Are you at the beginning of a new job search? In many cases, employers require at least one or two professional references from candidates. If you’re new to this process, there are some standard protocols to keep in mind when gathering references to use on your applications. As your job search gets underway, here are some critical tips for how you can successfully start gathering top-notch references:
Make a list of past managers and supervisors.
As you determine what type of person is best suited to be a reference, it’s best first to make a list of former managers and supervisors whom you’ve worked under in past jobs. From there, you can evaluate which of these individuals have had the most involvement in your professional growth and who would be the best fit to speak to your credentials and work ethic. Typically, it’s advisable to choose someone who had direct contact with you on a regular basis and witnessed your performance and accomplishments, as they’ll be able to provide a strong reference for your work ethic, qualifications and other positive attributes.
Inquire with potential references in a professional manner.
When it comes to obtaining a professional reference, it’s best never to assume somebody will immediately agree to be a reference. Being polite and assertive in how you inquire with a potential referral source requires a written note explaining your situation and how a professional reference from them would help you in meeting your career goals. Recapping why you value your relationship with the person and the impact of your experiences working with them will help to emphasize why you’re reaching out and the value they’ve added to your career.
Provide requested background materials.
Depending on how far along you are in your job search, it may be appropriate to provide references with a description of the job (or jobs) to which you’re applying, or some general background that will help them prepare to give you the best recommendation. You may also offer to provide a current resume they may use as a reference when discussing your qualifications. Because every person takes a different approach with this, it’s best to accommodate what information each reference needs on a case by case basis.
If you’ve performed well in previous jobs, gathering multiple high-quality references will likely be a breeze. By maintaining professionalism in your outreach, you’ll be able to secure several top references that will help you in your quest for a new position.
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