ultimate guide to references

The Ultimate Guide to References

Believe it or not, there is a lot involved with crafting an excellent group of professional references. If you’re one of the 40+ million workers unfortunately out of work because of the coronavirus, you may be preparing to hit the job market as cities, counties, and even states begin to open back up. So, while you’re sprucing up your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, and searching the job boards, don’t forget to rebuild your references! Here is the ultimate guide to references, so you have them ready to go when you need them most.

Who to add as a reference

When it comes to assembling your group of references, you must take your time and pick carefully. These are the people that are going to help you seal the deal and get that new job you’ve worked your tail off to get! You can’t just ask anyone – you want to ask professionals that will stick their necks out for you and give you a good recommendation.

Pick former managers, co-workers, colleagues, or even workers that reported to you as a professional reference. If you’re fresh out of school, you can list a professor that you worked with closely.

Always ask for permission

Whoever you decide to add, ensure you ask for their permission beforehand. It’s crucial to ask them for permission and give them a heads up before submitting their contact details to a potential employer. The last thing you want to do is catch a reference off guard when instead, they should be expecting a call or email from a hiring manager or HR professional. Don’t just notify them; give them a brief overview of the job you are applying for, so they know how to tailor their answers. Essentially, coach them a bit on how you would like them to answer any questions.

While you reach out to your contacts, ensure their contact details and titles/employers are current on your list to make sure you are providing the correct information!

What to include on your list of references

You cannot just throw a handful of professional references on a sheet of paper and submit them. You have to organize them neatly and add a little context to each reference. Include:

  • The references name
  • Current job and position
  • Company
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • And a brief description of the reference explaining your relationship and how you worked together in the past

Don’t forget to put your name and contact information at the top, too! You would be surprised by how many people forget to do that.

When to submit them

Typically, you only need to submit a reference list at the end of the interviewing process. If you are working with a recruiter from Johnson Search Group, we will take care of this for you. Send us your list of references, and we will do the rest. We will submit them on your behalf (with your permission, of course) at the appropriate time. We often even reach out to them on behalf of our clients to help the process move along seamlessly.

Hopefully, this ultimate guide to references is helpful in your job search. If you’re on the market for a new job, check out our job board. We have dozens of exciting opportunities across the nation with employers that are looking to hire great candidates like you quickly.