The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

January 22, 2013

Make sure your references are good ones

Your resume may land you an interview, but your references can seal the deal.

The reference-checking firm of Allison & Taylor, which works for both employers and job hunters, says the strength of your references will separate you from other candidates.

The firm suggests:

— Provide the names, current job titles, company affiliations and phone number(s) of your references. If hirers have trouble finding your references, they’re likely to move on to the next candidate.

Include a “frame of reference” sentence such as, “I was his direct report for six years, and he can tell about my key contributions to an information technology project that saved the company $3 million.”

— List references only who have agreed to be references and who you know will say positive things about you.

(If you’re not sure what they’ll say, you can hire a firm like Allison & Taylor to make calls to find out.)

— It’s OK to use peers or subordinates as references. It’s OK, too, to leapfrog over your direct supervisor if someone higher on the corporate ladder will be more complimentary.

Prospective employers frequently encounter supervisors who say they can share only basic “name, rank and serial number” information. Other colleagues may be more likely to speak freely.

— Change your references to best fit the exact job you’re aiming to get, particularly if you’ve had a varied career.

If you’re trying to get back into retailing, for example, it may be better to list a reference from the retail job you held 15 years ago than to list recent associates who can’t vouch for your retail or customer-service skills.

— As a courtesy, call your references after you’ve had interviews. Let them know they may hear from potential employers. Be sure to thank them and let them know if your status changes.

— Make sure your references agree with the facts you’ve put on your resume.

If your resume says you were “office manager” but your former boss describes you as “my secretary,” it could give the impression that you were improperly inflating your credentials.

Diane Stafford is the workplace and careers columnist at The Kansas City Star. Her “Your Job“ blog at economy.kansascity.com includes daily posts about job-related issues of wide interest. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or by email at dstaffordkcstar.com.

1
Text Only
Business
  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

Business Video
Stocks