References play a strong role in the candidate selection process, as they help hiring managers determine what an applicant is capable of and how they might fit into the existing work environment. Therefore, it’s essential for job seekers to choose good references.

Picking the right references can have an enormous influence on your career. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, almost 70 percent of companies have changed a hiring decision based on feedback from a reference. When choosing your references, there are several factors take note of. Here are some guidelines to follow when selecting your professional references for your next job application.

Try to include a former supervisor

The presence of a former supervisor on a reference list carries a lot of weight, while the absence of one raises concerns for potential employers. Therefore, make every effort to include at least one former boss on your reference list. You should try to include your most recent supervisor. If you are currently employed, you don’t need to list your current boss as a reference because hiring managers know contacting a current boss about another job would put an applicant in a precarious situation.

When considering a former boss as a reference, make sure you are on good terms with them and trust they will give you a glowing recommendation. If you aren’t sure about any of your former supervisors, don’t include them.

Ask as many people as you can

Try to line up as many prospective references as you can and more than you think might need. Companies rarely ask for greater than three, but having a large pool will give you the chance to pick references strategically. For instance, if you need someone to vouch for your technical ability, an ideal reference might be a co-worker you worked alongside for years. Or, if you are applying for a sales position, you may want to include a former client on your list of references.

Contact and coach your references

It’s important to ask your references for their permission before including them on a reference list. No one wants to get a call out of the blue and be put on the spot to vouch for someone.

When someone does agree to be a reference, bring them up to speed on what you’ve been doing professionally, let them know about your current career objectives and inform them about the qualities you’d like them to vouch for.

Finally, be sure to collect all the relevant details about each of your references, including current employer, title, phone number, email address and work address. Also, ask how they would prefer to be contacted and make not of their response.

At Action Group Staffing, we help professionals with every part of the job-seeking process, from resume writing to interview prep. Please contact us today to find out how we can help your career.

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