References are the people you know that give the job recruiter validation that you are the right person to choose for the job. I’ve covered the benefits of references, and 10 tips for utilizing your references before so now I’m going to talk about how to get a reference, maintain those references, and give an overview of the Recommendation Sheet.
First thing you are going to want to do is choose the right people. Best references to use are your past supervisors whether they are from your job or other types organizations such as places you’ve volunteered. Next, ask their permission, and what they will be saying about you. Remember, it is perfectly fine to have a conversation about what they will be saying. You don’t want them to talk about irrelevant experience; only your skills and experiences that are specific to the new job.
Employers usually want three professional references and three personal references. Either case, try to get someone with that knows you well, leads a team, and will speak enthusiastically about you. Make sure that you have the correct information about your references so the human resources manager can get a hold of them. Also, give your references a general time table when they can expect a phone call or email they keep an eye out for it, and it doesn’t get buried in their voicemail or inbox. In summary, the only way to get a reference is to ask, and the best way to get a great recommendation is to collaborate with your reference.
When designing the job references sheet, keep it consistent with the same format as your Cover Letter and Resume. Maintain the same letterhead, fonts used, and any other visual designs you used to create your Resume and Cover Letter. You do not have to put on your Resume “References Are Available Upon Request.” This is outdated. Save room on your Resume by omitting this statement for more selling points about you.
Keep in contact with your references. Contact them at least once a year to see how they doing. This person is putting their reputation on the line for you so give them the courtesy they deserve. It’s better to keep a good relationship going just in case you are rushed during a job hunting process. Holidays are a great time to keep in touch.