The days of written references are gone and referees need to be carefully considered and chosen. They also need to be individuals who are easily contactable by modern means.
In choosing suitable individuals to list as your referees, answers to the following two questions are essential.
- What makes a good referee
- And secondly, how can you make your referee’s job easier and more effective?
Before answering these questions important ground rules and details relating to referees need to be thought about.
- Never list a person on your resume as a referee unless you have sought their agreement to the role.
- Make sure you have a minimum of two referees with a number of additional people if possible to draw from.
- You will need the name, current role and employer, (previous role and employer as well if that is where they supervised you), their email address and the contact telephone numbers of their choice. Make sure all details are kept up to date and correct if they have been on your resume for a while.
Now to the first question, what makes a good referee?
- They need to be someone who has supervised you, preferably in your current role, but if you don’t want your existing employer to know you are looking for another job, your immediate supervisor in your previous role.
- Use different referees for different job applications so that the best individual will speak to the specifics of the job you are applying for.
- If you are a school leaver approach your careers teacher or a supervisor where you undertook work experience.
- If you have been self employed and consequently don’t have supervisors who can assume the role of referee, look to your business associates who can speak to your work or characteristics, for example your business accountant, bank manager, a supplier or a satisfied repeat customer.
- The best referee will answer a resounding ‘Yes!’ without hesitation when asked the 64 million dollar question, ‘would you re-employ (insert your name here)?’ If you have any doubts they would answer with a resounding yes, use a different referee.
Secondly, how can you make your referee’s job easier and more effective?
- Speak to your referees about what you are doing, provide them with copies of the advertisements and position descriptions of the jobs you are applying for.
- Have a conversation with your referee and remind them how what you do or previously did, are connected to the job you are applying for.
And finally, in answer to the question of whether or not you should list your referees on your resume; there is no definitive answer. Personally, I come down on the side of making the recruiter’s job easier and so I list referees on resumes unless otherwise indicated.
Over to you now, what do you think your referees will say about you, have you considered and addressed all aspects relevant to the role of a referee? Are you making the most of this element of your job application?