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How to Format Your Professional References

How to Format Your Professional References

If you are one of the many employed job seekers looking for greener pastures, it’s time to formulate a list of references. Your list must comprise of professional references that can eloquently speak to your credentials and qualifications for the job. It’s crucial to have this document prepared, so you don’t have to scramble to gather your contacts when a hiring manager requests them. If you are getting ready to create or review your professional references, here is why hiring managers ask for them and some tips on how to format them correctly.

Why do employers request professional references?

A hiring manager will ask you to provide a list of references at some point in the job application process. Typically, it’s towards the end of the hiring process, but some companies may ask for your references as you fill out your application. They want to hear from your peers, colleagues, or former managers to gauge how well you can perform the essential job duties. Also, your references serve as a guide to see how well you fit as a team player and co-worker. Your resume can provide insight into your capabilities, but your contacts can shed light on you as an employee.

What to include on your professional reference list

When submitting your professional references, we always recommend having them in a separate document. Listing your references on your resume can be distracting from all of your excellent qualifications and skillsets, and they take up valuable space.

When preparing your list of references, here is what you should include:

  • Include your name and contact details at the top of the page
  • Have three to four references (or however many the employer specifies)
  • Each reference should include their full name, job title, the company’s name and address, and their contact details
  • A brief sentence or two on your professional relationship

Professional reference example

Here is an example of how to properly format your professional references:

Jane Doe

Recruiting Manager

ABC Company

Chicago, IL 65432

(123) 456-7891 | jdoe@abccompany.com

Jane was my recruiting supervisor with my previous employer.

Now, all you have to do is repeat this process for your other references, and you will be in good shape!

Always ask for permission

Before you ever submit your list of references, you must ask each of them for permission. Most people would be happy to provide a recommendation for you to move onto another opportunity. However, the last thing you want to do is catch one of your references off guard. Even if they have given their permission in the past, it’s crucial to ask them before submitting again. Giving them a heads up will help each of your references be on the lookout for a phone call or an email to provide a recommendation. Plus, reaching out to each one allows you to double-check that you still have their current contact details to ensure there are no hiccups when your prospective employer begins to reach out to them.

Selecting the right references

Choosing the proper references for the job is just as important as formatting your list. Unfortunately, you cannot submit the same list over and over again. Just like your resume, you must tailor your references for the job at hand. You want to select people that will bolster your candidacy by elaborating on your skill sets, relevant projects, and qualifications. You never want to choose a colleague or former boss that cannot attest to your skills that are relevant to this job opportunity.

Need more job search advice?

So, here are a few easy tips to effectively format your professional references. If you are looking for more job search or interviewing advice, look at our candidate resources! We have an extensive collection of valuable tips, tricks, and guides to help you successfully navigate through your job search. Good luck, and happy hunting!

Should You Include References on Your Resume

Should You Include References on Your Resume?

If you are currently searching for a new job, you may be wondering if you should include references on your resume. Should you put your references directly on your resume, submit them as a separate file, or not have any at all? The answer depends, and here is what you need to understand about including references on your resume.

Employers don’t use references right away

When deciding whether you should include references on your resume, think about how an employer will use them. In almost every hiring scenario, a hiring manager or recruiter won’t check references until the end of the interview process. Checking your references is typically the last step before making a final hiring decision or deciding between two candidates. Hiring professionals won’t check references as they sift through references. Instead, they will likely ask you to submit them after a final interview to help them make a decision. So, the answer to this question is only to include them if it explicitly requests them in the job description or application.

References take up valuable resume space

If you need to submit references, don’t include them on your resume (unless instructed in the job description). If you are displaying references the correct way, you will have several lines of text for each reference. Thus, including references on your resume takes up valuable space. If you typically have your contacts on your resume, this is an easy way to shorten your resume if you think it’s a little too long; it also helps keeps the focus on your experience, achievements, and other valuable qualifications.

How to send references

Instead of including your references on your resume, you can create a note at the end of it that says, “references attached” and have them on a separate document. By creating a separate reference document, you can keep your application more organized. The easier you make your application materials to follow, the better results you will receive. You want to keep your reference document’s format similar to your resume – use the same layout, fonts, headings, and other formatting styles. For each reference, you will want to include the following:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Company name
  • Location
  • Contact information
  • A brief description of your relationship

Include this information for each contact, and you are on your way to creating the ultimate references sheet.

If you are searching for more job-search guidance, JSG has precisely what you need! We have job search advice, interview insights, and more resume tips on our blog.

college grad toolkit

The College Grad Toolkit

Graduating college is a monumental step that’s full of exciting and daunting unknowns. If you’ve chosen to enter the professional workforce after school, there are some things that you absolutely need to have in your toolkit if you want to secure a job after college, or simply, give off a more professional vibe. Here are six things you must have in your college grad toolkit to successfully kickoff your career.

