Checking Your References

You’ve put together your resume and reference list and are ready to go on the job hunt. Now what?

Checking Your References

I recommend checking your references. These folks you have listed on your resume are assisting you in reaching your goal of landing your dream job. Not checking your own references is like not using spell check on your resume. How does one go about checking their references anyway? I recommend having a friend contact your references. Tell the reference, they are Susie Q with XYZ company and are checking references for John Smith (you). Have them ask a handful of questions including:

1. What’s your relationship with John? How long have you known him?
2. What are John’s strengths and weaknesses?
3. Would you recommend John for the Marketing Director position?
4. Tell me about a project that you worked on with John.

Now once you have completed the reference checking. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Would you hire yourself based on the information your references gave?

Let’s take this one step further. I recommend contacting your references prior to applying for a position. Make them aware of the position, what skills and qualifications you would like them to highlight, and any additional information to add or avoid. Because your marketing plan and resume are specifically tailored to each separate position and company you are interested in, so should your personal and professional references.

More importantly, make sure your references even know they are references for you. Ask them. I have received many calls where I have been listed as a professional reference for someone, wasn’t aware I was a reference, and didn’t recommend them for the position. Why? Because my reputation was on the line.

Next time. . . Interview questions companies CAN’T ask

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.


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