How Good Job References Will Land You the Gig

We write down our job references on every job application we submit. We rarely give them a second thought. We trust that the references we provide will say enough good things about us to land the jobs we seek. In most cases, we use family and friends as our references, but is that the best strategy? Aren’t our family and friends biased? Will potential employers give their references the validity they would otherwise give to a reference of a person who has first-hand knowledge about our quality of work? Let’s rethink our references and put our best foot forward. Here are three reasons why you should pay closer attention to the references you list.


Employers Want to Know What Type of Worker You Are

Sure, mom and sister give vouch for you and make you sound like the next potential President of the United States, but will their opinions of your character carry the weight needed to land that District Manager position? Maybe not. Instead, try listing a professional reference who you have had a positive working experience with in the past. Reach out to them and let them know that your professional experiences with them were vital to your ongoing success and that you would like their permission to use them as a job reference as you continue reaching higher levels of your career. Let them know that you value their opinion of your quality of work and hope that the feeling is mutual enough to provide you with the type of reference that’ll make you sound like a rock star!


Be Ready with at Least 5 References

This means that you’ll have to have contacted each of your potential references, gotten permission to use them as such, and obtained their contact information including phone numbers, email addresses, company affiliation, and home addresses. Save this information on your phone for easy look- up and be ready to list them on every application you submit.


Follow Up with Your References


You have their contact information, so a follow-up conversation with them shouldn’t be difficult. Check in on them and ask if they’ve been contacted by any potential employer you have applied with. They serve as the preverbal “fly on the wall” and will be willing to update you on the progress of your job application submissions. When you’re looking for a job, it’s great to know that you’re truly being considered by the company’s you have applied to. And, as always if you don’t land a particular job, simply rinse & repeat. You’ll land the gig you want in no time!


-Omar Tarango is a Freelance Blogger and Social Media Manager-