Do You Have Your References in Hand?
Whether you are an active job seeker or not it is always good to be prepared.
Obviously if you are on an active job search, you want to be prepared. Some hiring processes are lengthy, but sometimes a job offer can come faster than you anticipated. If you have your references together, you demonstrate your professionalism and preparedness to move.
What if you are perfectly happy where you are and haven’t even thought of looking? You never know when you could get a call from a current or former colleague, a recruiter, or a friend regarding an opportunity that would be a perfect fit for you. What if your dreamiest job pops up in front of you one day out of the blue? You would want to be ready: keeping your resume and references current will position you to respond quickly.
Another reason to keep up on references even when you are not actively looking for a job is that people are never as eager to help as when the relationship is fresh. Strike while the iron is hot. Did you get a promotion or close a deal, write a more wicked app or invent a better widget? Ask your manager or the supply/client partner you have been working with if they would agree to be a reference for you in the future. Heck, ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn at the same time.
Whether you are a new graduate or a seasoned executive, references are usually required. Even if they aren’t required, being able to promptly offer a list of references in an interview shows your preparedness and motivation to work for the company with whom you are interviewing. Most job offers are made contingent on references and a background check. Once you’ve gotten to a job offer, you want to be able to move quickly and lock it down. Have those references ready.
What do you include? You’ll want to include the name and title of your reference, the relationship (Direct Manger at Company X, Supply Chain Partner Manager at Company Y, Happy Purchasing Manager Client at Company Z), and contact information.
When do you use your references? You want to have them at the ready in a phone interview. Most times phone interviews are at the initial stage of the process, and you may not be asked about them. However industries can be a tight nit group, and being able to mention the folks who would recommend you if they come up is ideal. When you go to an onsite interview, make sure you have a printed page of your references ready to leave with the interviewer.
Where do you put your references? References do not go on your resume. If you have folks who are willing to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn, that is great. However as far as including those recommendations or reference names on your resume there are several reasons why you want to simply put “references available upon request”.
You don’t want to put the names or contact information for your references on your resume for several reasons. Professional courtesy is the main reason. Most resumes are electronic today: you wouldn’t want to float people’s names and numbers out on the internet for privacy purposes.
Another reason not to put references on your resume is that you only want to include those references that are relevant to a particular position.
Additionally, it is a matter of respect. You’ll want to give your reference a heads up that you are giving their name out to a company that you are interviewing with. It behooves you to provide your reference with some background: name and company that may potentially call them; role that you are postulating for; the qualities and experience that you think the company should know about you.
Another consideration is that if you are circulating your resume at large, you may provide a lead to someone more senior than yourself. Hiring managers, internal or contingent recruiters, may read with interest that your direct manager has similar skills with more experience and follow up with that person directly, before you get the chance to present yourself.