Tips on Managing Your Professional References

Career Advice, Employee Insights, Job Seekers

Tips on Managing Your Professional References

You stay on top of updating your resume. You look for positions that fit your skills. You speak with recruiters that can assist you. You make sure to network with other professionals in your field. You interview well because you’re great at what you do. But have you been managing your professional references?

No matter what kind of technology roles you’re applying for, it can be easy to take your list of references for granted or forget to keep them up to date. This can make or break getting that role you want, so don’t forget to keep your list of references current! Here are some things to remember when managing your professional references:

Be Ready with References

It’s usually a good idea to keep three to five references ready to go at all times. Many people don’t think of their references unless they’re about to start a new job search, but it’s advisable to be ready even before that. When the economy is less certain and layoffs are more commonplace, keeping your references fresh and ready to go will make it easy for you to get a jump on applying to jobs if the need arises. This can happen if you stumble across your dream job too – what if you come across a great opportunity and want to apply right away? Now you’ll be one step closer to being able to do so.

Stay in Touch

Having a list of references is only part of being ready. It’s important to have each person’s current company, title, email, and phone number, as well as details about when and where you worked together. Besides keeping tabs on them, it’s important to reach out periodically to maintain the relationship. If you’ve been keeping in touch over the years, then it will be much easier to touch base with your references as you’re starting a new job search. It’s especially important to cultivate relationships with people who will be relevant to the roles you are searching for so they can give qualified references that show you’re a great fit for the role.

Ask Permission

If you are about to submit a list of references, it’s important to reach out to check in with each of your references beforehand. This should be easy if you have been keeping in touch with past managers and character references and it is courteous to let them know someone will be reaching out. The last thing you want is for the company you applied with to call a reference and catch them off guard!

Ask if it’s still okay to use them as a reference and if they say yes, then share your current resume and inform them about the job and how you think you would be a good fit. This will give them some talking points and an idea of the direction to take the conversation when they get the call. Remember, recent managers are best because if it has been a few years, the hiring company will want to know what they really remember about you.

Show Gratitude

Always thank your references for their time and assistance – they are doing you a huge favor and can be a key piece of the puzzle that helps you land a job. If you get the job, then definitely let them know about your success and show gratitude for their help. Good references can be hard to find, so it’s important to continue building on that relationship as time goes on. Besides, if they care enough to help you out, they will be rooting for you and will want to know how things worked out!

Why References Are Essential

References are not something that you want to take lightly because hiring managers tend to put a great deal of trust in the information references provide. A strong and detailed reference gives employers a different perspective on you that they may not get through your resume and interviews. Great references are a stamp of approval that make you a much more desirable candidate.

If you, as a candidate, let the recruiter or HR check references early, then that information is usually included with your information that is sent to the hiring manager. Recruiters are sure to discuss exceptional references with the manager and drive home the point that you are a great candidate, so make sure your references are on point.

Looking for Your Next IT Job?

If you’ve got your references and resume ready, then be sure to check out our current opportunities and apply today! We offer a wide range of IT roles nationwide, including contract, contact-to-perm, and direct hire IT roles.

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