The Right Way to Submit References During Your Job Search

The Right Way to Submit References During Your Job Search

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When Do You Need References?

“Employers will typically check your references just before they’re ready to make an offer,” Papadopoulos says. That’s why you don’t need to provide them when you’re first applying for a job. But it’s a good idea to have them ready to go before you even land an interview. If a company is ready to hire you pending a reference check, the last thing you want is to 

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When Do You Need References?

be held up by asking people to be a reference or collecting their contact information. Instead, you should “have your references ready and keep them updated during your search,” Papadopoulos says.

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Who Should You Ask to Be a Reference?

Most companies will ask for two or three references from a candidate, so it’s always best to have at least three ready to go.  Some prospective employers may request a certain mix of types of references, but generally you want to list former managers (or your current manager if they know about and are supportive of your job search) and former

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Who Should You Ask to Be a Reference?

or current colleagues; if you’re earlier in your career and don’t have many former managers, you could list professors you worked closely with. If you’d be leading a team, you may be asked for a reference from a former direct report. For some client-facing roles, like account management, companies might want to hear from a former client or customer, so be sure to read up on the norms for your industry.

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The Right Way to Provide Your References to an Employer

Once you know who your references will be, you want to make it easy to submit them to employers when asked. So you should compile everything you need into a reference sheet, one handy—and well-formatted—document that can expedite the hiring process in the final stages. When the time comes, you can attach your reference sheet 

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The Right Way to Provide Your References to an Employer

to an email as a Word document or PDF file, or you can simply copy and paste the information into the body of the email.

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The Right Way to Provide Your References to an Employer

What Information to Include on Your Reference Sheet – Name – Current Job/Position – Company – Phone Number – Email Address – Reference Description: Write one sentence explaining how you know or have worked with this person, where, when, and for how long. (Check out the example below to see what

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The Right Way to Provide Your References to an Employer

this looks like in action.) There’s no need to include your reference’s home or work address—companies aren’t going to be mailing them anything.  And if a reference expresses a strong preference for a certain method of contact, it’s OK to put “(preferred contact)” next to that line on your reference list. To keep things easy for the 

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The Right Way to Provide Your References to an Employer

hiring manager, it’s also a good idea to include your own name, phone number, and email at the top of the sheet (see the template and example below).

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