Your references do play a role in your ability to find employment. They may seem like a formality, especially nowadays that references are left off most resumes until requested, but as many as 20% of all applicants lose their employment chances because of bad references. Bad references can legitimately harm your ability to find a job.
In an earlier post we discussed what makes a good reference. Good references are people that:
- Are energetic – both about you and in general.
- Are important – they hold a high up position.
- Are informed – they know what you did at your job.
The last one is important. The greatest reference can become a bad reference if they are not informed about the employer that is calling them. You need to make sure your reference knows what to say.
3 Ways to Keep Your Reference Informed
- Give them a copy of your resume
First, the reference should have a copy of your resume on hand. This allows them to know what experiences you listed, so that they know to mention those experiences when the employer calls.
- Warn them of the incoming phone call
You never want the phone call to be a surprise. Warn the reference that a call might be coming as soon as you get called in for an interview – before the interview has taken place and before any references have been given to the employer.
- Arm the reference with information
Send the reference the job description, company information, and some of the key points you expect to bring up at the interview, including a list of what you would like emphasized. Make sure they know what you will be saying and what is important to the role, so that they can provide their own responses accordingly.
Keep Them Notified
You should also keep your references notified of your progress, and let them know how the interviews went after each one is completed. Also, whether or not you got the job, thank your references at the end of your interviews. You never know when you will need their help again in your job search, and you do not want them to be annoyed by the number of interviewers they need to be talking to.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Notify your references of the potential phone call.
- Send them a copy of your resume and cover letter.
- Make sure they know everything about the company.