Professional references are like gold: Their value never decreases and they’re worth even more in a crisis.
Because of their high value, you need to treat your references with more than just respect. You need to let them know how much you appreciate their assistance.
This includes keeping them in the loop during your search and letting them know when it has wrapped up. Far too many job seekers just send out a cursory email asking someone if it’s okay to submit their name, wait for confirmation and then move on.
While some of your references may not have a problem with this, some people may end up feeling used or underappreciated.
Your interactions with your references should be courteous, professional and appreciative from the time you first reach out, until the time your search has ended.
Choosing a reference
Hiring managers now make it standard practice to comb through the social media profiles of not just their applicant, but also their references. This means you may not want to pick an old colleague with pictures of both of you out at various happy hours all over their Facebook page.
Ideally, your reference should be people with whom you’ve had a good working relationship, and nothing more. These people should be former teachers, clients or supervisors you know will speak highly of you.
Making the request
While it’s perfectly acceptable these days to ask someone to be your professional reference over email, social media or text – it’s much better if you make the request in person or over the phone, especially if this is someone you’re not overly close with on a personal level.
Take this opportunity to not only make the request, but to also ask the person for career advice and guidance. You gain some valuable personal insight, and the person will appreciate the fact that you thought enough of them to ask for advice.
Fill them in
To help make the whole endeavor as easy as possible for your references, give them as much information as you can about your situation, including the kind of position you’re seeking, and who to expect to be contacted by.
Also, ask each reference how they would prefer to be contacted. For example, she might like to get an email to set up an appointment, as opposed to getting a cold call. Then, consult with your prospective employer to see if your reference’s preferred mode of communication is acceptable.
Follow up with a thank you
Depending on the type of job and whether or not you got it, it might be appropriate to pass along a thank you gift, like a gift basket, to your references; although they’ll likely appreciate any gesture of gratitude, from a thank-you card to simply keeping them in the loop.
Work with a Leader in Supply Chain Recruiting
At ZDA, we help people with every part of the job-seeking process. If you would like to see the opportunities we have in store, contact us today to get started on taking the next step in your supply chain career!