by Tiffany Newton, Head Editor, INALJ Missouri
Keep in Touch with Your References
One of the most important parts of getting a job is your references. Usually prospective employers will wait until after the interview to call your references, but occasionally, they will call before.
I just spoke with one of my references, Keith, and the hiring manager mentioned a few things to him that could hinder my chances of getting the job. The hiring manager thought I was young, and inexperienced, but that they wanted someone who could stay with them long-term. Immediately, my reference called me to tell me the concerns that I could address in the interview and gave me possible solutions to the problems, including networking and professional development. Keith also said the hiring manager and mentioned my other references she had spoken to before him. They were not giving me very good references. In this situation, it’s best to give them a call or visit and to explain why I’m applying for jobs in which I’m fairly inexperienced and to explain my career goals to them so they know what I’m trying to do when they get these calls for jobs in which they think I’m not experienced for.
It’s also good to check with references occasionally to make sure they’re still willing to be a reference, and that they will continue to be a good reference for you. If your career plans change, or you begin applying for different jobs, let them know. Your references are there to help you, but can only do so If you stay in touch with them. Giving each reference an updated copy of your resume can also help them vouch for your skills. This way they know what you saying in your application and can help reaffirm this. Don’t be afraid to take people who you feel might be giving you bad references off your list.
It might also be a good idea to send them a quick email or phone call when you give their name to a hiring manager. This way they can be prepared when the search committee calls them.
Also, when you get a job, send thank you letters to all of your references, expressing your gratitude and sharing the good news with them. It might even be a good idea to include a gift card for their favorite restaurant, free game of golf at their local course, etc.