Selecting a Winning Reference

So, you have delivered a solid interview and your walking out thinking you could be hearing some good news within the next few days. But then panic sets in… what about my references, will they make or break your chances of getting the job. Prior to your interview or even job application there is a few things you can do to secure your chances of getting the job, with the help of your references.

Asking a Manager or Past Boss

This is a tricky one, first and foremost, make sure you aren’t still in your current job. The last thing you want is a perspective employer ringing your current one! However, if you left your previous job and maintained a good relationship with your ex-employer then call on them for your winning reference.

A Colleague or Client

In some instances, it is not always ideal to have the manager within your previous company as your reference. So, look for someone else within that company, perhaps it’s a colleague you worked closely with, that can discuss examples of how you worked well within that role.

Or, as part of your role, you may have worked closely with external clients, helping them reach their own business potential. If you worked with a client and the results were positive, this is someone who can showcase just how valuable you were within your job, so use them as a reference.

Leave your Friends Out of it

Sure, your best friend of 10 years’ can sing your praises better than anyone else. However, unless they were your manager in a previous role, it’s best to leave them off the reference list. Or worst still, don’t think you’ll get away with adding a friend to imitate a previous employer. Most people will see through this and subsequently reject you for the job.

Get Permission and a Draft

Once you have determined who your references are, it’s imperative you get their permission. Ask the person if they are comfortable giving you a positive recommendation to a future employer. Positive is the most important word here, as there is no point having someone on your list who won’t assist you in your job search.

As well as their permission, you should also know what your reference plans to say about you. An average reference can sometimes be just as negative as a bad reference itself. When someone says very little, this can be a sign of just giving a reference for the sake of it. Instead, ask for a small draft reference prior to adding them to your CV. This way, you know who you should put down and who you should save as a back up reference.

Be Different

The generic reference tends to come from a former college lecturer or an ex-boss or manager. However, if you really wanted to stand out from the crowd why not go for an internal person within the company you are applying for. Maybe you have a connection who has worked in the company for a few years or know the manager through previous work. If so, use this to your advantage and get help from the inside.

The Importance of a Reference

A reference is there so your potential employer can access a third parties’ opinion on your working ability. When it comes to a job interview, no one can sing your praises more than yourself, so this is why a reference is needed. Having a winning reference from a suitable person will only solidify the things you have on your CV and said throughout your interview.

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