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References are advocates during the job search process

Professional references play a bigger role in the hiring process than most candidates think. References are people who can speak to your qualifications and professional achievements. In a lot of cases, they are the final advocates in helping an employer get over the “offer finish line” during a hiring process.

Whether you are applying for a new job or board position, consider these tips to make the most out of your list.

Supervisory references are always preferred over personal references.

We recommend having manager-level references that can speak to your work product and technical abilities.

You should always ask for permission to list a reference before putting their name down.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is best practice to always call your reference and ask if they would be willing to provide a reference on your behalf. Never assume that someone (your previous manager included) will speak positively about their working experience with you.

Provide your references with information about the role(s) you’re in consideration for and a copy of your resume.

After confirming with your references that they are willing to speak on your behalf, share with them the opportunities you’re exploring. This will give them time to think about specific examples of their work experience with you.

Confirm that you have the correct contact information for your references.

We recommend providing a detailed list of your references’ contact information, including name, title, company, phone number and email. It is also a good idea to include a short sentence of how you know the individual. This is important because it gives the reference checker context on who they’re calling and what position the reference can speak to.

Here’s an example:

Penelope Smith
Accounting Manager
ABC Company
(608) 555 1234
[email protected]
I worked with Penelope at ABC Company, and she was my direct supervisor. I worked with her for a total of five years.

Thank your references!

Take time to send your references a personalized thank you note for their time, whether you get the new job or not.

For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly search and staffing specialists can help, contact our team.

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