Thursday, August 22, 2013

References are Golden – Handle with Care

Referrals open doors.  References get you invited in!

References are golden.  Treat then like the gold they are! 
In an article entitled Referrals are Golden – Handle with Care I noted that referrals can open doors that might not be opened any other way.  Once opened, references can get you invited in!

References should be handled with care.  Names and phone numbers should not be given out indiscriminately.  Once handed out, this information subjects your reference to being called repeatedly for reference checks, whether the hiring firms are actually serious about hiring you or not. 

The downside of handing out your reference list too casually
As I review resumes and meet with job seekers, I continue to be amazed by the casualness with which job seekers treat their references.
  -  Reference names and contact information are plastered on the bottom of resumes, and handed out whenever, where-ever.
  -  Applications request the names of references before you have even had an actual contact with the hiring firm.  
  - And, companies, faced with mountains of applicants for limited positions, can use calls to references as way of weeding out candidates early in the game.

While your reference has graciously agreed to support you, if contacted too frequently, and bothered once too often, their enthusiasm for you may dwindle.  The downside  --  When you are finally interviewing for your dream job, your reference, now being called upon for the 7th or 8th time, may be a little less enthused about and enthralled by you.  You want to take pains to prevent this from occurring.  You want to be careful to ensure your reference remains highly supportive!

Protect your references
(A)  Delay.  You don't want your references called too early or too frequently.
  1. When asked for a list of references before you or the company have enough information to even gauge if there is a real possibility of your becoming an employee at the firm, DELAY.  
  2. State: "At the appropriate time, a little later in the process when you have both had a chance to learn about each other, and determine if there is a possible fit, you will be happy to supply a list of your references --  your Annotated Reference List."

(B)  Secure multiple references.  You can also protect your references by having a substantial number to choose from.
  1. By identifying about 6 - 10 individuals who agree to support you, you can choose which references to list for various opportunities.  
  2. No one gets called too frequently.

Treat your references like the "gold" they are!  Protect your references from being overused and abused.  When the time comes to supply a reference for a job your are truly excited about, you want to ensure that your reference is still excited about you.  Remember,  a referral may open the door, but a great reference can get you invited in!

For a downloadable template, click on the tab Tools You Can Use.  
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