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Monday, December 10, 2007

References Available Upon Request

I've been working with a few of the students as they start to pursue sports internships for the summer. The next several posts will relate to areas of job/internship searches, resumes, interviewing, etc.

References available upon request. This is a common phrase that people put at the bottom of their resumes. I don't remember who gave me this advice, but I remember someone once told me that I shouldn't put that phrase on my resume. Instead, I should automatically include a list of references as my last page. The idea is that if I want this person to hire me, why make them work any harder than they have to by contacting me for additional information? I should make it as easy as possible for them to get as much information on me as they want.

For years now, I've done this. I've also passed this advice on to others. I now look for this, too, on all the resumes I receive for jobs. If I don't have to call and ask for a list of references, it also helps speed up the interview process. I will often call references before I even interview candidates. In some cases, it's helped people get on my interview list who wouldn't have been on it if all I had was their resume to review. Again, it all comes back to, and is related to, the professional network a person has. Make sure you have strong references who know you well and can speak about your talents.

It's a little thing, but it's often little things that make a big difference.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry but this is bad advice.

Job seekers should NOT provide a list of references when submitting an application. You don't want them caught off guard, you want to be able to give them a heads up. You also want to be able to give them a little information about the position and help them give you a better reference.

And in today's market, when most people are sending 20 resumes to get one interview, think about how many desks and databases that reference list will show up on. You DO NOT want to burden them with having to return multiple phone calls for jobs you aren't even going to be considered for.

Best to provide references when you've had a great interview and can reasonably expect an offer. These relationships are precious and you want to protect and nurture them, not risk damanging them.

I realize you recruiters on the other end don't like what I am saying because part of it is you want to see what the person will say unrehearsed.

But how can you expect this person's previous supervisor to tell you whether they'd be a good fit for your job when its not even a question your or the potential candidate can answer at that point in the process?

Michelle Wells said...

Well "anonymous" thanks for your opinion. You may think it's bad advice, but I disagree.

First, I would question anyone who "carpet bombs" and sends out 20 resumes? I would hope their search is more refined and that they have a better network than that, even if they're just starting out in the business.

Second, as I mention all the time, a person should use his/her network. Generally, the people on a reference are those in his/her network and serve on that person's personal career board of directors. These usually aren't people who would be burdened by phone calls from people looking to hire someone they know. Any reference I've ever had has been more than happy to take calls. All they ask is to know where I've sent my resume and for a basic description of the job and/or organization.

Third, believe it or not, a lot of people don't check references, too few actually. When I check references, I don't want that person to tell me if someone would be a good fit for a job or my company. I can figure that out for myself. I'm looking for insight into that person's character, work ethic, did they really do what their resume says, and I'm also looking to see what the reference doesn't say.

Again, these are my opinions just like you have yours. The beauty of opinions is that there are always going to be different ones from different people. That's what makes life interesting. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Anonymous said...

"First, I would question anyone who "carpet bombs" and sends out 20 resumes? I would hope their search is more refined and that they have a better network than that, even if they're just starting out in the business."

Hmm, spoken like someone who hasn't been out in the job market in recent years. That is the reality - too many people and too few positions. A typical jobs search today takes 6 -12 months (unless your seeking entry level jobs) 20 resumes over this period of time is not really a lot.

I agree that a good job search strategy involves reaching out to contacts, using the services of a job center, and generally pounding the pavement. But in all cases it involves sending resumes for open positions - sorry but that's just logic.

"Second, as I mention all the time, a person should use his/her network. Generally, the people on a reference are those in his/her network and serve on that person's personal career board of directors. These usually aren't people who would be burdened by phone calls from people looking to hire someone they know. Any reference I've ever had has been more than happy to take calls. All they ask is to know where I've sent my resume and for a basic description of the job and/or organization."

I too am happy when I recieve these phone calls, but I would not want to know that my phone number is being given out willy nilly to anyone, and especially not posted on a job board where anybody can hit me up for anything. I already get enough sales calls every day.

"Any reference I've ever had has been more than happy to take calls. All they ask is to know where I've sent my resume and for a basic description of the job and/or organization."

Meaning your references were given a chance to know where your resume was sent and what the job description is before talking to the recruiter? Am I understading that right? Then aren't you contradicting yourself?

Your advice is in the best interest of the recruiter, not of the job seeker.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like the advice, then don't take it. Offer your own advice, but why be so antagonistic? Get your meds adjusted, angry guy!

SAFM 05 said...

Anonymous doesn't seem to have read Michelle's original post too carefully - she never said not to give a heads up to your references before including them on a list. Obviously you should ask them first and give them at least an idea of the types of jobs you are applying for, if not the specific employers.

I'm not sure what employer would make a candidate "reasonably expect an offer" before they've even called a reference.