07 Mar Sourcing sound job references
When you are launching into a job hunt, it can seem overwhelming, time-consuming and realistically, a little demoralizing when you are left to read all the “thanks, but no thanks,” emails from prospective employers in your inbox.
Starting with a good resume and cover letter, however, is one of the best ways to maximize your success on the hunt. And sourcing strong job references is an important part of that process.
Know Where to Start
The first thing to do when you are searching for a job reference is to start by viewing the job description.
From here, draw out specific skills or attributes that this job requires that you need to show you possess.
With these in mind, think back to previous jobs that required these skills, and then think of people who you worked with in those jobs who could potentially act as a reference.
Alternatively, think about who knows you well enough that they could speak to the skills you have and promote your abilities in the required field.
Know Who to Ask
Different jobs require different references.
Because the job that you are applying for comes with an inherent skillset, you need to be able to choose the right reference to show you are qualified to perform these skills.
For example, you probably wouldn’t ask your store manager from when you worked in retail to be a reference for your new job working as a nurse – they cannot speak to your nursing abilities.
But you could ask your manager to be a character reference for you, speaking to your personality and positive attributes, and then find another person, such as a university professor or a training nurse to speak to your job skills.
Depending on what your employer requires, you can (and should) include different types of references, you just have to make sure you are selecting the appropriate person to reference the appropriate skillset.
Know How to Ask
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to references is that you always need to ask permission before you use someone as a reference.
This is for their benefit so that they can prepare for the call, but also for yours: you want the reference to have some time to think about what they are going to say, or, in some cases, decline the request if they feel they cannot offer you a valuable reference.
Know What You Want
When you approach someone to be your reference, you should know what you are hoping they will be able to say about you and what they will be able to offer to your future employer.
Take some time to speak to the reference to explain the job to them, tell them what you feel you have to offer as an employee, and what you are hoping they are able to confirm, should the employer call.
This is especially important when it comes to differentiating between character references and skill references, as you don’t want each reference to say the same thing about you, and in the end have none of them say the right thing that you needed.
You can think of references as resources for you to use in finding and obtaining the best job.
As such, keep track of the references you use, and create a reference file, which you can refer to each time you go through the job application procedure.
Keep their information up to date, and don’t forget to check in with them again each time before you include them on your resume.
With some time and effort, you can find a reference that will help you land your perfect job.