I took a phone call recently from a recruiter doing an applicant reference check. I was listed as a referee on the applicant’s resume. The only trouble is I’ve not worked with the person for about ten years, and nor have I spoken to them in that time. Nothing I could say would advance the applicant going forward as I couldn’t speak to a decade of their employment, or even say they’d been working. It brings me back to what I have spoken about before in relation to referees. I can’t emphasise it enough, where possible, they need to be your most recent supervisors, and you need to maintain regular contact checking your referee details remain unchanged, and keeping them up to date with what you are doing. There are a few, but a very few exceptions.
As my clients know, I hold resumes I’ve prepared on file so that in the event of loss of USB sticks or if a client needs a resume to be forwarded when working FIFO, I’m able to assist with that need. As I now have so many files, from today, clients who have not accessed any service for five years or more will be deleted from the system.
It’s nearly four years since I wrote a post on Tips for School Leavers Looking for Work which can be found here. If you are preparing your resume and wondering how to give it a point of difference, try re-visiting your Work Experience Reports. If you did well in your placements and received good feedback, those comments can be quoted at the top of your resume. How does that help with your job search? While potential employers are looking for aptitude they are also looking for the right attitude. Work Experience Reports can be a good source of detail about your character and personality. They may describe how well you commit to tasks, interact with others and fit in to a team. Don’t forget sporting or school awards either, but only from your time at secondary college and focus on the most recent ones.
21st century resumes can be read in multiple versions of software, via e-recruitment tools, or on a range of devices. It’s important to understand then, that the use of headers in your resume, as with other formatting, needs to be managed carefully.
When I opened a resume recently there were no personal details showing, even though they showed quite clearly on the printed copy. The personal details were contained in a header on the first page and it didn’t show up when I opened the document.The question immediately arose as to how many times this had happened when opened by various tools or differing versions of software.Having not used any other headers or footers the document was lacking name and contact details, so in an environment where resumes often don’t get printed out, this document would be rendered useless on various occasions.If you want to use headers and footers on your resume, that’s fine, I would just suggest that you don’t use a header on the front page, unless you are prepared to take a risk.
Normally recruiters and potential employers like to see your most recent supervisors named as your referees as they are the person in authority with first-hand knowledge of your work. What happens then when you are not in the position to offer supervisors as referees, as in the case of people who have been self-employed and who are now seeking to return to work for someone else? It means widening the net. If you have been working in a self-employed role, think about professionals you may have dealt with often over the course of your self-employment, such as your accountant, a supplier, or a regular consistent purchaser of your goods or services. Another potential source is where you may have served long-term in a voluntary role with organisations such as the CFA or a local business group. Sourcing appropriate referees in these circumstances is not an insurmountable issue it just takes a little extra time and thought. And remember don’t just name an individual as your referee without first seeking their agreement to act in the role.To do otherwise may turn out to be an act of self-sabotage.
Have you never owned a mobile phone or acquired an email address? Are you a person doggedly resisting the technological age? In terms of applying for jobs in the 21st century what will this say about you, will it impact on your job search outcome? The answer to that question is almost certainly a resounding yes. If your reputation is such that employers are beating a path to your door, you might get away with it … for the rest of us, it’s an enormous risk.
Even though a reason to include it isn’t obvious and the job advertisement doesn’t state the need for a driver’s licence in the selection criteria; should you include it in your resume anyway?
Yes, is my resounding answer, it is a good idea to include it? Why? My experience is that even though it is not always stated in a job advertisement that a driver’s licence is required, sometimes ‘current driver’s licence’ are keywords entered into an applicant tracking system which is used to read applicant resumes and eliminate those not meeting the job requirements. Check your resume to see if you have included your driver’s licence and if you haven’t, weigh up whether it may be wise to do so.
Do your stated referees know they are your referees? Did you ask them before naming them?
What will your referees say about you? Are you absolutely certain they will say what you think they will say?
Google your name and clean up your social media, employers are using it like a ‘referee’ to check up on you.
Let your referees know the requirements of the job you are applying for, so they can speak of you in those terms.
Email addresses for referees are commonly asked for on application forms, follow through and list them on your resume as well.
When your referee is asked that all important question, ‘would you re-employ (insert your name)’, will he/she answer yes without hesitation? If you have any doubts, re-think your choices.