Many job seekers make the mistake of confirming their referees well after commencing their job search. It is important to resolve the issue of references at the start of your job hunt so that this matter will not cause undue anxiety during the search. Generally, your former employers and associates will not intend to say anything particularly negative, however, you naturally want them to confirm positive achievements in your career and past role.
How to get a reference from your former employer
In order to ensure that a positive reference is given by your former employer, highlighting your strengths, you will need to gain your former employer’s agreement to act as a referee and an understanding of what level of support you can expect. The best way to achieve this is to contact your former employer outlining the types of roles you are seeking and provide a copy of your resume. Allow 1-2 days for them to read through your resume and then agree on a time for you to follow up. The purpose of this call is to determine if your former employer supports the accomplishments you have outlined in your resume. If not, you’ll need to find out where the discrepancy lies. Remember, you may not agree with the feedback. However, seeking information at this point is essential to gain an accurate picture of what is likely to be confirmed about your performance upon reference check.
Other professional and personal references
In addition to employer references, it is advisable to have references from professional colleagues and former managers. Choose these referees carefully and communicate fully with them about your situation, your specific work history the job you are interested in and how it fits it with your career objective. Do not give names of referees without first receiving their permission.
Do not assume that prospective referees know all about you. It is your responsibility to provide them with your updated resume prior to giving their details to your job interviewers.
In most cases, a positive reference can be the difference between getting the role or not. So ensure you make the effort to line up a few contacts that you can bank on and don’t forget to thank them once they’ve given you a reference.