In this tough job market, everyone knows you have to have an impressive resume and a hard-hitting cover letter in order to land that coveted interview. Few job candidates, however, realize the power of an impressive job reference list. A job reference list can help to set you apart from the competition and land you the job.
Who to Include
Start thinking about who in your career and personal life would make a good job reference for your job reference list. Try to tailor the person who will be recommending you to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for an Accountant position, is there someone who can speak on your behalf when it comes to money management? You should have three or four business or career references in your job reference list. If you don't have a lot of experience (such as a recent graduate), consider listing someone who is familiar with your work ethic, such as a favorite college professor. Include one or two personal references on your job reference list as well; these people should be able to speak about your personality and character.After you've decided who to rely upon for a recommendation, contact them directly to let them know you will be listing them as part of your job reference list. You don't want them to be caught off guard if a potential employer calls to do an employee check, so let them know your intentions and also give them a brief description of the job. Let them know the key responsibilities of this new job so your reference can help steer the conversation with a potential employer in a way that lets the employer know you will be ideal for the job. Don't be afraid to ask those you put on your job reference list for their thoughts on your performance and personality. Ideally, you'd have a good idea of what someone on your job reference list might say about you if contacted by a potential employer, but it's always better to be sure the conversation will be positive.
Composing the Job Reference List
On the same stock of paper you used for your resume and cover letter, compose your job reference list starting with the business references first. Here is a list of important information to include on your job reference list, and the order in which to list them:
Be sure to also include the same header (the part that includes your name and contact information) that you used at the top of your resume and cover letter at the top of your job reference list.
Bring this job reference list with you when you go on an interview. It's not necessary to include your job reference list when you send out your initial cover letter and resume, unless it's specifically asked for. At the end of the interview, give your interviewer the job reference list and encourage them to contact those on it. Many job candidates don't take this extra step, but it may just get you hired.