Like everything else connected with your job hunt, coming up with references you can provide to prospective employers takes some preparation and homework.
Choosing your references
Choosing people to use as references can be confusing. Who do you use? Previous employers? People you volunteered with? Past teachers? Should you let them know they might be called?
Any of those people could make good references if they have something relevant and positive to say in regards to the job you’re applying for. And, anyone you choose to put down as a reference should definitely be called before hand. They need to be prepared so they can figure out what they’re going to say before the call comes.
If you feel strange contacting someone you’re considering using as a reference to let the know your potential new employer may call them, perhaps they aren’t the best reference for you to use.
The last thing you want is for the new job to call someone you put down as a reference and for that person to have no clue as to who you are. Or worse, remember who you are and still have nothing to say.
When listing references, it can be very tempting to just put down a bunch of people you worked with briefly and hope the prospective employer doesn’t actually contact them.
Take the opportunity to reconnect
That’s the easy way to avoid the awkwardness of ringing up former employers or professors or whoever else might be on your list and subtly imploring them to say nice things about you. By taking that route you’re also avoiding an opportunity to reconnect, exchange a few pleasantries and leave them remembering what an outstanding person you truly are.
The truth is, if someone is serious about hiring you, they’ll want some reassurance that you aren’t a simply someone who interviews well without the experience or know how, or the potential to do a great job. So they will take the time to call up at lest one of your references.
When they do call your references they won’t be looking for much more than confirmation that you are as splendid a person as they already suspect you are.
But if the person they’re calling is unprepared or caught off guard, they may not even be able to provide that most basic level of approval of you. You might lose an amazing opportunity because you got lazy or shy on the very last piece of your career portfolio.