The Importance of a Good Reference
By Stephen Halford
As a recruiter, one of the most overlooked lines I see in a job seeker's resume is his or her professional references. Typically, applicants assume either we won't call their reference won’t or that the call is just to verify who they are and that they worked at a given location when they say they did.
This isn’t the case.
A reference will rarely keep you from getting through to the next step in the interview process. However, it can solidify your candidacy for a position. In numerous cases, clients have come back saying that they didn't think a certain applicant would be a good candidate because of XYZ reason. This is where a reference comes to the rescue. A solid professional reference can elaborate on a candidate's experience in the given area that was seemingly missing from the resume and in turn, save their candidacy.
With that being said, do not neglect this aspect of your resume. The type and quality of your references are important. Most of us have myriad people that can vouch for us as “hard workers”, but it’s the ones you cite that are relevant to the position you are applying for that could make all the difference. For example, if you applied for a job as an electrical engineer, it’s best not to put your manager from the Piggly Wiggly as one of your references.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to keep in contact with your references and let them know about positions you may be applying for if you are an active job seeker. This keeps them informed about what you’re doing and prepares them for the type of conversation they might have with a recruiter or hiring manager.
Put thought into this portion of your resume, it could benefit you in the long run!