Easy Means of Contact

Have your phone and email visible and available! Make sure you have an easy way for recruiters, hiring managers, and potential references to communicate with you. Your contact information must be front and center on your resume as well as in the signature of every email. Also, make sure you have a professional email. Now that you’re graduating college, it’s time to stop using that cute email address you made in middle school.

A Fantastic Resume

Crafting a perfect resume has such an important role in landing the job you want. Your resume should include all the resume essentials, like your contact information, hard and soft skills, work experience, education, and certifications! Once you’ve edited and reviewed your post-college resume, show it to someone you trust to gather even more feedback! Getting extra eyes on a resume will always get you a step closer to an outstanding perfect resume.

An Excellent LinkedIn

Update your LinkedIn to show that you are now a college grad! Then start making connections with students you went to school with, professors you learned a lot from, and others that have connections with your university. But don’t stop there! Start connecting and making conversations with professionals in your field or someone that has your dream job.

However, before you start making those connections, check off some other post-grad LinkedIn essentials like:

  • Uploading a great profile picture
  • Receive endorsements from your peers
  • Adding valid and applicable skills
  • A great summary of who you are

At-The-Ready References

Contrary to popular belief, references do matter. In research done by TLNT, they found that 21% of hiring managers remove candidates from the running after they speak with their professional references. This means that your references must be legit and always on deck. So, speak to your professors, bosses, or coaches about leaving you a good reference, if needed.

Cleaned-Up Social Media

Start cleaning up your social media accounts! More than half of hiring managers check out your social media as an act of screening you for a job. Additionally, if they find a red flag, you could be immediately dismissed for a job. Double-check that there’s nothing from college on your social media that may hinder your chances of landing a job. This might include a provocative photo, profanity, or speaking poorly of others online. If this content exists on any of your social media accounts either delete it or adjust your privacy settings.

Professional Outfit

You need at least one professional outfit that you can wear to interviews. Dress to impress your potential employers, no matter what industry you’re entering. For more tips on what to wear to an interview, check out our  ‘How to Dress for Your Next Interview’ blog.

Graduating from college is an exciting time and may look different than expected due to the coronavirus. However, this college grad toolkit will hopefully help guide you through these next stages of your career. And if you’re looking for more assistance, JSG has compiled a group of resources to help you successfully kickoff your career. Check it out!

Video: Here’s your college grad toolkit

references

4 Easy Steps To Getting A Great Recommendation

When you need to provide a reference or recommendation, of course, you want it to be in support of your landing this new role! That’s why it’s essential to take things into your own hands and ensure that your reference has all of the right information to give you a stellar recommendation. Here are four easy ways to ensure you get a glowing reference. 

Inform Your Reference 

First and foremost, you must let someone know that they are on your reference list. If you’re actively searching for a new job, we recommend asking their permission. That way, not only can they prepare before someone calls, they may also be able to connect you with a great opportunity. (Don’t forget – 70-85% of open positions are filled through networking.) 

Let Them Know More About The Position 

You should be informing your reference about every position you use them as a reference. Include a link to the job description to give them some context. Next, you can even include a short write up about why you think you’d be a great fit! Explain what stage in the application process you are at, and any pertinent information that can help guide them in providing a strong recommendation.

Guide Your Reference 

Now, we’re not recommending that you write the recommendation for them. However, it is perfectly okay to guide your reference gently. If there was a specific project you worked on together or an accomplishment that you discussed during the interview that you would like to emphasize, mention it! It may have been some time since you worked together, or they might not remember off the top of their heads. 

Follow Up 

Unfortunately, you won’t always get the first job that you apply to. However, once you involve someone in your job search as a reference, they become invested! Follow up whether you receive the job or not. The more you keep them in the loop, the more inclined they’ll be to provide a reference in the future! (Which is never a bad thing to keep in your back pocket.) 

Before Applying for a Job

4 Things You Must Do Before Applying for a Job

Before Applying for a Job

In today’s candidate-driven market, there are probably dozens of job opportunities around every corner. Whether you’re a mechanical engineer or an aviation technician, the market is hot, and it’s tempting to see what’s out there. However, before you even think about submitting your job application, here are four things you must do before applying.

Read over the entire job posting

The first thing you will want to do is ensure you read over the whole job posting. This is essential for two reasons:

1)     To understand if this is an excellent fit for you and make sure you actually want the job

2)     So you can tailor your application materials to fit the job description

Hiring managers like to narrow down their pool of candidates by providing precise instructions and details in the job description. Are they asking for a cover letter? Do they want samples of your work? If you skim over the job posting, you may miss vital details that can filter you out of the candidate race.

Research the company

After you find a job posting that you want to respond to, take a few minutes to research the company. This should be a pretty painless step in the application process. Knowing more about the company can be a huge advantage to you as a candidate. It will help you craft your resume and cover letter by understanding their business, mission and vision, and the company culture. It will also help you decide if the company is even the right fit for you and your career goals.

