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Are Your Referees Winning the Match for You?

Posted: 19/07/2012 5:00:00 AM by Mining Oil and Gas Jobs
Filed under: Career-resources


In the job stakes your referees – or references – are one of the most critical players on your team. Too many jobseekers consider referees an afterthought. Paying attention to this important detail could make all the difference in helping you find your dream job.

An ‘oldie but goodie’ article in the Wall Street Journal titled, Bulletproofing Your References in the Hunt for a New Job, advises jobseekers to “carefully cultivate” the people you’re depending on to endorse you to prospective employers. Not only do you want high-quality people who will impress a hiring manager, you want to make sure you have coached your referee to position you in the best possible light.

Top tips on references

Do not use your mother as a referee. This goes for any family member including spouses and partners. Everyone expects they will only say good things about you and won’t be in the least bit objective.

Ensure your referee has personal knowledge of your work
. Including an influential name on your list of referees is a great idea, unless that person doesn’t know who you are. You’re far better off using a former manager as a referee than a divisional head who hasn’t the foggiest idea who you are or what to say about you.

Ask your referee for permission to use them as a reference. You should never put someone’s name on your resume or a job application without getting permission to do so beforehand. Your referee should never get an unexpected phone call.

Coach your referee.  You should plan to have a meeting with your referee to discuss your plans and the goal for your activities before you start applying for jobs. When a prospective hiring manager makes contact, they should know exactly what you want them to say. They should also be prepared to answer difficult questions like, “What is the worst thing you can say about this person?”

Include references with every job application. There’s no need to add ‘references available upon request’ on your resume. Make sure you have a separate document listing your referees and their contact details and include it with every resume you send out and every job application you submit. Don’t leave anything to chance.

Final thought on references and referees

A good referee has the ability to seal the deal on a job, especially when other candidates have similar backgrounds and experiences as you. Conversely, a poor referee or one that hasn’t been coached properly can leave a bad impression with the person making hiring decisions. Don’t underestimate the importance of this step in your job search. Line up your references before you start applying for a job and you’ll have a much better chance for success.

Visit the Career Resources section of the Careers and Industry Guide for more great information and career advice.

Have you ever had a referee clinch a job for you?

For more information on careers:

  • Make sure to subscribe to our blog. We’re publishing new information every day about employment in the Australian resource industry.
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