Some employers may not ask for references and others will routinely call your past employers with or without your permission. The references we will discuss include those you voluntarily submit to a prospective employer. In selecting these references, use the following criteria:
* Who can discuss your work experience and professional background in detail
* Who will communicate your capabilities in an effective and articulate manner
* Who will attempt to “sell you” to the company
* Who would indicate a willingness to re-hire you if they could
The bulk of your references should be former employers. Once you have identified potential references, contact each and ask for permission to use him/her as a reference in your campaign. When you obtain permission:
* Provide your references with a copy of your resume
* Indicate the types of positions you are pursuing and the industries you are targeting
* Review your reference’s response to the questions listed above
* Let your reference know the name of other references
* Tell your references you will not use them unless an offer has been extended or there is a strong indication that an offer will be extended
* Ask each reference to call you if he/she does receive a call
* Thank each reference
A Bad Reference?
Do you suspect that a former employer will provide a negative reference? If so, don’t pretend that it can’t hurt you. There are ways to defuse the impact of a bad reference.
If you’re not sure what a former employer will say about you, find out. Call him/her and discuss questions he will likely be asked. You may be surprised to find that what you thought would be a negative or neutral reference, could turn out to be positive.