References Made Easy

The other day I received a call from a recruiter who wanted to know more about an individual who had been an intern on my team three years ago.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t help, and it’s not that I didn’t want to.

I work with lots of interns, and, unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the specific work this person had done because it was a few year’s ago. What would have been helpful is if the person had reached out to me in advance, told me about the position and provided me with some highlights of her work.

When you are seeking a job, think about the individuals whom you will ask to be your references. It’s a good idea to keep a list of three to seven references and all of their contact details at the ready. That way, you can choose the individuals who can best talk about you in terms of a specific skill set or organizational culture. For example, in my current job, one of my references discussed my crisis communications skills.

Even if you have used a person before as a reference, reach out to the person and ask his permission. Be sure to tell him about the job you are applying for and why it’s important to you. Also let him know which of your skills should be emphasized. You may want to provide him with talking points.

Whether you land the job or not, let your references know the outcome. It’s an appropriate way to continue networking and maintaining the relationship.

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