How to mention referees during your job search.

job interview

In a job application references are supposed to offer the potential employer an impression about this potential employee.  It is a testimony evaluates the competence, performance and qualities of a person such as creativity or teamwork. These “soft skills” may be vital in application with which one can them you positively highlight themselves to stand out against similarly qualified fellow applicants.

And even if the new employer or recruiter has no time to contact your referees naming a contact person is a positive step to take. Naming references is seen as a sign of great openness because the candidate makes it clear that they have nothing to hide. That is why it is a good idea to include them even if they might not be contacted.

Since CV and job references form the heart of every application and many hiring managers are increasingly valuing the naming of references. One way to directly resolve the issue of referees is to attach a personal letter of recommendation or to provide the contact details of references. In the English speaking parts of the world the latter is particularly common.

Who should give references?

Self-employed people and temporary workers are strongly recommended to name references. This is because without a solid employer there isn’t any referee.

Although external companies who engage freelancers and authorities may not issue a written testimonial they can still be named as references if needed. Generally references in an application show a good impression and an employee left on good terms then it is recommended to name their former boss.

However, if someone left on bad terms or was sacked one shouldn’t name their former boss as reference. For anyone who left on their own accord they still name a contact reference from their previous job: assuming that company regrets their departure and a positive feedback is expected.

Who is a suitable referee?

Referees should be people who know you in a professional level and can vouch for your character. It is not advisable to mention your colleague, acquaintances, friends or family as references. This is unprofessional as these people cannot judge you in a professional context. However, if  you do voluntary work the club chairman is able to assess the way you work and can be a good reference.

Ideally the referee should be in a higher professional position than you and like your immediate supervisor. It is also important to inform the person you intend to name as a referee so that he or she can be aware and be ready to cooperate when contacted.

How is a reference given?

The referee should be listed with their name, profession, position and contact details. It is recommended not to provide the direct extension numbers as this could be intrusive. You can decide where to put the references: either at the end of your cover letter, in the CV or in a separate sheet. If someone has only one referee, it is better to omit naming referees as opposed to just mentioning one. Also for people who have a lot of experience, they can omit mentioning referees that go back to their college or training days. It would be better to concentrate on mentioning referees from their professional lives in the last five years.

What is the value online references?

Social networks like LinkedIn or Xing provide the possibility of mentioning your online contacts as a reference. These can then be contacted directly via the platform. While some HR professionals don’t value these type of referees some HR appreciate this method and use it.

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