Importance of Strong References


When you are looking for a new job, it is very likely that human resources will check into your references and find out as much as they can about your job history. These references should check back to reputable people that enjoyed your work ethic and can verify your stellar work history. In today’s world the word gets out quickly about the good jobs. Having excellent past references could mean the difference between getting the job and having to continue your job hunt.

Whenever you take a new job, you need to get on the good side of management and keep it that way. Past references can make or break your job application. Do not get a reputation of someone who is unreliable, non-punctual, or consistently calls out sick, because it will hurt you in the long run. Simply using relatives or non-business related references won’t do the trick, either. When you fill out a job application, it is expected that your reference list will contain past managers or influential members of the company you were previously working for. If you don’t have these references, it will surely be a red flag for the human resources department or hiring manager responsible for your application.

It also helps to stay in contact with your past references and provide a quick update on your situation. We’re not saying you should become best friends, but at least establish and keep a long-term connection. That way, when they are contacted, they will be well-informed as to what is going on. Plus, if the reference is a shaky one, you can reaffirm your business connection and test the waters. Maybe you thought your old connections were solid, but your time away from the job has changed this notion. Always be on top of the process, because it can mean the difference between getting the job and remaining unemployed / without the job you want.

If you suspect that an old reference might have unfavorable information to say about you, never use it. Any bad information that human resources might receive can destroy your job application. When you are going through this process, it is very likely that you will be competing with others who are just as qualified for the position as you are. Having strong references can be a powerful job hunting tool.

If you legitimately cannot find proper references to use in your job application, then you could always use a friend or colleague. Just make sure that whoever you use is reputable, and try to find someone who you have worked with in the past. The point of references is to get more information about what kind of employee you are and gather insight regarding your past work experience. This means that whenever you have a job, you need to be proactive about keeping good relationships. If you decide you want to leave a position, always give a proper two week notice, and request an exit interview with management. When you are leaving, ask your favorite manager(s) if you can use them as a reference. Being proactive about these things early can make your next job application a lot simpler and more effective.

References can make or break a job application, so you should always try to gather as many as possible through your work connections. Be professional and polite, but always ask managers if you can use them as a reference later in your career. It helps to have as many positive references as possible. If you don’t have quality references during your job application process, it is very likely that you will have difficultly landing the job. Employers want to know about your past work experience, and the best way to find out is to ask your former managers. Make sure you establish good connections early and you should have no problem finding a great new job later in your career.

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Matthew Welch

Matthew Welch is an SEO strategist, content marketer, blog manager, and sports enthusiast from Boston, MA with a collegiate background in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Connecticut.

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