Keep Your Employment References Up-To-Date

Keep Your Employment References Up-To-DateA successful job search involves investment in multiple steps and tools.  Often job seekers focus on just one or two areas in the process  – creating a well-tailored resume – and they forget to provide equal attention to other critical areas like interview coaching, networking, or employment references!   Having good employment references can make or break a job offer.

References are a chance for employers to add to the information they learned from your resume and in the interview — and what they find out from your references will either confirm their desire to hire you, or make the decision not to extend the job offer. A great reference will help the hiring manager feel good about their decision to bring you onto their team.

So do you have your employment references lined up and well prepared?  As people change jobs it can become increasingly difficult to keep track of former supervisors, co-workers, and customers who can offer glowing recommendations.  That is why a week in May each year has been officially designated Update Your References Week by Career Directors International.  This week serves as a reminder to re-evaluate and touch base with references; update contact information, ask permission to continue to list them, thank them, and ensure you are aware about what they will say about you, if asked.  It is recommended you keep your references up-to-date even if you are not actively job seeking!

If you are struggling to locate references, keep in mind that they don’t have to be former supervisors or managers.  You can always request assistance from co-workers, peers, team members, current or former customers, vendors or suppliers, and people you have supervised.   Ultimately you need to ensure you select someone who knows your work well, has seen you in action, and can speak to your abilities.  If someone seems hesitant to serve as your reference, or is not clear on how they would respond to reference questions about you, ask someone else.


Adrienne Tom

Looking to take your executive resume or job search to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? I can help! Visit me online at to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.

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