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The Dos and Dont’s of Job References

When you are writing a resume, you want to tick all the necessary boxes. Be it spellings, title, vocabulary, grammar, your qualifications and your ability to do the job right.

After zeroing in on the candidate, most hiring agencies and recruitment staff do their due diligence about background checks, proper qualifications, and social media platform presence and, most importantly, they even ask for references from previous places of work or some mentor or teachers.

There is some debate about whether to include the references in the first go along with your resume or give them once you are required to or asked.

References are important in the sense that they can vouch for your performance and abilities.

how to list job references

A prospective employer might contact your list of references to gather more information about you. So having a prospective list means people who have worked with you and can speak knowledgeably about you. A list of strong references can be a great way to demonstrate your qualifications for a position. 

A list of references should not be included right off the gate with your resume. It should be put on a separate page.

It is prudent to keep one ready. Have at least there references ready with the current email, number and designation at the company ready. If an employer does not specify a number, then giving three references at least is safe.

If you are still in touch with your college teacher, then you could include one from them. Only choose people who you know will give you a positive recommendation. These are typically employers, business acquaintances, professors, or even customers or vendors.

Be sure that when you give out someone’s name as a reference, you have permission to use their name. Inform them beforehand that a particular company or person might contact them for verification and ask questions about your performance. Give some context about the job you have applied for so that an appropriate related response can be given. 

You also might provide the person with an updated resume or list of your skills and qualifications.

Only choose people who you know will give you a positive recommendation. These are typically employers, business acquaintances, professors, or even customers or vendors.

Remember to only give references with the resume if specifically asked for. It was a more common practice to include references earlier. In recent years, it has become more common for companies to not provide references as a matter of practice in order to avoid potential lawsuits. And companies and potential employers are also less likely to expect references in the initial conversations about the candidature. 

Here are some additional tips for your list of references:

  • Keep the names of people who are likely to give you glowing references at the top of the list. As a matter of routine, keep in touch with the said reference so you do not lose touch and he/she remembers you.
  • Choose your references that fit your job profile. Such people will be able to give a better perspective about what you have handled in your previous stint.
  • If you are looking for a job change, it is more prudent to keep a secret file of references that does not include your current boss, colleagues, vendor, or customers.
Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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