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A Point of Reference

What’s not in your resume

➔ There are so many elements that go into a complete job search. Seemingly, any one of them can either make or break your chances of landing that next position.

Among these elements are the dreaded job references. Here are a few thoughts and observations about the 21st Century job reference.

Everything has a job to do

When you get right down to it, references aren’t really about your skills. Your skills and capabilities should be thoroughly scrutinized in the resume, the interview and even the cover letter. Hiring managers generally turn to references to learn more about you, the person. References should provide insight into your personality and your work habits. They will help an HR manager detrmine if you will be a good fit for the organization and its existing culture.

An excellent source of references can be found on your LinkedIn page under “Recommendations.” Generally, the things said in those recommendations are the same things that someone would say in a reference.

In fact, we heard of one candidate who, when asked for references, went to his LinkedIn profile, did a screen capture of the recommendation section, and forwarded that file to the person who requested it. Clean and simple. An even simpler approach would be to refer the person making the reference request to your LinkedIn page to review the recommendations that are there.

One final note: If you do have to approach someone to secure a reference, it might not be a bad idea to prepare a rough draft of what you would want – or what you think – that person might say. Obviously you have to be prepared to have that person make revisions and changes to your draft, but it takes a lot of pressure off the reference to prepare something from scratch.

Also, if you prepare a draft for someone that ultimately will be a letter of reference, a little humility might be in order. If your draft letter gushes to overflowing with praise, it won’t be taken seriously by the hiring manager – or the person from whom you’re seeking a reference. Be practical. Be realistic.


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