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Professional References: Tips for Selecting the Best References

Writing a resume can be one of the most difficult things to do during your career, no matter how many you have written in the past. Part of the resume or job search process is choosing your professional references. No matter how strong your resume is, if you do not choose the right references, you will have trouble securing a job.

Avoid Generic Letters of Recommendation

One of the most important tips we can offer is to avoid generic letters of recommendation. Whether your reference wants to send a letter or you request one, make sure it is not generic. It needs to be specific to you as an employee, a student and a person in order to make a difference in the candidate selection process.

Look for Specific Traits in References

As you try to pick the perfect reference for your job search, you need to look at specific traits they have before doing so. Here are a few traits of consider:

  • The reference wants to see you succeed in your career.
  • The reference can easily speak about your traits, skills and experiences.
  • The reference is able to think quickly when asked a challenging question.
  • The reference is a person whom you feel comfortable sending to a potential employer.

Choose from Different Categories

Picking references is very important and you should have multiple references from different categories of your life and career. One thing you must always remember is to never list a family member as a reference.

Some of the categories you should pull references from include mentors, college professors, personal relationships, representatives from volunteer work, former supervisors, former co-workers and similar acquaintances.

When you list a mentor, you are able to convey your educational background, and when you list a personal relationship you are able to convey your character as a person. Both of these will help improve your job search immensely.

Always Ask and Keep Informed

Prior to submitting a list of references to a potential employer, be sure that you ask anyone whom you would like to list as a reference. Getting permission first shows respect and lets them know how much you value their opinion. Once permission is granted, be sure to keep the references informed about where you have applied and which companies might be contacting them in the near future.

Speak with a representative from Halpin Personnel today regarding the best methods for choosing professional references today.




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