A reference is a crucial tool that helps persuade employers that you are the candidate they need by illustrating your performance in past positions. So how can you get persuasive references?

Choose between three and five professional colleagues (managers, fellow employees, vendors, customers or other stakeholders) who appreciate your work and can speak to it in detail. Give preference to the potential references who can speak on achievements relevant to your current job search.

Once you’ve made your choices, contact your proposed references. Ask their permission and describe the points in the job ad(s) you would like them to address. (If necessary, remind them of particular accomplishments you’d like them to mention by reviewing the challenge you faced, the action you took to meet the challenge, the results of your action, and the ultimate benefit (CARB) to the employer.

In addition to specific accomplishments, you can ask your reference to speak to key character traits (work ethic, dependability, integrity, honesty etc.). Obtain their current email and phone number.

Sometimes the person you call will ask you to write the reference yourself and pass it to them for review. When that happens, mention one or two key accomplishments in the CARB format and a character trait you know your contact appreciated. Then, send what you have written to them for review. Once they approve, you can move on to the next step.

Don’t add your references to your resume. Don’t even write “References available on request:”  today’s managers assume this.

Instead, create a Reference List consisting of the following items.

Reference Name:

Position Title, Company

(at the time they dealt with you. Add “Former” if they are no longer in the role)

Email (Current):

Phone Number (Current):

Don’t add the CARB details here. Instead, let your references tell their stories when hiring managers call them.

Prepare paper copies of the list to bring to interviews. You should only submit your reference list with your resume and cover letter when an employer asks you to do so. So instead, prepare paper copies of the list to bring to interviews. If they ask for your references, you’ll know that your interviewers are seriously considering you for the role.

Note: Never post your Reference List online (identity theft issues).

To your success!

Tim Cunningham
ffresume.com – Vancouver Resume Writer