How to Gather Your Professional References

Considering a job move anytime soon?

You have a lot to do now.  In addition to honing your social media profiles, leveraging alumni connections, networking and updating your résumé, you also have to get your references in order.

Although it may not be the most exciting part of your job search, gathering solid recommendations is critical.  In fact, all other things being equal, a glowing reference may be the deciding factor that tips the scales in your favor.

So get started now.  Use these essential tips for gathering recommendations through LinkedIn and other sources:

Consider your options.  Supervisors/bosses are typically the first place to start when asking for references.  Don’t overlook, however, other potential sources such as co-workers, mentors, clients, volunteer coordinators and teachers or coaches (if you’re a recent graduate).

Cover your bases.  When it comes to recommendations, more is better.  The typical job seeker should have three or four solid references.  If you’re looking for a senior level position, however, you’ll need a few more.  Make sure you have each individual’s permission to include him as a reference and list your strongest one first.

Choose references carefully.  Your references are your personal evangelists.  As such, these individuals should know you very well and be able to speak to your qualifications, personality and professional strengths.  If company policy prohibits a supervisor from doing anything but confirming your dates of employment, you may want to consider alternate sources to get the most “bang for your buck.”

Be specific in your requests.  There is no “recommendation fairy,” so don’t wait for a recommendation to magically arrive in your Inbox.  Proactively, politely and personally ask the person to recommend you for something specific you worked on together.  By being precise in your request, you avoid getting a generic “he’s a hard worker” type of reference that won’t do much to improve your chances.

Say “Thank You.”  A person who provides a strong reference is doing you a personal favor that could ultimately help you find your next job.  At a minimum, send that individual a note to thank him for the professional courtesy.

Searching for your next career opportunity?  PrideStaff will help ensure that you just don’t search, but succeed.  From administrative to health care, information technology to distribution, we provide a wide range of temporary and direct opportunities for job seekers nationwide. 

Contact the PrideStaff office in your area to find out more about great local job opportunities.