A job reference is a letter of recommendation from a previous employer, colleague, teacher, or anyone else who can vouch for your work ethic, skills, and an excellent culture fit for the organization you're applying to.
However, a few job reference mistakes can damage your chances of getting hired. Here are four of the most common job reference mistakes to avoid:
1. Not Having a List of References Prepared in Advance
Your references are people who can attest to your skills and abilities during the interview process. However, if you don't have a list of references prepared in advance, you may not be able to take full advantage of this opportunity.
When you're scrambling to gather references at the last minute, you may not have time to choose the best possible candidates. As a result, your contacts may not be as strong as they could be. To make the most of your references, take the time to compile a list of potential candidates well in advance of your next job interview.
2. Asking Inappropriate People for a Reference
When you're choosing who to ask for a reference, choose people who can speak to your work ethic and job performance. Requesting a personal friend or family member for a reference is generally not a good idea.
Your references should be people who have seen you in a professional capacity and can attest to your skills and abilities. If you're unsure whether someone would make a good reference, it's always best to err on the side of caution and choose someone else.
3. Failing to Prepare Your References
Once you've chosen your references, take the time to prepare them for the interview process. Send them a copy of your resume and the job listing so they can be familiar with your qualifications.
Another good idea to give them a heads up that you'll list them as a reference. This way, they won't be caught off guard if they receive a call from a potential employer.
4. Not Staying in Touch With Your References
Even if you have a great relationship with your references, staying in touch with them is crucial. Send them a note every few months to let them know how you're doing and updating them on any new developments in your career.
If you've been out of touch with a reference for a long period, reach out to them before you list them as a reference. You can ensure they're still comfortable speaking on your behalf.
5. Not Checking in With Your References After You've Been Hired
Once you've been hired, be sure to thank your references for their help. Keeping in touch with your references shows them that you're grateful for their support and lets them know that you're still interested in maintaining a relationship.
Avoid making these job reference mistakes, and you'll be well on your way to impressing potential employers and landing the job you want.