How and when to present your job references is often a question I get asked. As you already know, your resume and cover letter are your chance to influence potential employers. If they impress the employer, you’ll get a chance to say even more about yourself and your qualities at the job interview. At some point, employers are going to want to ask others their opinion of you as well.
Why You Need Job References
This is where your job references will come into play. References and letters of recommendation are a very effective marketing tool. Your job references are so powerful because they provide positive information about you from someone other than yourself. You can make claims about how great you are, but it’s not until someone else can back up these claims that an employer will know if they’re true.
A potential employer will request references so they can ask about your past work experience, education, and personal traits. They also want to verify if what you’ve claimed is true. This is invaluable information to a potential employer. So, with such a powerful tool like your references in your back pocket, it is important to get the timing right.
Where Do Your Job References Go?
Your job references go on a separate sheet from the resume unless the employer specifically states otherwise. Since the main reason an employer should contact your references is to verify information, your references are meant to be used after an interview. This means that you should not be handing out your references until asked at an interview. Your references are your secret weapon, so you should protect them until the moment they’re needed.
Guard Your Reference Information Until It’s Needed
If you give out your job references too freely or place them on your resume, you may run into trouble with the people you’ve asked to speak on your behalf. If your references are contacted too often, it could become bothersome. Reference information contains private contact information, only reveal them at an interview for an employer you’re serious about.