Everything You Wanted to Know About References

August 31, 2017

Career Advice

References can be a nerve-wracking task that you have to deal with during an already-stressful job search. Who will you ask? How will you ask them? What will they say about you? Here are a few tips that can help.

  1. Keep it professional.
    You may have plenty of personal references who will say great things about you, but professional references are always best. That can include former bosses and coworkers, mentors, and any connections you’ve made while volunteering or during an internship.
  2. Keep it in the past.
    If you’re applying for a new job while you have a job, references can be tricky. You should avoid asking anyone at your current company to speak on your behalf. Think about your previous working relationships and who can best speak to your abilities.
  3. Ask a former coworker.
    References don’t have to be a boss or manager. A past coworker can speak to how great you worked on a team, and that’s an insanely important quality to hiring managers. Be sure to ask someone with whom you worked well. Bonus points if you worked on a lot of successful projects together.
  4. Fill them in on the details of the position.
    The more your reference knows about the job you’re applying for, the better they can speak to your specific skills that are relevant to the job. Send them your current resume so they can brush up on your background.
  5. Give them a call.
    A reference should be someone you feel comfortable giving a call to instead of an email. You’re asking them to dedicate a chunk of their time talking you up–the least you can do is pick up the phone. Plus, you may need to use them as a reference again in the future. Keep the relationship going!
  6. Follow up.
    Don’t forget to send a thank you note for their time–even if they never get called! Also, give them an update if you get hired.

Image via Ant & Carrie Coleman/Flickr.

About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

View all posts by Spectrum Brands Careers


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