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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.

Things You Can Safely Take Off Your Resume

3 Things You Can Safely Take Off Your Resume

There is no one way to craft an excellent resume effectively. Each resume is unique, just like you and your working experience! However, there are some items that you can remove to make room for more relevant experiences and achievements. If you are currently sprucing up your resume, here are three things you can safely take off your resume.

Your Address

Gone are the days of including your address on your resume. Back in the day, job seekers needed to include their addresses on their resume because people actually had to mail their resumes out to employers. I know that’s hard to believe in today’s world. So, thanks to the internet and email, we no longer need to include our addresses on our resumes. Hiring managers will call or email you if they have any questions or need to contact you. The only time an employer will need your address is if you receive an offer or if you must pass a background check.

Besides, including your address is a security concern in today’s world of job searching. Many job seekers upload their resumes to LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, and other job posting platforms. This allows pretty much anyone to find your resume and figure out where you live, which is obviously concerning. The best thing to do is to leave it off.

Your references

Stop including your references on your resume. If you are just applying for a job, there is no need to include them. Employers typically only check references when you are much further into the hiring process (like if you are about to receive a job offer!). The company will ask for references (if they want to) when you get to that point in the process. Including your references early is distracting and can be a mistake. What if the hiring manager, for some odd reason, actually does prematurely call your references? If one of your references is someone you currently work with, that can cause some issues with your employer. The safe bet is to keep them off your resume and submit them when the employer asks for them.

Too much education information

We see this all the time; job seekers still including too much education-related information on their resumes. We understand that you are a proud alum and worked hard for your degree; however, if you are well into your career, you can safely remove this information from your resume. I’m talking about your GPA, the courses you took, your extracurriculars, and so forth. If you were a student-athlete, you definitely want to keep that on there. But if you’re 3+ years into your career, employers honestly don’t care about your GPA. They want to know about your achievements, real working experiences, and skillsets, not what classes you took in school. All you need to include is your degree, the school you attended, and your graduation date.

However, if you are fresh out of school, these items are totally fine! This point is mostly for professionals well into their careers that continue to waste valuable resume space with course work from their college career.

These are just a few things you can safely take off your resume. If you are looking for more job-search advice, check out our blog for everything you need to know!

things your should bring to your interview

5 Things You Should Bring To Your Interview

When you have a job interview, you want to show up prepared. However, you don’t need to bring so much stuff that you’re overwhelmed! Here are the five essential things you should bring to your next interview.

A Great Attitude

We know it’s cheesy, but if you bring only one thing to an interview – let it be a great attitude! Go into it with an open mind, and it can make all the difference. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you, because it can majorly affect how you perform during the interview. Take this opportunity to present your best self!

Copies Of Your Resume

No matter how many people you are meeting with, it’s always a good idea to bring extra copies of your resume. You never know if someone else might spontaneously join you, or if you’ll end up meeting other members of the team. If you submitted a cover letter or portfolio, bring those as well. The more information you can leave your interviewers with, the better!

Pen & Notebook

Whether or not you want to take notes throughout the interview, it’s still a great idea to have a pen and notebook with you. The interviewer may provide you with essential details you want to jot down, like their email address, a timeline for the next steps, or additional information they would like you to send. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard and have to ask to borrow a pen and paper, or even worse, try to remember off the top of your head later!

A List Of Questions

You should come to the interview armed with a few great questions you can ask. (These are some of our favorites!) Be sure to come up with a couple questions that are specific to the company, team, or position. We also encourage you to come up with some during the interview that reference conversations you’ve had throughout. Take the opportunity to show off your excellent listening skills while simultaneously learning more about the position!

References

No, you shouldn’t have your references listed on your resume. You should, however, have them ready and available at your interview. That way, if the hiring manager asks for them on the spot, you’ll have all of their information on hand. (And of course, you will have already informed them that they may be receiving a call, right?)

Looking for more interview prep tips? Check out our interviewing blog section, or partner with one of our recruiters to find your next position!

A Foolproof Guide To Requesting References During Your Job Search

A Foolproof Guide to References

A Foolproof Guide To Requesting References During Your Job Search

In this day and age, it’s pretty much impossible to get through a hiring process without providing references. And believe it or not, your references can play a critical part in whether you land the job. Following these 4 steps will ensure that you nail the reference portion of your job search.

1. Pick

When choosing who to provide as a reference think about your professional relationships. (No, you cannot use a family member or personal friend!) Pick someone you’ve worked with that can speak to your professional accomplishments AND your personal character.

The ideal reference is someone who worked with you when you were performing a job very similar to what you are applying for. Recent references are also preferred. Companies want to hear about what you’ve been doing as of late, not 10 years ago!

2. Request

Requesting references is best done over the phone, or even in person. I know, I know, it’s awkward and who talks on the phone anymore? But keep in mind that it’s important to nurture these relationships as time goes on and a quick phone call or coffee date allows you to catch up on recent accomplishments and goals. If a phone call or in-person meeting doesn’t seem appropriate, a well-crafted email will do.

Here’s my preferred template:

Hi [FIRST NAME],

I hope all is well! I saw that you were recently [promoted, given award, etc.], congratulations!

I’m reaching out because I am under consideration for a [job title] position at [company], and I’d love to list your name as a reference if you’re comfortable. I thought you could speak to my [key requirement] skills and discuss the [related project] we worked on together.

Please let me know if you’d be willing to serve as a reference and if so, your preferred contact information.

Thank you in advance for your time, and let me know how I can return the favor!

All the best,

[YOUR NAME]

(Adapted from The Muse)

3. Prepare

Once you’ve nailed down a few references (usually three), you need to adequately prepare them. Consider any important details; Is this a private job search? How far along are you in the process? Make sure they have a copy of your resume and the job description. Don’t be afraid to employ the “help me, help you” tactic. Ask them to speak to specific projects or skills that are relevant to this position. If you know approximately when/how they will be contacted, be sure to let them know so they can expect it!

4. Follow-Up

This is an important step that many people overlook! Your references dedicated their time and attention to providing a recommendation, so keep them in the loop during the hiring process. If you landed the job, they will definitely want to share in your excitement. And even if you don’t end up getting the position, you will probably need another reference down the road, so it’s essential to nurture that relationship.

P.S. A pro-tip: You do not need to provide or indicate that you can provide references before they are requested (i.e. on your resume), but DO make sure you are prepared to provide them upon request!