For some people, it can be difficult to decide who to list as their job references. You want to find someone who will speak highly of you, someone who can vouch for your work ethic, someone who will help you stand out from the other candidates. Yet, you also want to avoid looking like you picked your best friend or someone else who’s going to speak highly of you simply because you are good friends. How do you decide who’s the perfect reference?
Look for Those Who Know Your Work Ethic
Those who do the hiring want to know what makes you a great candidate. While the CEO of the company where you worked or your boss might be able to verify that you worked for the company, that person may not know your real work ethic. Ideally, your references should be people who worked with you on a day-to-day basis and can offer specific examples of what makes you a great employee.
One thing to remember is that your references do not need to necessarily to come from paid work. Professors are great for recent college graduates, especially if you took several classes from the person or if the person acted as a mentor. If you regularly volunteer somewhere, you may be able to use others who also volunteer or who work for the company.
Always Forewarn Your References
It is important to ask your references if they are willing to act as your reference. Keep them up-to-date on your job search effort. When possible, offer them a warning that they might be getting a phone call or email. Let them know where you’ve applied as well as information about the position. If your references are expecting a call, they will be better prepared to speak to the hiring manager.
Keeping Your References’ Information Up-To-Date
Along with keeping your references up-to-date on your job search, it is important to make sure that your references’ information is always up-to-date. If you don’t use the person’s contact information on a regular basis, make sure they still use that same email address and that they can still be reached at the phone number that you provided. If you have provided an address or other information, make sure that it is still accurate. It will not look good for you if the hiring manager is unable to get ahold of your references.
Have a Variety
It may be helpful to have a large list of potential references. Then, you can pick which references fit best with a specific job. For example, if you are applying for a company where one of your references works, that person might be a good pick as a reference for that job. You may also want to have references who can vouch for skills specific to the job.
Having a long list of references can also give your references a bit of a break if your job search lasts longer than anticipated. Then, hiring managers won’t be contacting the same person or people over and over again.
Never Try to Pressure Someone Into Being a Reference
Perhaps, one of the most important things to remember is that you should never pressure someone into being a reference. If the person turns you down, there is likely a reason, and often it’s a good reason. It might simply be because the person does not feel like they know you well enough to act as a reference. It might, though, be something deeper. The person may not feel that they can act as a positive reference. Maybe, you came into work late regularly or used inappropriate language at work, and the person feels they would have to mention that if asked to be a reference. While you can ask the person why they are unwilling to be a reference, you should respect the person if they do not want to elaborate on why they do not want to be a reference. Along with that, they may say something that you do not like, or worse, may reflect badly on you and cost you an opportunity.
If you need help finding a great job in Hawaii, contact us. We can help you connect with the right company for your skills and interests.