References play a very pivotal role in the job-hunt process, though it’s one that is often transparent to the person applying for the job. Hiring managers use your references to verify the contents of your resume as well as to check other things such as your character, temperament and overall suitability to do a job. For this reason, it’s important to choose your references carefully.
These references should be professional; people that you’ve worked with/for or employees of academic institutions who can verify your educational background. Get as diverse a group of people as possible so that prospective employers can get a fuller impression of you. When choosing a reference make sure you choose people who can confirm the following things about you:
- Your employment and the duties you
- Your ability to work in a team or individually
- Your suitability for the position you are on the hunt for
- Your ability to follow instructions and your discipline
You should get people who you’re comfortable having as your references; people who want to see you succeed, who speak good things about you, who can articulate your strong points and who can think quickly if asked a hard question. Other things that you should do are:
Get their permission
Before you include anyone on your list of references make sure you get their permission. Don’t include anyone if they’re not comfortable with the arrangement. You should also ask them what they would say about you if they were to be contacted by an organization interested in recruiting you. Their willingness or hesitancy can give you hints as to whether they’d make a good reference or not.
Get their contact details
You need to get the complete contact details of your references including cell phone number, personal email address and mailing address. In case your reference leaves an organization that they worked for, they can still be reached by a prospective employer via their personal details. Make sure to check periodically with your references whether their contact details have changed and update them accordingly.
Make sure you don’t wait too long though; a day or two at most is fine. You should make reference to specific points that were raised during the interview when you want to reemphasize your skills in a certain area. For instance, if it was mentioned that the job requires someone with strong writing skills you can use the opportunity to remind them of your professional qualifications related to writing, and you can provide some links to your past work.
No one wants to read an essay that rambles on and on. Never forget to use a spell checker and proofread your note. Sending a note full of mistakes will most likely backfire and hurt your chances instead. So the next time you attend an interview don’t forget to send a thank you note, it may land you the job you’ve wanted so badly.