Tailor your resume

If you take the time to review the job posting carefully, you will be able to better craft your resume. Even in this tight market, you should always customize your resume for each job you apply to. Even if they are in the same industry or the same type of position, each employer is looking for something different. And guess what? It is usually spelled out in the job description. So, while you’re reviewing that job posting, highlight the most critical components of the description and be sure your resume fits those well.

Clean up your references

Many employer applications put you through the wringer. They collect your resume, cover letter, and a bunch of other details about your career. Moreover, many of which also ask for your references. Well, before you submit the contact details of your close professional colleagues, you should always give them a heads up. Ensure you still have their permission to use them as a reference and that their contact information is accurate. Let them know you are applying so they can be on the lookout for a call or email they otherwise may not be expecting. The last thing you want to do is have a prospective employer catch one of your references off guard!

references

The Ultimate Guide To Job Application References

references

It’s rare these days to encounter a hiring process that doesn’t include a reference check. However, providing great job application references can be a little trickier than you initially think! Follow these guidelines to painlessly check this job search item off your to-do list.

Choose your references wisely

It’s a good idea to have three go-to job application references on hand. Typically, you’ll want to include a mix of current or previous managers and coworkers. Obviously, you’ll want to choose people with whom you had a strong working relationship. Make sure to choose references that will not only speak of you in glowing terms, but will also be able to speak in-depth about your work experience, performance, and work ethic.

Get permission to list people as references

It is absolutely essential to gain permission before listing anyone as a reference. The last thing you want is to catch them off guard, and as a result, receive a less-than-stellar reference. It’s also a great opportunity to network with your professional connections and stay in touch!

Don’t list your references on your resume

This is a big recruiting no-no. Listing job application references uses valuable space on your resume, hiring managers may contact them without your permission, and it takes the focus away from you. There’s also no need to include “references available upon request.” It is automatically implied and not necessary.

Provide your references with information

Make sure your references know what to expect. Sometimes it may be a simple employment verification, sometimes employers may ask them to submit a full letter of recommendation. If you must submit a letter of recommendation, ensure that your contact has all of the details including what to cover, where to send it, and when it’s due.

Provide them with the title of the role you’re applying for and a copy of your resume. The more information they have about your background and goals, the better!

Follow up

Don’t forget to follow up with your references once your job search is complete! Whether you were offered the job or not, your references are now invested in your career journey and deserve an update. Always include a quick note of gratitude for taking the time to speak on your behalf. You never know when you may need to use them as a reference again!

References

The Dos and Don’ts of a Winning Reference List

References

When it comes to adding references, you should pay a lot more attention to it than most people normally do. References can make or break your chances of getting a job, and if they do, you normally won’t know who or what they said to change a prospective company’s mind… So, the best way to avoid this is by choosing the right references. And if you follow these Dos and Don’ts, you’ll be able to almost guarantee that your references won’t hurt your chances of getting the job!

DO – Ask for permission

When adding someone to your reference list, you want to ensure you’re asking for permission. Especially, if it’s been a while since you needed references, reminding them and asking if it’s okay will help you get the best response. And make sure you have their right contact information as well as helping them be prepared for calls.

DON’T – Assume someone will say yes

Just because someone has let you use them as a reference before doesn’t mean they’re okay with it now. Time passes, and other people come and go in different positions. So, it’s very important that you never assume it’s a yes.

DO – Have a list of references before applying to jobs

Doing your due diligence before applying to a new job is only going to help you be prepared. If a company asks for references, it’s a lot easier to just send a list you have ready. Instead of having to scramble for the best ones to send. Being prepared will always keep you a step ahead and more likely to get the position.

DON’T – Wait until the last minute to ask for a reference

Waiting only leaves you in a vulnerable position. This can affect whether you find great references or good ones. And this small difference could change the opportunity of you getting the job or not. Even though some people like to think these details aren’t as important, having a great reference compared to only a good one could really affect a company’s decision about you.

DO – Update your list as often as you can

Especially, when you’re receiving promotions or have moved companies. In these situations, you’re working and collaborating with different people that would probably love to be a part of your reference list. So updating it when you can is beneficial.

DON’T – Provide a reference list until asked

There is no need to put a reference list on a resume when you’re first applying for a position. You first want the company to think you’re a good fit. And, if you’re working with a recruiter, you may not want another company calling your references before speaking with you. (Because you may still be working with people on your list and you may not be ready for them to know you’re looking). There are lots of reasons we say wait, but this way you don’t get sabotaged in any way and it helps companies really be interested in you first.

DO – Add Professional’s

Make sure all your references are from a professional nature. And having them from different jobs or volunteer commitments just helps show that you’re a great person to work with and you go over and beyond in all your endeavors.

DON’T – Add Your Mom, Grandma, or any family

I hope that you all can say you’d get raving reviews from family members. So, your references should not include them. Your family is here to support you on your journey, but this is probably one thing we’d recommend they aren’t helping you out on.

These Do’s and Don’ts should keep you prepared with great references that will help you land the job you’re working so hard to get. And now you know everything that will make you achieve a winning reference list!