Having another professional speak on your behalf as a reference is an important and critical part of a job search and should be managed with utmost care. All too often candidates simply submit a list of references and consider that aspect of the process complete. As a candidate, this laissez faire response to providing references will no longer serve you effectively in your job search process. Instead, you should think carefully about whom you ask to speak on your behalf, what a particular reference will be able to speak to in terms of your skills and experiences as a candidate, and if a potential reference can speak articulately to what makes you a strong candidate for the position. Here is some advice on how to handle the reference stage: •Take “References available upon request” off your resume. At this point, this statement has become a cliché on resumes and takes up space. •Give the person conducting your references as much information as possible. Having a separate reference sheet with the person’s name, company, title, address, email address, work number and cell phone number, can all be helpful in the reference being contacted. •Give your references a heads up. The more leg work you can do at the front, the quicker and painless the reference step will be. Give your references notice they will be contacted and try to find out what time would be best for them to have a 5- 15 minute conversation with a new potential employer. The more coordinating you do up front, the faster the references will be completed. •Thank your references. Your references are taking steps out of their day so be sure to formally thank them for speaking on your behalf. A thoughtful thank you is customary and can keep the door open if you need to use the reference in the future. •Can’t give your references from a current role? If you can’t give your references because the person managing you is not aware of your job search, you want to be upfront about this with the company where you have interviewed. If you have passed references that supervised your work, see if you can highlight those references. Another option would be to get a trusted current colleague who can be discreet and professional about your current search. If you do, be clear that the current colleague does not currently oversee your work. Being in the staffing industry, I have seen references make a difference in the hiring of candidates on many different occasions. The right reference can catapult you into the good graces of a company and secure you a tantalizing offer of employment! Melissa Tupa - Account Manager

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