How to choose the best references for your CV
The hiring manager uses the CV to search for the very best candidates, and although a CV presents a huge amount of information to allow the employer to make a decision, it isn’t the only way.
What a CV doesn’t show is how that candidate is to work with, and how they have actually performed in previous roles. A CV is of course very one sided and from the employer’s perspective might not completely tell the whole story.
The hiring manager will often seek more information from the references you provide, and whoever you choose could make or break any chance you may have of an interview.
Here’s 5 great tips on how to choose the best references…
Choose your references wisely
First of all ask yourself this – ‘What type of reference am I looking for?’
Look closely at the job description and consider what the employer would want to hear from a reference. For example, would they be focusing on your work ethic, communication skills, qualifications, etc.
Choose a reference that has worked closely alongside you rather than someone one you barely interacted with. This type of reference will end up sounding extremely generic and the employer will see right through it. A dispassionate reference is very telling, however a passionate one provides a more honest approach and shows that your previous boss clearly cares about you and your career.
It’s also worth noting that the reference doesn’t have to be your superior, and a co-worker at a management level is also acceptable. If you do take this approach however, ensure that the references are always at a management level otherwise the reference isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Even if this isn’t the case, the hirer will most likely assume that you’ve just chosen a friend to act on your behalf and the reference will not hold any weight.
Ask for their permission
Don’t ever assume that your reference would be happy to speak about you without asking their permission first. It doesn’t matter how close you think your relationship, you must always speak with them first out of respect to make sure they are completely comfortable.
This is of course in your benefit to do so too, as you don’t want to provide a reference to someone who is clearly uncomfortable as this will show in their appraisal of you.
Check details of your references
Make sure you collect all the relevant information for your references. For example, full name, current job title, contact number, e-mail and place of work. This may sound simple and obvious, however it can be easy to miss this important information when you are focusing so much on the content and quality of your CV.
Provide relevant information to your references
This isn’t always necessary, however it can sometimes be extremely effective to provide your references with relevant information on your background, skills and qualifications. Don’t assume that they have all of this information already, and even if they were aware of this from the start of your employment, they may have forgotten most of it.
No matter how closely you worked with your reference, they are of course very busy people who constantly interact with colleagues on a daily basis, so it makes sense to provide them with relevant details on your skills and qualifications. You don’t want to be in the situation whereby the hiring manager asks your reference a question that they can’t answer, as this could create a situation of doubt.
Keep your reference up to date
Although you will have informed them that you would like to use them as a reference, it’s important to contact them again during your search to let them know who may contact them. You don’t want your reference to be caught off guard, and preparation is the key to success.
A well informed and well prepared reference is an effective one!