Employment References Matter!

It is estimated that people will change jobs and/or careers every 3 to 5 years

.  So, if you work 25+ years, your resume could reflect 8 or more company names.  Each time you leave a job, you will also leave behind a memory.  That memory will have a direct reflection on your next career position, especially when it comes to the magic words “May I call your references?”

For more than 2 decades, as an Executive Advisor, I’ve been telling clients to be sure and check with their references before they list them.  Too many times they’ve ignored this advice and their journey down the path to a new job or a new career has hit a major boulder.  The boulder?  The reference they listed.  Why?  He/She may not have worked that closely with you; they may have had serious concerns about your job performance but never voiced them; or they may have told the “truth” as they saw it for a previous employee only to learn that employee is now suing for defamation of character, so what they say to your prospective employer is luke-warm at best.

How do you proactively prevent this from happening?  If you’re reading this before you plan to make a career move, start nurturing your references now.  What do I mean by nurturing?  Be sure the people you want as references will truly be references not grave-diggers for your next career opportunity.  Look at who you work with, who you work for and others either in the department or company with whom you interface on a regular basis.  Write down their names.  Then develop a plan, that you’re comfortable with (okay you may be uncomfortable, but you can live with).  The plan is how often you will interface with each of the people on your list.   For those of you who are introverted, this may be a big challenge.  But it is one that is necessary if you do not want to face a huge gap when looking for a job because you’ve not left behind a solid base of references.  Thanks to email and Facebook, staying in touch can be easy.  But nothing trumps personal contact.  Finding a few minutes to chat with someone about the company, your job and/or the latest score of the NBA teams can go a long way in laying the foundation for a good job reference.

Never forget that the world of work is composed of “people”.   Staying in touch with your references can play a vital role in getting your next career position.  So…..Make the  list NOW!!!

Career Advice, Interviewing, Recruiting

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