you, since these individuals can give you an advantage against other applicants. The recommendations and information they provide to the hiring manager can be a deciding factor for you getting the job you want. The following guidelines will help you select and prepare your professional references.

  • To start, make a list of people who can say positive things about you, included on this list are supervisors, managers, project leaders, coworkers, clients and other people that have worked with you and will not have a problem remembering the impact you had on the company.
  • Don’t pick people that may be too busy to answer calls. This can delay the process or give the hiring manager a hard time to get in contact with them. Don’t make the employer work to get your references.
  • Call the selected individuals and get their permission. Don’t just list them and hope for the best. It’s unprofessional and disrespectful to list someone’s information without their consent.
  • Prepared the selected individuals ahead of time. Give them a call or meet with them beforehand. It’s very important for them to know more about the position you are applying for, so go over some basic information like your previous positions with them, the length of the role and the reasons why you left the company. Before submitting your references to the hiring manager, it’s recommended that you confirm their contact information, and give a copy of your resume to each of the contacts. This will help them to be more prepared when a prospective employer calls.
  • Prepare your references using the same format as your resume, but don’t attach them. Only submit them when needed.
  • Thank all your references, even if you didn’t get the job. Keep them updated on the process, and if you will need their assistance again, be always grateful and professional as it will help you for future job searches.

It’s always a good indication when the hiring manager asks for references, because that means you meet most of their requirements and they are interested in you. The importance of good references varies depending on the company. Some companies will ask for references at the beginning of the process to avoid additional work with someone that is not a right fit for the position or organization. But for other companies, a reference check is almost the final part of the process. It only takes place after interviews and technical assessments where the hiring manager has gotten a sense of who you are and just wants to confirm that the impression they have is the correct one. It doesn’t matter at what point they do the references, as long as you have everything ready. Following these tips will ease the process. Always remember that job hunting is not just sending resumes, it also involves other aspects like references that will influence your success in the process.


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