Managing Your References

Now that you have prepared your reference list, it’s time to learn how to manage your references:

(1) Send a packet of information to each person on your reference list:

  • A copy of your reference list.
  • A copy of each resume version you will be using in your job search.
  • A note with the following request: If any employer contacts you and requests your referral to someone else who knows me and can give a reference, please only refer them to someone else on my reference list.

(2) Optionally, you may also want to include:

  • A list of personality descriptors which showcase your work-related personality.
  • A list of the strongest skills you possess which qualify you for work in your chosen field.
  • One or more success stories the reference may or may not be aware of which s/he could use to describe your accomplishments in detail.

(3) Call or email your references within a week after sending them a packet to see if (a) they received everything you sent; and (b) they have any questions or feedback for you.

(4) Check in with your references periodically throughout your search – about once monthly should do the trick. Keep them posted on how things are going.

(5) When you anticipate that an offer may be on the way, be sure to alert your references that an exciting opportunity is on the horizon, so they can be prepared for a reference call. Staying in touch with your references at this stage will also keep you informed as to when your references are being checked.

(6) When your job search is over and you have accepted a new position, let your references know you have done so and that their “services” are no longer required. Send them a thank you note, and, if your budget allows, perhaps a gift certificate or small token of your appreciation. And, of course, offer to do the same for them whenever the need arises.

Articles on reference checking from an employer’s perspective: