Tips That Ensure You and Your Professional References are on the Same Page

The professional references you include on your resume should be people who can give you a positive referral. You may think your former bosses, supervisors or managers are on the same page with you, but what happens if they don't have your best interests in mind? Use several tips to make sure you and your professional references are on the same page.

Ask For Their Permission


Before including anyone one your reference list, ask for permission. The people you think will give you a referral may not want that responsibility.

Make Sure They're Available


Always verify availability with your references before you list them on your resume. You don't want to list a referral who has switched jobs or is too busy to talk to hiring managers. Be sure to get accurate contact information before you include a reference on your resume, too.

Remind Potential References of Who You Are


Your former boss may have helped to shape your career, but you could be one of thousands of employees he or she managed. Reintroduce yourself to ensure you receive an accurate referral. You can schedule a quick meeting, chat via Skype or forward supporting documents, including your resume, current job description, work history, strengths and future goals, via email as you make sure your reference knows you now.

Share the Key Facts of the Job

Let's say you worked in sales but are now applying to be a manager. Your reference may answer questions based on your sales ability and totally skim over your managerial skills. Tell your potential references about the job for which you are applying, share a copy of the job description and outline the reasons why you're right for the position so that they understand how to answer questions from potential employers.  

Find Out Where You Can Improve

Many hiring managers want to know the flaws of potential employees. Discuss the areas in which you need improvement with your references in advance. You don't want a reference to hurt your chances of landing a job because they share a long list of shortcomings.

Reply in a Timely Manner


It's unrealistic to expect a reference to reply immediately after receiving a phone call, email or online survey from a hiring manager, but that person does need to reply in a timely manner. If he or she delays too long, you could lose your chances of getting the job. When you talk to your reference, tactfully remind him or her that you appreciate their prompt response.
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