As you prepare to submit your resume for your next potential employer, you should already have a list of job references in hand and ready to turn over to the recruiter, hiring manager or HR. References vouch for your skills, qualifications and the work history you listed on your resume, so these people form a vital link to landing your dream job.
Who Do You Pick for Job References?
The best possible choices for job references include former managers, previous supervisors and people in positions of authority who will speak about you in a positive manner. These people should know enough details about your work ethic, soft skills and hard skills to relate these traits to another person over the phone or through an email. References talk up your skills and verify that you did indeed lead a team of 10 salespeople while adding 10 percent more revenue to the company every quarter for seven straight quarters.
How Many Job References Do You Need?
Employers usually require three job references. If you're very early in your career and this is your first job, employers might seek one or two people who know your job skills the best. Three is not a hard-and-fast number, and you can always include more references, including community leaders and volunteer supervisors with whom you worked on past projects.
What Kinds of Questions Do Employers Ask?
Employers ask former managers about the quality of your work, strengths and weaknesses, and whether the employer would hire you again. Other questions may talk about how you handled feedback, if you got along with co-workers and problem-solving skills.
Does an Employer Need Permission to Contact References?
Employers may contact whoever they want when it comes to vetting your previous employment. If you list someone as a reference, make sure he plans to talk positively about your skills and your time with the company. Contacting your current employer may not happen without your permission because that puts you in an awkward position if you fail to land the job and your supervisor wonders why you're looking for another job.
What if a Former Boss Gives a Bad Reference?
If you feel like a former boss might give you a poor reference, consider calling this person on the phone and talking about what the supervisor might say to reference checkers. Your old boss could be willing to compromise and just agree to say that you worked in that position for a certain amount of time. In a worst-case scenario, a manager might lie about your qualifications and skills, and if you think that might happen, list a trusted person in human resources as the reference. Reach out to your potential employer and explain which supervisors might not say the best things about you. Offer an explanation as to why some people may show some negativity toward your previous work.
Vetting job references is a very important way for potential employers to gauge your job skills and qualifications by contacting previous employers. Prepare a list of the people who know you best when it comes to your skills, and include all relevant contact information with each reference.
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