Reference Etiquette

If you want someone to give you a good reference for a potential job, what is the appropriate reference etiquette?

1) Stay in touch! The worst references I have ever checked have been the ones where the reference only vaguely recalls the prior employee because that person did not keep in touch.
2) Call the potential reference first before giving out their contact information to make sure that you have their permission to give their contact information out. I talk to a lot of references who have not even been notified that they are being listed as a reference. When this happens the person is less likely to give the prior employee a positive review.
3) NEVER list your reference’s contact information directly on your resume. This is the number one mistake I see. Too often, a job seeker will list their reference’s contact information directly on their resume. A lot of recruiters and other companies will use this information to contact your references for purposes other than a reference check. ONLY give a separate list of you references once you have been asked to do so.
4) Follow up with a nice “thank you” letter to your reference. Once someone has provided you with a reference for a potential job, a thank you letter is a great way to let them know that they are appreciated. This is a great way to stay in good graces with your references in case you need to use them in the future.
5) Make sure the contact information that you are providing for your potential references are current. It looks very bad on the potential employee’s part when they are giving out old or incorrect information for their reference contacts.

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